Category Archives: Technology

Tech trends on campus.


Here’s a Snapshot of Online Learning in 2015

The Babson Survey Research Group released its last annual survey of the online-education landscape on Tuesday. You can read its report on the survey here, and below are some of its key findings:

  • The percentage of academic leaders who said online learning was critical to their institution’s mission dropped from 71 percent, in 2014 — the highest ever — to 63 percent.
  • The number of distance-education students increased at a slightly higher rate — 3.9 percent — from 2014 to 2015 than it did in …

Network-Security Measures at UC Raise Some Professors’ Fears of Snooping

Some faculty members at the University of California at Berkeley are voicing concerns that administrators could use new systemwide network-security hardware to monitor their emails and record what websites they visit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

In a column last week, two reporters cited an alarm raised by one faculty member, who said in a message to other professors that the “intrusive device” was “capable of capturing and analyzing all network traffic to and from the Berkeley …


Yahoo Releases Vast Amount of Data to University Researchers

The Internet giant Yahoo Inc. will release a vast amount of data about how its users behave on the web exclusively to university researchers, The Wall Street Journal reports. The data amount to 13.5 terabytes, which, the Journal notes, is two-thirds the size of the Library of Congress.

According to the newspaper, Yahoo’s release represents an effort to attract top researchers to the company. It’s not the first time Yahoo has reached out to academe. In 2014 the company announced a five-year partn…


Authors Guild Takes Google Books Challenge to Supreme Court

The Authors Guild has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the organization’s decade-long challenge to Google’s Books program, which the guild says violates copyright law by making money for the online-search giant without providing any compensation to the books’ authors.

The case dates to 2005, and was most recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which ruled last October that Google’s scanning of books and use of their texts was protected by the fair-use provisions …


After Low Enrollment, U. of Florida Cancels Online Partnership With Pearson

[Updated (10/23/2015, 5:08 p.m.) with more detail from Pearson's statement.]

The University of Florida is canceling its contract with Pearson Embanet to administer its online degree-granting arm, UF Online, after attracting low enrollment. Politico Florida cites an email from Evangeline J. Cummings, the university’s assistant provost and director of UF Online, saying the contract would be terminated in late December.

“In accordance with this shift to integrate UF Online more fully into core univ…


Google Gets Another Win in Book-Scanning Court Challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed Google another victory on Friday in a high-profile case about copyright infringement, declaring that its scanning of books as part of the Google Books project constitutes fair use. In its ruling, a unanimous three-judge panel of the court upheld a federal judge’s 2013 ruling against the Authors Guild, which sued the tech giant in 2005.

However, the court noted that individual libraries could “incur liability by negligent mishandling” of cop…


MIT Unveils ‘MicroMaster’s,’ Allowing Students to Get Half Their Degree From MOOCs

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will begin allowing students to earn half of a master’s degree through online courses, then cap it off with a single semester on the campus. The university’s president, L. Rafael Reif, announced the pilot program on Wednesday.

Under the program, any online student who completes the first semester’s worth of courses in MIT’s supply-chain-management master’s program, earning good grades and passing a “comprehensive proctored examination,” will have a leg u…


U. of Kansas Can’t Expel Student Over Derogatory Tweets, Court Rules

The University of Kansas must reinstate a student it expelled for derogatory tweets he posted about his ex-girlfriend, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

The Kansas Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Navid Yeasin, who was expelled in 2013, couldn’t be held responsible under the university’s code of student conduct because there was “no proof in the record that Yeasin posted the tweets while he was on campus,” and the code governs only behavior on the campus or at university-sponsored events…


5 College Rankings Based on the White House’s New College Scorecard Data

The White House this weekend released a new consumer tool, the College Scorecard, aimed at helping students and their parents compare colleges. To the great delight of higher-ed wonks, the Obama administration also released the troves of data underlying the tool — including previously unavailable figures on student debt, loan repayment, and graduate earnings.

Caveats abound. Most notably, the earnings data — which is based on tax records — includes only students who received federal loans or…


Technology Chief at Minnesota Resigns Following Misconduct Allegations

The chief information officer at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Scott Studham, resigned this month following accusations of misconduct related to contracts, hiring, and spending, the Star-Tribune reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Mr. Studham had left to focus on training for an Ironman triathlon. But the Star-Tribune said Mr. Studham had resigned on September 4 at the request of the university’s president, Eric W. Kaler.

The news of Mr. Studham’s exit followed t…