Edupage, May 10, 2006

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  • Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 11:03:51 -0400

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State Schools See Benefits of Online Education
Chinese Students Police Internet
BitTorrent and Warner Bros. Partner on Delivery

STATE SCHOOLS SEE BENEFITS OF ONLINE EDUCATION Online higher education programs are booming, and many state colleges and universities are seeing significant benefits from the online programs they offer. At the University of Massachusetts, for example, enrollment in online programs has quadrupled since 2001, and enrollment in Pennsylvania State University's online program rose 18 percent last year. A greater number of public schools offer online programs than do private, nonprofit colleges, which have had mixed success online. An online initiative of Oxford University, Stanford University, and Yale University recently closed its doors, and a number of other elite schools have stayed away from online education, fearing it would tarnish their reputations. Although many state schools charge more per credit for online courses than on-campus learning, the costs are often still lower than, for example, tuition at the University of Phoenix, the leading for-profit online institution. Applicants to most online programs are held to similar, if not identical, standards as on-campus students, and most agree that the quality of online education in many cases approaches that of on-campus learning. Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2006 <>

Evaluate Distance Learning

CHINESE STUDENTS POLICE INTERNET In China, a government initiative known as "Let the Winds of a Civilized Internet Blow" aims to ensure that online content conforms to government expectations. Students at some Chinese universities are a key part of the effort. At Shanghai Normal University, 500 students serve as Internet monitors, participating in online discussions and trying to steer conversations away from topics considered objectionable. Unknown to most of the other students on campus, the monitors also report some content to campus officials, who delete it. One student monitor said, "Our job consists of guidance, not control." Critics argue that the practice amounts to nothing more than the censorship common to other areas of Chinese life. Chinese officials acknowledged that more than two million images and 600 online forums have been deleted for being "unhealthy." Some students dismissed the efforts, saying that with the Internet, you can always go elsewhere to share your opinions. "It's easy to bypass the firewalls," said one student, "and anybody who spends a little time researching it can figure it out." New York Times, 9 May 2006 (registration req'd) <>

China Censorship Practice

BITTORRENT AND WARNER BROS. PARTNER ON DELIVERY A new deal between BitTorrent and Warner Bros. represents a convergence of content providers and online distribution tools. Under terms of the deal, Warner Bros. will sell movies and TV programs to BitTorrent, which will sell them to consumers for download. Until last November, BitTorrent was seen by many as part of the peer-to-peer wave that entertainment companies blame for rampant piracy, which movie studios value at $6.1 billion. At that time, BitTorrent said it would cooperate with the Motion Picture Association of America in trying to limit the trade of protected content. Now, according to Ashwin Navin, cofounder of BitTorrent, "We have just been embraced by the largest movie studio." The deal also represents another step by a major studio toward online distribution of its content, a step most studios have been hesitant to take. Pricing for the content on BitTorrent has not been announced, and Navin said he is in talks with other providers to offer more content. Wired News, 9 May 2006 <,70852-0.html>,70852-0.html

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