Monday, January 29, 2007

A New Type of University: With Venture Capital Backing

Hmmm.... It'll be interesting to see where this goes:

Grand Canyon University features classes taught by full-time business owners, not academics.

"For undergraduates who complain that college doesn't teach them anything about the real world, a new four-year school in Arizona seeks to deliver business lessons from those who know them first-hand.

Grand Canyon University's College of Entrepreneurship, based in Phoenix, will offer courses all taught by full-time business owners, not academics. Classes began on Jan. 10...

Students will have access to money from a venture-capital fund, so that their ideas can be put to work as they study. While this is not the only fund of its kind, it is among those that provide financial resources to undergraduates only."

Read the full article here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Blackboard Set to Lose Unfair Patents

Revisiting a Bad Patent

I've reported on the terrible Blackboard patent before, and how it never should have been granted in the first place.

Well, after EDUCAUSE and the Software Freedom Law Center filed formal petitions to have Blackboard's offending patent stripped--the Fed has finally begun doing its job:

"In response to a challenge from a free and open software group, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to re-examine all 44 claims of a patent that covers e-learning tools.

Patent No. 6,988,138, awarded last year to the academic technology company Blackboard, is titled "Internet-based education support system and methods." It involves the ability to grant different people, such as students and teachers, different access rights to online resources such as grades, files or quizzes.

In November, the Software Freedom Law Center, a New York-based provider of pro-bono legal services to the free and open software movement, asked the Patent Office to rethink the patent grant. In order for an invention to receive patent protection, it's supposed to be novel, useful and non-obvious. The SFLC argues the Blackboard patent doesn't meet that standard and has offered "prior art," or evidence that the invention has been used before."

Read the full post here.

UNC Mistakenly Congratulates 2,700 Students on Their un-Admission------OOPS!

Oh boy...
How would you like to be one of these students?

"An admissions department e-mail sent from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill congratulated 2,700 prospective freshmen this week on their acceptance to the school.

The problem is that none of the applicants have been admitted. They won't start finding out until March whether they've made the cut..."

You can read the full story about the PR gaff here.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Minorities Closing the Achievement Gap? Take Another Look...

I came across something VERY interesting over at the Schools Matter blog.

Listening to the State of the Union Address, one might have been lulled into thinking that No Child Left Behind is producing some significant results.

Maybe not...

Here's what G. W. had to say:
Minority students are closing the achievement gap, and student achievement is rising – more reading progress was made by 9-year-olds in five years than in the previous 28 years combined, and reading and math scores for 9-year-olds and fourth-graders have reached all-time highs.

Here's what the NAEP scores (National Assessment of Educational Progress--from the US Dept. of Education) actually are:

And here is where G. W. supposedly sees the "more reading five years than in the previous 28 years combined":

Yikes! I suppose I agree - we do need better education in math (in the White House, that is).

Universities Having Trouble Walking Their Talk

"Pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV, and you can probably find a college professor opining on something - global warming, food security, poverty, you name it. But it isn't so easy to find anyone willing to opine on a college or university's practices in those same areas.

Or at least, it wasn't that easy until Mark Orlowski came along. Orlowski founded the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a Cambridge-based not-for-profit that is a special project fund of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Institute has just released an in-depth report called the College Sustainability Report Card that looks at the policies and procedures of 100 leading colleges and universities which hold more than $258 billion, or 75 percent of all higher education investments.

The report aims to shine a light on the one part of a higher education institution's practices that aren't already scrutinized. After all, you can find plenty of statistics on academic achievement and financial aid. But as the report notes, "the focus has not been on how schools, as institutions, manage their resources.'"

You can read the full article here.

Cartoon: "ID Please..."

Identify Yourself

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The CIA Gets Social(ly) Networked

As I'd written before, social netowks are becoming a venue for employers, as well as the most popular way Generations X & Y connect and collaborate with one another.

However, employers aren't only looking to weed out the idiots from the pool of applicants...

Social networks have become tools by which potential employers are seeking out the best and brightest candidates.

For example, even the CIA is becoming social(ly) networked:

"If you're a Facebook member, a career as a government spook is only a click away.

Since December 2006, the Central Intelligence Agency has been using, the popular social networking site, to recruit potential employees into its National Clandestine Service. It marks the first time the CIA has ventured into social networking to hire new personnel.

