Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Editorial - Reporting from the North Shore

Editorial: The free, online Summerton SC: Weekly News Roundup is normally put together by the editor from the comfort of one of the luxurious North Shore Villas on beautiful Lake Marion, just outside the town of Summerton, S.C. However, this week's edition comes to you from the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Surprisingly, renting a beach front home outside Haleiwa Town on the North Shore for a month costs less than renting a similar beach front house on the Carolina coast for one week during the summer. As a result, a number of close friends from Summerton have been gathering together in Hawaii for the past 4-5 years to escape the coldest months of winter.

Before heading off to Hawaii, Rick Duke, CEO of Summerton based Duke Computer Concepts, was kind enough to teach the editor of the Summerton Weekly News how easy it was to use computer software to create a YouTube video.

In gratitude to Rick Duke for his assistance, the following is a link to a short YouTube video clip about surfing on the North Shore of Hawaii – filmed from the backyard of the editor's beach front rental home. Check out the Chun's Reef Surfing Video. We hope you enjoy it.

Upon our return, we are looking forward to seeing staff at the Summerton Weekly News and Duke Computer Concepts partnering on the development of new web sites and short 'marketing' videos for potential customers in the town of Summerton and nearby communities around Lake Marion. We also hope to find and train student interns to assist in these efforts as we try to establish and build the much needed information technology (IT) business capabilities and infrastructure in the area.

BTW – did you see the following tweet from from Hawaii from the Summerton Weekly News on their Twitter social media site.

On the North Shore of Oahu. Waves are 30-40 feet. Surf to build thru the rest of the week. The 'Eddie' may happen http://quiksilver.com/surf/events/eddie-aikau/ …

Friday, January 16, 2015

Town Ordinances

When was the last time you looked at the official Ordinances of the Town of Summerton. They are posted on the town's web site at http://www.townofsummerton.com/ordinances.php  It is always good for citizens of the town to be familiar with them.


AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE: Pursuant to the authority conferred by the South Carolina Code of Laws, and for the purpose of promoting the health, safety, morals or general welfare of the Town; lessening congestion in the streets; securing safety from fire; providing adequate light and air; preventing the over-crowding of land; avoiding undue concentration of population; facilitating the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewage, schools, parks, and other public improvements; protecting scenic areas and areas subject to periodic flooding against development. In accordance with the adopted Comprehensive Plan, the Town Council of Summerton does ordain and enact into law the following Articles and Sections.




This item has been posted as a public service.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Across the Lake, Santee is Focused on the Future

Editorial:  Across Lake Marion, just a few miles from Summerton, the town of Santee is busy planning for the future. A quick look at some of the major news and activities in Santee over the past six months include:
  • In July, Santee unveiled their public relations and marketing plan to enhance the image of the town and attract visitors, businesses, and retirees to the area.
  • In August, construction began on the $5 million recreation and water park that will open in 2015.
  • In September, plans for three small Orangeburg county school districts to merge began moving forward.
  • In October, construction of the new full access interchange at I-95 and Hwy. 301 got underway. It will facilitate movement of traffic to and from new industries moving into the Matthews Industrial Park.
  • In November, when the announcement was made about the shut down of the local Piggly Wiggly in nearby Holly Hill, the Bell family bought the store and will ensure it remains open and continues to serve the needs of the community.
How does all this compare to what is happening right across the lake in our town of Summerton? Does the town have a plan for the future? Is Summerton playing to its strength - being a haven for lovers of nature, wildlife, and outdoor recreation? A place visitors and retirees ought to be flocking to in ever greater numbers. 

Is there any action underway in the county to consider merging the three school districts in Clarendon county? What actions are being taken to attract new, modern businesses to Summerton? What is the town going to do now that it has been announced that the local Piggly Wiggly is to be shut down?

What do the citizens of Summerton need to do in order for the town and surrounding communities to survive and thrive in the 21st century? Share your ideas here and with your local civic, business, and government leaders. We must do better.

