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March 18, 2015, 04:55 AM ET

New .College Domain Is Opportunity for Some Colleges, Worry for Others

A college's online presence isn't as simple as the classic .edu. The college also has to worry about .com, .net, and .org, to protect its good name. And as of this week, there's another domain type to worry about: .college. On Tuesday colleges with registered trademarks were given first dibs at .college domains. Trademark holders are eligible to register and obtain domains that exactly match their trademarks — at no charge — until April 17. Another registration phase begins on April 20. When new domain types were first discussed, there was "some discussion, some excitement, and some hand wringing" about what they might mean for colleges, said Gregory A. Jackson, who was formerly vice president for policy at Educause, an academic-technology organization, and chief information officer at the University of Chicago. Some people in higher ed took the "who cares" approach, either... Read More

March 17, 2015, 04:55 AM ET

Videos Find Their Place In and Out of the Classroom

Among today's students, videos as an educational tool are as expected as textbooks. A new study has found that 68 percent of students watch videos in class, and 79 percent watch them on their own time, outside of class, to assist in their learning. Elisabeth Leonard, author of the study and executive market-research manager for SAGE Publications, said many of the students she spoke with said they couldn't remember a time when videos weren't part of their educational experience. The study, "Great Expectations: Students and Video in Higher Education," was conducted by SAGE and released on Monday. Ms. Leonard said her research into the topic had been prompted by SAGE's plans to release streaming video collections this spring. The study relied on a survey of 1,673 students. Of them, 49 percent were undergraduates and 33 percent were graduate or postgraduate students. The remaining 18... Read More

March 13, 2015, 05:30 PM ET

3 Big Issues We Heard About at SXSWedu

Austin, Tex. — Student privacy, easier-to-use digital tools for instructors, and efforts to offer alternative credentials were some of the most-talked-about topics this week at the South by Southwest Edu conference, an offshoot of the popular South by Southwest music festival. The event brings together a mix of participants from different parts of education — teachers, administrators, and publishers in elementary, secondary, and higher education. This year The Chronicle hosted a “special program” on "Understanding the New Landscape of Higher Ed," about which we’ll share more details in the coming weeks. As we look through our notebooks of other sessions at the event, here are some highlights:

Student Privacy

Big data is coming to education, if it’s not here already. But the rules and norms for handling digital information generated by students are far from clear. Some 32... Read More

March 10, 2015, 03:57 PM ET

What Might an Apple Watch for Higher Education Look Like?

An Apple Watch that's tailored to meet the needs of academics could be the next big thing in higher education. Someday. The technology giant held an event this week to show off its new device, and that prompted Sylvain Deville, a research scientist at France's National Center for Scientific Research, to reimagine the Apple Watch as a scholar-friendly device. He called his creation Apple Watch Academia, and shared it on Twitter with the fake promotion "Science. In real time." His version of the Apple Watch would have it all: the ability to read PDFs, caffeine sensors signaling when you’ve gone a whole hour without coffee, alerts on the status of your paper — if it’s accepted, you get a light tap, but if it’s rejected, you get an electrical shock to “remind you to work... Read More

March 10, 2015, 04:55 AM ET

Yale Announces 'Blended' Online Master's Degree

Yale University is creating a master’s program that will hold many courses online, continuing the Ivy League institution's foray into "blended" learning. The online program, to be offered by the Yale School of Medicine, would aim to replicate its residential program for training physicians’ assistants. Students would meet in virtual classrooms where they would discuss course material using videoconferencing technology. They would also have to complete field training — accounting for roughly half of the coursework — in person, at Yale-approved clinics near where they live. It is the second professional school at Yale to try the "blended" model for a graduate program, following the Yale School of Nursing, which opened a partially online doctoral degree in 2011. Yale has taken an active but measured interest in online education in the past decade. In 2007 it became one of the... Read More

March 5, 2015, 03:03 PM ET

Southern New Hampshire President to Advise Education Dept. on Competency-Based Learning

Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, will take a three-month leave of absence to join the Department of Education as a senior adviser to the under secretary of education, Ted Mitchell. Mr. LeBlanc will be involved with the department’s innovation agenda, specifically its experiments with competency-based education and with establishing new accreditation methods for innovative programs. Southern New Hampshire University has been at the forefront of competency-based education with its College for America program, which was the first competency-based degree program approved by the department to award student aid based on the direct assessment of student learning. “I hope to help the department, and all of us, answer the many questions we still have about competency-based education,” Mr. LeBlanc said in a news release. Mr. LeBlanc's leave of absence will... Read More

March 5, 2015, 04:55 AM ET

Free iPads, With a Catch: They'll Squeal if You Cut Class

Lynn University, a small institution in Boca Raton, Fla., started giving away iPads to all its new students about a year and a half ago. Now there is a catch: If those students cut class, their iPads might tattle on them. The university is planning to try out a new app, called Class120, to “ping” its students' iPads during class periods. If GPS or the campus wi-fi network indicates that someone's device is not present, the app will send the student an automated reminder, and may notify his or her academic coach as well. (At Lynn, students are expected to carry their iPads to classes.) This sounds a little Big Brother-ish, and Lynn's administrators are aware of that. But they say they have no interest in stalking students outside of regular class hours. “We’re not interested where you are on Friday night,” says Christian Boniforti, the chief information officer. “We’re... Read More

March 3, 2015, 04:59 AM ET

New Social Network Is All College, All the Time

Once upon a time, Facebook was reserved for college students only. A new social network is trying to reboot that idea, with a college-only service called Friendsy. The service is the creation of two Princeton University undergraduates, Michael Pinsky and Vaidhy Murti, who hope to help facilitate connections among college students who might otherwise never meet. “It’s kind of nice and reassuring to know that there’s a network of people just like you out there who are trying to meet other people and who are trying to branch out,” Mr. Pinsky said. The service has two main features: connect and chitchat. With connect, students can swipe through different profiles and indicate one of three relationships they'd like to have with a person: friendship, hookup, or date. Users can apply filters—looking to connect only with women or only with, say, students in their own college or only... Read More

February 26, 2015, 07:48 AM ET

Understanding the New Higher-Ed Landscape: Chronicle Sessions at SXSWedu

Big challenges face higher education these days, and plenty of talk about new models and approaches. At this year’s South by Southwest education conference, in Austin, Tex., The Chronicle is organizing a morning of sessions to share some of the trends and challenges we’re seeing, and we invite audience members to share their big ideas. As part of the event, we’re borrowing a page from the TV show Shark Tank. We’re inviting several academic and start-up leaders to make a three-minute pitch about an innovative project or product they think will deal with a key problem facing higher education. A panel of experts will weigh in on the idea—not just about whether it can work but how it might affect higher education as a whole. If you’ll be at the event and have a pitch you’d like to make during the session, let us know on the following form. We plan to make audio of the session... Read More

February 24, 2015, 04:55 AM ET

Meet the 26-Year-Old Behind Academic Twitter's Most Popular Hashtags

It didn’t take much for Glen Wright to figure out that academics on Twitter are just like everyone else. “#AcademicWithCats—let’s get it started people!” wrote Mr. Wright, a Paris-based researcher, from the account for his blog, Academia Obscura. Many academics spend their days reading and purveying dense, largely humorless tomes, or buried in lab work or archives, and have a reputation as a serious tribe. Cats and Twitter, however, are great equalizers. Following Mr. Wright’s post, in early December, photographs of academics posing with their cats came pouring in. They are still trickling in today. Mr. Wright, 26, is an improbable figure. He is not particularly known for his research at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. He does not hold a doctoral degree. At this time last year, he had barely used Twitter. And yet Mr. Wright has... Read More