The CIA's Facebook page (login required) provides an overview of what the NCS is looking for in a recruit, along with a 30-second promotional YouTube video aimed at potential college-aged applicants. U.S. citizens with a GPA above 3.0 can apply.

"It's an invaluable tool when it comes to peer-to-peer marketing," says Michele Neff, a CIA spokeswoman."

Read the full article here.

Microsoft Caught "Doctoring" Wikipedia

OOPS! Microsoft caught trying to "influence" Wikipedia articles:

Microsoft Corp. has landed in the Wikipedia doghouse after it offered to pay a blogger to change technical articles on the community-produced Web encyclopedia site.

While Wikipedia is known as the encyclopedia that anyone can tweak, founder Jimmy Wales and his cadre of volunteer editors, writers and moderators have blocked public-relations firms, campaign workers and anyone else perceived as having a conflict of interest from posting fluff or slanting entries. So paying for Wikipedia copy is considered a definite no-no.

"We were very disappointed to hear that Microsoft was taking that approach," Wales said Tuesday.

Microsoft acknowledged it had approached the writer and offered to pay him for the time it would take to correct what the company was sure were inaccuracies in Wikipedia articles on an open-source document standard and a rival format put forward by Microsoft.

Read the full article here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What Drives Innovation in Organizations

John Moravec, over at Education Futures has just posted about a study from Gallup Management Journal, regarding innovation in organizations.

The Gallup Management Journal recently published an article on what drives innovation in organizations. Shelley Mika disentangles innovation from creativity and identifies four driving principles of innovation, based on discussions with key thinkers and leaders. All four principles are focused on people...

Community Colleges' Growing Importance

The debate over the changing role of higher education is ramping up in academe. On one hand, there is the "higher ed should not simply be a training ground for the future workers of tomorrow" crowd, citing the many ethical and political risks associated with that position.

On the other hand, there is the "students are entitled to receive the type of education they will require to succeed post-graduation; besides, with the financial fate of un-skilled workers looking more and more bleak, isn't consigning them to a position among the 'have-nots' the greater injustice?" group. And of course, there are an unlimited number of other positions/perspectives...

Community colleges--long disrespected among 4-year colleges--have recently been gaining ground. In many cases, due to rising costs, students are choosing to complete as many credits as possible at their local community college, before entering their BA/BS programs. Financially, it makes a LOT of sense (I wish I had had that opportunity, but at the time, Northwest PA had no community college all...):

With their low tuitions and convenient locations, community colleges like Massasoit serve nearly half the country's undergraduates – everyone from second-career starters like Mr. Loughran to new immigrants to fast-track high-schoolers. But by some counts, fewer than half of community college students meet their educational goals, and that has a ripple effect in efforts to educate local workforces and make the United States more competitive.

Community colleges are becoming more aware of their shortcomings, experts say, in areas such as student advising, teaching methods, and the process of transferring academic credits. To address the latter, two-year and four-year institutions are collaborating on academic standards to ensure that key courses are transferable and are graded in a similar way...

Read the full article here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lack of Skilled Workers Hurts the US

As I'd reported back in November, there is a well-documented shortage of skilled workers in the US, and it's only getting worse.

Richard Florida's book The Flight of the Creative Class documents much of the "brain migration" that's been occurring in recent years, and I highly recommend giving it a look.

(I've also written about Florida's work here, and here.)

Today, CNN is reporting on further information about what the lack of skilled workers is doing--it is quite literally holding back the US economy!

The biggest problem with job growth right now isn't too few new jobs. It's too few skilled workers.

The Labor Department's December employment report Friday showed stronger than expected job and wage growth, with a net gain of 167,000 jobs in the month, and average hourly wages up 4.2 percent from a year ago. But even in this report, the pace of job gains was showing signs of slowing down.

The fourth quarter gain was below the third quarter and 2006 saw 143,000 fewer jobs added to payrolls than in 2005, or almost a month's worth of hiring. And that's a comparison to a year in which hurricanes Katrina and Rita took a bite out of jobs.

In addition, one survey earlier in the week from employment service ADP released Wednesday showed U.S. private sector employment shrank in December, the first decline in 3-1/2 years.

