Category Archives: Technology

Tech trends on campus.


Bill Gates Talks Performance Funding and MOOCs in Conference Keynote

Bill Gates, a founder of Microsoft and billionaire philanthropist, touched on a myriad of issues facing higher-education institutions during his keynote address on Monday at the annual conference, in Seattle, of the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Here are some of the highlights:

On access: “The United States really stands for the proposition of equal opportunity. We’re striving in our work [at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation] to have the U.S. maintain and s…


33 Ethicists Defend Facebook’s Controversial Mood Study

A group of bioethicists wrote in a column published on Wednesday that Facebook’s controversial study of mood manipulation was not unethical, and harsh criticism of it risks putting a chill on future research. The article was written by six ethicists, joined by 27 others.

The study, which was designed in part by Cornell University researchers and carried out by Facebook in 2012, made tweaks in the social network’s algorithm that determines what appears in a user’s timeline, in an effort to meas…


Maryland’s UMUC Considers Restructuring as Enrollments Fall

The University of Maryland University College, a major player in the online-education market, is considering ideas for a restructuring amid declining enrollments, The Washington Post reported.

Javier Miyares, the university’s president, has formed an advisory group to consider restructuring proposals. One of those ideas would involve transforming the institution into a “not-for-profit business entity” affiliated with the University System of Maryland, of which it is currently a full-fledge…


Journal That Published Facebook’s Study Raises Ethics Concerns

The editor in chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the journal that recently published Facebook’s controversial research on its manipulation of users’ news feeds, is raising concerns about how Facebook collected the data.

The study was conducted by the social-media giant and co-designed by researchers at Cornell University. It involved manipulating what users saw in their news feeds to measure how the changes would affect the mood of their own posts. The study has come u…


British Regulator Investigates Controversial Facebook Study

A government regulator in Britain will investigate whether Facebook violated data-protection laws by conducting a study that manipulated the emotions of unknowing users, the Financial Times reports.

The information commissioner’s office, which has the authority to force a company to change its policies or levy fines of up to £500,000, did not elaborate on which part of the law Facebook may have broken.

The study, which was conducted in 2012 by Facebook but designed by researchers at Cornell Univ…


Education Dept. Again Delays State-Authorization Rules

The U.S. Department of Education has once more pushed back the deadline for compliance with a requirement that colleges be properly authorized by state governments, according to a notice to be published in Tuesday’s Federal Register.

In 2010 the department issued rules containing a provision requiring colleges to seek approval from each state where they enroll students online. A court overturned that portion of the rules in 2011. The regulations also contained state standards that were set to ta…


Colleges’ Embrace of Online Learning Is a ‘Credit Positive’

Report: “Moody’s Weekly Credit Outlook: U.S. Public Finance Edition” (available to subscribers to Moody’s on its website)

Organization: Moody’s Investors Service

Summary: A U.S. Department of Education report released last week shows that a quarter of all college students took some online courses toward their degrees in the fall of 2012. That level of market penetration, particularly in the for-profit sector, demonstrates that American higher education is adapting to advances in technology and t…


Kansas Board Adopts Policy Allowing Discipline for Misuse of Social Media

The Kansas Board of Regents on Wednesday unanimously approved a revised social-media policy that allows leaders of the state’s public colleges to punish or fire employees whose postings are found to be improper, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The changes include statements that support academic freedom and free-speech rights. The board’s first version of the policy, approved in December, sparked an uproar among faculty members, and faculty leaders raised concerns that the revised document


Court Upholds 19 Charges for ‘Cyberbully’ in Dead Sea Scrolls Case

The New York State Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld 19 misdemeanor charges against a man who used false online identities to harass scholars in a debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Associated Press reported.

Raphael Golb was originally sentenced to six months in prison and five years’ probation. The court, which is New York’s highest, on Tuesday upheld 19 charges and threw out 10 others against Mr. Golb, including identity theft, the only felony. He will have to be resentenced with the fel…


Kansas Board of Regents’ Panel Approves Revised Social-Media Policy

The governance committee of the Kansas Board of Regents on Tuesday approved a revised social-media policy that would allow leaders of the state’s public colleges to fire a professor or staff member for social-media postings that are deemed to be improper, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The newspaper said the panel’s unanimous decision defied widespread opposition from individuals who had weighed in on the policy during a public-comment period.

The board approved the first version of the po…