Category Archives: Technology

Tech trends on campus.


New Project Will Turn Out-of-Print Humanities Texts Into Free E-Books

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are teaming up on a new grant program that seeks to turn out-of-print books in the humanities into freely available e-books. The project is known as Humanities Open Book.

The two organizations said in a news release that texts proposed for the Humanities Open Book program “must be of demonstrable intellectual significance and broad interest to current readers.”

The groups will give grants to publishers to identify huma…


Obama vs. His Predecessors in State of the Union’s Focus on Colleges: an Interactive Tool

President Obama said the words “college” or “colleges” 12 times in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, which seems like a relatively high figure for a speech—and a nation—full of issues. How does Mr. Obama’s focus on higher education in the address compare to that of other presidents?

The work of Benjamin M. Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University, provides a viewable answer. Using a database containing the text of every State of the Union message, Mr. Schmi…


Dartmouth Accuses 64 Students of Cheating in Popular Course

Dartmouth College has accused 64 students of cheating in a “Sports, Ethics, and Religion” course taught last fall, the Valley News reports. Randall Balmer, chairman of the religion department, discovered in October that absent students in his class were passing their clickers to classmates who were present to answer in-class questions on their behalf.

Mr. Balmer told the newspaper that most of the students involved had been suspended for a semester. In the fall he counted 43 students who handed …


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…