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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…

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New Grants Will Help Journalism Programs Engage With Communities

The Online News Association has announced the first round of journalism programs to receive $35,000 “microgrants” as part of its 2014 Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The challenge is a collaboration among the association, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Democracy Fund.

The money will be used to test live-news experiments designed to engage local communities and to re…

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QuickWire: Collecting Altmetric Data in China

As more researchers use social media to share and comment on one another’s work, those networks have become rich sources of data for altmetrics—alternative measures that look beyond citation rates and impact factors to get a fuller picture of how scholarship is circulating. But researchers in China can’t share journal articles and papers via Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked there.

Altmetric, one of several services that have sprung up to provide altmetrics to publishers, libraries, and re…

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QuickWire: Educause President Will Retire Next Year

Diana G. Oblinger, president and chief executive officer of the education-technology consortium Educause, will retire in March 2015, the organization said on Thursday. Ms. Oblinger, who has been president of the 2,400-member group since 2008, oversaw the creation of Educause’s first online events and its program of Next Generation Learning Challenges grants, which has distributed nearly $55-million to date. The organization said she was retiring “to focus on her family.”

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QuickWire: Participants Vote to End 2U Semester Online

Following the defection of several participating universities, the online-course provider 2U and its remaining partners in the experimental Semester Online program have decided to shut it down following this summer’s courses. Semester Online promised to offer live online class sessions from prestigious institutions, but after uneasy faculty members at institutions like Duke University and Washington University in St. Louis forced administrators to back away from the experiment, the remaining par…

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Google Blocks U. of Illinois at Chicago From Emailing Its Own Students

The University of Illinois at Chicago recently found itself living a modern nightmare: Google’s automated cybersecurity regime mistook the university as the culprit in a spam attack on the university’s students and began blocking university email accounts from sending messages to Gmail users.

The blocking went on for more than two weeks, and the affected Gmail users included 13,000 of the university’s own students. University officials describe those two weeks as a Kafkaesque state of limbo.

On …

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Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money…

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Taking Notes by Hand Benefits Recall, Researchers Find

Distractions posed by laptops in the classroom have been a common concern, but new research suggests that even if laptops are used strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students’ academic performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or pencil.

Daniel M. Oppenheimer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Pam Mueller, a graduate student at Princeton University, studied the effects of students’ note-taking preferences. Their …