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June 24, 2008

Freedom Is .. National Underground Railroad+Apple+U

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is teaming up with Apple to provide college students across the United States with the opportunity to share how they define freedom. Teams of college students can create and submit a short video (3 minutes or less) expressing the qualities, importance, and impact of freedom in their lives, today.

Through their submissions, students will connect with people around the world to share their ideas about Freedom and become facilitators in a very important, global dialogue concerning some of society’s most critical issues. Creating Freedom Awareness—at a time when we need it most—is, perhaps, the 21st Century’s greatest challenge.
Please let faculty- and student directly- know about this amazing opportunity.

The deadline for teams to register for the contest is July 6th. Thanks for getting out the word in the next week.

The contest info and rules can be found at:

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June 10, 2008

Blogging ECAR Summer Symposium III -- Students and Social Networking

Each year, Educause's ECAR group conducts a national survey of students and IT. The 27,317 respondents to this year's survey were asked (for the first time) about their experience in the social networking world. Later this summer/fall, ECAR Fellows Judy Caruso and Gail Salaway will release their general findings. In the meantime, the data shared confirms broad expectations that students are significantly time shifting in favor of social networking. Understanding this situation and student self-reporting that they are interacting with one another for course-related efforts is an important insight.

For students, course management systems are really convenient ways of gathering access to formative grading and other related conveniences. Most are rather critical of their faculty colleagues use and knowledge of the technology. As the social networking platforms emerge as a major portion of the student experience and course management systems become management utilities, its important to begin asking whether we should move more and more of the 'learning' to their platform rather than demanding that they conform to ours. Knowing full well that students may well resist the convergence of spaces, over the next year or two, I suspect we will see leading edge faculty and organizations bringing value to student social networks that will begin to blur the boundaries.

Eighty-two percent of students self-reported that they spend time in the social networking world. A significant number of students report that they are spending 20 hours or more a week! in their social networks.

Eighty-nine percent have a presence in FaceBook (with only 48% having MySpace accounts).

Students report that they are using these platform technologies to keep in touch with friends (97%), sharing photos, videos and the like (67%), finding out more about people (51%), communicating with classmates about course-related activities (50%) and event and scheduling (48%).

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

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Blogging ECAR Summer Symposium II

B. Robert Franza is the Executive Scientific Director of the Seattle Science Foundation. Franza is a quantitative systems biologist with extensive experience managing successful collaborative and entrepreneurial start up companies. Franza was recognized by Science Watch as among the top three most referenced molecular biologists in the world. A University of Washington bio-engineer, Bob Franza addressed the ECAR Summer Symposium with the provocation that basic life science education needs to be re-invented.

Franza chose to make the case that the 3-D virtual web is an infinitely creative pedagogical learning space that allows co-creation of learning materials by students and faculty members. Immersive spaces like Second Life also make it possible for hundreds of retired science educators around the world to engage as mentors. Bob also made the case that the economics of the inherited educational institutional framwork for learning is non-sustainable in both dollar and cents terms (in terms of the waste of overbuild) and in terms of ecological sustainability. When asked about limits to this approach, Franza pushed back and suggested that its a matter of will to re-invent and make relevant the education of the next generation of life scientists.

The Seattle Science Foundation itself is an immersive convening collaboration space for physicians, scientists, technologists, engineers, and educators, fostering in a world class training facility, to improve healthcare through professional education. As we think about modeling, event-based collaborative research and learning spaces, the Seattle Science Foundation is an intriguing model of active researchers and educators engaged in important and pressing activities.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

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Greening IT in NEOhio

We are long overdue in having a broad regional conversation about a consolidated or even cloud-based approach to "Greening IT in Northeast Ohio". Our IT data centers produce more CO2 then our airline industry. The silence in our region has been deafening.

In the release of its path breaking report released last week, the Brooking's Institute "Shrinking Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America" calls on Washington to develop a new policy framework to create incentives to reduce the country's carbon footprint. I have pasted below the profile of NEOhio.

