February 5, 2015, 04:55 AM ET
The Babson Survey Research Group released its annual
online-education survey on Thursday. The Babson surveyors, Jeffrey
Seaman and I. Elaine Allen, have been tracking online higher
education since 2002, soliciting responses from chief academic
officers at thousands of institutions. You can read this year's
report, based on a survey conducted in 2014, here.
you don't have the time, here are three things academic leaders
believe about online education: 1. Online education has
become mission-critical, even at small colleges.
percentage of academic leaders who agreed that online education is
critical to the long-term strategy of their institutions crept up
steadily until 2013, when it fell slightly, from 69 percent to 66
percent. In 2014, however, the percentage was back up to 71
percent, the highest rate yet. The most-drastic recent shift in the
perceived importance of online...
February 2, 2015, 12:55 PM ET
Resisting the urge to pull out your
phone in class is quite difficult for many students, apparently.
There are texts to answer, emails to read, snapchats to send, and
rude comments to post on Yik Yak. But two students at California
State University at Chico have created something they hope will
persuade students to keep their phones tucked firmly in their
pockets: An app that rewards them with coupons for local businesses
when they exhibit self-control and leave their phones untouched
during class. Rob Richardson, a junior computer-science major, got
the idea for the iPhone app, called Pocket Points,
by looking around his
classes and seeing what he considered to be far too many students
with their heads down, paying attention to their phones rather than
to the lesson taking place in front of them. If you’re in class,
it’s simple: “There should be no reason you should be on your...
January 26, 2015, 04:55 AM ET
Writing useful comments on students' work can be a fine art. And
for instructors who put a lot of effort into crafting a critique,
there's always a substantial risk students will skip the written
feedback and go right to the grade. When
is grading his students' final assignments,
he likes to skip the written comments for them. Instead of a red
pen, Mr. Henderson, a senior lecturer in education at Monash
University, in Australia, takes out a video camera. He records a
five-minute, unscripted critique for each student. He doesn't
bother editing the videos, even if he says "um" a lot or has to
rephrase a sentence or two. Mr. Henderson and
a colleague on the education faculty, have
been doing it this way for about five years. They say their
students prefer video feedback, finding it clearer and seemingly
more sincere than written notes, notwithstanding...
January 21, 2015, 04:17 PM ET
Facebook is a tempting distraction. I have it open as a tab in my
browser as I write this. And look, it’s showing that I have a new
notification! I must see it, immediately. Facebook
designed the site
to make me feel that way. This doesn’t bode
well for college students. If professionals, and even
have a hard time resisting the lure of
Facebook, then what chance do 18-year-olds have? New research
suggests that the kids may be all right. A study of Facebook
activity and grade-point averages suggests that students may learn
to regulate their use of Facebook, both as a distraction from
coursework and in their free time, as they move through college.
Reynol Junco, an associate professor of education at Iowa State
University, collected data from about 1,800 students at a four-year
college. He found that students who spent a lot of time on Facebook
while also trying to ...
January 15, 2015, 02:34 PM ET
Academic life can be
Professors, postdocs, and doctoral students spend their
lives holed up in libraries, labs, and lecture halls, becoming
intimate with words and ideas that are liable to alienate them from
other people, especially nonacademics. That can make dating
awkward. The latest evidence of this has coalesced around the
Twitter hashtag #RuinADateWithAnAcademicInFiveWords.
Over the past day or so, people have been contributing phrases they
say would raise red flags.
In hundreds of tweets, clear themes have emerged.
Apparently, a sure...
January 13, 2015, 04:55 AM ET
The abundance of data being collected on students has been
celebrated as an opportunity to “personalize” education. But
privacy advocates have long warned that digital paper trails might
leave today’s students exposed if their personal information fell
into the wrong hands. The White House announced on Monday that it
would be taking up the cause of student privacy, pushing
legislation that would “prevent companies from selling student data
to third parties for purposes unrelated to the educational
mission,” according to a news release. However, the bill, called
Student Digital Privacy Act,
would focus on students in
elementary and secondary schools, not college students, according
to Obama-administration officials. In a speech at the headquarters
of the Federal Trade Commission, President Obama pitched the
Student Digital Privacy Act as a measure to keep companies from...
January 6, 2015, 04:56 AM ET
Women and men behave differently in online class discussions, at
least in science, engineering, and computer-science courses,
according to a new study
conducted by Piazza Technologies, a company that makes a digital
class-participation tool. The company found that women use its
program, called Piazza, to ask more questions than do their male
peers, but that they answer fewer questions. When women do answer,
they are more likely to answer anonymously. The findings come in
the midst of an
about male privilege in the sciences. Part of
Piazza's mission is to
level the playing field
for men and women in academic
environments. Piazza is an online discussion platform that
professors at more than 1,000 colleges use to encourage students to
ask questions of and answer questions for their classmates.
Participation is usually optional, although some professors track
January 2, 2015, 04:25 PM ET
A deeply personal posting by an MIT professor and self-described
“nerdy male” wrestling with the idea of male privilege has set off
a debate about feminism, nerds, and privilege across the Internet.
The posting, by Scott Aaronson, an associate professor of
electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, appeared as a comment on his blog
in December. It was part of the discussion on a post Mr. Aaronson
wrote earlier about how MIT had reacted after determining that
Walter Lewin, a former professor, had
sexually harassed women
on the Internet. In the original blog
post, Mr. Aaronson wrote that sexual harassment "must never be
tolerated," but he took issue with MIT's
to remove Mr. Lewin's online lectures. Mr. Aaronson's
later comment stated: “I spent my formative years—basically, from
the age of 12 until my mid-20s—feeling not...
December 19, 2014, 12:42 PM ET
We're reviving our annual feature profiling influential technology
innovators and the ideas they're advocating, and we'd like your
suggestions. Our hope is to cover a wide range of areas within the
college world—teaching, scholarship, administration, libraries,
student life, and more. So this is not just about decisions made in
the top tech offices of colleges. And we hope to hear about a wide
range of institutions—we're just as interested in a scrappy project
on a shoestring budget as we are about a big-ticket outlay. To see
what we've done in past years, see our 2013 list, The
or our 2012 edition,
Rebooting the Academy.
We expect to publish the new articles in
April 2015. If you have a person to recommend, or you'd like to
nominate yourself, please use the form below. The deadline for
nominations is Friday, January 9. Editor's Note: Nominations
are no longer being ...
December 19, 2014, 04:56 AM ET