Friday, April 16, 2010

Green IT in Higher Education

"Powering Down: Green IT in Higher Education (ID: " by Mark Sheehan and Shannon Smith as been released by EDUCAUSEERS1002, 04/15/2010). This report does not say much which is new on Green ICT, but is useful in confirming that what applies in other areas also applies in universities. It will be a valuable resource for university administrators, IT providers and sustainability professionals looking to green computing at telecommunications on the campus. But there will still be the usual frustrations, that while many are prepared to talk about green ICT, few are prepared to act to achieve it.

This 2010 ECAR study of green IT examines the stance institutions and their central IT organizations are taking on environmental sustainability (ES), the progress they are making on a variety of key initiatives, and how the work they are doing is helping them become more environmentally responsible in their business, instructional, and research activities. This study provides chief information officers and others with information about the state of ES practices in higher education and identifies practices that are associated with positive outcomes. Based on a literature review to define the issues and establish the research questions, along with consultation with higher education IT administrators and ES experts to validate survey questions, ECAR conducted a quantitative web-based survey of EDUCAUSE member institutions that received 261 responses, 77.8% of which were from the institutional ClO or equivalent. This report is based on results of the survey as well as on qualitative interviews with 31 higher education IT leaders and staff. A corporate edition is available here.

Table of Contents
Entire Study Powering Down: Green IT in Higher Education
Chapter 1 Executive Summary
Chapter 2 Introduction and Methodology
Chapter 3 Institutional Environmental Sustainability: The Basics
Chapter 4 Institutional Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Chapter 5 Central IT’s Role in Greening the Campus
Chapter 6 Central IT Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Chapter 7 Distributed IT and Environmental Sustainability
Chapter 8 Knowledgeability and Participation
Chapter 9 Assessing Progress
Chapter 10 Higher Education IT and the Coming Green Revolution
Appendix A Institutional Respondents to the Online Green IT Survey
Appendix B Interviewees in Qualitative Research
Appendix C Supplementary Tables
Appendix D Bibliography

Online Supporting Materials
Key Findings
Survey Instrument

Citation for this work: Sheehan, Mark C., with Shannon D. Smith. Powering Down: (Research Study 2, 2010). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2010, available from

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Baird Report on International Students

The Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, welcomed today's release of "Stronger, simpler, smarter ESOS: supporting international students" by Bruce Baird. This recommends improved regulation of Australia’s international education sector, support for international students, improved information improved support for for students and consumer protection mechanisms.

The report is a 108 page 1.2Mbyte PDF document (Executive Summary and Contents appended).

The Government supports recommendations to amend the ESOS Act to increase the standard for education providers and restricting unethical student recruitment practices. Other changes will require state legislation.

It occurs to me that many of the proposed recommendations, such as improving information to students and consumer protection, would also benefit Australian students. The legislation could be drafted to apply to all students and institutions, not just international ones. Also the government could bring forward its proposed "My University" website, to supply better information on universities to all students and expand it to include the vocational sector for information on TAFEs and commercial training organisations. Rather than setting up complex and expensive state based services for international students, the Commonwealth could fund services avialable online for all students.

Executive summary
Australia’s international education sector provides life-changing opportunities for international students, strengthens Australia’s diplomatic relations, brings considerable benefits to our education institutions and builds on our already unique and successful multicultural society. In addition,
international education is Australia’s fourth largest export industry generating substantial income and jobs. ...

This report proposes a number of recommendations that aim to strengthen, simplify and streamline ESOS, which would in turn provide greater support for international students in Australia and protect Australia’s reputation for quality education. Changes are also required beyond ESOS around student safety, access to transport concessions, accommodation and community engagement—key factors that contribute to a student’s overall experience in Australia.

Supporting students
Adequately and appropriately supporting students in Australia is at the heart of the sustainability of the sector.

Recommendations to better support students include requirements for improved information prior to students coming to Australia and during their stay, an enhanced process to address the role of education agents, more support to study and live in Australia, including having somewhere to go when problems arise, and stronger consumer protection mechanisms.

When students are making decisions about moving to Australia to study they require clear, accurate information. They need to be able to choose which city they would like to live in, what type of provider they wish to enrol with, and what courses they would like to study. Students need to be able to compare consistent information to make the most accurate choices. Students also need to be aware of what it is like living in Australia: culture and customs, services and resources as well as protections, rights and responsibilities.

Currently some providers and overseas education agents are issuing incomplete, irrelevant, old and/or misleading information to students. There is a need for strengthened requirements for information provision about learning and living in Australia by both providers and governments and increased emphasis on providers taking responsibility for their agents’ actions. Once in Australia, international students need ongoing access to comprehensive, informative and relevant orientation programs and ongoing access to orientation information.

Students need somewhere to go for support and advice, referral services, information on how to engage with the community and an avenue to have their voice heard. This review supports the International Student Roundtable recommendation and the suggestion from many students throughout the ESOS review consultation process to create international student hubs in all capital cities.

Even with improved information and support, there will still be times when international students have a complaint. Providers are already required to have suitable dispute resolution processes but the review considers the final step in this process—an independent, robust external complaints handling process—would be improved by mandating all providers use the relevant Ombudsman.

The recent dramatic growth in students coming to Australia, alongside the increase in vocational education and training (VET) providers offering a narrow range of courses linked to migration outcomes and sourcing students from a limited number of countries, has increased the risk of closures. This has put considerable pressure on the current tuition protection framework, with fears it is unsustainable. Consultation with key stakeholders and independent actuarial advice has informed the recommendation to replace the current arrangements with a single tuition protection service.

This service would be fully funded by industry and could either be run by a Commonwealth body or outsourced and independently operated.

Protecting Australia’s reputation for quality education Whilst recognising the primacy of domestic education quality frameworks, recommendations have also been made to rebuild and assure Australia’s reputation for quality education. This includes improved regulation of providers, enforcement of clear minimum standards and support for better integrated and automated systems for information sharing.

Education is important for domestic and international students alike and there is no need to duplicate education quality assurance frameworks already in place. However, more needs to be done to improve the link between ESOS and education quality assurance frameworks.

The entry requirements need to be strengthened for providers wanting to enter the sector.

Changes need to be made to ensure providers have the financial resources to operate and a sustainable business model. They need to have the right capacity, capability and intent to operate successfully.

Risk needs to be better identified at entry into the sector and a range of indicators need to be used that go to the heart of whether the provider will be able to operate successfully now and in the future.

This assessment of risk should guide whether the provider gains entry to the sector, and it should be used to test and scrutinise providers already through the gateway.

