June 27, 2012, 5:09 pm
Understanding lectures can be a challenge for foreign students, since they may not be fluent in the language used in the classroom. But Alex Waibel, a computer-science professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, one of Germany’s leading universities, has helped develop a computer program that could eliminate the problem.
The professor has helped build a simultaneous-translation computer program that allows students to use a laptop to gain access to real-time translations of lectures as well as any slides or presentations that a professor might use. Students can see both the original transcript of the lecture as well as the translation. Moving the mouse over the original text produces a pop-up window with the translation.
The service has been used at the university on a trial basis since April.
No special preparation is needed. The instructor clips on a microphone and…
June 19, 2012, 3:07 pm
Britain needs to recognize a fundamental cultural shift in how research is being published and disseminated, and should embrace and help accelerate the transition to the open-access publishing of research results, says a government-commissioned report published on Tuesday. The report, “Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: How to Expand Access to Research Publications,” makes a series of recommendations for achieving “better, faster access to research publications for anyone who wants to read or use them.”
Last month David Willetts, Britain’s minister for universities and science, announced that the government would push to make publicly financed research freely available, but few details had been offered until now.
The report notes that, for many people outside of higher education and large research-intensive companies, the only way to read the publications in which most…
December 9, 2010, 2:29 pm
The next time you find yourself needing some help brushing up on your Guernésiais, or Guernsey French, the local form of the Gallic language that has been spoken on the tiny Channel Island for centuries and now boasts just 1,327 speakers, there is a new online database to direct you to available resources, including a series of recordings of native speakers and a radio interview with a scholar who specializes in the language.
The Endangered Languages Database, which was unveiled by the University of Cambridge on Thursday, is a free online portal that provides access to recordings, documents, maps, and other files relating to 3,524 world languages. The resource has been developed by researchers at the World Oral Literature Project, which is based at the university, and its developers hope to broaden its scope by crowdsourcing information from around the world.
“We want this…
October 5, 2010, 10:00 am
Some of the hundreds of Iraqi academics who fled their homeland over the past several years have begun to reclaim a role in their former universities through a new e-learning project, even though they remain in exile.
The unrest following the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 took a severe toll on higher education there, as the violence prompted scores of professors to leave. The exodus of intellectual capital produced a knowledge gap in certain fields that remains unfilled. The new project, the Iraq Scholars Lecture Series, which is coordinated by the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, aims to supplement existing curricula by recording lectures that are then distributed to universities in Iraq.
The initial vision for the project was for a state-of-the-art e-learning format, patterned on MIT’s open courseware model, but it soon became apparent that such an…
August 13, 2010, 3:22 pm
Cutbacks in public financing for higher education are expected to mean that record numbers of British students will fail to secure a place at a university this autumn, and thanks to a computer glitch, for 2,500 students who had applied to the University of Middlesex, the wait has become a whole lot harder.
The applicants were erroneously notified that they had been admitted to the university, CNN reports. The students had already been conditionally accepted, but the final decision will depend on the grades they receive in the national A-level exams, which are not scheduled to be released until next week. According to CNN, “the university said it has sent both text and e-mail notifications to affected applicants clarifying the situation last week.”
Several other institutions, including Cornell University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have made similar errors in the…
June 1, 2010, 3:55 pm
A British university has fined a student for creating a dating Web site to make love connections between library patrons, arguing that it brought the institution “into disrepute.” The student has disabled the site, saying he feared further punishment if he left it operational.
The site, called FitFinder, allowed students studying in university libraries to flirt online by posting messages proclaiming their attraction. It was an instant sensation. Its debut coincided with the study period for final examinations in Britain, when university libraries were filled with students looking for distraction, and use of the site spread quickly from University College London, where it began, to institutions across Britain.
Within four weeks, it had a presence at more than 30 universities, but it had also generated controversy, with some students complaining about the offensive tone of some messages. …
May 3, 2010, 1:39 pm
University libraries across Britain have become much more fertile flirting zones, thanks to a new Web site created by a computer-science student at University College London.
The site, Fitfinder, allows students to post messages broadcasting their attraction to others they’ve spotted in the stacks.
Its creator, Richard Martell, an avid rugby player, says that for him and many of his teammates, study sessions often turned into texting sessions, as they traded banter about potential partners. “Sure, you try to do a bit of revision,” he says, “but you do get bored and you need a bit of light relief.”
He believes the site will facilitate connections by allowing posters to describe themselves to the objects of their attraction and provide contact information. But comments are open to everyone, and a perusal of the site suggests that, thus far at least, it’s serving more as a forum for the…
March 2, 2010, 3:40 pm
Universities in Britain are alarmed about proposed legislation that could require institutions offering open wireless networks to monitor users to ensure that they comply with online copyright provisions, the BBC reports.
The Digital Economy Bill, which is making its way through the British Parliament, “imposes obligations on Internet service providers to reduce online copyright infringement,” a bill summary says. The new measures could result in large fines and network slowdowns or disconnections for providers of networks on which persistent infringements, such as music or movie piracy, are taking place.
The Society of College, National and University Libraries, whose members include all universities in Britain and Ireland, said in a statement that it welcomes the bill in principle, but that its “proposals for tackling online copyright infringement are something of a threat to us.” The …