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QuickWire: U. of Southern California and 2U Offer Online Doctoral Degree

The University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education is expanding its partnership with the online course provider 2U to offer the education school’s first online doctoral degree. Online classes for the new doctor of education in organizational change and leadership will begin in January 2015. Officials say the three-year program will offer “live weekly classes with a low student-to-faculty ratio,” and the course content will be available online 24/7.

The online doctorate still nee…

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Data Breach at Iowa State U. Exposes Nearly 30,000 Social Security Numbers

The Social Security numbers of 29,780 students have been exposed in a data breach at Iowa State University, officials announced on Tuesday.

The university’s information-technology staff discovered a breach that affected five departmental servers containing information on students enrolled from 1995 to 2012. The servers also contained university ID numbers for 18,949 students.

University officials don’t believe the students’ personal information was the target of the attack. Rather, they said, th…

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QuickWire: Twitter Names Winners of Data Grants

In February, Twitter announced a new program offering researchers the chance to get free data for their studies. Apparently the idea has broad appeal: The company received 1,300 proposals from more than 60 countries, according to a blog post revealing the six institutions that have won the first round of grants.

The research projects will study “the diffusion and effectiveness of cancer early-detection campaigns” and the “happiness of cities,” among other things. The two American winners are the…

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Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its Birthday

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Like most youngsters, the Digital Public Library of America has been growing fast. Officially a year old, it now encompasses more than seven million items, three times what it started with 12 months ago.

Designed to be a gateway to information rather than a final destination, the DPLA doesn’t actually ingest digitized books, manuscripts, photos, moving pictures, recordings, or other materials. Instead, it works with a nationwide network of institutions to aggregate the metadata that describes …

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Cornell U. Researchers Put Robots in Conversation, and the Result Is Surprisingly Human

When the machines take over, much will change. But perhaps not the exquisite frustrations of a halting philosophical debate.

Researchers at Cornell University’s Creative Machines Lab have demonstrated this by putting two artificially intelligent avatars in conversation with one another. The avatars, called Cleverbots, are sophisticated versions of the classic Eliza program, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1960s. The Cornell researchers—two doctoral students and an…

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Udacity Will No Longer Offer Free Certificates

Udacity hopes the certificates it offers to people who complete its massive open online courses are worth something. Now the company plans to charge students accordingly.

The company, one of the big three MOOC providers, said on Wednesday that it would no longer give learners the opportunity to earn free, “non-identity-verified” certificates. People will still be able to view Udacity’s online-course materials without paying, but those who want a credential will have to open their wallets.

“Disco…

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2014: The Year the Media Stopped Caring About MOOCs?

The news media’s appetite for MOOC stories has been insatiable. So when the University of Pennsylvania sent an email inviting several hundred education reporters to a seminar on massive open online courses, it anticipated a healthy turnout.

But as the catering deadline approached at the National Press Club, in Washington, organizers realized that they had barely enough registered attendees to justify a platter of finger food.

“We didn’t have a set thing in mind as to how many would attend, b…

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The ‘Heartbleed’ Bug and How Internet Users Can Protect Themselves

Security professionals working in higher education are updating servers, reissuing certificates used to guarantee secure Internet transactions, and encouraging students and faculty and staff members to take a break from the commercial Internet following the discovery of a programming flaw in a widely used Internet tool.

Dubbed “Heartbleed,” the Internet-security breakdown cuts across industries and has raised anew questions about the vulnerability of proprietary data and personal information sh…

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QuickWire: Contractor Says He Hacked Maryland Network to Expose Flaws

A former employee of a University of Maryland contractor has told The Baltimore Sun that he breached the university’s network in an effort to highlight cybersecurity flaws that he said were being ignored.

The employee, David Helkowski, was with a company hired to work on a university website when, he said, he noticed and reported security flaws. When no action was taken to correct them, he said, he took administrators’ information, including President Wallace D. Loh’s Social Security and cellpho…