Tuesday, March 23, 2010

SIDLIT Registration Now Open

Registration for the 11th Annual Summer Institute on Distance Learning and Instructional Technology ( SIDLIT ) is now open , the institute will be held on Thursday and Friday, August 5-6, 2010 at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The conference is jointly sponsored by JCCC and Colleague to Colleague (C2C). If you are already a member of C2C, register by logging in at www.sidlit.org and then click the SIDLIT SIGNUP link. If you are not a member of C2C, go to http://c2conline.org/user/register and join C2C. If you signed up as a member on last year’s website you are still a member, if you forgot your password click the Request new password link.

The two-day institute includes presentations, topic-oriented special interest discussion groups, hands-on workshops, and demonstrations. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required.

This is also your invitation from C2C to submit a proposal for a 50 minute presentation on issues or topics related to distance learning and instructional technology. Proposals for hands-on training to be offered in a computer lab are also invited. Returning this year, we will be offering an improved Speed Geeking session (a take-off on speed dating) which offers 5 short, concise presentations during a one hour session. New this year we are presenting a Web 2.0 Sprints session where 4 presenters spend 10 minutes demonstrating/discussing their favorite new Web 2.0 tool.

To be a part of this year's SIDLIT 2010 submit a proposal at http://c2conline.org/sidlit/sessions-speakers and click the Submit a session link.
April 15th is the deadline for proposals.

The SIDLIT Planning Committee will review all proposals and presenters will be contacted prior to May 4, 2010.

What’s in Store for the Weather?

Are you too focused on your inbox to look out the window and see what the current weather is? Or tired of guessing about tomorrow’s weather? Check out a full screen view of weather in the Overland park, KS area at http://bit.ly/drr66t. Want to view the weather for a zip code other than 66210? Go to http://www.wunderground.com/auto/wxmap/.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Top 10 Passwords You Should Never Use

Reprinted from Uniblue Tip of the Month

According to a report, most users still haven't answered the call by security experts to implement more robust passwords. In fact, in a list of the most easy to hack passwords, simply typing '123456' took a truly forgettable top prize.

Security firm Imperva recently released its list of the passwords most likely to be hacked based on 32 million instances of successful hacking. Imperva named their report "Consumer Password Worst Practices," and some of the entries near the top are truly simple and could lead to theft or identity fraud.


The following is a list of the most predictable passwords, and should not be used under any circumstances (Source: pcworld.com):

  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. Password
  5. iloveyou
  6. princess
  7. rockyou
  8. 1234567
  9. 12345678
  10. abc123


Other key findings in the report: it seems that almost 1 in 3 users choose passwords comprised of six or fewer characters; more than half use passwords based on only alpha-numeric characters; and almost 50 per cent used variations on their name, popular slang terms, or simple strings of consecutive characters from the average QWERTY keyboard -- such as 'asdfg'.

Imperva has made several obvious recommendations, suggesting most users adopt passwords with at least eight characters and to mix those characters between upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Passwords should be simple enough that they won't be too easily forgotten, but the idea is to make cracking the code virtually impossible for either an unknown or known hacker.

About this article: Dennis Faas is the CEO and Chief editor of Infopackets.com: a daily, digital publication dedicated to MS Windows, computing, technology trends and solutions to real life computing issues: all written in simple English. Subscription to Infopackets Windows Newsletter is free. Visit us today! http://www.infopackets.com/

Monday, March 1, 2010

Innovation Corner: More on Digital Textbooks, Connexions & DynamicBooks

As a follow-up to the eBook and digital textbook postings earlier (see http://bit.ly/aEdPwt), I heard from at least one assistant professor who wrote: “Thank you for reporting on ebooks. I was just telling [a book] rep today that unless they can lower their price and or provide a better digital learning option, I will be changing books and I already use Flat World Knowledge in one class with great success and will probably replace the [rep’s]book with Flat World. I love Flat World Knowledge and so do my students….”

Tracy Newman, JCCC Ed Tech Center Sr. Analyst also responded to the eBook report stating “Flat World Knowledge (where you can remix textbooks)… reminds me of a project I worked on for KU Med before I started working at JCCC. I worked for a professor in the field of photobiology, which is a difficult field to find textbooks for. He started what he called the Digital Photobiology Compendium (DPC). He offered stipends to various professors to write articles about their field of knowledge. We then organized the articles into a grid where professors could easily create an account, log in, and choose/assemble a “textbook” by picking and choosing which modules and in what order they wanted to use them. Students would then log in and have access to the modules their instructors chose – essentially a custom, online textbook!”

“There was a paper written in 2003 about it: http://bit.ly/bPgWC8

“It looks like they have discontinued the part of the project that allowed students and instructors to log in and create/use the custom textbooks, but the articles are still online and freely available.”

A similar resource is available and offered for all college and university faculty through Rice University. It’s called Connexions (see http://cnx.org/). Connexions is self-described as “a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc. Anyone may view or contribute: [including] authors [can] create and collaborate, instructors [can] rapidly build and share custom collections [and] learners [can] find and explore content.”

You can learn more about Connexions by listening to Rice University professor Richard Baraniuk, one of the founding faculty members. In this TED (Technology, Education, Design) Conference presentation, he explains the vision behind Connexions, his open-source, online education system; see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRymi-lFHpE&feature=related.

Macmillians DynamicBooks
Of course textbook publishers are not standing by idling waiting for open source textbook repositories to grab their business. Macmillian Publishers has announced a system, called DynamicBooks, that “lets any professor make a customized version of one of the company's existing titles. That means that chemistry professors can take one of the company's chemistry textbooks, rewrite some parts, add their own papers or chapters, or embed videos or homework questions they've created. Any passage added or changed is clearly labeled as not part of the original book, so students know what is original and what is customized—a concession that was made to textbook authors.”

DynamicBooks also includes an incentive system where “Professors who customize a textbook have a chance to make some extra money. For each customized copy that a student buys, the professor who contributed the material gets a dollar. That could add up if a professor's retooled book becomes popular and is assigned by professors at other colleges.” For more information check out http://chronicle.com/article/Format-War-Heats-Up-Among/64323/.

Facebook: Guidelines and Challenges

How private are your frustrated, idle threats on Facebook? Ask the East Stroudsburg University associate professor who’s January 21, 2010 Facebook posting read: "Does anyone know where I can find a very discrete hitman, it's been that kind of day." She’s now suspended, see http://bit.ly/dsBptx. And what would a lawyer advise other lawyers as far as posting to Facebook? Check out “Saving Face: 5 Tips for a More Secure Facebook” at http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/saving_face. For more detail; read the article, but the short summary is:
  1. Use a strong password and change it frequently.
  2. Review carefully your privacy settings and change if needed.
  3. Be discriminating in your use of Facebook.
  4. Take control of what others can post to your page.
  5. Consider using “friends lists.”

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