Category Archives: Technology

Tech trends on campus.


Youngstown State Will Make Websites Accessible to Disabled After Federal Probe

Youngstown State University has agreed to update its websites to accommodate people with disabilities after the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights found that the college had violated two federal nondiscrimination laws.

The department announced on Friday that the Ohio institution had agreed to, among other things, write and publish a notice of nondiscrimination on relevant materials, provide appropriate training to staff members who work on its websites, and report back on its pr…


MIT Pulls Professor’s Online Lectures After Sexual-Harassment Finding

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has taken down online lectures by a former faculty member after it determined he had sexually harassed a woman on the Internet, The Boston Globe reports. A woman who was participating in MITx, the institute’s online-learning platform, filed a complaint against Walter Lewin in October.

Mr. Lewin stopped teaching on the campus in 2008, and last taught an MITx course in 2013. The Globe could not reach him for comment on Monday night.

“Dr. Lewin had a long a…


U. of Texas System Spearheads ‘Mobile-First’ Competency-Based Courses

The University of Texas system announced on Monday it was creating a competency-based education program that will offer courses students can take on mobile devices, for fields that most need graduates statewide, such as medical sciences. The program, which will start in 2015, is the first of its kind in the nation, the system said in a news release.

The system’s Institute for Transformational Learning, which was established in 2012 with $50-million in funds, will lead the effort. The project wil…


Facebook Announces Tighter Guidelines for Research on Its Users

Facebook announced new guidelines on Thursday for research on the social-media giant’s 1.3 billion users. The new oversight includes enhanced reviews of any proposed studies that would focus on particular groups or populations, or that would relate to “content that may be considered deeply personal (such as emotions),” the company said in a statement written by Mike Schroepfer, its chief technology officer.

The policy change followed a months-long debate over a controversial study that manipulat…


No Drone Flights Over Football Stadiums on Game Day, FAA Tells U. of Michigan

The University of Michigan won’t be delivering the game ball via drone during Saturday’s football game against the University of Utah. The university canceled that plan after federal aviation officials schooled it on rules for unmanned aircraft systems, as the small remote-controlled devices are called.

The original idea was to use a drone to fly a football into Michigan Stadium, the largest in college sports, as part of a celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the university’s aerospace d…


The U. of Missouri Would Like to Wish Beyoncé a Happy Birthday

Fans of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter take her birthday seriously, and among their ranks, apparently, is the person who runs the University of Missouri at Columbia’s Twitter account.

The celebration of the pop superstar by the Twitter account appeared to begin with this tweet by a Missouri student:

The university answered with a link to this .gif:

beyonce gif 1

The account then broadcast its love for Beyo…


University Coalition Is Among Challengers to FAA’s Drone Rules

The Council on Governmental Relations, a coalition of 188 research universities, is one of three groups that on Friday filed lawsuits challenging recent regulations on unmanned flying machines, the Associated Press reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that the rules are an attempt to clarify what counts as a model aircraft and the limits on their operation. Professors have argued that the rules improperly restrict their ability to use drones for academic purposes.

Last year the…


College on the Cover: Doom and Gloom Through the Decades

Behold the cover of next month’s issue of The Atlantic, unveiled on Thursday.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 11.21.01 AM

The cover story profiles Ben Nelson, president and CEO of the Minerva Project, a start-up seeking “to replace (or, when [Mr. Nelson] is feeling less aggressive, ‘reform’) the modern liberal-arts college,” writes Graeme Wood.

Questions like “Is college doomed?” are loaded. The Atlantic cover qualifies its bold query by stating in the subhead that “college” refers to “traditional universities.” And “doomed” would more a…


MIT Releases Wide-Ranging Report on Its Future

You wouldn’t expect an academic road map by the brainiacs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be, oh, shorter than a small textbook, would you?

MIT released on Monday a report on “the future of MIT education,” the result of 18 months’ work by a task force made up of dozens of faculty and staff members and students. It clocks in at 213 pages. (To be fair, the appendixes start on Page 31.) Among its 16 recommendations are:

  • A stronger commitment to affordability.
  • The creation of an “ed…

Energy Dept. Unveils Plan to Increase Public Access to Research It Finances

The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday unveiled a plan to increase public access to research that it finances, in response to an order last year from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Science magazine reported.

The Obama administration last year directed federal agencies to develop plans to make the results of research they support publicly available within a year of publication. The Energy Department will do so through a web-based portal known as the Public Access Gatewa…