Tag Archives: 1997

Colleges Online 11/20/1997

XAP has been involved in education technology since 1988.

When I wrote about being able to apply to college online, I had no inkling that college classes themselves would someday be taught online.

Colleges Online 11/20/1997

by H.B. Koplowitz

Applying to college keeps getting easier, as higher education takes the competition for students into cyberspace. On the West Coast, for example, the nine-campus University of California system and the 22 Cal State University schools recently opened separate websites that let students fill out and submit admission forms online. The websites take a lot of the drudgery out of applying for college, enabling students to edit applications without the use of white-out, and apply to multiple schools without filling out multiple forms. Online applications also benefit the schools, saving data input time and storage space, not to mention trees.

Reflecting the patchwork of online college admission websites nationally, the two California university systems offer similar online services, but UC’s is managed in-house while CSU’s is provided by an outside company. As some schools have created their own online admission forms, others have signed on with private companies that let students use the same forms to apply to participating schools across the country. Most online application services are free to students, and some schools even waive their application fee if you apply online.

Cal State University’s online application website, “CSUMentor” <www.csumentor.edu>, is operated by L.A.-based XAP Corp. Owner Allen Firstenberg said he got the idea for online college applications several years ago when he walked into his youngest daughter’s bedroom and nearly tripped over a dozen stacks of paper. Each was an application packet for a college. It occurred to the then-director of Rockwell International’s Science Center that there had to be a better way.

“My mission was to make things easier for students and their families,” Firstenberg said. “To make it easier for them to understand the admissions process and the application process.”

In addition to the online application, “CSUMentor” has information on the different campuses, admission requirements and financial aid eligibility, and lets applicants communicate with CSU campuses via e-mail. A unique feature to XAP’s “datacheck” software is that it idiot-proofs applications, helping students submit — and schools to receive — accurate forms.

XAP’s website <www.xap.com> also provides online applications for a sprinkling of schools in Florida, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. And recently it signed up the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, including USC, the California Institute for the Arts and CalTech.

Firstenberg said Cal State and AICCU have agreed to share a common database, so that ultimately, students will only have to enter data once to create an application for any of the 71 independent colleges and 22 state universities in California.

When asked about the University of California, Firstenberg chuckled and said, “We’d love to have them.”

But UC has its own application website called “Pathways” <www.ucop.edu/pathways>.

“Basically it boils down to should we do it ourselves or pay an outside proprietor,” said UC spokesperson Terry Colvin. “Inevitably, it is cheaper and better if we do it ourselves.”

Colvin said that with assistance from IBM, the University of California began piloting “Pathways” with 58 California high schools four years ago. “Pathways” has information about UC campuses, financial aid, resources for transfer and foreign students, and high school and college courses that meet UC requirements. During its first year, UC anticipates 7,000 online applications, about 10 percent of its annual “crop,” Colvin said.

He added that in the future, UC would like all its applications to be online, and not just for the convenience of students. UC prints 200,000 applications a year. It gets back 70,000, which must then be retyped into a computer, stored, and eventually disposed of.

He said there have been discussions about a one-size-fits-all application for all California colleges and universities. As for creating a national form, Colvin said “we’ve never felt an urgent need to recruit out of state.”

Outside California, “Collegescape” <www.collegescape.com>, based in Cambridge, Mass., has online applications for more than 200 schools, big and small, and including such heavies as Harvard and Radcliffe, Oberlin, Reed College and New York University. Many of the schools waive their application processing fee if you apply online.

Another online admission website is “College Board Online” <www.collegeboard.org>, which is operated by the folks who administer the SATs among other tests. The website has computerized applications (you have to download the software) for more than 800 schools including the State Universities of New York, Yale, Sarah Lawrence and the Fashion Institute of Technology. It also offers career and financial aid search software, advice on writing college admission essays, and, of course, information on those dreaded college entrance exams.

© 1997-2021 by H.B. Koplowitz, all rights reserved.

