Privacy, iPads, art student satisfaction

What day is it? It’s Data Privacy Day!
Take a moment and think about what Google knows about you. Correspondence and contacts via email, schedule via calendar, interest via feed reader, purchases via Checkout, and most importantly your day-to-day via search. How do you feel about a single company knowing that much about you? Don’t you want to know how they use all that data and more importantly, how they protect it?

Diagnosing the tablet fever in higher education
Tablet-style computers could be game-changers for colleges, bringing in a new era of classroom collaboration and pushing the adoption of electronic textbooks over a tipping point. Today’s announcement by Apple Inc. of the iPad tablet has education watchers predicting a wave of student purchases, major textbook publishers rejoicing, and at least one college saying it will consider giving them to all incoming students. But wait — it might be time to take a deep breath to let the excitement of the sales pitch fade.

Academics in art and design have drawn up a plan to tackle stubbornly low scores for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey
[D]espite efforts to improve the ratings, art and design still does not perform well in comparison with other subject areas, according to a forthcoming report, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better: The Paradox of NSS Scores for Art and Design. […] The widely held view was that the pedagogy of art and design subjects, where students are encouraged to explore and navigate their own way through projects with support, was poorly served by NSS questions, which were felt to relate more to subjects with a highly timetabled, often lecture-based, structure.

Outdated admin, new networks

DC Deficit Fixer: Print on Both Sides of Paper – $102M in painfully obvious cuts shows how outdated gov’t is
A short while ago, President Obama called on his Cabinet to make budget cuts in their departments totaling $100 million. They came up with $102 million, but some of the cuts were so obvious one wonders why it took a presidential edict to elicit them, the Wall Street Journal notes.

Keeping cyberspace open to the public
The argument over the public space of the network has not gone away, however, although it now relates to a different level of the network. Instead of the internet itself as a collection of linked computers it concerns the social network and the various sites, tools and services that many of us now rely on.

Student debt

‘Rent arrears’ student wins right to graduate
Tommy Geddes, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, said: “The university has reached a settlement with Maria that allows her to graduate without being in debt to the university. “We have reached a settlement in order to save costs and the university has not made any admission of liability with respect to its right to bar students from graduating while in debt.”

Stress, health, Facebook

ISMA – NSAD – National Stress Awareness Day
The next National Stress Awareness Day will be on Wednesday 3rd November 2010. Now is the time to start thinking about what you can do to raise awareness in your company, organisation, department and yourself, or if you are a Stress Management Practitioner; what can you do to raise Stress Awareness in your customers, clients, your local town, your local businesses/organisations and local government.

Stress – Treatment 
Some people are often unwilling to ask for help if they feel stressed. They may feel embarrassed, or that they should be able to deal with stress on their own. However, if you are stressed, it is important to speak to someone about your feelings, particularly if they are interfering with the way that you live your life.

Seven productivity tips for people that hate GTD
Here are seven of the best, simple, and sometimes seemingly upside down tips for being more prolific. … Create a “to stop” list; Focus on short bursts; Define your daily ass-kicking; Allow yourself to suck; Focus on the Three C’s; Stop caring about things that don’t matter; Make it stupidly simple.

Black tea soothes away stress
[O]ur study suggests that drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life. Although it does not appear to reduce the actual levels of stress we experience, tea does seem to have a greater effect in bringing stress hormone levels back to normal. This has important health implications, because slow recovery following acute stress has been associated with a greater risk of chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease.

Conversations about the internet #5: Anonymous Facebook employee
Though forthcoming, my friend was anxious to preserve her anonymity; Facebook employees, after all, know better than most the value of privacy. As she is not permitted to divulge company secrets, and would like to remain employed, her name has been omitted from this interview. It provides an interesting snapshot of the inner workings and culture of Facebook in the summer of 2009.

Future shock, adhocracy

Future shock
Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving them disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation” – future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he also coined the term information overload.

Adhocracy
[A]dhocracies will get more common and are likely to replace bureaucracy. … Downsides of adhocracies can include “half-baked actions”, personnel problems stemming from organization’s temporary nature, extremism in suggested or undertaken actions, and threats to democracy and legality rising from adhocracy’s often low-key profile. To address those problems, researches in adhocracy suggest a model merging adhocracy and bureaucracy, the bureau-adhocracy.

Keeping busy

Current ISMS projects at Anglia Ruskin University

Anglia Ruskin University looks to have a very smart, comprehensive, well-resourced project office within its IT Services section. I’m very jealous of its Current Projects page, especially the E-Administration Programme. Some great project management / presentation ideas there.

100 terrific productivity tools for the bored or unemployed
Whether you’re bored out of your mind at the office or don’t have an office to go to, there’s no reason to sit around idly when there’s so much you could potentially be getting done. With the web at your fingertips, you can find numerous ways to keep your mind and body engaged and active. These 100 tools will help you get busy doing just about anything from organizing your DVD collection to planning your potential future, giving you no excuse to be bored or unemployed for long.

From the leaders of Google’s data visualization research group

HINT.FM / Fernanda Viegas & Martin Wattenberg
As technologists we ask, Can visualization help people think collectively? Can visualization move beyond numbers into the realm of words and images? As artists we seek the joy of revelation. Can visualization tell never-before-told stories? Can it uncover truths about color, memory, and sensuality?

Animating magazines

Don’t make me scroll
This is the short version of a presentation on online magazines we’ve been working on here at Redub. It ends with a link to an in-development demo that features content from GOOD’s Transportation Issue 015. Casey Caplowe (GOOD’s Creative Director) generously gave us the InDesign files for the entire issue and we re-figured some of the content so it fit on the screen natively. We even had to re-imagine the Transparencies because they just didn’t work just throwing the original (for-print) image up on the screen (which is what most publishers do sadly) — since we didn’t have the high resolution of print, we took advantage of the screen’s native attributes, namely, animation. I’d even posit that what the screen lacks in dots per inch it more than makes up for in dots per inch per second.