* Read the local Summerton Weekly News Roundup and check out the Summerton 'Open' Phone Book.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Veterans Gathering at Polly's Landing & Marina

On Friday, January 9, 2015, Polly's Landing, Campground and Marina in Summerton will be hosting a group of veterans from the Veterans Home in Walterboro, S.C.  Any other veterans from Summerton, Santee, and the surrounding Lake Marion area are welcome to join in the festivities. In fact, any veterans that come to Polly's Landing get any meal on the menu for only $3, between 11am and 1 pm. 

Polly's Landing, Campground, and Marina in Summerton, S.C., re-opened under new management back in October 2014. They began serving breakfast and lunch 7 days a week and were open for dinner from Thursday thru Sunday. Since then, business has tripled, according to co-owner and general manager Wayne Bazzle. The restaurant at Polly's is now open from 6am to 9pm and offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week.

The new management team at Polly's are working hard to improve the facilities and services provided at the campground and marina. In addition to the restaurant, Polly's also sells live bait, gas, ice, and other fishing and boat supplies. Come and enjoy the view, put your boat in at the landing, try the food, and have fun at Polly's Landing this Friday - or any day of the week all year round.

For directions, reviews, and other information about Polly's Landing, visit their Facebookpage on the Internet. Polly's Landing is located just off I-95, right on the shores of Lake Marion. Take I-95, exit 102. Polly's is right next to the luxurious North Shore Condos & Villas at Lake Marion.

* Also, check out the Summerton SC: Nature & Outdoor Recreation web site.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The 'Open' Education & Training Revolution Continues to Spread

