Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is Your College Online eLearning Program Typical?

I don't usually refer to a report more than once when it comes to blog posts but I'm just loving the Instructional Technology Council (ITC) 2009 study I wrote about a couple of days ago titled Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges.

Page 15 asks the question Is Your OnLine Program Typical?

Here's how the report says you can tell:

  1. Is the primary source for enrollment growth for its institution.
  2. Does not offer enough classes to meet student demand.
  3. Increases access to higher education.
  4. Is attracting an increasing number of non- traditional (younger) students.
  5. Reports to the academic side of the institution (dean or above).
  6. Is under-staffed, working in cramped conditions, and has an inadequate budget
  7. Offers approximately 160 online classes/class sections each semester.
  8. Has become a significant change-agent, prompting increased faculty training and professional development, rethinking how we teach, and providing a catalyst for integrating technology into instruction,
  9. Often leads the institution in dealing with issues of assessment, design, rigor, course quality and learning.
  10. Struggles to obtain understanding, acceptance and support from campus leaders, who often lack direct experience with this method of teaching and learning (sometimes a generational disconnect).
The report goes on saying individual programs that do not reflect these generalized characteristics can be highly successful – it often depends on the culture of the institution and how well they are able to “work their magic” to serve their students.

The excellent 18-page 2009 report is available as a free download here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Don't Forget About Fixed Broadband Services

With the upcoming push towards 4G mobile broadband services by providers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless along with Verizon's winding down of FiOS fiber to the home services, some of us have been looking beyond fixed broadband service offerings towards an all mobile world. Well maybe some day but.... not so fast!

Fixed services are not going away according to a recent research report from ABI Research titled Broadband Subscriber Market Data. The report estimates that the number of worldwide fixed broadband subscribers will rise to 548 million in 2015, a 2010-2015 CAGR of 3%.

Here's more highlights from the report:

  • Fixed broadband subscribers totaled 430.7 million in 2009 which represents approximately a 13% increase over 2008.
  • Fixed broadband is an attractive platform for the delivery of IPTV, gaming services with low latency, rapid access to web content, and secure access to non-building access points (e.g. vehicular traffic monitoring units), Technologies such as fiber-to-the-home, VDSL and GPON are helping to keep fixed broadband relevant to end-users – both in the home and office.
  • Fixed broadband services will continue to complement mobile broadband services with some carriers intending to use in-the-building broadband connection to hand off femtocell-connected wireless traffic.
  • At present, the DSL platform dominates the market with 65% market share; cable and fiber represented 24% and 11% market share respectively in 2009.
  • South Korea and Japan are the countries with highest fiber broadband penetration. In Japan approximately 55% of broadband subscribers are using fiber broadband. In Korea, fiber broadband customers represent 49% of overall broadband users.
  • Growing customer demand for speed will continue to drive more fiber broadband adoption in future. ABI Research forecasts that fiber broadband subscribers will total almost 134 million by 2015.
  • North America has the highest broadband penetration in the world. According to analyst Khin Sandi Lynn, “We expect broadband penetration in North America to be accelerated by federal government initiatives which aim to roll out broadband access in rural areas of the US.”
Get more info on this ABI Research report here and for more information on femtocell technology listen to Mike Q and my femtocell podcast linked here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2009 Study Report: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges

The Instructional Technology Council (ITC), an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, has released a 2009 study titled Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges. Fred Lokken, associate dean for the Truckee Meadows (Nevada) Community College WebCollege authored the study that surveyed 226 community colleges across the United States.

Here are some of the key findings as quoted in the study summary:

  • Campuses reported an 22 percent increase for distance learning enrollments, while Sloan-C reports increases in overall campus enrollments averaged less than two percent.
  • Most programs struggle to recruit faculty and offer additional sections to meet the ever-increasing student demand. Older, non-traditional students are attracted to online classes and degree programs since they fit into their busy schedules to offer a solution for career advancement and/or change.
  • Distance education administrators continue to address the need for course quality and design, faculty training and preparation, course assessment, and improving student readiness and retention. Programs are challenged by a lack the staff and resources to be successful.
  • Growth in the use of blended/hybrid and Web-assisted/Web-enhanced/Web-facilitated classes continues.
  • The completion rate gap between distance learning and face-to-face student has significantly narrowed. Completion rates jumped to a reported 72 percent, just below the 76 rate for face-to-face classes.
  • Virtual student services and technology support services remain a priority on most campuses. Not only do students see these services as more convenient, but colleges often find they are more cost-effective than traditional campus-based services.
  • The learning management system (LMS) market remains volatile. The mergers of Blackboard-WebCt and Blackboard-Angel have fostered a great deal of uncertainty.
The ITC survey is in its sixth year.