BMI’s MusicBot the RoboCop of Cyberspace 10/30/1997

For my 12th column I did more entertainment-related pickups, meaning I picked them up from press releases or other news outlets. I led with a local Southern California story about a snake that ate a Chihuahua. As usual, I missed the real story, which was that BMI’s MusicBot was an early effort by the music industry to regulate the use of copyrighted music on the internet, and that Kinky Friedman’s reissues were on N2K’s Music Boulevard website, which was among the first to offer piracy-protected music for download.

BMI’s MusicBot the RoboCop of Cyberspace 10/30/1997

by H.B. Koplowitz

The owner of a Chihuahua-eating snake is appealing for donations over the Internet to bring his pet Colombian red-tailed boa back to his home in the San Fernando Valley.

In August, Alisss slithered away from Angus Johnson’s West Hills home and ate Flossie Torgerson’s dog, a long-haired Chihuahua named Babette, as Torgerson watched in horror. And took photos. She sued Johnson for damages and they appeared on the new The People’s Court TV show, where the judge, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, ruled in favor of Torgerson.

Meanwhile, Johnson has been fighting a separate battle with authorities to regain custody of the snake. After devouring Babette, Alisss was taken to the West Valley Animal Control shelter in Chatsworth. When the city refused to issue Johnson a wild animal permit so he could get his snake back, he claimed discrimination and threatened to sue.

Now the snake is in San Bernardino County, staying with a friend of Johnson’s. But the city won’t let him bring his snake home until he pays $70 for the permit, plus $150 in court costs and fines, and Johnson says he doesn’t have the money. His Web page seeks donations for the Free Alisss Defense Fund, although it is more like the Bring Alisss Home Fund, since the snake is no longer in a shelter.

Johnson is an aspiring hard rock musician. He has used Alisss, which is named after Alice Cooper, in his act. He says he rescued Alisss from an abusive owner eight years ago, and that the snake usually sleeps under his pillow.

The music cop, BMI, has unleashed a new Web robot that monitors music in cyberspace. “MusicBot” combs the Web, quantifying the use of music on different sites.

“BMI is working to make it easy to add the value of music to Web sites,” said BMI Senior Vice President of Licensing John Shaker. “At the same time, we want to make sure that music rights holders are encourage to let their music be performed online with the confidence that they will be properly compensated.

MusicBot is an automated tracking and database technology. It tracks the use of BMI-licensed music 24 hours a day, seven days a week, doing the work of 20 full-time employees for a fraction of the cost. Preliminary returns from MusicBot suggest that about 2 percent, or 26,000 of the 1.3 million sites on the Web, use audio files.

BMI distributes royalties to songwriters, composers, and music publishers for the performance and copying of their works. MusicBot is the latest BMI initiative to protect the rights of the more than 200,000 copyright holders it represents.

The organization has created three new licenses (Web site wide license, music area license and corporate image license) for Web sites to get the rights to music. The license applications can be downloaded at BMI’s Web site, which also has information on licensing music on radio, TV, cable, businesses and the Internet, and a huge Internet song title database searchable by song title or writer, with writer and publisher information on songs licensed by BMI.

Two classic CDs from irreverent musician, author and raconteur Kinky Friedman are for sale online exclusively at N2K’s Music Boulevard Web site. [In 1999, Music Boulevard was purchased by CDNow, which was acquired by Amazon in 2002]. The Internet release of Old Testaments and New Revelations and From One Good American to Another coincides with the release of Friedman’s latest mystery novel, Roadkill.

Old Testaments and New Revelations includes 21 songs spanning 20 years of road grit and flat beer. The set includes such classics as “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore,” recorded live in 1992 on the Don Imus radio show, and “The Ballad of Charles Whitman,” featuring the legendary Texas Jewboys.

In From One Good American to Another, Friedman explores his folk/country roots. The CD features Dr. John and members of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder revue as well as The Texas Jewboys, classics such as “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” and “Hobo’s Lullaby,” and a moving rendition of “Old Shep.”

The Kinkster has parlayed his singing career into a new incarnation as a mystery writer and super sleuth of his own novels. Roadkill features himself as a country music singer/ace detective coming to the aid of friend and country music star Willie Nelson.

Know of a “Kinky” site? Send your questions, comments or suggestions to XXXX@earthlink.net.

© 1997-2021 by H.B. Koplowitz, all rights reserved.