Summers never seem to last long enough, and before you know it, you're surfing the web for research rather than the ocean waves for fun. It's a bummer, but only if you let it be. Rather than slip into a deep depression as you count down the number of days until next summer, try focusing on the good things that come with going back to school, like new tech gear!
College students cherish laptops more than any other electronic device
Within the next year or so, there's a good chance that tablet shipments will outnumber traditional PC sales. Be that as it may, tablets are still relegated to being mostly content consumption devices, and if you want to get some real work done, you'll need a real PC. That sentiment is underscored by a new AMD survey that reveals the laptop as the most important electronic device among college students.
The NCAA Football season is drawing to a close, which means bowl games are right around the corner. Keeping track of the who, when, and where during such a busy time of year can be a pain, but the folks from ESPN have you covered with the Bowl Bound app for Android devices.
The American Student Survey aims to reveal how students preceive organizations as employers in the United States, and if the latest results are any indication, today's college students would love to work for Google. Or Apple. Or several other technology companies, and not just in the field of IT, but also business, engineering, natural sciences, and humanities/liberal arts, each of which is ranked individually.
Going to college is expensive, and the costs only climb when you start shopping top tier universities. Throw in the cost of books, a dorm room, and booze, and it's no wonder college students stock up on Ramen Noodles during the school year. If you're just in it for the knowledge and not the job-enabling degree, you can take free online courses at Stanford.
New research suggests that Internet addiction on college campuses may be a bigger problem than many are willing to admit.
"Virtual gaming, where participants take an identity, has exploded in the past 10 years, particularly among 18 to 30 year olds," Sabrina Neu, a graduate school student at the University of the Rockies wrote in her doctoral dissertation. "Online game subscriber numbers are in the millions and profits for game developers are in the billions of dollars.
"The student lifestyle, with unlimited Internet access, large blocks of unstructured time, and absence of supervision, may place students at greater risk for over-utilization."
Neu did note several potential benefits to online gaming, such as players being able to overcome shyness and/or free themselves from physical disabilities, but also noted that it's common for college kids to lose sleep, miss meals, skip class, and withdraw from social interaction because of excess online game playing.
"Despite many pro-social benefits, there is also a harmful side," Neu said. "Players can suffer consequences such as neglecting friends and family and arranging one's real world life to fully accommodate game playing."
Following in the footsteps of the RIAA, which has aggressively targeted college campuses with legal threats and, in some cases, lawsuits as well, school is now in session for the MPAA too, TorrentFreak reports.
Up to this point it has been the burden of individual movie studios to send out infringement notices, but now the MPAA is stepping in and, according to TorrentFreak, "will notify all college and university presidents about this upcoming policy change, and at the same time the movie industry outfit will urge institutions to do whatever they can to stop illegal downloading on their campus networks."
Helping the MPAA to boldly go where it was reluctant to go before, this past July the U.S. made it a requirement for colleges and universities to actively stop illegal file sharing or risk losing federal funding. In the letter being sent out to university heads, the MPAA makes sure to remind them of this, while also making an emotional appeal.
"More than 2.4 million workers in all 50 states depend on the entertainment industry for their jobs," the letter states. "Online theft is a job-killer that also reduces the number of opportunities for graduates of your institution to make a living in the creative sectors."
Mega book chain Barnes and Noble this week announced NOOKstudy, a free online reading and study platform for college students. Described as the "ultimate study tool," NOOKstudy allows students to manage their eBooks, class materials, and notes in a single place.
"NOOKstudy is a big win for college students: it will not only lighten their backpacks, but also help them save money and study more efficiently," said Tracey Weber, EVP, Textbooks and Digital Eduction, Barnes & Noble.com. "NOOKstudy is a revolutionary approach to learning that offers students access to the reading and organizational tools they need, across all content sources and formats, enabling them to study smarter, not harder."
B&N said the NOOKstudy platform represents "extensive feedback" from students, professors, and administrators alike. With NOOKstudy, students are able to view multiple books and sources at the same time while also accessing complementary content, like toolsets, reference materials, and so forth.
A U.S. firm called Software Secure has developed a program designed to let students take exams at home with certain features built in to keep test takers honest. At least one college in Britain, the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, is buying into the glass half full software, at least on a trial basis.
The obvious concern here is how do you curb cheating, and there are a number of features Software Secure has implemented to safeguard against unscrupulous test taking techniques. To begin, students will need to provide a fingerprint to ensure no one else is taking the test for them. After that, the software puts a virtual lock on the use of all files and the Internet. And finally, audio and video are part of the package, so the teacher can still see and hear and what the student is up to, or at least what's visible in the webcam.
"It would be one solution to problems faced by those who might have difficulty reaching a university campus for exams," a spokesman said. "However it must not be used as an excuse to further cut costs or corners by reducing the amount of contact time students have with staff."
Amazon last year launched its Kindle Pilot Program, in which it sold a number of Kindle DX readers to several universities at a 50 percent discount. Students were allowed to use them free of charge, but as it turns out, most college students aren't yet ready to trade in their textbooks for Kindles.
At the University of Virginia, for example, about 80 percent of MBA students who participated in the program said they wouldn't recommend the Kindle DX for classroom use, even though they enjoyed it for recreational reading. And at Princeton University and Reed College, students said they missed the ability to write in the margins, easily highlight passages, or view color charts and graphics, the Seattle Times reports.
"You don't read textbooks in the same linear way as a novel," said Roesner, a 23-year-old graduate student. "You have to flip back and forth between pages, an the Kindle is too slow for that. Also, the bookmarking function is buggy."
The complaints haven't fallen on deaf ears. Amazon last month announced software upgrades that enable Kindle users to sort books into collections and zoom PDF documents.
"The pilot programs are doing their job -- getting us valuable feedback," said spokesman Drew Herdener.