There needs to be a much stronger regulatory presence and the move to national regulators is a step in the right direction. However, there also needs to be greater transparency of regulatory activity so that both providers and students can monitor the level of regulatory activity and be informed by its outcomes.

Beyond ESOS
Migration-skewed demand has undoubtedly impacted on the reputation of our international education sector but the recent changes to general skilled migration will go some way to address this. Where possible, future changes should be grandfathered to soften the impact for students.

Beyond ESOS, Australia’s international education reputation depends on how well we provide for the wellbeing of international students and their whole experience of studying and living in Australia.

We need to ensure they are safe, have appropriate health insurance, have access to adequate and appropriate accommodation and are not being exploited by landlords or in the workplace.

The development of COAG’s strategy for international students is an important step in this regard.

The inequitable treatment of transport concessions for international students by some state governments is strongly felt by affected students.

The recommendations and findings in this report acknowledge the challenging environment in which the sector is operating and are designed to build on what is working and improve those areas that are not.

Immediate implementation of the recommendations in this report will position Australia’s international education sector for a sustainable future. All stakeholders—governments, providers, peak bodies, students, agents and the wider Australian community—need to play their part in delivering these much needed changes.

Recommendations and findings

Chapter 2—Enhancing Australia’s reputation for quality education

1. That ESOS be amended to require providers to demonstrate that the:
a. delivery arrangements for each course do not undermine the integrity of the student visa program
b. English language entry levels and support are appropriate for the course and, where relevant, the expected professional outcomes.

Chapter 3—Building a stronger gateway

2. That ESOS registration be amended to only allow providers to be registered and maintain registration if they have:
a. access to the financial resources to meet the objects of ESOS
b. a sustainable business model
c. the capacity, capability, governance structures and management to uphold Australia’s reputation for quality education and training to international students.
3. That ESOS regulators adopt a consistent, comprehensive risk management approach developed
and maintained in consultation with stakeholders and experts to:
a. profile providers at entry to determine the level of scrutiny, evidence, tests and costs that apply at registration and through the period of registration
b. update every provider’s profile on a regular basis to reassess the level of scrutiny and tests that should apply.
4. That ESOS be amended to support better risk management by:
a. allowing conditions on initial registration and throughout the registration period so a provider can be subject to additional scrutiny and tests as their risk profile demands
b. limiting the period of registration for each provider.

Chapter 4—Stronger, simpler, smarter regulation

5. That ESOS be made stronger by:
a. introducing financial penalties for a broader range of non-compliant behaviour
b. establishing clear, objective and enforceable standards that providers must meet
c. ensuring resourcing levels for regulatory activities are adequate
d. publishing targets and regularly reporting on all regulatory activities undertaken.

6. That ESOS be made simpler by:
a. allowing national registration of providers with assessment of the suitability and capacity of individual courses at each location
b. supporting the principle that wherever possible each provider should have only one regulator
c. developing shared regulatory philosophies and business practices to ensure a consistent and effective approach to regulation.

7. That ESOS be made smarter by:

a. giving the Australian Government Minister for Education the discretion to exercise otherwise delegated powers where necessary, and authority to issue directions as to the consistent application of ESOS
b. ensuring the level of prescription in the standards is only that which is required to achieve the intent.
8. That ESOS be amended to specify that all providers must utilise a statutorily independent complaints body as their external complaints and appeals process, and amend the Ombudsman Act 1976 to extend the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to include those providers without access to such a body.
9. That the Migration Act 1958 be amended to enable a more flexible approach to the current visa cancellation requirements for students who are reported for failing to maintain satisfactory course progress or attendance.

Chapter 5—Ensuring accurate information and ethical recruitment
10. That ESOS be amended to ensure students can accurately compare potential study choices by requiring information from all providers relating to the:
a. history, scope, location and type of provider
b. student cohort
c. course, including entrance standards, costs, award and anticipated professional outcomes
d. academic and student support services offered
e. local employment opportunities, the accommodation situation in the locality and safety risks.
11. That the Australian Government expands the Study in Australia website to include a comprehensive international student manual, available in the languages of major source countries.
12. That ESOS be amended to restrict unethical recruitment practices by:
a. introducing financial penalties for providers whose offshore agents act unethically
b. implementing a unique identifier for each student
c. requiring all provider payments to agents to be contingent upon disclosure of the recruiting agent and their commission structure to both students and regulators
d. expanding the requirements of student written agreements to more completely describe the course, course costs, refund provisions and transfer limitations
e. prohibiting the payment of any commission or inducement to anyone for securing the transfer of any currently studying onshore international students
f. prohibiting a provider from enrolling a student who is currently studying with another provider and who has yet to complete the first study period of their initial course.
13. That the Australian Government should work with industry stakeholders and foreign governments to strengthen students’ consumer protection rights in their home country; and continue to support the professional development of education agents.

Chapter 6—Supporting students in Australia

14. That ESOS be amended to require providers to demonstrate that they deliver a comprehensive induction program and access to information on a continuing basis that:
a. is reasonably adapted to the needs of their students
b. allows students to easily access the information on an ongoing basis
c. includes information on safety, student rights, and where to seek support in making complaints.
15. That the Australian Government, working in conjunction with states and territories, establish international student hubs in each capital city as a place for international students to seek information, access referral and advocacy services, build ties with the Australian community and strengthen the voice of international students to providers and government.

Chapter 7—Safeguarding students’ interests: stronger tuition protection

16. That ESOS be amended to establish a single Tuition Protection Service that:
a. provides a single mechanism to place students when a provider cannot meet its refund obligations and as a last resort provide refunds
b. allows placement with any appropriate provider
c. makes the cost of being a member of a tuition protection scheme risk based
d. requires providers to regularly maintain student contact details in PRISMS and other information on a risk basis
e. removes providers having ministerial exemptions from membership of a tuition protection scheme.
17. That ESOS be amended to:
a. only refund the portion of the course not delivered or assessed when the provider fails to meet their obligation
b. establish that where a provider does not meet their refund obligations, this would be an issue in the fit and proper test for any future registration application.
18. That ESOS regulators impose conditions on higher risk providers that only allow the collection of ‘course monies’ as defined in ESOS.
19. That the Australian Government explores harmonising tuition protection arrangements for domestic and international students.


