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The Bulletin

Is your university leading the way when it comes to using the cloud? The inaugural Cloud Leadership Awards from E&I Cooperative Services is looking to honor up to 50 higher education institutions who have used cloud solutions to benefit students, teachers, administrators and staff.

“We’re excited to recognize the most innovative higher education institutions for their efforts in this area, so that all of our members can realize the positive impacts, increased efficiencies and cost-savings,” says E&I CEO Tom Fitzgerald in the awards announcement.

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In the education sector, wearables have some big potential for both K–12 and higher education. Recent data shows that even more wearable devices could be coming to the classroom and campus.

In the latest prediction data from IDC, the wearables market will increase 20.4 percent this year and nearly double by 2021.

Campus Technology reports that 240.1 million wearables are predicted to be shipped in 2021, with watches leading the charge.

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The Education Department is going open.

EdSurge reports that resources created by the department's competitive grant funds will be required in the fiscal year 2018 to be openly licensed for public use, reproduction and distribution.

"It is the Department's experience, however, that copyrightable works created under competitive grants made by the Department generally have not been disseminated widely to the public," reads the new regulation. "We believe that the open licensing regulation we are adopting here will address these key problems."

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Maintaining a strong defense against cyberthreats can feel like a task that never ends. Shore up one vulnerability, and hackers will kick in a new one faster than you can say “Risk!” Yet higher education institutions may not be doing all they can to keep their people and their assets safe. One survey found that fewer than half of the respondents had taken the following precautions against a security breach:

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Microsoft Teams, a collaboration tool similiar to Slack, will now be available for education customers, ZDNet reports. In an announcement on a blog, the tech giant said the tool would now be available as a free add-on to Office 365 Education users, like universities.

"We recommend that IT admins enable Microsoft Teams and begin using it now within their IT organizations; and for targeted groups of faculty, staff, teachers, and higher education students," reads the blog post.

Teams channels allow for formatting, flags and attachments for collaborators. According to ZDNet, more integration with Outlook email will continue.

ZDNet reports that Teams will run on Windows, Android, iOs and web platforms.

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Does your school not have many options for blended courses? Why don't you create one?

BlendKit2017, a new partnership between EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida will help educators do just that, eCampus News reports.

The five-week MOOC will help faculty and instructional designers to learn the ins and outs of a successful blended course.

The course began on Feb. 27 and registration is still open to all learners. eCampus News reports that the course will include peer assessment, blogging opportunities, weekly webinars, step-by-step guides and interactive group exercises.

The course is free and those interested can follow along with the progress by following #BlendKit2017.

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After a historic vote, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the new secretary of education on Feb. 7, 2017.

After a tied 50-to-50 vote in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence cast the first ever tiebreaking vote in a cabinet nomination, The New York Times reports.

As a long-time proponent of school choice in K–12 education, DeVos' position on other issues, particularly those in higher education have been unclear.

eSchool News reports that in the past, DeVos has been an advocate for educational technology as a way to help students have a choice in the way they learn.

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When raising money, good timing is essential. That’s why Michigan State University uses Big Data tools from IBM — SPSS, Cognos and Watson — to identify not only who is more likely to support its mission, but also the best way to approach them.

MSU gathers 177 touchpoints for each stakeholder, combining university records with data from potential donors’ tweets, Facebook comments and other social media activity. It then runs sentiment analysis to determine if potential donors feel positive about the university and might be likely to make a financial investment.

“IBM’s predictive analytics tools enable us to focus our gift officers on the right relationships at the right time,” says Monique Dozier, MSU’s assistant vice president of advancement information systems and donor strategy.

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Sales of augmented and virtual reality headsets will rise 108.3 percent by 2020, says a new report from International Data Corp. A projection on Campus Technology reports that with this growth rate, 76 million units of AR and VR technology will be shipped in 2020.

“The more affordable VR devices will continue to lead the market in terms of volume. However, IDC expects AR headsets to pick up momentum over the forecast as more affordable technologies and more original equipment manufacturers enter the market,” reports IDC.

In 2016, 10.1 million VR headsets were sold and Campus Technology reports this number is expected to reach 61 million in 2020.

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