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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Editor's Hand Picked Headline News


Ideas to Shake Up Publishing


A new report called “University Publishing in a Digital Age” is being released by a group of experts on scholarly publishing — and they too are proposing radical changes in the way publishing works. (See post below). The report — from Ithaka, a nonprofit group that promotes research and strategy for colleges to reflect changing technology — is based on a detailed study of university presses, which morphed into a larger examination of the relationship between presses, libraries and their universities.

Sailing from Ithaka
By
Scott McLemee

Inside Higher Ed ran a detailed and informative article about the Ithaka Report, as I suppose it is bound to be known in due time. The groups that prepared the document propose the creation of “a powerful technology, service, and marketing platform that would serve as a catalyst for collaboration and shared capital investment in university-based publishing.”
Clearly this would be a vaster undertaking than JSTOR, even. The Ithaka Report may very well turn out to be a turning point in the recent history, not only of scholarly publishing, but of scholarship itself. And yet only a few people have commented on the proposal so far – a situation that appears, all things considered, very strange.


University Publishing In A Digital Age

Scholars have a vast range of opportunities to distribute their work, from setting up web pages or blogs, to posting articles to working paper websites or institutional repositories, to including them in peer-reviewed journals or books. In American colleges and universities, access to the internet and World Wide Web is ubiquitous; consequently nearly all intellectual effort results in some form of “publishing”. Yet universities do not treat this function as an important, mission-centric endeavor. The result has been a scholarly publishing industry that many in the university community find to be increasingly out of step with the important values of the academy.
This paper argues that a renewed commitment to publishing in its broadest sense can enable universities to more fully realize the potential global impact of their academic programs, enhance the reputations of their institutions, maintain a strong voice in determining what constitutes important scholarship, and in some cases reduce costs.

Source: Ithaka

Poll: Americans understand technology's importance in schools, but disagree on approaches.
By Meris Stansbury
Americans understand that fundamental changes must be made to the U.S. educational system if the country is to remain competitive in the 21st century, a report released July 26 by Cisco Systems finds. Americans especially realize the importance of adopting information technology to upgrade schools, connect communities, and improve educational content, the report suggests--but they're often conflicted about how to implement these changes.
Zogby International conducted the survey of more than 7,000 Americans, titled "Education Attitudes 2007," back in May. The majority of respondents said technology is an important factor in connecting schools to their communities, as well as in leveling the playing field among more and less affluent schools by providing equal access to educational content. But respondents disagreed on how schools should impart key 21st-century skills to their students.

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Explore the wonder of microscopic life with this Exploratorium web site


In 2004, the Exploratorium launched the most ambitious microscope facility ever created for use by the general public, the Microscope Imaging Station. The project gives museum visitors the ability to view living specimens, as well as control the microscopes themselves to change the magnification, focus, and even the lighting. The project’s companion web site reflects the diversity of topics and specimens that users might see on a typical visit; its goal is to recreate some of the excitement and wonder that the earliest biological researchers found as they discovered another world all around them. Through images, text, and video, visitors to the site can learn about blood cells, stem cells, what happens when the immune system goes awry, how the zebrafish is helping biomedical researchers understand how our hearts function, and how the sea urchin helps scientists understand such topics as genes, reproduction, and cancer.
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University of Chicago adds PowerPoint-style presentation to its business school application
At business meetings all over the world, PowerPoint-style presentations often are met with yawns and glazed eyes. But at one of the world's top business schools, such slide shows are now an entrance requirement, the Associated Press reports:
In a first, the University of Chicago will begin requiring prospective students to submit four pages of PowerPoint-like slides with their applications this fall.
The new requirement is partly an acknowledgment that Microsoft Corp.'s PowerPoint, along with similar but lesser-known programs, have become ubiquitous tools in the business world.
But Chicago says so-called "slideware," if used correctly, also can let students show off a creative side that might not reveal itself in test scores, recommendations, and even essays.By adding a PowerPoint requirement to its application, Chicago thinks it might attract more students who have the kind of cleverness that can really pay off in business, and fewer of the technocrat types who sometimes give the program a bad name.
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Study: eBooks could spark interest in reading.
By Laura Devaney

Can the use of wireless handheld reading devices, or eBooks, in classrooms boost students’ interest in reading? According to a group of Ball State University researchers, the answer might be “yes.”
A team of graduate students led by Richard Bellaver, associate director of Ball State’s Center for Information and Communications Sciences, is in the midst of a multi-year study designed to test the effectiveness of the wireless handheld device as a reading tool. The team has released its latest study results, which suggest that many elementary students who have been ambivalent toward reading in the past have displayed enthusiasm for reading with the devices.
“The evidence from teachers says that the kids are more interested and the poor readers are more eager to use the eBooks,” Bellaver said. “If we can get one student in 100 to start reading just because of the novelty of the eBook, it’s a great advantage.”
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Source: eSchool News








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