Chapter 2—Enhancing Australia’s reputation for quality education

i. Education Ministers should:
a. ensure the vulnerabilities exposed in the education quality assurance frameworks by unscrupulous international education providers are addressed
b. consider whether the current education quality assurance frameworks appropriately assure Australian education and training delivered offshore
c. ensure regulators and policy makers actively take into consideration student outcomes and industry benchmarks, where available, when considering the adequacy of a provider’s resources, facilities, teachers and support services.

ii. The Australian Government should:

a. consider changing the skilled migration program settings to remove the bias towards particular courses and instead focus on higher skilled qualifications in the VET and higher education sectors
b. ‘grandfather’ future changes to skilled migration policy, where possible and appropriate, for international students and recent graduates.
iii. The Australian Government should work with the sector to adapt the Good Practice Principles for English Language Proficiency for International Students in Australian Universities to each education sector and encourage implementation.

Chapter 6—Supporting students in Australia

iv. Further research should be undertaken to better understand the causes and frequency of violence against international students.
v. The state and territory police forces should work with providers, student representative bodies and the international student hubs to deliver better safety information to international students.
vi. International students should have access to equitable travel concessions.
vii. Providers should play a more active role in securing accommodation for international students.
viii. The Fair Work Ombudsman should continue to deliver outreach programs that work with providers, unions, students and peak bodies to promote and enforce the safeguards of the Australian industrial relations system.
ix. The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), in consultation with international students, should work with health insurance providers to make a wider range of health insurance policies available to international students. ...

From: Stronger, simpler, smarter ESOS: supporting international students, Review of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000, Bruce Baird, Australian Education International, ISBN 978-0-642-32945-5, March 2010.

Government response to recommendations:



1, 2, 3, 4, 5(a,b,d), 12(c,d,f)

Support in principle and begin action to implement.

5(c), 10, 11, 14, 15

Begin immediate consultation with States and Territories through the Ministerial Council process and COAG.

13, 14, 16, 17 ,18

Begin immediate consultation with the International Education industry.

6, 7, 12(b), 19

Issues to be considered via TEQSA and the National VET regulator.

8, 9

For consultation with the Attorney General and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

From: Baird review into International Students final report, Media release, Julia Gillard, Minister for Education, 9 March, 2010

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Report on Web 2.0 in Australian Universities

The UK's Higher Education Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has released a report on Australian universities use of computer networking: "A Landscape Study of Shared Infrastructure Services in the Australian Academic Sector". This concludes that Australia lags the UK a little in the use of Web 2.0, but this may be advantage as new commercial tools can be used in place of early academic bespoke ones.
Executive Summary
The Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) are administering a number of ANDS [1], ARCS [2] and NeAT (National eResearch Architecture Taskforce) [3]
projects funded through the Platforms for Collaboration [4] component of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and more recently through the Education Investment Fund (EIF) [5]. A range of e-Research services are being developed and promoted through these programs. Examples of such services include data registration and identification services, authentication services (AAF) [6] – as well as general collaborative services such as the EVO videoconferencing service, and shared content management and messaging services such as Sakai, Drupal, Plone and Jabber [7].

In parallel with these investments, it has become evident that users in the higher education and academic sectors in Australia are choosing to use main stream Web 2.0 technologies in their daily work activities. However there is limited knowledge about who is using which Web 2.0 technologies and for what purposes. Moreover there is little information about why specific tools and services are chosen when institutional or nationally-funded services are available. ...

Although the UK leads Australia in the development of collaborative eResearch services, the results of the survey indicate that the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in the higher education sector in Australia is not significantly dissimilar to the situation in the UK. Users prefer to use Web-based services that are already adopted by the wider community and that are free, robust, simple to sign on to, and easy to install and use. Examples include: FaceBook, YouTube, Skype and Twitter. Although the most active use of Web 2.0 has been by early adopters (people who are not afraid to try out new tools, experiment with them and promote them to colleagues and peers), this situation is changing as more Web 2.0 technologies are becoming broadly adopted by mainstream users. Because Australia has not had the same level of investment in cyberinfrastructure and lags behind the UK in the development of services, it has been able to take advantage of services developed in the UK and USA (e.g., RoMEO, Shibboleth) – as well as the recent explosion of free, open source Web 2.0 technologies. In some ways, this delayed investment has been an advantage because there is not an established pool of services that is being superseded by commercial and open source Web 2.0 technologies.

The survey has also shown that not all Web 2.0 tools and services are used to the same extent. The most popular services are the current market leaders: Facebook, YouTube, Wikis, Blogs and Twitter. As in the UK, the primary factors governing choice of service are: cost, ease of use/interface design, wide-spread adoption. The important factors in continuing use are reliability, efficacy and how much it is used by the user’s peer group.

The fallout has been that users don’t choose to use technologies that have specifically been developed by and for the eResearch community (e.g., Sakai, EVO) – unless they have been mandated by their research/peer group or institutional IT service providers or if there is nothing else available through the Web. The SWORD APP Profile [8] and RoMEO [9] are examples of such services not available elsewhere. Generally the perception is that services developed by and for the higher education and research sectors are less robust, problematic, difficult to use, poorly documented and not widely interoperable.

The lack of support in universities for freely available Web 2.0 technologies has led to tension between users, IT support and central management. University IT departments are often seen as “controlling” and obstructive. Users want to be able to download, install and use software services such as Skype onto their desktop computers or laptops – but often they do not have administrative rights to do so. There also exists a level of tension between mandated technologies (e.g., EVO) and widely adopted mainstream technologies (Skype) that both serve essentially the same purpose, but have different levels of support and security implications.
Many Australian institutions and faculty IT support are struggling to maintain both the security of content and services whilst also maintaining the flexibility required to support changing users’ needs. Slowly universities in Australia are beginning to adopt and support Web 2.0 services through their libraries and IT service departments. This is expected to grow over time in response to user demand. Universities also realize that although many staff and students are familiar with using Web 2.0 services, there may also be a need to provide training and support in these new technologies to more mature staff members or those staff and students from less technical disciplines. ...

From: "A Landscape Study of Shared Infrastructure Services in the Australian Academic Sector", Jane Hunter, Director of the eResearch Lab, The University of Queensland, for the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the UK Higher and Further Education Funding Councils, December 2009

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Friday, November 20, 2009

More future of higher education in the UK and Australia

Professor Paul RamsdenProfessor Paul Ramsden, Chief Executive of the UK Higher Education Academy, will discuss changes to the way universities plan courses and reward teaching staff at the Australian National University, 2.30pm, Wednesday, 2 December 2009 in Lecture Theatre 1, HW Arndt Building (RSVP: Deborah Veness). This is in addition to the previously scheduled talk, 3 December 2009.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

EduRoam wireless network for global education

The Australian National University has activated EduRoam on its Canberra campus. Staff and students of participating particapating EduRoam institutions can use the ANU wireless service and those with an ANU user id can use wireless at the other campuses around the world.