But many economists and labor market experts say that job growth and the economy overall would be significantly stronger if employers could find the skilled workers they really need.

Read the full article here.

Fear and Loathing at the Office

Here is another "meditation" on the state of business, and its relation to higher education.

Charles H. Green, has a fun post on the role of spite. Reading this, I was reminded of certain departmental tiffs I'd observed over the years.

Many academics like to idealize our lives in higher education, as though we were somehow un-corporate... But in many cases, the academic life is just a mirror of the broader culture:

It’s a fun read, dishing classic stories ranging from how Cornelius Vanderbilt got even (“I won’t sue you, for the law is too slow. I’ll ruin you”), to Katzenberg vs. Eisner (Hollywood dustups are the most entertaining) to Michael Dell vs. Steve Jobs (the jury’s still out on this one, though as of today Jobs has the edge).

There are a few insights: "The simplest way to create a culture is to pick an enemy," says Garnett [CEO of Ingres, and one of many enemies Oracle’s Larry Ellison appears to have crated over the years.] "We have an enemy: It's Oracle."

And, “Revenge is a response to a perceived injustice or what psychologists call narcissistic injury, known to you and me as a wounded ego. This reaction is often acute in entrepreneurs or members of family businesses, whose sense of self-worth is bound to their businesses.”

But for the most part, this article describes, rather than diagnoses. But that’s not because the topic is without implication.

The incidence of revenge, and its motivational power, stand in contradiction to what business education describes as the way things get done.

Read the full article here.

Guest Post: Teaching Ethics in Business Schools

After yesterday's post about MBA programs, I though this was a good "second act" to highlight other recent changes in MBA programs. After the corporate scandals of the past 7 years, the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the stock market crash of 2001/2002, training in business ethics has risen into the range of required courses for nearly every MBA graduate today.

Once again, a meeting of the Liberal Arts and business community...

Teaching Ethics in Business Schools
By Jason Gluckman

Teaching ethics in business schools is essential to direct prospective business personalities to understand and apply a code of conduct concerning their behavior when delivering products and services. The teaching of ethics helps businessmen to tackle difficult situations in their profession constructively. It creates awareness among students about the role of ethics in business in an international and vibrant environment. It also attempts to instill the values of honesty and respect for others in students.

Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses in ethics are conducted in business schools. The courses cover concepts of moral interpretation, institutional management, social bonding, and analysis of rights and duties. Teaching ethics in business schools involves an interactive study of various circumstances that lead to success in business. The roles of culture, position of an executive and human behavior are also included in the syllabus.

Leadership and organizational power are key words in the teaching of ethics in business schools. Professors detail with examples and models the ways in which leaders have incorporated ethics in their business dealings. The courses help students to attain organizational quality based on values. Teaching ethics in business schools gives an opening about various issues to be faced when dealing with social challenges.

The works of various philosophers such as Adam Smith, Marx and John Stuart Mill are taught in business schools to connect ethics and economics. Seminars are conducted to hold open discussions on these topics. Specialization in theoretical and applied ethics, along with the management of business, gives students value oriented business knowledge.

Fresh perspectives are introduced in courses with the help of visiting scholars. They conduct joint research projects with faculties of the institution. A wide variety of executive programs to evaluate new tactics, values and leadership in business firms, is conducted in business schools. Case studies, internal debates and seminars are techniques adopted in teaching ethics in business schools. The concept of ethics is always linked with social factors. In addition to values practiced in a business society, the syllabus also incorporates social inference of business strategies and corporate social responsibility.

Business Schools provides detailed information on Business Schools, Top Business Schools, Online Business Schools, Best Undergraduate Business Schools and more. Business Schools is affiliated with MBA Online.

Article Source:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is Math Overrated?

If you aren't familiar with Sam Huleatt's blog, Leveraging Ideas (formerly Intelligrad), it's worth a look. He's an MBA student, coming from a Liberal Arts undergraduate background, and he runs a social media consulting business, so much of what he discusses is "from the inside," so to speak.

His post "Is Math Overrated for MBAs?" is a very interesting - and relevant - meditation on the shift in focus taking place in the broader business and academic communities. For example, there is a dire need for interdisciplinarity - which I've discussed in my post regarding the job market for Liberal Arts graduates.