According to the study,

Federal policy could play a powerful role in helping metropolitan areas—and so the nation—shrink their carbon footprint further. In addition to economy-wide policies to motivate action, five targeted policies are particularly important within metro areas and for the nation as a whole:

* Promote more transportation choices to expand transit and compact development options

* Introduce more energy-efficient freight operations with regional freight planning

* Require home energy cost disclosure when selling and “on-bill” financing to stimulate and scale up energy-efficient retrofitting of residential housing

* Use federal housing policy to create incentives for energy- and location-efficient decisions

* Issue a metropolitan challenge to develop innovative solutions that integrate multiple policy areas

It's this last recommendation that peaked my interest and I want to share with other technology and facilities leaders in NEOhio. Can we architect a common Green IT approach for NEOhio following the successful model we developed 5 years ago for connecting NEOhio with ultra broadband through OneCommunity? Later this summer, I'd like to invite those interested to a working session on the topic with an eye to issuing some principles for further exploration on a regional basis.

Here is the report synopsis for our community...

Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America

Metro Area Profile: Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH

The report “Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America” quantifies for the first time the amount and most significant sources of carbon emitted—from highway transportation and residential
energy consumption—by the 100 largest metropolitan areas in 2000 and 2005. Substantial variation exists among these “carbon footprints” of metro areas, due in part to their development patterns, rail
transit, freight traffic, carbon content of electricity sources, electricity prices, and weather.

To access the entire report, see www.blueprintprosperity.org

Per Capita Carbon Footprints, 2000-2005

Trends. Metropolitan Cleveland’s per capita footprint from transportation and residential energy use increased 4.28 percent between 2000 and 2005. The average per capita footprint of the 100 largest metro areas and of the nation increased 1.1 percent and 2.2 percent during this time, respectively.

The transportation portion of Cleveland’s per capita footprint increased 3.1 percent between 2000 and 2005, compared to an increase of 2.4 percent in the 100 largest metro areas. The residential portion of Cleveland’s per capita footprint increased 5.4 percent between 2000 and 2005, compared to a slight decrease of 0.7 percent in the 100 largest metro areas.

Snapshot = 2005. The average resident in metropolitan Cleveland emitted 2.235 tons of carbon from highway transportation and residential energy in 2005 (rank 31st). This compares with 2.24 tons of carbon emitted by the average 100-metro resident and 2.60 tons of carbon emitted by the average American from transportation and residential energy.

From highway transportation. The average Cleveland resident emitted 1.072 tons of carbon from highway transportation (rank 12th). The average 100-metro resident emitted 1.310 tons and the average American emitted 1.44 tons from highway transportation.

The average Cleveland resident emitted 0.842 tons from autos (rank 11th) and 0.230 tons from trucks (rank 21st), compared to 1.004 tons from autos and 0.305 tons from trucks from the average 100-metro resident.

From residential energy use. The average Cleveland resident emitted 1.163 tons of carbon from residential energy use (rank 74th). The average 100-metro resident emitted 0.925 tons and the average American emitted 1.16 tons of carbon from residential energy use.

The average Cleveland resident emitted 0.694 tons from electricity (rank 52nd) and 0.468 tons from residential fuels (rank 73rd). This compares to 0.611 tons from electricity and 0.314 tons from fuels from the average 100-metro resident.

There's an opportunity for the IT community to lead the region in raising the challenge of greening our industry.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

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Blogging ECAR Summer Symposium

Richard Katz, Educause VP opened this year's ECAR Summer Symposium with a quote from R.D. Laing:

We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.

What are the challenges and opportunities for the 21st century university to at once be relevant to the grand challenges of confronting the human conditions of tomorrow at the same time not be locked-in to infrastructure and question-sets that we only conceive of today. From an IT-centric view of the world, the challenge can be framed in terms of the question as to whether are we building tomorrow's technology for yesterday's world?

Among the many many challenges facing the 21st century university, IT leaders gathering at this year's summer symposium where challenged to think about the issues facing us as not only be external to the IT world. Of course the litany includes challenges like rising costs, privatization, increasing pressures on revenues, increasing pressures to account for student success and institutional performance.

Our (IT world's) relative success in bringing network technologies to the world of higher education has succeeded in aiding in the democratization of access to university research and learning. At the same time, the logical extension of our success challenges our traditional roles within the landscape of the higher education eco-system. At the same time as higher education is in many ways more important than ever before and the key gateway to the wealth of nations in the 21st century, the network effect challenges our identities as educators, the rewards and recognitions, and even the manner in which scientific knowledge is created and disseminated.

How is the (Internet) cloud growing to envelop the University?
How is the University using the cloud to extend its presence?
How does 'cloudliness' alter the form of our social institutions.
How do we look at the cloud as either a competitor that threatens to disintermediate our attention.

It's time to extend these forward looking challenges and contradictions as part of both our IT strategic planning as well as Case Western Reserve University's strategic plan.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
June 10, 2008

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