Setting up for EduRoam is a little complicated as it uses 802.1x authentication (PEAPv1 with EAP-GTC). Another complication is that EduRoam doesn't work for locals, that is the EduRoam system is just for visitors, you have to remember to use your own university wireless system when at your own institution. Also the user id is different when you are roaming, as you have to include the domain name for your own institution (so "", rather than just "myid").

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Politics of University IT Decision Making

Process and Politics: IT Governance in Higher Education – Key Findings by Yanosky (Educause, 2008) provides insight into how universities make decisions about IT purchasing and projects. The work draws heavily on Peter Weill and Jeanne Ross' "IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results" (2004). The report also mentions the standard ISO/IEC 38500:2008, "Corporate governance of information technology" as well as ITIL. Curiously there appears to be no mention of green ICT or corporate social responsibility.

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Future of higher education in the UK and Australia

Professor Paul RamsdenProfessor Paul Ramsden, Chief Executive of the UK Higher Education Academy, will discuss changes to the way universities plan courses and reward teaching staff at the Australian National University, 3 December 2009.

Professor Ramsden's paper "The Future of Higher Education - Teaching and the Student Experience" is available online, along with appendices and bibliography.

Much of what Professor Ramsden discusses is applicable to Australia. He advocates reforming curriculum and assessment with new models of curriculum, interdisciplinary study, flexible transfer between part-time and full-time modes, and global perspectives. I have been doing some of this in the Green ICT course run for ACS and ANU. This is available for ICT and other professionals, with full and part time students from around the world in the same class.
ANU Teaching Forum


The Future of Higher Education - Teaching and the Student Experience

Professor Paul Ramsden
Chief Executive, The Higher Education Academy, UK

Thursday 3 December, 1-2pm
The Tank, Haydon Allen Lecture Theatre, Building 23, ANU, Canberra

A light lunch will be served preceding the lecture from 12pm, Seminar from 1pm.

Please email RSVP to: by Friday 27 November and include any dietary requirements for lunch

To be introduced by Professor Lawrence Cram, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of The Australian National University

This talk is based on Professor Paul Ramsden's contribution to the forthcoming framework for higher education in England. It will examine the quality of teaching and learning in UK higher education in the light of recent critical comment in the media and parliament, and consider the kinds of experiences that will enable graduates in the UK and Australia to contribute to the world of the future. He will identify some key drivers in the process, including recognition of teaching, curriculum change, and the need for a different relationship between students and universities.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Oxford University five steps to Sustainable desktop computing

The Oxford University Computing Services have a simple five step process for "Sustainable desktop computing": Estimate, Research, Implement, Communicate, Share. There are then links to tools and techniques to help do these steps. I visited OUCS in 1994 and ave them a seminar in 2000.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Green MBA Rankings

Quacquarelli Symonds Limited and The Aspen Institute produce a twice yearly Green MBA Rankings of programs based on social and environmental factors. There are only two Australian schools in the top one hundred: twenty third (Griffith Business School, Griffith University) and at seventy eight (University of South Australia IGSB). Of the current top 100, 31 are outside the USA. The top school is Canadian (York University, Schulich School of Business), the seventh is Dutch (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University), the ninth is Spanish (IE Business School), twenty third UK (Nottingham University Business School).

Only business schools offering in-person full-time courses are ranked. This is a severe limitation in the methodology, as green business schools are likely to emphasise online, part time courses, due to their environmental benefits. However, the rules would appear to allow courses with an online component. As an example, ANU MBA students can undertake the ANU Green Information Technology course. This is an online unit, but undertaken by many enrolled full time on-campus students, who value the flexibility of the format.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Green IT on University Campuses

The latest Educause Quarterly magazine is on Green IT on University campuses:

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Friday, October 23, 2009

University Students have Laptop Computers

The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 is available from EDUCAUSE. This is the results of a survey of 30,000 students at 103 US universities. As well as Australian universities, this has some interesting implications for secondary schools.

The study found that almost all students have computers, mostly laptops. Almost all students were using course management systems at their university and most were happy with these.

Less than half of the students thought their teachers had adequate IT skills, nor provided adequate IT training for the students. Just over half the students had an Internet capable mobile phone and of those two thirds had used the Internt on their phone. For those not using the Internet on the phone, cost was the most common reason. Few were using the mobile phone for course related purposes and the phones were see as largely a distraction from study. One use favoured by students was to use the SMS function of phones for emergency messages from the unviersity.

If the results are applicable to Australia, which I suspect they are, then this would suggest:
  1. Campuses should be equipped to accommodate laptops, with less provision for desktop computers. As an example, power points and network access for laptops would be desirable. Some way to provide a larger screen and keyboard interfaced to the student's laptop would be desirable (perhaps using a desktop or thin client computer)
  2. Learning/Course Management Systems should be used for course administration, and where applicable, course delivery.
  3. Mobile phone Internet access should not be assumed, unless the unviersity provides some sort of low cost or free access (for example WiFi for smart phones).
The federal government is funding the provision of computers for schools. However, it is being left to school systems as to if the students get laptops or desktops. The university research would seem to favour laptops. With the cost of netbook coming down, this suggests that some of what is happening in universities is now applicable to secondary schools.


Since 2004, the annual ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology has sought to shed light on how information technology affects the college experience. We ask students about the technology they own and how they use it in and out of their academic world. We gather information about how skilled students believe they are with technologies; how they perceive technology is affecting their learning experience; and their preferences for IT in courses. The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009 is a longitudinal extension of the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 studies. It is based on quantitative data from a spring 2009 survey of 30,616 freshmen and seniors at 103 four-year institutions and students at 12 two-year institutions; student focus groups that included input from 62 students at 4 institutions; and review of qualitative data from written responses to open-ended questions. In addition to studying student ownership, experience, behaviors, preferences, and skills with respect to information technologies, the 2009 study also includes a special focus on student ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices.

Table of Contents

  • Entire Study: The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009
  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1: Executive Summary
  • Chapter 2: Introduction: Higher Education—A Moveable Feast?
  • Chapter 3: Methodology and Respondent Characteristics
  • Chapter 4: Ownership of, Use of, and Skill with IT
  • Chapter 5: IT and the Academic Experience
  • Chapter 6: Undergraduates and the Mobile Revolution
  • Appendix A: Acknowledgments
  • Appendix B: Students and Information Technology in Higher Education: 2009 Survey Questionnaire
  • Appendix C: Qualitative Interview Questions
  • Appendix D: Participating Institutions and Survey Response Rates
  • Appendix E: Bibliography
  • Online Supporting Materials: Key Findings: Roadmap & Survey Instrument

    From: The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009, EDUCAUSE, 2009
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    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    ICT Energy, Carbon and Cost Tools from UK

    The UK's university ICT consortium (JISC) is providing a free ICT Energy and Carbon Footprinting Tool and a Cost and Carbon Comparison Tool. These were developed for assessing university campuses, but may be more widely applicable. The comparison tool is not as flexible as it may first appear as it just compares desktop PCs with thin clients.