From Sam's post:
Someone recently asked me about my getting an MBA degree, knowing that I was a Liberal Arts major in college. This person was interested in pursuing an MBA, but worried about the amount of math involved. While I could write endless articles on this topic, I am going to stick with one issue for now: Do you need to be good at math to succeed as an MBA student?

Short Answer: No.

When my friend asked me this question, my immediate response was that the liberal arts is the best preparation for an MBA and that overall, math was not as big a deal as one might think.

When pressed, I offered my thought: “Excel can do math for you, but Word cannot write for you.”
Read the rest of his post here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Legislative Push to Study the Quality of Online Education

Yet another salvo in the battle between brick and click universities--this time from the Wired Campus Blog:

"Ever the critic of distance education, Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, Republican of Michigan, has introduced legislation that would require scientific scrutiny of online learning. The Independent Study of Distance Education Act of 2007, H.R. 412, would direct the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study comparing distance-education programs to classroom instruction. The same measure was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005 but was killed during House-Senate negotiations. In an interview with The Chronicle last year, the congressman talked about diploma mills and his concern that some distance education institutions could confer meaningless degrees."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Faculty as Authors of Online Courses: Support and Mentoring

Only a few years ago, if you had polled Simmons College administrators, faculty, students, and even technology staff members, the consensus would have been that “online” learning is not relevant to the mission of our institution. A “small university” with a liberal arts undergraduate program and four graduate schools, Simmons’ culture is “high touch” and personalized. To the uninitiated, distance learning seemed antithetical to our institutional mission and philosophy of learning.

Along with thousands of other institutions of higher education, our views have changed as we have become increasingly sophisticated in our understanding of the tremendous potential for online learning. Today we offer hybrid courses, three fully-online certificate programs, and an online degree program in Physical Therapy. The School of Library Science is a member of WISE, a national network of schools providing online courses in information science. A number of other fully-online and hybrid programs are in development, including courses within the College of Arts and Sciences. Not only do pioneering faculty teach online at Simmons, those in the so-called “second wave” are also developing hybrid and fully-online courses.

Our current challenge is to ensure the development of online learning that engages learners in the open-ended, inquiry-based learning that we believe is at the heart of a liberal arts education. We are finding that excellent professors whose face-to-face teaching is grounded in a liberal arts approach to learning may sometimes encounter difficulties when they take their teaching into the digital realm.

Our experience also suggests that the distinction between “pioneer” and “second wave” faculty is spurious. These labels distract from the insights and unique talents that a particular faculty member can contribute to a project. People don’t fit neatly into categories – they aren’t exclusively pioneers or second wave. Some faculty who are “second wave” in relationship to technology can be pedagogical “pioneers.” To realize the promise of online learning, we believe that academic technologists must learn how to collaborate with good teachers – even when technology isn’t a professor’s strong suit. Conversely, faculty members need help in learning how to work in partnership with academic technologists.

Good professors excel at engaging groups of students face-to-face, but few are prepared to develop courses online.

Read the rest of the article by Deborah Cotler and Gail Matthews-DeNatale here.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Open Source Way

Alan Watts may forgive the pun, but there's an emerging realization among commercial software companies--giving it away leads to better growth. (Take note, Blackboard!)

This just published over at Cnet:

What's new:
A small company called Aras is adopting an open-source model for its product lifecycle management application that's built with Microsoft technologies.

Bottom line:
More software companies are deciding that the risks associated with converting to open source--such as lower license revenue and shared intellectual property--offer better growth opportunities than the traditional enterprise software model.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guest Post: The Battle Between Click and Brick Universities

The Battle Between Click And Brick Universities
by Kadence Buchanan

The role of contemporary universities is currently experiencing tremendous change due to the advancements in technology. Today, it is not just a matter of sound administrative decisions made by institutions, but rather a global realization that e-learning is a dynamically growing industry. Undergraduate and graduate students demand their universities to provide them with the latest technological tools available, so as to increase their efficiency ratios, elevate the quality of their studies, and acquire the needed business skills, which will later help them find the job of their dreams. For-profit or non-profit universities, among other things, produce professionals and need to serve their academic "customers" what they desire if they mean to stay in business. But, are all postsecondary institutions supposed to offer their curriculums through e-learning and what is the outcome of these technological "services" for the academic community?