The full 18-page 2009 report is excellent - concise, informative, well written and a highly recommended read. It's available as free download here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hands-on with the iPad Podcast

On Sunday (4/25/10) Mike Q shared his initial impressions after some hands-on time with an iPad. Mike does a great job describing the device along with some of his favorite applications for the device. Here’s some of the questions he answers:

  • So Mike you broke down and got an iPad - which one did you get?
  • Why only 16 gig?
  • So how long have you had it?
  • So give us some of your impressions. How is the battery life?
  • What about the screen?
  • What about the keyboard?
  • How much is the case?
  • Did you get any other peripherals? Can you connect it to a projector for presentations?
  • Have you been to the app store? What are some of your favorites so far?
  • What do iPhone apps look like on the iPad?
  • OK, how about some apps? Let's start with the iWork suite.
  • So what's your assessment of these apps?
  • What about Keynote?
  • Have you moved your Kindle content over? And, speaking of the Kindle I know you have a first generation one how do they compare as a reader?
  • What about some quick hits on some apps that you've found interesting ?
  • Does it have a GPS radio? Have you tried out any of the location based applications?
  • What about some quick hits on some apps that you've found interesting ?
  • Whats up with Israel banning iPads?
Mike also provided a few screen shots from the device:
  • Here's a screen shot of a dictionary lookup created by Mike on the iPad.


  • Here's an OmniGraffle example created by Mike on the iPad.


  • Here's a Penultimate example created by Mike on the iPad.


Note: After we recorded the podcast, the Israeli Government lifted the ban on the WiFi iPad.

Here's how to listen:

To access show notes and audio of our 44 minute and 29 second audio podcast titled Hands-on with the iPad click here.

Listen to it directly in your web browser by clicking here.

If you have iTunes installed you can subscribe to our podcasts by clicking here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Network Security Update Podcast with Sam Bowne

On Tuesday, Mike Q and I did our second network security podcast with Sam Bowne, Professor of Computer Networking and Information Technology from City College of San Francisco. We had a nice discussion with Sam sharing his thoughts on security and providing us with a snapshot of some of the latest and greatest developments in the field of network security.

Here’s some of the questions we asked Sam:

In our last conversation you mentioned that you got a BS and PhD without ever graduating high school. A number of listeners were amazed that you were able to do this and wanted more details – for example did you get a GED? Did you take the SATs?

Mike sent over an article on password cracking – did you see anything interesting in that article?

It’s been over a month since we last spoke. You had mentioned the PWN 2 OWN contest and were also planning to attend some training. Could you tell us the outcome of the contest and anything interesting you learned in your training?

Any interesting news in network security exploits or defenses in the last month?

Sam discusses a number of things in the podcast including:
  • Lifehacker password-guessing
  • Web of Trust Firefox (and Chrome)Extension
  • NoScript Firefox Extension
  • IPv4 Address Exhaustion
  • Wikileaks

Sam's class content, email and lots of other great stuff can be found at Check him out - one of the best!

Here's how to listen:

To access show notes and audio of our 30 minute audio podcast with Sam titled Network Security Update with Sam Bowne click here.

Listen to it directly in your web browser by clicking here.

If you have iTunes installed you can subscribe to our podcasts by clicking here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mobile Data Traffic Study

ABI Research has a new study out that provides a step-by-step analysis of the factors driving mobile data network traffic for Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and the combination of all other US carriers. Factors quantified as contributing to mobile operator data traffic levels include total data devices by operator, total data-activated devices by operator, and total data consumption by device type by operator. Devices analyzed include:

  • Handsets: smartphones, enhanced phones, low-end phones, ultra-low end phones;
  • External Modems: PC Cards, USB modems, 3G/Wi-Fi routers;
  • Computing Devices: laptops, netbooks, MIDs, smartbooks
  • Consumer Electronics: mobile gaming console, mobile media player, mobile digital still camera, mobile digital camcorder, connected navigation devices, and other (mostly mobile e-readers)
Here's some highlights from the report:
  • Verizon Wireless and Sprint Each Carried Over 16 Billion More Megabytes of Mobile Network Data than AT&T in 2009
  • In 2009 Verizon Wireless carried the most traffic, followed by Sprint. Customers of these two operators generated 63% of the US market’s mobile network data traffic.
  • AT&T had the most activated data devices in 2009. But it is laptop mobile data connections that have the most impact on operator data traffic levels.
  • Mobile broadband laptop connections to Verizon and Sprint each far exceed AT&T’s laptop connections.
  • A high proportion of Sprint’s and Verizon’s laptop connections are to lower data-consuming business customers, as well as expansive 3G coverage areas, which helps moderate their network traffic loads across any cell sector.
The report projects:
  • Verizon will maintain the top data traffic position over the next five years.
  • AT&T’s share of mobile data traffic will increase and by 2012 AT&T will take the number two position.
  • The final three spots for top mobile data traffic levels will be held by Sprint, T-Mobile and then all other operators.
The report also predicts nearly all operators will see mobile data traffic levels increase eightfold from 2010 through 2014.

