From DSC:
More innovation from the online world… hopefully these technologies end up in the right hands…

Keeping an eye on online test-takers – from nytimes.com by Anne Eisenberg

Excerpt:

But now eavesdropping technologies worthy of the C.I.A. can remotely track every mouse click and keystroke of test-taking students. Squads of eagle-eyed humans at computers can monitor faraway students via webcams, screen sharing and high-speed Internet connections, checking out their photo IDs, signatures and even their typing styles to be sure the test-taker is the student who registered for the class.

 

Inter-Organizational Task Force on Online Learning: Recommendations| September 20, 2012

From DSC:
What caught my eye:

  • The new “traditional” student: the adult learner
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From DSC:
The wetakeyourclass.com website below is very disturbing in terms of the questions it raises — though such questions and activities are certainly not limited to what occurs in the online classroom, as evidenced by The Shadow Scholar (from The Chronicle by Ed Dante) where a man confessed to writing ~5,000 scholarly papers for students, including grad students.

Questions:

  • Should the owners of this site go to jail? Or is this just capitalism gone awry? 
  • Does this business make a profit?  If so, why and what does that say?
  • Is this type of thing happening for just a handful of people out there? How would we know?  Can the turnitin.com’s of the world detect/stop this?
  • If their services are in demand, should that inform or influence any differences in the strategies or pedagogies we utilize within higher education?  Do we need to re-evaluate what’s really being achieved and not achieved? That is, if employers didn’t look to a college degree, would students come to learn anyway or would they be gone by morning?
  • What, if anything, does it say about students’ ethics?  Matters of the heart?

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WE take your class dot com -- should these people go to jail?

 

Look at some of the “services,” “benefits,” and messages being offered therein:

  • We take your online classes for you and you get an A
    Underlying message: We’ll help you get that piece of paper so you can move on to what really counts.  (Don’t worry about not knowing anything…you won’t have to prove yourself later on…and never mind about your work ethic, this is a one-time-cutting-the-corners type of decision, right? Isn’t it? Isn’t it?!)
  • Life is too short to spend on classes you have no interest in
  • Give us a deadline and we will meet it!
    Underlying message: Corporations outsource many things, why shouldn’t you?  (Never mind that learning should be your core business and should not be outsourced.)


How about you all, what are some questions that this type of thing raises in your minds?

 

States with online course or online experience requirements — from Sevenstar

  1. Alabama (As of 2008, all students must earn one credit in an advanced placement course, an honors course, a dual credit course or a distance learning course)
  2. Florida (For the 2011-2012 academic year, Florida begins requiring its high school students to complete at least one course online in order to graduate. As of 2006, all students must have the option to take an online course if a student wants it)
  3. Georgia (Starting in 2014, all ninth grade students will have to take at least one online course before graduation)
  4. Michigan (As of 2006, all incoming high school students must complete a course of study delivered via the intranet/Internet; or students will complete 20 hours of structured, sustained, integrated, online experiences.)
  5. Idaho (All students who begin ninth grade in fall 2012, must take 2 online courses to graduate)
  6. New York (As of 2011, public schools in the state of New York must spend significant amounts of time online)
  7. New Mexico (As of 2011, All students must earn one credit in an advanced placement course, an honors course, a dual credit course or a distance learning course)
  8. Virginia (All students who begin ninth grade in fall 2013, must take at least part of a course online to receive a standard or advanced-studies high-school diploma.)

 

Also see:

  • Christian Schools, Finances and Online Courses: Ready for a New Wineskin? — from Sevenstar
    Financial-based decisions are occurring in almost every school. While financial stewardship has always been a hallmark of the Christian school movement, the decisions to cut faculty, reduce the breadth of classes offered, and close schools may lessen the impact of Christian education in the United States. This white paper describes the changed landscape of education and presents opportunities for Christian Schools to thrive financially in this new environment. If your school is concerned about financial sustainability, be sure to read this seminal white paper.

 

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Key findings from Executive Excess 2012: The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam’s Pocket — from the Institute for Policy Studies by Sarah Anderson, Chuck Collins, Scott Klinger, Sam Pizzigati

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Executive Excess 2012

Key findings:

  • Of last year’s 100 highest-paid U.S. corporate chief executives, 26 took home more in CEO pay than their companies paid in federal income taxes, up from the 25 we noted in last year’s analysis. Seven firms made the list in both 2011 and 2010.
  • The CEOs of these 26 firms received $20.4 million in average total compensation last year. That’s a 23 percent increase over the average for last year’s list of 2010’s tax dodging executives
  • The four most direct tax subsidies for excessive executive pay cost taxpayers an estimated $14.4 billion per year—$46 for every American man, woman, and child. That amount could also cover the annual cost of hiring 211,732 elementary-school teachers or creating 241,593 clean-energy jobs.