According to different scholars, as the industrial economy gave its place to what is known today as the "knowledge economy," the academic world was bound to be impacted. A number of alterations in the university's form, the consistency of its faculty, the demographics of its participants, the financial resources available, along with the political and social changes that have emerged, caused higher educational institutions to reconstruct their model and redesign their identity. Continuing incorporating these changes and fostering technological innovations has become a major challenge for academic institutions; who wish to keep up with the global pace, or even lead the future course of action. Internet usage and what has come to be known as the educational model of e-learning have created the grounds upon which various stakeholders argue in favor or against the proliferation of a vast variety of technology-based educational tools.

The primary role of a university is to act as an agent towards discovering, creating, preserving, disseminating, and applying knowledge. The act of accepting or rejecting substantial technological tools as educational breakthroughs, creates an opportunity for contemporary academic institutions to realize the importance of their present role and increase the outcome of their future influence on society. But, not all universities are ready to take this step towards modernization, nor should they try. Actually, the decision depends on different parameters, like the institution's "brand name", the magnitude and timing of the suggested adaptation, the skepticism of the academic environment, the cultural norms embedded in its system, and the acceptance ratio of the society within the institution operates.

E-learning has created two divisions in the academic field that are possible to be united to one great new force. ‘Brick' and ‘click' universities, distinguished by the physical location of their classes, residential or virtual respectively, target the same audience and thus come in opposition. Close observation and qualitative studies have indicated that there is a positive possibility which emerges in-between these two forms of contemporary education. The suggested brick-and-click academic form resembles that of a joint-venture and constitutes a very interesting and rather complete new model that has great future potential in this information age. Under this notion, click and brick universities are not in fact enemies. They are comrades in the vast battlefield of knowledge and they have to remain interrelated in order to increase their performance ratios, ensure higher quality standards for those enrolled, apart from increasing their profit ratios.

The potential benefits from e-learning become clearer, when one considers the global nature of the network constructed through the use of the Internet, the increased number of students in every virtual classroom, the availability of online resources and the ability of business oriented students to enroll. What is probably jeopardized is power and control, in comparison to the traditional model, as the old classic relationship between a professor and a student is transformed, since e-learning lacks personal contact and face-to-face interaction. Nevertheless, as long as the adequate budget and the necessary technological resources are available, administration and faculty members have the ability to use technology and its manifestations towards the improvement of this recently introduced educational tool, while eliminating drawbacks and taking full advantage of the opportunities these new e-learning techniques offer to all.

Although the e-learning educational model has to surpass the threat of creating a rivalry between elite and mass education students, the brick versus click universities battle has to end and these educational forms need to become allies. Constructing a new physical and cyber space community, where people exchange ideas, interact via a variety of tools, learn about different cultures, increase their overall knowledge base, enhance their capabilities, and most importantly learn how to think critically while judging their role during this process, is the primary responsibility of contemporary universities; whether existing online or in a physical space. The conclusion supported is that there should be no battle. Such arguments and debates stall educational exchange and are major setbacks, sacrificing the sacred mission of a university to create and promote knowledge.

Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Science, Education, and World of Science.

Article Source: reprint-content

Friday, January 12, 2007

An Argument Against High-Cost Degrees

A somewhat contrarian view to the first article in this two-part series is from no less than Forbes Magazine.

Here's a sample from the full article, Is College Worth It?.

...Search engines such as Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) have ushered in the era of open-source learning. Society is rapidly progressing to the point where any Googler is on equal footing with a Widener Library pass-holder.

Most of today’s higher-paying jobs go to those who exhibit a combination of adaptable intelligence, numeracy, communications skills and a strong work ethic, as opposed to evidence of specific knowledge.

Which leads to a third, and no doubt controversial, point. Society once counted on universities to imbue students with the traits named in the paragraph above. It was once assumed, for instance, that a liberal arts degree holder was numerate and literate and knew how to draw lessons from history, weigh evidence, think, write, speak, debate and learn. Or so Larry Summers, the ex-Harvard president, innocently imagined. He thought undergrads should learn about the math-and-science-driven world they’d be entering as adults. This belief conflicted with the postmodern professoriat that prefers cutting rap records to teaching--or, if forced to teach, teaches liberation theology over the American Revolution. Summers lost the battle.