    1. An ICT Energy and Carbon Footprinting Tool to estimate the energy and carbon footprint of your ICT estate. Contains a worked example from the University of Sheffield. An updated version (August 2009) is designed to be more user friendly and incorporates changes based on feedback from other institutions. Detailed commentary by Chris Cartledge on how the University of Sheffield's energy and carbon footprint was calculated can also be downloaded.

    2. A Cost and Carbon Comparison Tool for thick vs thin clients (Beta Version). An Excel tool designed to help Further and Higher Education Institutions estimate the costs and carbon emissions of thick (PCs) versus thin clients over a given evaluation period. An updated version will be posted by the end of August 2009.

    From: Sustainable IT Tools, SusteIT, 2009

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    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Warning Systems For University Campuses

    "Deciphering the New Federal Integrated Public Alert and Warning System" by Dewitt Latimer provides a useful overview of issues with providing emergency warning messages on university campuses. It is written from the US point of view and uses terminology relating to US federal legisation for issueing energy wanrings to citizens (with the emphasis being on how to relay these to people on a campus, susally via SMS on a mobile phone). But the article will be of interst to those outside the USA.
    "This research bulletin explores the history of nationwide notification leading up to the new federal government Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), as well as the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) delivery process and message format and content. It also examines the potential impact of IPAWS and CMAS on higher education and suggests actions that colleges and universities may wish to take."
    Citation: Latimer, Dewitt. “Deciphering the New Federal Integrated Public Alert and Warning System” (Research Bulletin, Issue 16). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2009, available from

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    Sunday, August 09, 2009

    Education for Climate Neutrality

    In addition to reporting current greenhouse gas emissions, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment has a strategy of "Education for Climate Neutrality". This includes a list of Examples of Education for Climate Neutrality and Sustainability at member institutions:

    1. Arizona State University: School of Sustainability: Established in 2007, the School of Sustainability, part of the Global Institute of Sustainability...
    2. Berea College: Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program: Established in 1999, the Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) Program is an important part of Berea College’s efforts to develop a sustainable campus. SENS links the formal curriculum of the classroom to the many opportunities for experiential learning. ...
    3. Cape Cod Community College: Natural Sciences and Life Fitness Department Environmental Technology Program: Environmental Technology is a career field that utilizes the principles of science, engineering, communication, and economics to protect and enhance safety, health, and natural resources. ...
    4. Cornell University: The Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future (CCSF): CCSF is a campus wide "umbrella" organization designed to bring together many existing programs and to nucleate new efforts in sustainability. ...
    5. Dakota County Technical College: The Instructional Action Team: The Instructional Action Team is looking at ways to integrate sustainability into selected aspects of program curriculum. The Instructional Action Team has developed a "Sustainability Across the Curriculum Survey".
    6. Emory University: The Piedmont Project: The Piedmont Project emerged as a grassroots effort on the part of a group of concerned faculty to strengthen Emory’s engagement with sustainability and environmental issues. ...
    7. Goshen College: Merry Lea, Goshen College’s 1,150-acre nature preserve has recently finished construction on Rieth Village, created to house Goshen College’s expanding environmental science program.
    8. Kalamazoo College: Sustainability Guild: The Sustainability Guild will foster connections between the many elements of life at Kalamazoo ...
    9. Lane Community College: Sustainability and Learning Committee: The Sustainability and Learning Committee is working on a plan to integrate eco-literacy into all discipline areas at Lane ...
    10. Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD): As part of its Green Building Initiative, LACCD has developed the e7 Internship Program providing students hands-on high-tech experience for modern careers in architecture and engineering.
    11. Northern Arizona University: The Ponderosa Project: The Ponderosa Project at Northern Arizona University (NAU) is an interdisciplinary faculty group effort to incorporate environmental sustainability issues into university courses ...
    12. Ohlone Community College: The Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum College in the world.
    13. Unity College: Unity College makes sure that students have the intellectual tools they need to solve the problems of our time through “hands-on” learning. All students must study sustainability before they graduate, and the campus strives to be as sustainable as is physically and fiscally possible.
    14. University of New Hampshire: CORE: Curriculum, Operations, Research and Engagement: At the University of New Hampshire, sustainability encompasses climate and energy, ecology, food systems and culture across what they call the CORE: Curriculum, Operations, Research and Engagement. ...
    Adapted from: Examples of Education for Climate Neutrality and Sustainability, American College & University Presidents Climate Commitmen, 2009

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    American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment

    Campus Carbon Calculator

    The Campus Carbon Calculator is a free manual and spreadsheet to help universities calculate their greenhouse gas emissions and look at costs and options for reductions. This is a US orientated calculator and much of the advice on funding in the manual is specific to US institutions. But there is a Canadian version of the calculator, which could be useful in Australia and other parts of the world which use standard units of measurement. The calculator is used for the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (see next posting).

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    Friday, May 29, 2009

    Brisbane ferry WiFi

    According to news reports the University of Queensland is expanding its WiFi network, including onto the City Cat ferries which carry students and staff from the Brisbane CBD to the St Lucia campus. According to Brisbane City Council, which runs the ferries, WiFi has been fitted to the ferry Yawagara and the others will be fitter in the next few weeks. Other passengers can also access the WiFi with an account from UQ's network service UQconnect.

    The university is also installing six Cisco TelePresence teleconference studios. These are the same systems being installed in federal government offices around Australia. As well as being used for teaching, research and administration accross university campuses (and so reducing energy use from travel), this would allow the university and government people to have joint events. The systems could also be used to avoid face-to-face contact during a flu pandemic.

    One negative aspect of the university network plans are proposals to use thousands of idle PCs for grid computing. While it might seem tempting to use PCs in unoccupied student labs to run computing intensive tasks, this is a waste of energy and will generate greenhouse gas pollution. Dekstop PCs are not designed to run computation intensive tasks and will use an excessive amount of energy. Instead specially designed servers should be used for this. The best thing to do with a desktop computer when it is not needed is to turn it off to save power.