Get more info on the excellent ABI Research study here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Proposed Broadband Projects In Your Region

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it received 867 applications requesting $11 billion in funding for proposed broadband projects reaching across the United States. These are second round Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) applications that, when combined with approximately $4.5 billion in non-Federal matching funds applicants have committed, total approx $15.5 billion. Here's a breakdown of the round 2 proposals using the three Commerce Department proposal categories from the announcement press release:

Comprehensive Community Infrastructure: 355 of the applications, requesting approximately $8.4 billion in grants, are for Comprehensive Community Infrastructure projects, which focus on deployment of middle mile broadband infrastructure that connects community anchor institutions, such as schools, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities. For the second funding round, NTIA has allocated approximately $2.35 billion for such infrastructure projects.

Sustainable Broadband Adoption: 251 of the applications, requesting approximately $1.7 billion in grants, are for projects that promote sustainable demand for broadband services, including projects to provide broadband education, training, and equipment, particularly among vulnerable population groups where broadband technology has traditionally been underutilized. In the second funding round, NTIA has allocated at least $100 million for such projects.

Public Computer Centers: 261 of the applications, requesting more than $922 million in grants, are for public computer center projects, which will expand access to broadband service and enhance broadband capacity at public libraries, community colleges, and other institutions that serve the public. In the second funding round, NTIA has allocated at least $150 million for such projects.

Want to see what was submitted in your region or any other region in the United States? The NTIA has put up a nice search-able database linked here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CloudCamp Western Mass Invitation

On April 20 the ICT Center and Springfield Technical Community College will be hosting CloudCamp Western Mass.

Never heard of CloudCamp? Here's some info from CloudCamp is an unconference where early adapters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged you to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

We're fortunate to have some great sponsors for the event including Microsoft, TNR Global, intuit, tropo and the UMass Amherst Computer Science Department.

Here's details on the event:

Date/Time: April 20, 2010, 2:30pm-7pm

Location: 1 Federal St, ICT Center, STCC, Springfield, MA 01105 Directions

Price: Free, food will be served at registration

Who should come: Developers, managers, faculty, students, etc from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and surrounding states, who are working with or are interested in working with cloud technologies.


2:30pm Registration & Networking, Food

3:00pm Welcome and Thank yous

3:15pm Lightning Talks (5 minutes each) Sponsors TBD

3:45pm Unpanel (in the same room with lightning talks)

4:15pm Organize the Unconference Sessions

4:30pm Unconference Session 1

5:30pm Food break and Networking

5:45pm Unconference Session 2

6:45pm Wrap-up Session

The event will be technically very interesting and it will also be a great opportunity to network and connect with both national and regional high-tech people and companies.

We'll also be streaming portions of the event out to the web.

Register for the free event by following this link

If there are any questions feel free to email me at or call at 413-755-6552

Friday, April 2, 2010

Femtocells Podcast

Today, Mike Qaissaunee and I recorded a podcast on Femtocells. You may not be familiar with these devices - Femtocells are just starting to be deployed in a broad range of applications with major network operators announcing rollouts in the USA, Europe and Asia. They are basically small cellular base stations that people can put in their homes or businesses. They connect using a broadband connection (DSL, Cable, Fiber, etc) in the home or business. ABI Research forecasts that the total femtocell market in 2010 will reach 2.3 million units, and will exceed 45 million within five years. In this podcast we take a look at this emerging communications technology.

Here's some of the questions we discuss and answer:

  1. What are femtocells?
  2. How many phones can they support?
  3. Are products currently available?
  4. Let’s pick one and dig a little deeper on the device features. How about AT&T since it is the newest offering.
  5. So, you need to have a broadband connection on the site in place?
  6. Why is there a GPS radio in a Femtocell device?
  7. What about Femtocell Quality of Service or QoS?
  8. Are the Sprint and Verizon products 3G like AT&T’s?
  9. What about pricing?
  10. Is there a monthly fee?
  11. So, we had talked about the problem Mark was having with lack of cellular signal in his home and office. Would one of these in his home and another in his business solve his problem?

Here's how to listen:

To access show notes and audio of our 18 minute and 7 second audio podcast titled Femtocells click here.

Listen to it directly in your web browser by clicking here.

If you have iTunes installed you can subscribe to our podcasts by clicking here.