My prediction is that parents who risk their own financial security shelling out $100,000 to $175,000 for a four-year degree will lose, too. History will show that they could have achieved far greater returns for themselves and their children in other asset classes.

You can read the full article here.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

2 Points of View on the Cost of a College Degree

You may have noticed that the debate over whether a college degree is actually worth the cost has been heating up over the past decade.

As the cost of tuition, fees, room, board, textbooks, etc. grows year after year, many are finding it difficult to keep up (especially students and families from the working classes).

Undergraduate federal student loan debt has reached an average of $19,202. The graduate average is more than double that, and in Medicine it has reached $125,819. (*Source:

When one considers that these averages are calculated using only Stafford and Perkins loan debt, it's rather chilling. The yearly limits placed on these loans are lower than the total costs of most colleges--and that's particularly true for private colleges. There is a growing demand for additional private sector loans, in addition to those offered by the government to supplement the shortcomings of federal, institutional, and state financial aid.

At the graduate level, the student is more likely to beat his/her debt to the grave...

I'm going to present two viewpoints on this subject. The first article can be found here. The opposing view can be found here.

Guest Post: How Much is Your College Degree Worth?

How Much is Your College Degree Worth
By Christine Silva

Although many Americans work in unskilled labor, the outlook for non-college graduates continues to grow bleak. Now, with the majority of unskilled and mildly skilled labor being outsourced, it is almost impossible to guarantee a stable income without some higher education.

According to the US Census Bureau, a college education almost certainly guarantees a higher income and overall lifetime net worth. American workers with bachelor’s degrees earn almost double those with only a high school diploma. The average college-educated US worker earns $51,206 per year, versus only $27,915 for a high school graduate. Those with college degrees also have higher employment rates than those with less education. Workers with advanced degrees are employed at a rate exceeding 86%. They have better job security, better retirement, and have an easier time finding employment.

Non-high school graduates, on the other hand, have a poor employment outlook. Only 52% of these workers are employed, and they retain an abysmal employment outlook throughout their lifetimes. And, if these workers find employment, their relative earnings never exceeds $25,000 per year. Even more alarming, when these workers become senior citizens, very few of them are working. At age 55, only 38% of high school drop-outs are employed. Contrast this with senior degreed workers, who are employed at a rate of 74%. Educated workers also choose to continue working past retirement age at a higher rate. At age 65, educated workers are employed at a rate of 25-33%, almost double the rate of uneducated workers.

Many of these unskilled workers will have a difficult time supporting themselves in their elder years. With Social Security in danger, the outlook for these employees is grim. In some states, such as Alabama and Louisiana, over half a million senior citizens live below the poverty level. These states also have some of the highest school drop-out rates. In eleven states, one student in every four does not graduate from high school. In Mississippi and Puerto Rico, the dropout rate is even higher, averaging 28%.

There is a clear connection between education and prosperity. An education is excellent insurance against financial hardship, and continuing education, especially in financial and computer literacy, is decidedly beneficial to both younger and older workers. Educated Americans make more money, have more job prospects and more job security than those without a college degree. Even a two-year degree has positive impact on future earnings and employment security. With Americans living longer, it pays to invest in a college degree.

Christine P Silva, BA, CRTP

Article Source:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Social Networking's Pros and Cons

Some critics of social networking (and nervous parents) have advocated blocking access to sites like Facebook, MySpace and other high-profile sites at libraries, schools, and from home networks via web filters, etc.

However, these efforts have been rather ineffective and/or counterintuitive. Aside from the age-old guarantee that whatever one's parents disapprove of becomes infinitely cooler, many corporate and college recruiters are actively using social networks as a tool to help them find the best and brightest (as well as weed out the idiots).

Social networks, blogs, etc. are tools which students can use, or misuse. The trick is to educate them about the ways in which these new tools can be investments.

It's up to us--as professors, teachers, etc.--to educate ourselves about these new technologies first, and then help our students to employ them in the best possible ways. In particular, this is a natural fit for those involved in writing instruction... (hint-hint).

Meanwhile, a study has recently been released which details how the MySpace horror-stories are sinking in for today's teens.

It may have taken a while, but it's good to know progress is being made:

There is reason to believe that the next generation of collegiate social networkers might be more circumspect about what they choose to share with the Web at large, according to a survey released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The study, "Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview," found that two-thirds of junior-high and high-school students with MySpace profiles restricted their photos and personal information to people they deemed friends.

