December 17, 2009, 3:59 pm
Between September and October last year, Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, logged 27 reported laptop thefts. But now the university’s next would-be computer thief might be met with an alarm and a greeting from campus security.
That’s because officials have been planting a “bait” laptop, equipped with a contact-activated alarm and monitored by security staff, in common spaces around the university.
Even though the program is new and small (there’s just one bait computer, though more could be added in the future), the results seem to be positive, according to Kiehah Kim, the university’s security supervisor. Mr. Kim says the number of laptop thefts between September and October this year has fallen to 22 (an 18 percent drop).
The alarm-rigged laptop hasn’t caught any burglars in the act, but Mr. Kim says awareness of the program (campus officials have dispersed posters with Big…
December 10, 2009, 2:42 pm
Doug Woolard, director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of South Florida, says his athletes travel the most miles of any college in a Bowl Championship Series conference. All this time on the road could either take an academic toll on the students, or, Mr. Woolard says, with the right technology, present an opportunity for learning.
That is why this week USF announced a program that will lend out, at no cost to the students, 13-inch Macbook Pro computers to all 461 student athletes.
“If students are going to be away from class physically, the best thing we can do for them is help them attend via computer,” Mr. Woolard told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “We want it to be possible to have a video conference that allows baseball players in Philadelphia, softball players in Syracuse, and track athletes in Washington, D.C., to all get together and talk about their work with…
December 9, 2009, 1:00 pm
U21 Global, an online university, hoped to have 500,000 students by 2011. After being open for eight years, however, it has only enrolled 1 percent of its goal. Now Universitas 21, an international association of research institutions, is giving up its controlling interest in the ailing program to the Manipal Group, an Indian education and healthcare company, The Australian reports. Manipal aims to shift the focus from master’s degrees to corporate education.
U21 Global was originally organized as a $50-million, profit-making venture to which members of the association contributed varying amounts. Among the largest investors was Melbourne University, which owned 20 percent of U21 and has channeled about $15-million to the project. The only American institution among the initial investors was the University of Virginia, which put in $1-million. U21 Global offered its first courses in 200…
December 8, 2009, 2:33 pm
Think you understand the academic grounding of the TV show Lost? Can you explain in detail how Desmond Hume might actually be able to travel through time using worm theory? Can you see similarities between the rifle-toting jungle woman Rousseau and Jean-Jacques Rousseau? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be at the top of the class at the newly opened Lost University.
At Lost University — a multimedia Web site started by the creators of the ABC science-fiction drama — participants can watch video lectures and take mini-courses on topics alluded to in the show, the Los Angeles Times reports. Full participation includes handouts, exams, reading lists, and homework (but courses can usually be finished in just a few days).
Professors from institutions like the University of Southern California and the University of California at Los Angeles offer multimedia lessons on…
December 3, 2009, 2:15 pm
David Silver, an associate professor at the University of San Francisco, says he likes when a project has a beginning, a middle, and an end. By announcing on his blog the shuttering of the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies, a Web site dedicated to Internet studies, Mr. Silver has brought perhaps one of his biggest projects through that entire cycle.
“RCCS has served its course,” he says. “It used to be hard to find communities online, and now there are opportunities all around for young and old scholars to find and be a part of a group on the Internet.”
Mr. Silver started the Web site in 1996 as a virtual space for academics to gather and discuss the burgeoning field of Internet studies.
“In those days, one would be lucky to find a single panel on ‘cyberspace or the ‘World Wide Web’ at an academic conference or to find a single article in an academic journal,” he writes on his blog.
December 1, 2009, 2:00 pm
With so much archaeological history there, any discussion of possible borders between Israel and Palestine would have to consider excavation sites. And now, for the first time, a searchable map of all archaeological activity since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967 has been created by the University of Southern California.
This Google map portal, which includes satellite images of about 7,000 sites including Jericho and Qumran (where the Dead Sea scrolls were found), won the 2009 Open Archaeology Prize from the American Schools of Oriental Research, a top organization for archaeological work in the Middle East.
The project began after Lynn Swartz Dodd, a lecturer in religion and curator of the Archaeology Research Center at USC, and Ran Boytner, director for international research at the University of California at Los Angeles’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, hosted a discussion with…
November 24, 2009, 3:00 pm
For more than two years, the University of Texas system figured its students and faculty members could handle having multiple usernames and passwords. Not anymore.
After initially refusing in 2007, the Texas system has agreed to join a growing number of institutions in the InCommon Federation. InCommon is an organization that makes services like JSTOR, a digital archive of scholarly journals, and Turnitin, a plagerism-detection program, all easily accessible with one username and password per user. InCommon also determines which people get access to which services. As a Chronicle article in 2007 put it, the service is like a bouncer that lets people in if they have the right wristband. InCommon also allows for participating institutions with a common framework to better share online resources.
The Texas system was reluctant to sign up in 2007 because even though InCommon had a large list …
November 23, 2009, 4:31 pm
Without her knowing it, a paper that Melinda Riebolt co-wrote while getting her M.B.A. was stolen and put up for sale. And, according to an article that USA Today reported last week, that same scenario has played out many times before.
The article discusses how some essay mills — Web sites that provide written works for students — surreptitiously steal work and then sell it for others to pass off as their own.
For the first time, however, those who find unauthorized postings of their work online may have a way to seek legal retribution. The article says a class-action lawsuit filed in 2006 is making its way through the courts, and one judge in Illinois has found a provider liable on six counts, including fraud and copyright infringement. That site is called RC2C Inc. and hosts at least nine sites that sell term papers.
Essay mills often provide their own written works.
November 19, 2009, 1:48 pm
Mendeley, a Web service that lets users organize and share research papers, recently announced that it has surpassed 100,000 users, and that its database now includes some 8 million works. The announcement has generated a lot of hype for the fledgling company.
TechCrunch, a popular technology blog, says the company—which is still less than a year old—could surpass Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science, the largest research-paper database, by April 2010. Mendeley says it is doubling in size every 10 weeks.
Mendeley is more than just a dumping ground for academic work. It calls itself “the Last.fm for research papers” (after the popular music-based social network) because it goes through millions of research papers looking for data and then recommends work of interest to academics. For now the site is free, but Mendeley plans to add extra services at an additional cost.