 

From DSC:
Considering our corporations are sitting on $1.X trillion, where is our nation’s heart? Priorities? Care for fellow mankind? It seems the “every man for himself” philosophy and manner of living is alive and well here in America. My alma mater would be proud — it’s their philosophy exactly.

 

 

http://www.futurict.eu/

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Project summary for FuturICT

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Also see:

  • Scientists aim to predict the future with $1 billion Earth simulator — from dvice.com
    Excerpt:
    Imagine what would happen if you had a computer program that could take in data from sensors everywhere on Earth and then plug that data into a detailed simulation for the entire Earth all at once. If you’re imagining being able to predict the future, you’re imagining correctly, and E.U. researchers want to make it real.The Living Earth Simulator is a billion-dollar proposal to spend ten years developing a computer environment that can simulate everything. And not just simulate, but also explore predictive models of how everything going on in the world interrelates with everything else, deriving connections and correlations that we never knew existed.

    In order to get that billion dollars, the Living Earth Simulator has to beat out four other future and emerging technologies projects that are all trying to win funding from the European Commission.

 

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From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I am pro-technology — at least in most areas. However, as our hearts can sometimes become hardened and our feet can sometimes find themselves on slippery ethical ground, we really need hearts, minds, and consciences that prompt us to care about other people — and to do the right thing as a result of that perspective.

 


Example articles that brought this to my mind recently include:


 

7 sinister technologies from Orwell’s 1984 that are still a threat — from dvice.com by Hal Rappaport

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Technology is a wonderful thing, but in the words of Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” If we are not careful, the technology we know and love could be used against us, even subtly. In the year 1984, Apple thought IBM was the bringer of “Big Brother.” In reality, the technology of today better resembles George Orwell’s dystopian vision than a 1980s era PC.

Every day we are in the process of becoming a more connected society. With social networks, cloud computing and even more specific, less-thought-about tech such as Internet-connected home surveillance systems, we may find ourselves in a delicate balance of trust and paranoia.

While we are grateful that we don’t live in a world as bleak as Orwell’s Oceana, it’s clear that the technology now exists to make his world possible if we let it. Keeping our paranoia in check, we should all be mindful of our technology and how it’s used. Security is a good thing and so is saving money, but consider how much of each your personal freedom is worth.

Wiping away your Siri “fingerprint” — from technologyreview.com by David Talbot
Your voice can be a biometric identifier, like your fingerprint. Does Apple really have to store it on its own servers?

Excerpt:

“What I’ve discovered through building and running very targeted online ad campaigns using this data is that users respond favorably to ads that are more targeted, but only if the ads don’t make it clear that I’m targeting sensitive information about them,” he said. “What’s most interesting, and what I’m learning, are which attributes are considered too creepy, and which ones are acceptable.”

“Google Now” knows more about you than your family does – are you OK with that? — from readwriteweb.com by Mark Hachman

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Google Now aggregates the information Google already collects about you on a daily basis: accessing your email, your calendar, your contacts, your text messages, your location, your shopping habits, your payment history, as well as your choices in music, movies and books. It can even scan your photos and automatically identify them based on their subject, not just the file name (in the Google I/O demo, Google Now correctly found a picture of the Great Pyramid). About the only aspect of your online life that Google hasn’t apparently assimilated yet is your opinions expressed on Google+. But that’s undoubtedly coming.

Social network privacy settings compared — from techhive.com by Nick Mediati

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It should go without saying that protecting your privacy online is kind of a big deal. While people are generally good at not giving out their personal information to just any website that asks for it, those same people can be found filling their Facebook accounts with everything from their birthday to where they live and work. Putting this sensitive information onto a social network not only leaves your data exposed to third-parties (advertisers and so forth), but also to anyone who happens across your profile.

Facebook, Google+, and Twitter all have settings that let you tweak what others can see on your profile—but navigating them can be a bit of a mess. Not all social networks give you complete control over your privacy online, so here’s a quick overview of what Facebook, Google+, and Twitter allow you to do.

