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Understanding the New Higher-Ed Landscape: Chronicle Sessions at SXSWedu

Big challenges face higher education these days, and plenty of talk about new models and approaches. At this year’s South by Southwest education conference, in Austin, Tex., The Chronicle is organizing a morning of sessions to share some of the trends and challenges we’re seeing, and we invite audience members to share their big ideas.

As part of the event, we’re borrowing a page from the TV show Shark Tank. We’re inviting several academic and start-up leaders to make a three-minute pitch abou…

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Meet the 26-Year-Old Behind Academic Twitter’s Most Popular Hashtags

It didn’t take much for Glen Wright to figure out that academics on Twitter are just like everyone else.

“#AcademicWithCats—let’s get it started people!” wrote Mr. Wright, a Paris-based researcher, from the account for his blog, Academia Obscura.

Many academics spend their days reading and purveying dense, largely humorless tomes, or buried in lab work or archives, and have a reputation as a serious tribe. Cats and Twitter, however, are great equalizers. Following Mr. Wright’s post, in early D…

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Meet the New, Self-Appointed MOOC Accreditors: Google and Instagram

Some of the biggest MOOC producers, including Daphne Koller’s Coursera, may have figured out how to get employers to accept free online courses as credentials: Get big-name companies to help design them. (Neilson Barnard, Getty Images, for The New York Times)

A big question for MOOCs, the free online courses that hundreds of colleges now offer, is whether employers will take them seriously as credentials. But some of the biggest MOOC producers may have figured out how to jump-start employer buy-…

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Professors Know About High-Tech Teaching Methods, but Few Use Them

Innovation is sweeping the world of higher education, but not all faculty members are embracing it in their classrooms.

A new survey from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has found that 40 percent of the professors surveyed use or are interested in using innovative techniques and technologies. But of that 40 percent, only half—or 20 percent of the overall survey sample—have actually used them.

The survey asked professors whether they had used various kinds of high-tech teaching methods, inclu…

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The MOOC Hype Fades, in 3 Charts

Few people would now be willing to argue that massive open online courses are the future of higher education. The percentage of institutions offering a MOOC seems to be leveling off, at around 14 percent, while suspicions persist that MOOCs will not generate money or reduce costs for universities—and are not, in fact, sustainable.

The latest figures come from the Babson Survey Research Group’s annual survey, which was based on a 2014 survey of more than 2,800 academic leaders and was released …

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3 Things Academic Leaders Believe About Online Education

The Babson Survey Research Group released its annual online-education survey on Thursday. The Babson surveyors, Jeffrey Seaman and I. Elaine Allen, have been tracking online higher education since 2002, soliciting responses from chief academic officers at thousands of institutions.

You can read this year’s report, based on a survey conducted in 2014, here. But if you don’t have the time, here are three things academic leaders believe about online education:

1. Online education has become mission…

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App Gives Students an Incentive to Keep Their Phones Locked in Class

screen568x568Resisting the urge to pull out your phone in class is quite difficult for many students, apparently. There are texts to answer, emails to read, snapchats to send, and rude comments to post on Yik Yak. But two students at California State University at Chico have created something they hope will persuade students to keep their phones tucked firmly in their pockets: An app that rewards them with coupons for local businesses when they exhibit self-control and leave their phones untouched during cla…

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Could Video Feedback Replace the Red Pen?

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Stills from a video critique by Monash U.’s Michael Henderson.

Writing useful comments on students’ work can be a fine art. And for instructors who put a lot of effort into crafting a critique, there’s always a substantial risk students will skip the written feedback and go right to the grade.

When Michael Henderson is grading his students’ final assignments, he likes to skip the written comments for them. Instead of a red pen, Mr. Henderson, a senior lecturer in education at Monash University, …

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Facebook Addiction and GPA

Facebook is a tempting distraction. I have it open as a tab in my browser as I write this. And look, it’s showing that I have a new notification! I must see it, immediately. Facebook designed the site to make me feel that way.

This doesn’t bode well for college students. If professionals, and even some professors, have a hard time resisting the lure of Facebook, then what chance do 18-year-olds have?

New research suggests that the kids may be all right. A study of Facebook activity and grade-poi…

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How to Ruin a Date With an Academic in 5 Words

Academic life can be lonely. Professors, postdocs, and doctoral students spend their lives holed up in libraries, labs, and lecture halls, becoming intimate with words and ideas that are liable to alienate them from other people, especially nonacademics.

That can make dating awkward. The latest evidence of this has coalesced around the Twitter hashtag #RuinADateWithAnAcademicInFiveWords. Over the past day or so, people have been contributing phrases they say would raise red flags.