SLC resignations

Two directors of Student Loans Company resign
Two directors of the crisis-hit Student Loans Company have resigned over errors that led to tens of thousands of students starting term with no cash this autumn. Wallace Gray, who was in charge of the company’s computer network as IT director, and Martin Herbert, director of marketing and customer services, have left the company, SLC’s board said today. The firm’s chief executive, Ralph Seymour-Jackson, will stay.

Tired Twitter

Why we can never rest: a year in the life of Twitter
Although we are already a few years into our latest collaboration, this has been the year the world took note of a simple service that has profound promise. For us, it has been a year during which we realised that no matter how sophisticated the algorithms get, no matter how many machines we add to the network, our work is not about the triumph of technology, it is about the triumph of humanity.

Raising fees

Call for universities to charge well-off students £30,000 a year
Others gave a cautious welcome to Blanchflower’s intervention. Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that a progressive system which supported those who were less fortunate was needed to stave off a funding crisis. But the American fees system could not be imported unchanged, he added. “In the US, higher education is seen as an investment. Here it is seen as a right.”

A love of lists

Times Higher Ed Book of the week: The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco
And if you think the previous sentences were a little clogged, repetitive, extravagant, wasteful, prodigal, lavish or over-egged, then it is just possible that this is not the book for you. To anyone, however, who takes pleasure, delight, joy, gladness, glee, satisfaction, gratification, contentment, enjoyment or amusement in contemplating excess, it may be just the ticket, pass, authorisation, permit, token, coupon or voucher.

Meditation, 2009 blogs

Stepping towards enlightenment
The mind can do wonderful and unexpected things. Meditators who are having a difficult time achieving a peaceful state of mind sometimes start thinking, “Here we go again, another hour of frustration.” But often something strange happens; although they are anticipating failure, they reach a very peaceful meditative state. My first meditation teacher told me that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. He was right. During the difficult meditations you build up your strength, which creates meditation for peace. We may want to spend much time—months or even years—developing just these first two preliminary stages, because if we can reach this point, we have come a long way indeed in our meditation. In that silent awareness of “just now,” we experience much peace, joy, and consequent wisdom.

Best new blogs of 2009
Editors Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens and fellow bloggers talk about the latest and greatest additions to their RSS readers.

E-admin

e-Learning Focus – e-administration and enterprise resources
Resources in the area of e-administration.

E-Administration
e-Administration, or electronic administration, refers to any of a number of mechanisms which convert what in a traditional office are paper processes into electronic processes, with the goal being to create a paperless office. This is an ICT tool, with the goal being to improve productivity and performance.

e-Administration
e-Administration is ‘the effective management of the coordination and control of business processes and the electronic information they create’. It has two fundamental objectives: to increase the efficiency of administrative processes within institutions and to lessen the administrative burden faced by all staff during this process.

Twitter: The virtual loud hailer
I can’t help visualising Twitter as a loud hailer. And… it doesn’t necessarily matter how witty and apt your tweets might be if you’re stuck talking down the wrong end of it! As you tap your 140 characters into the Twitter dialogue box it is as if you are talking aloud to yourself, but with the added echoing effect of a loud hailer, broadcasting to all those – virtually – around you.

Student loans, university funding

Next year’s student loans delayed
The launch of the loans and grants service for students starting in September 2010 should have been at the beginning of this week. But the Student Loans Company says that this has now been postponed. A review of loan delays for students who began courses this autumn found “conspicuous failures”. The delays in payments facing tens of thousands of students, which have dragged on for months after the start of term, have now caused a knock-on effect for next year. The intended starting date of December 7 has been withdrawn – with no new date so far set to replace it.

Universities warn that budget cuts will be challenging
Earlier this year the government asked universities to find £180m in efficiency savings by 2011. Professor Steve Smith, president of umbrella body Universities UK, said: “The university sector has provided an excellent return on the last 12 years of public investment. “However, the sector is already absorbing considerable efficiency savings and the announcement that by 2012-2013, £600 million will be cut from higher education and science and research budgets will be extremely challenging for universities.”

Academy denounces £600 million funding cut
Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed in his pre-Budget report on 9 December that there will be a £600 million reduction in the higher education and science and research budgets in the two years 2011-13. The report says the savings will come from “a combination of changes to student support within existing arrangements; efficiency savings and prioritisation across universities, science and research; some switching of modes of study in higher education; and reductions in budgets that do not support student participation”.

Deleting e-mails

Advisor: Deleting emails could make you happier
If people were just more aggressive about deleting irrelevant things and relevant things aren’t that important, they would probably be happier. Because I’m happier. So there must be something to it.

I love the idea of deleting everything. As in, *everything*. Don’t know if I’ve got the nerve though. Perhaps here’s a possible New Year’s Resolution, for when I come back after the break, all rejuvenated and enthusiastic.

Student loan woes

Financial Support to Students, Statement by: David Lammy MP, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
I am now clear that decisive action is required to change the service and that the key to this is strengthening the leadership of the Company and ensuring that the customer is at the heart of everything the Company does. The Chair of the Student Loans Company has confirmed that the senior management team of the Company will be strengthened and reorganised.

Includes a link to the Hopkin Report.

Head of Student Loans Company under pressure to resign
An independent inquiry into this year’s fiasco, which saw tens of thousands of students start term with no cash, blames the delays on “management indecision and over-optimism” as bosses failed to act when a new computer system collapsed this summer. When the problems became apparent it operated a shut doors policy, refusing to engage with student unions, universities or the press to explain the problems.