    If UQ wants to be able to use off-peak computing power, it should replace the desktop PCs with Thin Clients: low cost computers with only enough processing power to run the user interface. They then should install central servers to run the user's applications. These servers can then be used for computation intensive tasks when not needed for students in the labs. As well as saving electrical power, this will cost less to purchase.

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    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Saving money and energy in the learning commons

    The University of Canberra is remodelling one floor of its library into a Learning Commons. Library users were asked for input so I should put in some comments, about the use of furniture, computers and lighting. Here are some more comments about floor space, air conditioning and lights:
    1. Reduce floor area: A major determinate of cost and environmental impact of a building is size: the bigger the building, the higher the financial and ecological cost. I suggest using a higher density of seating than is usual in learning commons: twice that currently used in the University of Canberra library. This can be done by using compact computers, carefully positioning seating and interspersing desktop and laptop positions. A space allocation of 2 m2 per student could be achieved with careful design. This could halve the cost of facility.
    2. Separate Air Conditioning: As the learning commons will be open when the rest of the library is closed, a separate air conditioning system should be used, which just conditions that floor. This will save having to heat or cool the whole building, as is done at present. If there are several enclosed rooms, these can be air conditioned separately, so unused rooms are not conditioned.
    3. Automated lights: Normally libraries leave all lights on when any of the building is open, even when large areas are unused. Lights should shift to a lower power setting when an area is unoccupied and switch back to full power when someone enters. This can be done much more simply with LED lights than with fluorescent lights. It should be noted that lights should not switch off completely in open plan areas for safety reasons. Lights can switch off in closed rooms when they are unoccupied and on again when the door is opened.

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    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Designing a Learning Commons

    The University of Canberra is remodelling one floor of its library into a Learning Commons. This is to provide more access to computers and facilities for group work. The library users have been asked for input and plans will be on display in June. As a user who has made a study of such learning commons, I thought I should put in some comments:

    Some thoughts on a design
    1. Movable furniture is not necessarily flexible: Many of the designs I have looked at use movable items of furniture, on the assumption this makes the space "flexible". In practice the furniture rarely gets moved, after the initial novelty of being able to move it wares off (apart from when the students get playful and use it for furniture sculpture). Where computers and data access is used having movable furniture become very expensive and creates a large maintenance bill. I suggest instead having fixed, low cost furniture with built in wiring, which and be used in different ways, but without having to be moved. Expensive proprietary cabling systems and modular furniture are not needed: cheap laminate will do. The University of Queensland Ezones have a good arrangement with custom made curved desks with wire baskets under the desks to hold the cabling.
    2. Mix laptop and desktops: One trend has been to provide separate areas for laptops and desktop computers, with the laptops tending to get less space. Instead I suggest mixing the two. An example would be to furnish every second workspace with a desktop computer. This would allow for people with laptops, or for people who don't need a computer. It would also allow space for a group of students to cluster around one screen when working together.
    3. Keep some books and magazines: It is a little depressing to go into a library and not be able to find any books or printed periodicals. I suggest retaining some of these.
    4. Movable walls: While moving furniture is difficult, having movable walls is comparatively easy. The University of Queensland Ezones have a good arrangement with training rooms having sliding glass wall, so they can be opened up to the common area when not in use for a class. The space and computers in these rooms then become available for general use.
    5. Thin Clients: More space and less clutter is possible if very small computer processor boxes are used. There are computers available fitted into the screens, but this limits the range of models available. Most computers provided do not require DVD/CD drives.
    6. Combined digital signage and instruction screens: Large LCD screens are now reasonably priced. The library envisages using these for digital signage to stream news to the students. Some of these screens could do double duty being available for group work and then switching to digital signage when not otherwise needed.
    7. Green ICT: The library needs to look at the energy costs of what is proposed. The Library already uses low power thin client computers for catalog enquires and should look at upgraded devices in place PCs for most of the commons. Also LCD screens with low power features should be looked at (although these tend to be more expensive).
    8. Food: Provision for food should be made.
    9. Business metaphor: One useful metaphor I read somewhere (anyone see the reference?) was to think of the learning commons like a business, with a reception desk, offices and the like. This might be a better metaphor for the students to understand than the learning commons (which is rather a mixed metaphor anyway).
    How to improve the consultation process:
    1. More clearly communicate the project to the customers: The library invited comments, but this was done in a printed newsletter with small print taped to a wall in the library. They could have used a larger sign. The electronic version of the newsletter is not in a format accessible to the disabled, making it hard for everyone to find and read (I have untangled the broken sentances and words below). It would also help to have explicit instructions on how to comment.
    2. Provide some examples: I spent a year going around Australia and overseas looking at flexible learning centers and learning commons at universities, schools and the private sector and so have an idea as to what is intended. The average library client will have no idea and so it would help to provide some illustrations of examples of what has been done at other libraries.
    The Library has been funded to transform Level B of the Library into a Learning Commons. Features include:
    • After-hours access to computers and printers (when the Library is closed)
    • A range of flexible furniture to facilitate group work
    • More computers
    • More power for laptop users
    • LCD screens for streaming news
    The layout and facilities of Level B are being redesigned in response to stu-dent preferences for Library spaces The Law collection will move to that support collaborative learn-Level D with a new group studying and social networking, integrate room nearby. Training Room 1 will with access to information resources and productivity software, assist with research and roving help with technology. Major work will commence in August to improve these Library environments.

    From May to July, preliminary works for the Learning Commons space will improve facilities for quiet study on the Library’s Level D “quiet zone”.

    The Law collection will move to Level D with a new group study room nearby. Training Room 1 will relocate to Level A greatly reducing noise from people traffic on Level D. Detailed plans will be on display in June in the Library foyer. During May, students and staff can have their ideas influence the Learning Commons final design by completing a form for the Suggestion Box in the Library foyer or by going online to the Library website.

    From: Under Construction! The Library Learning Commons, Library News, University of Canberra, Autumn Issue ISSN 1836-862x

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    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Chastwood to Epping Rail Line in Sydney

    Macquarie University StationGreetings from the Chastwood to Epping Rail Line in Sydney. This line opened a few months ago, eighty years after planning began. The Chatswood station seems surprisingly unprepared for this, with just a paper sign stuck up to show which platform to use for the service. The Sydney 131500 Transport Information Service has the service listed. The train stops at Macquaire university, which is much easier a trip than last time when I went to talk about energy saving nearby by bus. I was able to post this from the underground train using Optus/Virgin's 3G wireless data service switching between HSDPA and UTMS. The train ride was a very smooth and quiet ride with new carriages.

    ps: Of interest at Macquarie University is the co-generation plant next to the library, the Macquarie University E-Learning Centre Of Excellence (MELCOE) and the falafels.