U.S. companies lost at least $13 billion to espionage last year — from ieee.org by Robert Charette

Google Glass & Now: Utopia or Dystopia? — from extremetech.com by Sebastian Anthony

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If you didn’t watch the Google I/O keynote presented by Vic Gundotra, Hugo Barra, and Sergey Brin, let me quickly bring you up to speed.  Google Now is an Android app that uses your location, behavior history, and search history to display “just the right information at just the right time.”  For example, if you regularly search for a certain sports team, Now will show you a card with the latest scores for that team.  When Now predicts or detects that you’re leaving home in the morning, it will display a card with any relevant traffic information.  If you have a lunch meeting in your Google Calendar, Now will show you the route you need to take to get there — and when you need to leave to get there on time.  If you search Google for an airline flight, Now will show a card with the flight details (and any delays).

Big e-reader is watching you — from PaidContent.org  by Laura Hazard Owen

Why privacy is big business for trial lawyers — from technologyreview.com by Antonio Regalado
Tech companies that make privacy mistakes can expect a lawsuit.

Legal discovery: The billboard is imaginary, but the trend is real.
Trial lawyers are ramping up lawsuits over online privacy breaches.
Flickr Creative Commons | AdamL212 and istock/stocknroll


Addendums
On 7/6/12:
  • Your e-book is reading you — WSJ.com by Alexandra Alter
    Digital-book publishers and retailers now know more about their readers than ever before. How that’s changing the experience of reading.

On 7/16/12:

On 7/23/12:

Big Brother is watching: Document reveals surveillance of social media, blogs, image-sharing sites — from techland.time.com byGraeme McMillan

Click here to find out more!
Jim Urquhart / Reuters

Jim Urquhart / Reuters

From DSC:
As a side comment:

  • What occurs in the legislatures and courtrooms across the world lags — sometimes a great deal — behind what technology can do.  With facial recognition, cyberwarfare, trojans, keyloggers, and other items out there these days, privacy is under attack and I don’t think the courts — and the citizens of the world — are keeping up.  Minority Report comes to mind…which is unsettling to me.

 

Recording everything: Digital storage as an enabler of authoritarian governments — by John Villasenor, a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies and in the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings. He is also professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Within the next few years an important threshold will be crossed: For the first time ever, it will become technologically and financially feasible for authoritarian governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders – every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner. Governments with a history of using all of the tools at their disposal to track and monitor their citizens will undoubtedly make full use of this capability once it becomes available.

The Arab Spring of 2011, which saw regimes toppled by protesters organized via Twitter and Facebook, was heralded in much of the world as signifying a new era in which information technology alters the balance of power in favor of the repressed. However, within the world’s many remaining authoritarian regimes it was undoubtedly viewed very differently. For those governments, the Arab Spring likely underscored the perils of failing to exercise sufficient control of digital communications and highlighted the need to redouble their efforts to increase the monitoring of their citizenry.

Declining storage costs will soon make it practical for authoritarian governments to create permanent digital archives of the data gathered from pervasive surveillance systems. In countries where there is no meaningful public debate on privacy, there is no reason to expect governments not to fully exploit the ability to build databases containing every phone conversation, location data for almost every person and vehicle, and video from every public space in an entire country.

This will greatly expand the ability of repressive regimes to perform surveillance of opponents and to anticipate and react to unrest. In addition, the awareness among the populace of pervasive surveillance will reduce the willingness of people to engage in dissent.

Plagiarism and the web -- from TurnItIn.com - August 2011

 

Addendum on 8/18/11:

 

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Closing the loop in education technology — from The Journal by David Nagel

Excerpt:

K-12 education isn’t using technology effectively and isn’t investing nearly enough in IT infrastructure to enable next-generation learning. That’s the conclusion of a new report, “Unleashing the Potential of Technology in Education,” which called for a greater financial commitment to education technology and the adoption of a holistic, “closed loop” approach to its implementation.

See also:

Unleashing the Power of Technology in Education - Report from the BCG in August 2011

 From DSC:

We may continue to be disappointed in our overall results — even if we do bump up our ed tech infrastructure/investments — if we continue to use the same models/ways of doing things. That is, I wish we would move more towards a team-based approach and stop trying to load up our teachers’ and professors’ plates with tasks that they probably don’t have the time, interest, or training to do.  Graphically speaking:

 

 

 

 

So…use teams to create and deliver the content — and allow for online tutoring from a team of specialists in each discipline. Like the healthcare-related billboard I kept driving by the other day said: “A team of specialists at every step.

 

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