The Sloan Consortiums Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks Shares Research on Student and Faculty Experiences and Perceptions of Online Courses

Newburyport, MA (PRWEB) June 29, 2012

The Sloan Consortiums (Sloan-Cs) Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (Volume 16, Issue 4) brings together scholars and practitioners who share practical advice, specific approaches, and illuminating examples about using analytics to help improve learning in postsecondary contexts. Contributors represent University of Toronto, Texas Tech University, University of Memphis, Purdue University, Northern Illinois University, Open University of Israel, DeSales University, University of Central Arkansas, University of North Florida, Long Island University and the University of Texas.

Highlights from JALN Volume 16 Issue 4

In Blended Course Design: A Synthesis of Best Practices, Patricia McGee and Abby Reis analyze common principles for the design process, pedagogical strategies, classroom and online technology use, assessment strategies, and course implementation and student readiness, highlighting disconnects and areas for closer research.

In Multidimensional Assessment of Blended Learning: Maximizing Program Effectiveness Based on Student and Faculty Feedback, Orly Calderon, Amy Patraka Ginsberg and Liz Ciabocchi share results of an assessment designed to gather feedback from faculty and students and administrators on multiple aspects of blended courses. The sufficiency of university resources for blended learning emerged as the strongest predictor of student satisfaction.

In Using a Generalized Checklist to Improve Student Assignment Submission Times in an Online Course, Terence Cavanaugh, Marcia L. Lamkin and Haihong (Helen) Hu find that students who receive checklists turned in their work two to five times earlier than those who did not. This paper discusses improvement of assignment submission timeliness related to higher course satisfaction for students and instructors.

In No Significant Difference in Service Learning Online, Sue Y. McGorry compares traditional and online delivery of service learning for developing awareness of civic responsibilities, leadership and management skills, and social responsibility.

In A Comparison of Non-Mandatory Online Dialogic Behavior in Two Higher Education Blended Environments, Paul Gorsky, Avner Caspi and Ina Blau interrogate the relationship among cognitive, social and teaching presences and learning outcomes. They find that social presence (instructors and students) in a typical higher education course discussion forum (in a blended learning environment with non-mandatory participation) accounts for about 60 percent of the content. The authors suggest, Whether and how social interaction affects actual learning in asynchronous discussion groups remains unclear and constitutes an important area for future research.

In Interaction in an Asynchronous Online Course: a Synthesis of Quantitative Predictors, Daniel Zingaro and Murat Oztok seek to better understand and encourage meaningful communication in online courses. Six predictors were examined and three predictorslong notes, notes written early in the week and notes containing at least one questionall lead to higher probabilities that a note receives a reply.

In Interpersonal Interaction in Online Learning: Experienced Online Instructors Perceptions of Influencing Factors. Cindy S. York and Jennifer C. Richardson provides an inventory of strategies that novice and experienced online instructors alike can use to impact interpersonal interaction in online courses.

In Do Students Experience Social Intelligence, Laughter and Other Emotions Online?, Katrina A. Meyer and Stephanie J. Jones point out that, In the debate over its effect on users, the Internet has been attributed with both freeing humankind to explore limitless information and dooming them to isolation and social autism. In this study, students report experiencing the capacities comprising social intelligence sometimes, but more frequently in online classes than in non-class-related online activities. The students were mostly likely to present themselves effectively and care about others and least likely to sense others emotions.

About JALN

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), published by the Sloan Consortium, is a major source of knowledge about online education. The aim of the JALN is to describe original work in asynchronous learning networks (ALN), including experimental results. It is available online and in print. For more information, visit

About Sloan-C

The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education. For more information, visit

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eBuddy Deepens Management Team with New Chief Operations Officer

Amsterdam (PRWEB UK) 27 June 2012

eBuddy (, a provider of web and mobile messaging worldwide, today announced the appointment of Sytse Zuidema as the companys new Chief Operations Officer, where he will be responsible for leading the management team, and for overseeing all day-to-day company operations including sales, marketing, product development and administrative functions. Zuidema brings more than 20 years of multi-national experience leading high performing operational teams in the telecoms and ICT (International Communications Technology) sector, which he will apply toward driving eBuddys near-term financial performance, as well as the companys long-term growth and value.

