Technology Enabled Teaching September 7, 2005

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Listen to This!

By Will Craig

Those ubiquitous white cords that snake up to the ears of returning students this fall should remind us of the effects and necessary remedies of prolonged exposure to high volume sound. While OSHA rates permissible noise exposure for 8 hours as high as 90 dB, many experts favor an 85 dB cap on long-term noise. And, let’s face it, nobody plays their music at what audiologists view as a safe level. No wonder a recent Newsweek article (May 2005) cited a study that estimates as many as 5.2 million students in the United States have hearing damage from prolonged exposure to loud sounds.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires lecture halls and other rooms “where audible communications are integral to the use of the space” with fixed seating that seat 50 or more _OR_ have an audio amplification system be equipped with a permanently installed assistive listening system. Such a system may utilize infra-red, induction loop, or radio frequency broadcasts, but the number of receivers must equal or exceed four percent (4%) of the total seats, with a minimum of two (2).

Several of my recent experiences with assistive listening systems may be instructive.

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News & Product Updates

College Withdraws Credits Awarded in Distance Education Scheme

How d'es a small liberal arts college in Ohio get caught up in a distance education scandal in Florida in which thousands of its credits were awarded for no work? A lot of the problem appears to be not paying attention, according to a statement released Wednesday by Otterbein College, which finds itself in this embarrassing situation. (Inside Higher Ed)
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Here’s the Deal: Recent Vendor Announcements

Unicon selected by UC-Santa Barbara. The UC campus plans to deploy Academus, Unicon’s Web portal, for a course management system prototype. Academus is designed to provide a Web interface integrated with pre-configured channels to enable collaboration and communication online, Unicon ( said in its announcement.

Capitol College adopts Centra Software eLearning technology. Since implementing Centra’s ( teaching tool for graduate studies, Capitol College has increased the number of online classroom sessions from 1-2 per night to a maximum of 10 classroom sessions per night, the company said in its announcement.

ebrary inks deals with international publishers. Oxford University Press, Brill Academic Publishers, Manchester University Press, SAGE Publications, and Artech House to distribute online books to libraries worldwide via the ebrary ( Dynamic Content Platform

New Products

Wohler Technologies offers new line of LCD video monitors. The monitors offer “high resolution, clear picture, in a versatile, convenient, and compact package, according to the announcement from Wohler (

Case Study

Popular Feedback Devices Involve Students in Learning

By Linda L. Briggs

At Ohio’s University of Akron, a pilot program introduced last year is successfully using wireless feedback devices to increase student involvement in the learning process. The relatively simple technology uses portable infrared receivers connected to faculty laptop computers, and a small infrared “clicker” device for each student in class.

According to Dr. David A. McConnell, a professor of geology at the university who spearheaded the program while he was interim co-director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning, the success of the program last year has encouraged the university to make it available campus-wide this fall.

About 15 percent of the university’s 23,000-plus students used the clickers in the pilot, along with more than 50 instructors teaching courses across seven colleges. "We believe that UA has some of the widest and most extensive experience with this technology," McConnell says.

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Tech Notes

Universities Hit by Katrina Tap Technologies To Stay Afloat

"In spite of a lack of electricity, a hugely damaged telecom infrastructure, and increasingly explosive civil unrest, university staff and students in Louisiana are applying what technology they can use to communicate with each other and helping in the arduous process of rebuilding their state," writes Dian Schaffhauser in CT exclusive Web coverage.

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