First came free and 'open' source software. Then along came 'Open Access', 'Open' Data, 'Open' Standards, 'Open' IT Architecture, 'Open' Hardware, 'Open' Communities, 'Open' Government, 'Open' Education, and …  The 'Open' Movement continues to spread disrupting almost every industry.  The 'Open' Revolution is a rapidly spreading 21st century global phenomenon.
This article focuses on some of the major disruptive changes occurring related to the field of 'Open Education & Training, in both the public and private sector. These include everything from 'open access' journals and textbooks to 'open source' education and training software - and the latest phenomena, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC).  Pay attention South Carolina!
The number and quality of free and 'open source' education and training software products out there continues to grow. Have you checked some of them out? They are aimed at students, teachers, and public and private sector education and training organizations.  Have you heard of Sakai, Kuali, Kaltura, Moodle,  or Zotero? Check out some of the better products now available – go to the COSI Open Education web site.
You might also want to check out some of the many sources of high quality, free and 'open access' journals and textbooks available on the web. Do you know about Bentham Open Access, OER Commons, Versita Open, or the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)? Check out these and many of the other 'Open Access' Education resources.
Then there are Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) web sites that offer low cost, online courses aimed at nearly unlimited levels of participation by students or trainees around the globe. In addition to using traditional course materials (e.g. textbooks, videos), MOOCs also provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and instructors. MOOCs are a relatively recent development in distance education.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) emerged from the open educational resources (OER) movement. The term MOOC was first coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island and Senior Research Fellow Bryan Alexander of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education in Canada. You can read a lot more about the history of MOOCs on Wikipedia.
While MOOCs initially emerged and were used in academic settings, many private corporations around the world have begun to embrace them as a new, cost effective alternative for providing training to their employees.
Major Examples of 'Open' Education & Training Solutions
The following are brief profiles of some of the more notable Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms that are currently available:
edX  is a non-profit collaborative organization and web portal offering interactive Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) in subjects such as law, history, science, engineering, business, social sciences, computer science, public health, and more. Their decision to release their source code to the community was made to further accelerate enhancements to the platform.
Coursera  is an education company that has partnered with top universities and organizations around the world to offer free courses online for anyone to take. Coursera enables its partners to offer their courses to millions of students. It has emerged as the current leader of the pack, with over 10 million enrollments in Coursera from approximately 195 countries.
Udacity  is a for-profit education and training organization offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). Their mission is to help reinvent education for the 21st century by bridging the gap between real-world skills, relevant education, and employment.
Udemy  is another for-profit education and raining company helping its students make career moves – whether it be getting a promotion, breaking into a new industry, starting a company, or furthering a passion.
Other MOOC platforms to check out include Academic Earth, FutureLearn, OER University, OpenCurriculum, and YouTube EDU.
Corporate Training & MOOCs 
Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) are starting to impact corporate education and training programs. One of the most obvious benefits of making world-class academic and corporate educational experiences available online is the opportunity to lower training costs.
For example, a one day training program for 100 employees at a remote site could easily cost an organization well over $100,000 to hold.  Use of MOOCs allow the costs of developing course content and delivery of training to be amortized over thousands of company employees taking self-paced training sessions – with no major travel, facility, or equipment expenses required.
Many of today's knowledge workers are 'always on', expecting to access information and training anywhere, anytime – as needed.  MOOCs are ideally suited to these workers of the future. There is an excellent article posted on Wired.com entitled MOOCs On The Move From Colleges To Companies that is well worth reading and goes into the topic of MOOCs  in much more detail.
The article notes that major corporations around the world are adding online courses to their new 'blended learning' training programs with increasing success.  It also states that "Online access to company training courses is making it possible for corporate employees outside of headquarters to have the same opportunity for management training and promotion as their HQ peers; for foreign contractors to perform at the same level as their local peers; and for small companies to provide the same level and frequency of training to their employees as their larger competitors. "
An increasing number of corporate Human Resource (HR) management  officials are giving MOOCs a closer look as a new, more cost effective way to deliver training to employees. After trying it out, many early adopters have warming to the idea and are sharing their 'lessons learned' from their pilot initiatives with others.
Major Issues & Challenges
MOOCs are a relatively new phenomena. As they continue to catch on and gather momentum, resistance to them is increasing. There are numerous obstacles to overcome in the coming years before MOOCs find their place, as the field of education and training rapidly changes to meet the challenges of the 21st century 'Information Age'.
Some of the many challenges and issues that must be addressed include:
• Helping people overcome their fear of change and adjust to the new technologies and solutions – whether they be faculty, students, management, employees, young, or old.
• Helping facilitate radical change in how academic institutions and corporations currently offer education and training
• Changing outdated legislation or policies that favor the status quo – traditional classroom training offered by 'brick and mortar' institutions
• Continue to recognize and facilitate the move towards lifelong learning – offered to anyone, anywhere, anytime
• Continue the move towards the privatization of education and training at all levels – high school, college, on-the-job, etc.
• Continue to enhance the technologies and processes needed to provide high quality, online distance learning solutions
• Continue to make changes to current education and training programs and practices – college degrees programs vs. certification programs; obtaining accreditation for online courses; …
• Address the many privacy and security issues raised as we move towards use of many new technologies and more online education & training programs
• Explore and create new revenue opportunities for academic institutions, faculty, and private corporations providing education and training to people around the world.

Bottom Line - Traditional educational institutions are going to change dramatically over the coming years – investing more heavily in new technologies; increasingly going online; going after corporate customers; thinking global; offering certificates in addition to degrees; using open access textbooks; cutting costs while simultaneously offering more services; reducing academic staff; learning to be more flexible and 'open' minded…
Corporate training program will continue to evolve and outsource much of their training – the difference being that they will increasing make use of low cost, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) offerings by public and private sector organizations.  Some of the larger corporations will  stand up their own MOOC systems – using some of the many high quality 'open source' software tools now available, as well as using 'open access' textbooks and raining materials. They may even generate revenue by offering training to others outside their own organization.
Globalization, international competitiveness, and the growth of the knowledge-based industries of the 21st century will drive the growth of MOOCs. India has already grabbed the #2 spot in use of MOOCs, after the U.S.  Expect Europe, China, and a growing number of other countries to quickly take advantage of MOOCs as they compete in the global marketplace.
Have you used a MOOC? What was the experience like? How can they be improved? Do you think the use of MOOCs will spread to South Carolina? Share your constructive impressions and ideas with us.

Key Massive 'Open' Online Courses (MOOC) Links

Academic Earth 
Khan Academy 
OER University (OERu)
Peer to Peer University (P2PU)  
YouTube EDU