You can see the full post here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Guest Article: Negotiating a New Job's Salary

Alexander Rudloff has written this article (reprinted here with permission) about an issue which is bound to come up for those in academe, and the private sector. It is also a timely follow-up to my article on the job market for liberal arts grads.

Negotiating a New Job's Salary
By Alexander Rudloff

Often when receiving a job offer, candidates are eager to sign on the dotted line. Maybe they've been with out work for awhile, maybe it is an increase in pay, or maybe it is simply a better commute.

It is important to remember though, that the most important time in salary negotiations are those early meetings. Be prepared and act confident, it can mean a huge difference in your future lifestyle.

Here is some advice to help you land not just the gig, but the salary that you dream of:

Give a Range

The general rule of thumb in negotiations is that the first person to name a number loses. Unfortunately, most people know this and it can quickly lead to nonproductive encounters. If you are in a position where you are expected to name a number, give the range that you are comfortable with. Research salaries in your area using sites like This will also allow the conversation to move forward so you can learn all the new costs associated with the gig.

Know the Costs

Make sure to factor in all the expenses your new position will require. Will you need a new wardrobe? Does it require you to pay tolls on your commute? Is there overtime pay? What's the health insurance like? Are you going to have to worry about your own retirement package? Total compensation is important in determining the salary that you require for accepting the job. Don't sell yourself short.

Be Bold

Fortune favors the bold. Especially if the bold has previous experience. Remember that managers are trying to keep their costs low. Salaries can often represent the largest cost within a company. If you have a target number in mind, always respond with something higher. Remember one key thing -- If they say no, negotiations are not over. If they say yes, the negotiation period is finished. Many companies have policies that prevent salary increases over certain percentages. You may only grow 4-5% a year once employed by the company. During negotiations, this can be achieved in seconds. Be bold. You owe it to yourself and your family.

Consider Growth Potential

A high salary may mean nothing if you are not learning skills to use later on in your career. Sadly, the concept of a life long position is a disappearing notion. Always try to search out positions that will train you for your next job and improve your resume. If a job has a lower than expected salary, but a ton of growth potential and training, it may be worth considering, especially if you are lacking experience.

Outline Key Goals

Another strong tactic is to work out an outline of suggested accomplishments. Negotiate a follow up meeting for an early review at the 6 month period. When the time comes, be prepared to show how you've accomplished each of the agreed upon milestones. You'll be able to make the case for a higher salary after proving yourself.

Alex Rudloff is a co-founder and CEO of, a powerful online tool for job seekers. Emurse organizes your resume creation, distribution, and upkeep through an easy to use online interface. Users are able to effortlessly send their resume off in a multitude of formats in a variety of methods. History is kept on each resume and its destination to help keep the job hunting process organized. Users are able to turn their resume into an attractive webpage at the touch of a button. Create a free account at

For articles on job hunting, career transitioning, negotiating and more, visit the Emurse blog at

Article Source:

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Run 25% of High Tech US Startups

Following a report from the National Acadamy of Engineering (which I wote about here), a team of researchers from Duke University have released a study (results were published this morning):

Foreign-born entrepreneurs were behind one in four U.S. technology startups over the past decade, according to a study to be published Thursday.

A team of researchers at Duke University estimated that 25 percent of technology and engineering companies started from 1995 to 2005 had at least one senior executive — a founder, chief executive, president or chief technology officer — born outside the United States.

Immigrant entrepreneurs' companies employed 450,000 workers and generated $52 billion in sales in 2005, according to the survey.

Their contributions to corporate coffers, employment and U.S. competitiveness in the global technology sector offer a counterpoint to the recent political debate over immigration and the economy, which largely centers on unskilled, illegal workers in low-wage jobs.

"It's one thing if your gardener gets deported," said the project's Delhi-born lead researcher, Vivek Wadhwa. "But if these entrepreneurs leave, we're really denting our intellectual property creation."

Among some of these startups founded by immigrant entrepreneurs, which have later become the lords of Silicon Valley, are Google, Sun Microsystems, and a host of others...

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Generation Gap

The Good Old Days

Monday, January 01, 2007

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