Tag Archives: university

Google in higher education

Paul Canning reports

News that Portsmouth Uni has moved all of its students into the cloud with free, multi-lingual access to an advertising free version of Google Apps, including webmail with 7gb capacity, online documents, spreadsheets and calendars, chat and collaboration and site building functions.
A win-win in the cloud for UK Public Sector?

We’re going to see this played out throughout the public sector as IT budgets and performance come under close scrutiny. It raises significant data protection and privacy questions which need public policy examination.
Google say “Google is signed up to the Safe Harbour Act which commits a US company to comply with European data protection standards, even when information is stored outside Europe.” Does that answer all the questions? The potential commercial value of data about the university population is enormous. We don’t have a precedent for any company or organisation holding as much data about people as Google will.
It’s also the case that concerns about maintaining UK and european standards of data protection offer convenient protection against competition from cloud vendors for employees of UK IT departments. The other main beneficiaries of this protectionism are Microsoft and vendors of closed VLEs like Blackboard.
Google’s education and collaboration tools are already credible alternatives. Not necessarily the best, but University managers have heard of Google.
The choice between in-house IT and the cloud is going to become more acute with the release of Google Wave. The research community wants Wave. Wave could be hugely important for e-learning, distance learning and workgroup collaboration. Low-cost start-ups in education, whether commercial or open access not-for-profits, could have better tools than the incumbent providers, and they can have them for free.
Google have a fine record in supporting education: free licences, summer of code internships. They have successfully negotiated issues of openness in software licensing in ways which have earned the respect of the developer community.
Where the end-users have a choice, it’s not difficult to predict what are they going to do. Free is a difficult price to beat. Just as important, you don’t have ask permission and wait for budget approval to start using tools which allow you to work better.
What’s less clear is whether public scrutiny of the information policy issues will happen.


August #2


Annual University of Hertfordshire survey on music consumption. Two views:

Trade body UK Music, who fund the survey “Music consumption in 14-24 year olds is complex, latest survey reveals” UK Music

Torrentfreak “14-24 year olds pirate 8,000 music tracks each” Torrentfreak


Digital Britain

Programme for the delivery of actions in the DB White Paper published tiny.cc

BIS Consultation on the proposed changes to Ofcom’s duties tinyurl.com


Higher Education

Joss Winn: Comparing ‘The Edgeless University’ and ‘HE in a Web 2.0 World’ reports  bit.ly

Peer to peer university launches. Deadline to sign up is the 26th – www.p2pu.org


Creative Commons

Publications now available from Google Books. Coming to a reading list near you.

Lessig, Doctorow, Boyle and Zittrain ping.fm



Superb mapping service for OS maps in the UK – wtp2.appspot.com



Unlocking Audio 2009 conference programme, videos and papers now online: is.gd metadata, archive & social  media



Lost Remote: Neighborhood blogs drive participation in city planning bit.ly 



Discover the top 100 open innovation organisations across the globe, compiled by NESTA blogs.nesta.org.uk


Facebook takeover of Friendfeed

Scoble, your blog still loves you – www.scripting.com Dave Winer on FriendFeed et al.

Scoble is excited scobleizer.com

Friendfeed users in the research community less so. Cameron Neylon: The trouble with business models (Facebook buys Friendfeed) friendfeed.com


URL shortening

The shortening service tr.im, from Nambu network, was suspended and reinstated:  blog.tr.im

It’s a problem. For example, shortened urls on this blog will stop working if the service is withdrawn. What to do? John Gruber wrote his own url shortner. There are couple of WordPress plugins which offer shortening. But as Dave Winer points out, Twitter could easily extend the character limit to 140 characters excluding the url, or make shortened urls portable scripting.com



Concerned about privacy? Considering opting out? The Onion reports  bit.ly


July #2

NESTA Reboot Britain hightlights

Paul Hodgkin of Patient Opinion’s NESTA essay: How the new economics of voice will change the NHS bit.ly

Howard Rheingold: 21st century literacies 40 min vid blip.tv JD Lasica’s 6 min vid interview : bit.ly


Digital Britain

Stephen Carter: on OFCOM, Cameron, quangos bit.ly


Universities, future of

Stephen Downes has all the links about Demos Edgeless University report bit.ly


News microformat

AP, Media Standards Trust propose news microformat bit.ly


Regional News

Write To Reply consultation on future of regional news: read the document, comment and vote bit.ly

Birmingham Post to cease daily publication? is.gd


Talk About Local

Birmingham news feed pipe features at Hyperlocal labs talkaboutlocal.org


News of the World phone hack allegations

Out-law: Police may have had a duty to notify phone-hacking victims, says privacy expert www.out-law.com

Nick Davies: News of the World phone hacking www.guardian.co.uk