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    Wednesday, April 08, 2009

    Victoria University green data centre

    According to media reports a green data centre will designed and built for Victoria University by IBM. This is expected to save $300,000 on electricity costs over ten years, which is not much, but hopefully there will be other benefits, including a reduction of 230 tonnes of CO2e per year. From the media reports it sounds like this will not actually be a single data centre but more a management scheme for the university's computers. While not mentioned in the announcement, one option would be to locate large servers off site in an IBM managed facility.

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    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Engineers for the Future

    The Australian Council of Engineering Deans released a report "Engineers for the Future - Addressing the Supply and Quality of Engineering Graduates for the new Century" in March 2008. The report provides an analysis of problems with engineering education in Australia and recommendations for improvement.

    Unfortunately the publishers did such a poor job of engineering the electronic version of the document that almost no one seems to have noticed it existed. Apart from rendering nugatory the fine work by many people preparing the report, this does not indicate that the universities involved understand the e-literacy techniques which will be needed to educate engineers.

    The document was put online with a creative commons licence, so it could be freely distributed. But as it is in a poorly formatted PDF document, it is difficult for anyone to find or read. Even after I was alerted to the existence of the document it took me several minutes to find a copy of it. Instead what I found were numerous media releases from Universities about their staff attending the launch of the document. None of these bothered to provide a link to the actual document. It appears that the priority for these universities is to pander to the egos of their senior administrators, rather than to promote engineering.

    The Recommendations for Action in the report were grouped as:
    1. the public perception of engineering
    2. the engineering occupational levels and graduate outcome standards
    3. implementing best-practice engineering education
    4. resources for engineering education
    5. engagement with industry
    6. address shortages by increasing diversity in engineering workplaces supported by engineering education programs
    Unfortunately due to the poor formatting of the report I was not able to extract an easy to understand of the recommendations. However, here is the executive summary:
    Engineers conceive, create and maintain physical and information-based products, processes, systems and assets that satisfy human and economic needs, and have minimal environmental and negative human impacts. Engineering is critical to Australia’s economy, security, health and environment, is increasingly complex and multidisciplinary, and is practised diversely, in business, government and educational
    enterprises. Engineering is a key component of the nation’s innovation system.

    Australia’s higher education sector provides entry-level education to professional engineers, engineering technologists and engineering officers, as well as advanced level education and engineering research. The engineering education system, involving educators, professional bodies and employers, enjoys good international standing. The system has continuously responded to changes in engineering practice
    brought about by new scientific and technological knowledge, and to changing economic and regulatory forces.

    This report examines the current state of the higher education component of the Australian engineering education system, with respect to its ability to address future needs, contextualised by assessing the implementation of outcomes of the 1996 Review of Engineering, Changing the Culture. Recommended changes to the engineering program accreditation process are judged to have been successful in driving greater emphasis on generic graduate attributes in first-degree engineering programs. The Review also stimulated improvements in curriculum design and delivery, including project, problem, and workplace-based learning, and increased emphasis on sustainability. The present study has also identified substantial and
    emerging strengths of many of Australia’s engineering schools in the areas of research, international education, and in addressing industry-specific skills shortages though both undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

    Undertaken at this time of high demand for engineers, this scoping project identifies critical issues such as the continuing reduction in the size of the pool of Australian school students who are studying the requisite high levels of mathematics and science, and the low participation of women in university engineering programs. The study reports concerns about the educational capacity and robustness of the engineering education system with respect to its ability to graduate increased numbers of engineers
    with the qualities that are required. The six recommendations aim to ensure that the system can meet society’s future needs for engineers, through actions that will:
    • increase the public understanding of engineering and the work of engineers, particularly in schools;
    • clarify educational outcomes and standards required for practice at all internationally recognised levels of engineering;
    • develop best-practice engineering education to ensure the required outcomes and reduce attrition;
    • attract a higher proportion of women and other under-represented groups;
    • increase staffing and material resources for delivery of high quality engineering education; and
    • promote stronger collaborative links with industry.
    Action leaders, stakeholders, and performance measures and indicators are identified to ensure effective implementation of each recommendation.

    From: "Engineers for the Future - Addressing the Supply and Quality of Engineering Graduates for the new Century", Australian Council of Engineering Deans, March 2008

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    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Sustainable ICT in UK Universities

    Sustainable ICT in Further and Higher Education: SusteIT Final Report by Peter James  and Lisa HopkinsonThe UK JISC (equivalent to Australia's AARnet, providing ICT services for universities) has issued "Sustainable ICT in Further and Higher Education: SusteIT Final Report" by Peter James and Lisa Hopkinson (14 January 2009). This estimates that UK universities and colleges have 1,470,000 computers, 250,000 printers and 240,000 server, and will produce an electricity bill of £116m and cause 0.5Mt of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2009.

    The report recommends ‘Thin client’, distributed/outsourced/shared services, information on life cycle management, sustainable data, consolidation and virtualisation. The full report is 137 pages of PDF (891 kbytes).

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    Saturday, November 01, 2008

    E-Learning in Higher Education

    The University of Canberra Library has an excellent range of books on e-learning. A recent one is: Applied E-Learning and E-Teaching in Higher Education by Roisin Donnelly and Fiona McSweeney. This book is so new it has a copyright date of 2009. It includes material on Blended E-Learning. There is a strong Australian flavour in the work. Here are some:

    Page 32:
    "... Australia: Australian National Training Authority. Garrett, B. (2003). School of Health and Social Care e-learning strategy. Retrieved November 9, 2004, from ..."
    Page 40:
    "... Staff de- velopers at Southern Cross University in Australia call their module a "staff immersion" programme that immerses participants in the role of online students, who learn about the ..."
    Page 49:
    "... Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCLITE), Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved July 4, 2007, from http:// smtu/papers/herrington.pdf Hinson, J., & LaPrairie, K. (2005). Learning to teach online: Promoting success ..."
    Page 50:
    "... American Association of Community Colleges. O'Reilly, M., & Brown, J. (2001). Staff develop- mentby immersion in interactive learning online. Lismore, Australia: Southern Cross University. Retrieved July 7, 2007, from au/aw0l /papers/refereed/o_reilly/paper. html Phipps, R. (2000). What's the difference? ..."
    Page 52:
    "... L. Rich- ardson & J. Lidstone (Eds.), Flexible learningfor a flexible society (pp. 372-378). Proceedings of ASET-HERDSA 2000 Conference, Toowoomba, Australia. Retrieved October 20, 2007, from aset-herdsa2000/procs/kandlbinder2. ..."
    Page 65:
    "... throughout Ireland. Discussions with online guest tutors from the University of Tampere in Finland and the University of Queensland, Australia, took place during the module. ..."
    Page 71:
    "... Our guest tutors from Australia used this technology when they were interacting with our group. Our experience was that we felt we knew them much ..."

