Blogosphere Meets Twittersphere

birdTwittorati has launched from the folks who run Technorati.

Twittorati is billed as being where the blogosphere meets the Twittersphere - a way to see what top bloggers are tweeting about, and how these trends compare to blogosphere trends. You can filter tweets by topic, see the most tweeted blog posts, and compare leading blogosphere and Twitter trends.

For the launch, Twittorati is featuring the Technorati Top 100 Bloggers but will expand to include other authors in the active blogosphere. One disappointing trend in blogging, in my opinion, is the dominance of large blogging conglomerates at the top of the rankings. The individual blogger has almost no chance to find an audience via rankings like this.

It might be useful - even if you are not a blogger or Titter user - to use this just to monitor what is relevant to you, compare the day’s top blog and hash tags to see the hottest topics in both spheres, as well as see the most popular links that are being tweeted and which blogs are linking to them. Writer pages display each tweeter’s blogs and Twitter information and their Technorati Authority.


Early College

President Barack Obama referenced Bard High School Early College last week in a speech. It's one example of the "early college" programs that I wrote about earlier this year.

BHSEC is a joint venture by the New York City Board of Education and Bard College. Designed for students who are ready and willing to do college work at age 16, they can cover in four years high school and the first two years of college. At graduation, they will earn an associate of arts (A.A.) degree as well as their high school diploma.

At EarlyColleges.org, you can find out more about the partner organizations of the Early College High School Initiative (Bard is not one of them). They have started or redesigned more than 200 U.S. schools.

I find the idea of the early college very appealing. But, I agree with BHSEC graduate Kesi Augustine, who wrote a piece on the Huffington Post about her experiences there, that it won't work for all students.
"Not every student could learn this way. A few dropped out over the four years despite the supportive network of teachers and faculty available. However, those students did not cop out. BHSEC was emotionally demanding. Those students simply realized that their destiny was in their own hands, as Obama said, and that BHSEC's accelerated method of learning, while it stimulates the mind, requires a sense of maturity some teenagers do not yet have while in high school."

These early colleges are public institutions and charge no tuition. The student populations are generally diverse ethnically and economically. The design of the schools is to offer low-income youth, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education opportunities.

At BHSEC, there are about 500 students with an average student-to-teacher ration is 20:1.  Admissions receives about 4,000 applications for 135 available spaces. Admissions is based on the student’s academic record, teacher recommendations, writing and math assessments, and an interview which should show evidence of the student's ambition and intellectual curiosity.

I don't know how unique Kesi might be as a Bard graduate, (She is now at Williams College.) but her description of her academic life there sounds encouraging to me.
The typical night of homework included musing over the implications of W.E.B. DuBois' theory of double consciousness, calculating anti-derivatives, and writing about the similarities between Toni Morrison and William Faulkner. During our junior and senior years, the professors expected everyone to read works by writers like Sophocles, Plato, Dante, Darwin, Marx, and Kafka. Those texts were our repertoire--we discussed them together and wrote about their relevance during their time period as well as our own. After taking a contemporary architecture class, my friends and I would walk the streets of Manhattan and jokingly remark, "That is so post-modern."


Blackboard Loses on Appeal


"This week, a federal appeals court invalidated Blackboard Inc.'s 1999 patent for its learning management software, overturning a lower court's decision last year finding that the Blackboard competitor Desire2Learn had infringed the giant's intellectual property.

Blackboard officials expressed disappointment but played down the significance of the ruling by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, saying that new patents gained by the company -- which Blackboard has again accused Desire2Learn of infringing -- essentially make moot the issues present in the lawsuit in question.

But Blackboard has already initiated another lawsuit against Desire2Learn, accusing the Canadian firm in April of infringing new U.S. patents that the company received on its software. So while company officials continue to reassure higher education technology officials and others that Blackboard has no intention of asserting its patent rights against "open source or home-grown course management systems that are not bundled with proprietary software," they show no signs of retreating in the wake of Monday's stinging defeat."

Source: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/07/28/blackboard

All The News That Fits Your Screen

There is no shortage of stories about the death of the print newspaper. For many of us, newspapers are still the main source of local news, arts and entertainment guides, community information, sports, and shopping. Now, that may include a local newspaper's online services. And if the news is across the country or the world, THAT local paper may be the best source. And, for those of us at colleges, our campus newspaper is certainly the only source for much of our "local" news. So, here is a post about how to read more of those newspapers online.

NewsVoyager.com is a "newspaper portal" to newspaper sites around the world.  NewsVoyager.com provides links to U.S. daily and weekly newspaper home pages and sections, Canadian and international daily newspapers, newspaper groups, associations and other media organizations. I found 61 daily and weekly papers here in New Jersey.

They also provide a link to other sites with links to college newspapers and newspaper archives. This site is a service of the Newspaper Association of America, a nonprofit organization representing the newspaper industry and more than 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.