SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, September 27, 2006

News & Product Updates

Education Department Student-Record Database Would Ease Privacy Concerns

Grover J. Whitehurst, director of the Institute of Education Sciences (the research division of the U.S. Education Department), announced that the Institute is developing a database that would track students’ progress through college while protecting their privacy. Whitehurst said the database would resolve many of the privacy concerns that derailed the Bush administration’s plan to create a “unit record” database using students’ Social Security numbers.

With this database, encrypted college-transcript data would be sent to a third party outside of the Education Department. That party would know students’ names and Social Security numbers, but would not be able to decrypt the transcript information. The third party would strip the names and Social Security numbers from the data, and assign each student record a new identification number. The revised record would then be returned to the Education Department, which could then decrypt the transcript data. The idea is that no one player would be able to see both the identifying data and the transcript data...

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McGruff Bites Internet Crime

There is a new player in the fight against cyber crime. McGruff the Crime Dog is joining Comcast and several other companies to educate consumers about viruses, spam, spyware, phishing, identity theft, online predators, and other dangers.

The National Crime Prevention and Chief Marketing Officer Councils also lined up Intel, McAfee, Verisign, USA Today, and CNET Networks as sponsors of the campaign, “Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime.” It will include public service announcements valued at $2 million that Comcast, a major provider of cable and Internet service, will broadcast...

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Middle Tennessee State Initiates Virtual Flipchart System

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) has installed a shared digital “easel” system on campus that enables students to share data and information in any format on screens resembling paper flipcharts. Using PolyVision Corp.’s system, called a Virtual Flipchart, students can jot notes and drawings onto a "page" with a stylus or finger. Multiple pages are "posted" (projected) onto the wall in high resolution, allowing all the information to remain visible to all participants.

Any class member or student on any laptop with an Internet connection can join the session from within the room or remotely and have full participation. Participants can share their laptop screen, actively add content and annotate, turning a personal computer into a true group device. Following a lecture or seminar, content is can be easily archived, e-mailed to all participants, and ready at the touch of an icon for immediate retrieval, whenever desired and from any location.

MTSU president Sidney McPhee predicted the system “will change the face of how our students learn by allowing them to go beyond the traditional instructor-centric, lector-based learning environment.”...

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