EDUCAUSE Member Update

EDUCAUSE will have its Member Update as a web event on Tuesday, September 7, 1:00–2:00 p.m. EDT.

Log in on Sept. 7 and you will also hear about plans for October's annual conference and its corresponding virtual event.

Topics will include:

EDUCAUSE 2010 Conference overview
•    Current and upcoming innovations in our professional development events
•    An update on the Core Data Service redesign project
•    Newsworthy items from other EDUCAUSE programs

No registration is required. Prior to the session, run the Acrobat Connect Connection Test on the computer you plan to use for the session to ensure your configuration is compatible with the web conferencing system. They will archive the sessions and make the recordings available online so you have the opportunity to listen and provide feedback beyond the session itself.

Bad News For Bloggers

A very unpleasant story out of Philadelphia for bloggers. The city wants to crack down on people who are running a business without a license. Sounds reasonable - until I read that this includes little ol' local bloggers who are running ads on their sites.

According to the weekly Philadelphia City Paper, several small-scale bloggers received letters from the city demanding that they get a $300 license to operate a local business.

I don't know about Philly bloggers, but a $300 license would wipe all the "ad revenue" from Serendipity35 for the past five years!

The idea that a blogger with a few Google or Amazon ads is "conducting commercial activity" is stretching it. I actually have listed on my tax form any income from blogging in the past, and that seems to be what triggered the city to find local businesses operating without licenses.

"The IRS is the fastest way to find them, though we have other avenues that we don't advertise," a Philadelphia Department of Revenue representative told

Downloading Legalities

lawNew federal regulations that took effect this summer requiring colleges to take steps to deal with illegal music and movie downloading on campus networks.

I listened to Heidi Wachs, Georgetown University's director of IT policy, talk about it on an episode of Tech Therapy.

It reminded me of the time back in early 2007 when I was bringing NJIT into iTunes U and we needed legal to review our policies on copyright. Like many colleges, there were policies that needed to be there that didn't exist.

It's hard to fall back on protections like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) when you haven't done any of the work that affords you that protection.

The firestorm of fines and publicity about students downloading files illegally seems to died down the past year, but the consequences still exist - and many schools are still very unprepared.
Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.
For more information, please see the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office at, especially their FAQ's at

Teachers Without Technology


No-Tech Teacher

Just sending those of you who read this blog but don't follow me or other education tech types on places like Twitter or Facebook to an article on The Chronicle site.

They call it "College 2.0: Teachers Without Technology Strike Back" but I'm not sure I would consider this to be in the College 2.0 category or how much of a "strike back" movement we have going in education, but... you decide.

It points to several teachers trying a no-tech approach including a University of West Florida teacher who banned laptops, cellphones, and such in his summer class in English literature and found that "The students seemed more involved in the discussion than when I allowed them to go online."

The Chronicle had earlier run a related (on the other side) piece on "Reaching the Last Technology Holdouts at the Front of the Classroom."

Good Reads Are Good Reads On Paper or a Screen

Lots of news these days about books going electronic and e-readers and the continuing death of print.

Two articles today that I read online. One, a column in the LA Times, is about GoodReads, a popular site for book lovers that started in 2006. The site has reading clubs, book giveaways, author chats, literature quizzes, quotations, trivia and many of the features of a social neywork (friends, followers, news feed etc.). They have about 3.5 million members which is small compared to Facebook, but big for a book site.

Otis Chandler built the site and he faces the classic web site business problem of how to make money from the Web audience. Chandler says that "Book reviews in newspapers, well, those are gone. Independent bookstores are almost gone. Chains will probably be gone soon. It's all happening online now."

Otis Chandler's great-great-great-grandfather founded the Los Angeles Times, so he has print ink in his blood even if he is fighting the genetics.

The second article was on The New Yorker site. It's about yet another "Kindle Killer" from the company Kobo. (Why do new apps and devices have to kill the earlier product? Can't they co-exist and compete?) Kobo is now partially owned by Borders and they built the Borders iPhone app. But Borders stores seem to have disappeared - and Barnes & Noble has announced that they are considering selling. Who's left?

The Kobo ereader is in the e-book battle and they have an online store whose catalog of e-books that can be read on almost any mobile device (except the Kindle!).

The Kobo e-reader is scheduled to hit the magic 99 dollar price point by the magic holiday shopping season.

Kobo - like Amazon with the Kindle and Apple with iPods - looks at the devices as marketing tools for the content. But Kobo seems really intent on allowing the content to be on any device you want it on.

Shift happens.