The messaging landscape has evolved dramatically since eBuddy Chat became the worlds first, independent, browser-based instant messaging service, said Jan-Joost JJ Rueb, CEO and co-founder of eBuddy. Todays announcement of Sytse Zuidema as COO is a direct reflection of the accelerated growth eBuddy has experienced over the last few years, and helps us capitalize on exciting opportunities ahead for eBuddy XMS especially in the emerging markets such India, where revenues from mobile services such as SMS are projected to hit $ 30 billion in 2016.

Accelerated Growth

Zuidema joins eBuddy at a pivotal phase in the companys development. The appointment of Zuidema positions eBuddy to further capitalize on its core strengths in the expanding global mobile messaging market, as the company experiences strong growth and sees downloads of its eBuddy XMS product soar. eBuddy XMS is a free, real-time messaging app for smartphones that eliminates all SMS fees for unlimited messaging, and represents the next chapter in the companys successful history of delivering a superior mobile messaging service. eBuddy will continue to give full support to its full suite of eBuddy Chat products, which are recognized as one of the leading instant messaging aggregator solutions in the market and account for over 250M registered users.

The opportunities that eBuddy has, both in the very near term and far into the future, drove my decision to join the management team, said Zuidema. eBuddy has the right team, technology and business model to transform the mobile messaging industry, and I am excited to be joining such a dynamic organization and contribute to its international growth and success.

Prior to eBuddy, Zuidema served as Chief Commercial Officer for Dutch cable operator, Casema, and played a significant role at the company during a 2006 merger that lead to the $ 2.6 billion (2.1 billion) sale of the company. Zuidema has held additional positions including founder, general manager, and co-investor at various small and medium telecom and ICT enterprises. He earned a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Delft University of Technology.

To learn more about eBuddy, please visit

About eBuddy

eBuddy provides web and mobile messaging for everyone, everywhere – processing over 17 billion messages a month to more than 30 millions users worldwide. The companys earliest product, eBuddy Chat, is the worlds first, independent, browser-based instant messaging service. This multi-chat network supports Facebook Chat, MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, MySpace, ICQ and AOL in one aggregated interface via the Web, mobile platforms including iOS, Android, J2ME and mobile Web-enabled devices.

eBuddy XMS ( is a free, real-time messaging app for smartphones that eliminates all SMS fees for unlimited messaging. eBuddy XMS is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone 7 devices.

Founded in 2003 and based in Amsterdam, San Francisco and Singapore, eBuddy is a privately held company backed by Prime Ventures and Lowland Capital Partners. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or learn more at

Specialty Steel Manufacturer Makes Better Products with IQinVision

San Juan Capistrano, CA (PRWEB) June 19, 2012

IQinVision (, market leader in high-performance HD megapixel IP cameras, today announced that the Ellwood Group, Inc. (EGI) is deploying over 250 IQeye HD megapixel cameras and growing, in order to monitor and improve manufacturing processes, in addition to meeting security needs. Compass Network Services is the integrator for this on-going project.

Headquartered in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, EGI produces engineered, heavy metal sections for capital specialty equipment manufacturers in the United States and around the world. The company’s nine operating business unitsencompassing multiple plants in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Canadaare dedicated to solving customers’ needs for specially engineered forging steels, iron castings, forgings, and other alloy parts.

We have moved from a test environment over five years ago to now having megapixel cameras deployed at about 20 different locations in our various plants, said Eugene Spadafore, Senior Network Administrator, EGI. We started out asking, How can we improve quality for process X? Rather quickly we saw the value of closely monitoring manufacturing with the IQeye cameras and now its a standard in our environment, we use the cameras at every facility.