    Page 75:
    "... learn- ing changing? Paper presented at the Australian Society for Computers in Learning and in Ter- tiary Education Conference, Sydney, Australia. Retrieved August 8, 2007, from http://www. ing/pdf papers/p127.pdf Cowan, J. (1998). On becoming an innovative uni- versity teacher. ..."
    Page 86:
    "... are increasingly available for postgraduate supervision purposes. Supervision in this case refers to the guidance of research students in Ireland, Australia, the United King- dom, and other countries by academic mentors that are referred to as dissertation supervisors in Canadian and ..."
    Page 89:
    "... Two case studies are presented: one from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, and one from the University of Queensland, Australia. ..."
    Page 98:
    "... some useful websites? I've two questions I'd like to ask you. It would ap- pearfrom the volume of literature from Australia in the field of online learning that you guys are pretty much world leaders in this. Is that so? The ..."

    Page 102:
    "... Paper presented at the Third Australian World Wide Web Conference (AusWeb97), Australia. Anderson, N., & Henderson, M. (2004). E-PD: Blended models of sustaining teacher professional development in digital literacies. E-Learning, 1(3), 383-394. ..."
    Page 103:
    "... same stuff.- Student dissatisfaction with postgraduate courses. Paperpresented at the 15tAnnualHigher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia Conference, Sydney, Australia. Gibbs, G. (2004, June 21-23). The nature of educational development in a changing context. Keynote Presentation atthe International Consor- tium ..."

    Product Description
    Over the past decade, computer-enhanced learning has increased in demand due to developments in technological aids such as multimedia presentation and the internet. In this age of technology, it is imperative for teachers to consider the importance of technological integration in the classroom.

    Applied E-Learning and E-Teaching in Higher Education presents international practices in the development and use of applied e-Learning and e-Teaching in the classroom in order to enhance student experience, add value to teaching practices, and illuminate best practices in the area of e-Assessment. This innovative title provides fresh insight into e-Learning and e-Teaching practices while exploring the varying roles of academic staff in adoption and application.

    About the Author
    Dr. Roisin Donnelly has over 15 years of experience in higher education both as a lecturer and researcher. She has taught in universities in Northern Ireland and was a lecturer and visiting research fellow in the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is currently Programme Co-ordinator for DIT s MSc Applied eLearning, and tutors and supervises on the PG Certificate, Diploma and MA in Third Level Learning and Teaching. She has a range of chapter and journal publications to reflect her teaching and research interests, including academic development, designing eLearning, supporting virtual communities, tranformative pedagogies and blended problem-based learning.

    Fiona McSweeney lectures in developmental psychology and research methods in the Department of Social Sciences of the Dublin Institute of Technology and in the psychology of learning and research methods with Waterford Institute of Technology. She has also worked as a learning development officer in the DIT. Her research interests focus on the student experience of higher education, assessment, the impact of professional education on identity, academic mentoring and the use of VLEs as a support for student learning and engagement in education. She is currently undertaking an Ed.D. with The Open University on student and professional identity and support.

    Product Details

    * Hardcover: 439 pages
    * Publisher: Information Science Reference (August 1, 2008)
    * Language: English
    * ISBN-10: 1599048140
    * ISBN-13: 978-1599048147 ...

    From: Applied E-Learning and E-Teaching in Higher Education, description, 2008

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    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Free Stanford University Engineering Courses Online

    Stanford University has followed the example of MIT, by providing some course materials freely available online under the banner "Stanford Engineering Everywhere". Stanford are using a Creative Commons license, allowing reuse and modification of the material. This material could be of use to those preparing courses elsewhere or wanting to self study. However, like MIT's material, these are not e-learning courses and assessment is not included. The materials are essentially the lecture notes and videos of lectures from the on campus course. Those who have seem properly designed distance education and e-learning materials will be very disappointed in the poor quality of the Stanford material. But it need to be kept in mind that Stanford is not attempting e-learning.

    For the first time in its history, Stanford is offering some of its most popular engineering classes free of charge to students and educators around the world. Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) expands the Stanford experience to students and educators online. A computer and an Internet connection is all you need. View lecture videos, access reading lists and other course handouts, take quizzes and tests, and communicate with other SEE students, all at your convenience.

    This fall, SEE launches its programming by offering one of Stanford’s most popular sequences: the three-course Introduction to Computer Science taken by the majority of Stanford’s undergraduates and seven more advanced courses in artificial intelligence and electrical engineering.

    Stanford Engineering Everywhere offers:

    • Anytime and anywhere access to complete lecture videos via streaming or downloaded media.
    • Full course materials including syllabi, handouts, homework, and exams.
    • Online social networking with fellow SEE students.
    • Support for PCs, Macs and mobile computing devices.

    From: Stanford Engineering Everywhere, Stanford University, 2008

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    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    University of Canberra moves to Moodle

    Allan Christie from Netspot sent me a copy of their "Moodle & Sakai News for Enterprise-Level Education", which has a few interesting items on Australian universities working with e-learning products. They point out that University of Canberra has decided to replace Web CT with Moodle. and USQ is using Wimba with Moodle.

    Replacing Web CT with Moodle is a sensible move, but a difficult one (apart from the technical changes, Moodle looks less glossy than Web CT). I am not sure how much integration would be needed, or possible between Wimba and Moodle, as
    Wimba is a real time audio, video application and Moodle is a mostly text based stored message sort of application. Apart from just having a hypertext link to start up Wimba from within Moodle, I am not sure what other integration would be needed, or possible.

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    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Preparing for Blended e-learning

    Preparing for Blended e-learning by Littlejohn and Pegler (Book Cover)Preparing for Blended e-learning (Littlejohn and Pegler, Routledge 2007) provides a useful, if academic, overview of issues of blended learning, combining electronic learning with conventional classroom teaching and also the use of different forms on e-learning. With this approach some of the learning may place in a classroom, face to face, some may be online. E-learning may use audio, video, text and other media.

    This book is aimed at university educators and would be particularly useful to administrators who have to cope with the issues and buzzwords involved. It will be less useful to people actually creating blended courses, as it tells what is needed to be done, but not the details of how to do it. e-Learning by Design By William Horton (Book Cover)For that "e-Learning by Design" (William Horton, 2006), is more useful.

    See also: Other books on Blended Learning.

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