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Tools That Limit Distraction May Raise Student Performance in Online Classes

For students taking courses online, the endless distractions of the Internet can be a hindrance to success. But using software to limit those diversions can make a big difference.

That’s the takeaway from a new study, which found that limiting distractions can help students perform better and also improve course completion.

A paper describing the study, “Can Behavioral Tools Improve Online Student Outcomes? Experimental Evidence From a Massive Open Online Course,” was published by the Cornell Hi…

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How Social Media Helps Students Adapt to College

For today’s students, social media isn’t just a diversion. It’s a support system.

That’s the key finding of a paper exploring the role that Facebook plays in helping students adjust to campus life. Collin M. Ruud, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented the paper, “Social Networking and Social Support: Does It Play a Role in College Social Integration?,” on Sunday at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting.

Mr. Ruud ha…

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Blogs Aren’t Better Than Journal Assignments. They’re Just Different.

Although some instructors are phasing out journal-keeping assignments in favor of a class blog, a study has found that blogs are not inherently better instructional tools.

Drew Foster, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, recently said so in a paper, “Private Journals Versus Public Blogs: The Impact of Peer Readership on Low-Stakes Reflective Writing,” published in Teaching Sociology.

With all the hype about blogging, Mr. Foster decided to give it a try i…

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New Offering From Noodle Will Help Colleges Build Online Programs

The education site Noodle is putting a new twist on helping colleges create online degree and certificate programs with its creation of Noodle Partners, announced on Wednesday.

Noodle Partners, the brainchild of the Princeton Review founder John Katzman, is an enabler — a company that helps colleges build online-education programs. Several other companies provide similar services, one of them being 2U, also founded by Mr. Katzman.

But Noodle Partners is different from other enablers, said Jodi…

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Who’s Taking MOOCs? Teachers

In free online courses offered by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teachers are increasingly the students. A study by the two universities has found that teachers are enrolling in their MOOCs in high numbers.

The study examines data from some one million MOOC students who enrolled in courses at edX, the nonprofit learning platform started by Harvard and MIT. Some one-fifth of participants answered a survey about their background in teaching, and 39 percent of th…

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Northeastern U. Will Open Education ‘Hub’ in Silicon Valley Company

Like many colleges these days, Northeastern University is building an outpost in Silicon Valley. But the university touts its unusual approach, opening an education “hub” within a high-tech company.

The university will offer courses in the San Jose offices of Integrated Device Technology, which manufactures semiconductors. The outpost will offer a master’s program in engineering management and two certificate programs, one in data science and the other in technology-project management.

The Silic…

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Online or In-Person? One College Lets Students Switch Back and Forth

When you register for a course, you often have a choice: in-person or online. But at Peirce College, you don’t have to pick one or the other. All students will soon get access to both formats in the same course.

Peirce, a college in Philadelphia that caters specifically to adult learners, plans to allow its students to switch back and forth between attending class in person or online, based on which is more convenient for them on a given week. The flexible delivery model will be offered in certa…

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U. of New Haven and Upstart Coding School Team Up on Master’s Program

A new breed of for-profit coding schools has emerged in recent years, largely as a skills-focused alternative to traditional higher education. Now one of them has joined forces with a traditional university to build a master’s program.

The University of New Haven has teamed up with Galvanize, one of those upstart coding schools, to create GalvanizeU, a 12-month master’s program in data science based in San Francisco. The program will allow students to both take courses and work alongside indus…

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LinkedIn Expands Efforts to Help Colleges Keep in Touch With Students and Alumni

LinkedIn is doing more these days to attract college students, and to work with colleges to use the website to get better data on what their students do after graduation.

The social-networking company announced on Wednesday a new feature that allows college students and graduates to add their college affiliation to the education section of their profile by clicking a button on the college’s website or in an email from the college. When they do that, public information from their profile, such as…

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New .College Domain Is Opportunity for Some Colleges, Worry for Others

A college’s online presence isn’t as simple as the classic .edu. The college also has to worry about .com, .net, and .org, to protect its good name. And as of this week, there’s another domain type to worry about: .college.

On Tuesday colleges with registered trademarks were given first dibs at .college domains. Trademark holders are eligible to register and obtain domains that exactly match their trademarks — at no charge — until April 17. Another registration phase begins on April 20.

When new…