Spadafores division has developed a de facto standard, scope of work, and set of specifications for how to successfully deploy the IQeye cameras in each new location. All the cameras are riding on our network, so in order to maintain consistency and best practices, we elected to be the overall project manager for camera deployment. As one location or division discovered the benefits of this kind of manufacturing process monitoringboth live and post-eventthey, too, would request cameras. We wanted to be able to control the roll-out in an organized, efficient way.

When making a single product that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, it is critical that we have the capability to record the manufacturing process and if we experience an issue downstream, were able to go back and find the root cause, Spadafore explained. If we can quickly solve manufacturing problems, the system pays for itself in short order.

In addition to the 10 manufacturing facilities that now use IQeye HD megapixel cameras for process monitoring, additional cameras at those locations are also used for monitoring overall security as well. I estimate we use our cameras 75% for process monitoring and 25% for general security, said Spadafore.

EGI stores video at each location anywhere from three days to three months, depending on the manufacturing process being recorded. The majority of the cameras are 2.1 MP IQeye Sentinel and 700-series cameras, the newest utilizing H.264 compression.

Our growth is typically through acquisition, Spadafore continued, once a new company is acquired, the next question is, When can we get cameras installed? We are quite satisfied with how the IQeye cameras have performed in meeting our sophisticated needs. As a result of using megapixel technology for process control, we have seen improvements in efficiency and productivity and that translates into real money.

About IQinVision

IQinVision has been designing, manufacturing and marketing the IQeye line of HD megapixel IP cameras since 1998. A world leader in IP network camera products, IQinVision is renowned for image quality, stability and reliability in the harshest environments. ONVIF and PSIA compliant, IQeye cameras are integrated with all leading NVRs and are backed by the most comprehensive warranty program in the industry. The companys products are widely deployed in banking/finance, city surveillance, commercial/industrial, critical infrastructure, education, gaming, government/law enforcement, healthcare, retail and transportation applications. IQinVision is a privately-held corporation headquartered in San Juan Capistrano, California with a regional office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For more information:

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New Android Eyes-Free Assistant, Robin, Goes Nationwide, Challenges Siri in the Car

Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) June 16, 2012

Robin is designed with drivers in mind, aiming to provide them with relevant information, guidance and content via a natural voice / gesture interface. In the car, this interface becomes key, enabling a completely eyes-free interaction: voice in, voice out. Importantly, Robin’s powerful dialogue engine allows a natural and smooth conversation flow, always keeping track of the implied context. Starting a dialogue is as easy as “waving hello” in front of the phone’s screen, so one never has to look away from the road (video).

At the moment, Robin is available in beta across the US, offering features such as local search (including Yelp reviews), navigation, real-time traffic and parking information, gas prices, weather and more. And for those getting bored behind the wheel, Robin can narrate personal Twitter news (with more content reportedly coming soon) and even tell jokes.

According to Magnifis, the company behind Robin, these are just the first steps. Drawing inspiration from the famous KITT of the “Knight Rider” fame, Robin is poised to emerge as a very personal kind of assistant that becomes increasingly helpful as she gets to know her “master” better. For instance, Robin will be able to proactively alert drivers about traffic or speed cameras, based on her knowledge of one’s schedule and driving patterns. And the two-way communication will make it easy for the drivers to share information, e.g., about traffic (Waze style). She will also serve as “personalized radio”, narrating relevant news aggregated from a variety of sources and even learn the individual’s taste in jokes.

“Today, people still think of a car assistant primarily in terms of navigation,” says Magnifis co-founder/CEO Ilya Eckstein. “But in fact, we don’t use navigation much, as most of the time we know our way around. What we really need in the car is someone to watch out for us as we go and be there when we need… well, just about anything. That, and being able to remain fully connected and empowered behind the wheel. To not miss out on a single important bit of life, even when you are not staring at the screen. And that is exactly what Robin is meant to help us with.”

About Magnifis

Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Magnifis is a leading innovator in speech interfaces, machine learning and location-based services. The company is using proprietary multi-language understanding technology – already powering a major service in Israel – and is backed by private investors. For more information, please visit:

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