All posts by Jeffrey R. Young

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3 ‘Game Changing’ Ideas From an Ed-Tech Start-Up Competition

Orlando, Fla. — More than two dozen start-up technology companies exhibited at this week’s Educause conference, making their pitches in a section of the exhibit hall the group calls “start-up alley.” Some of the companies are led by recent graduates, others by professors, and many competed in the group’s Game Changers Business Competition.

Here are three ideas from start-up alley that stood out:

Automate test proctoring: Many colleges with online programs have turned to technology in recent year…

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At Tech Trade Show, a Push to Give Colleges Better ‘Digital Intelligence’

example of a data dashboardOrlando, Fla. — More than 7,000 college officials gathered here this week for what is probably the largest higher-education-technology trade show in the United States, the annual meeting of Educause. Walking the trade floor, where some 270 companies mounted colorful booths, serves as a reminder of how much of college life today happens in the digital realm, and how much colleges are betting on technology to help alleviate the many challenges they face.

The biggest emerging trend this year is dat…

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Time for the New Fall Season—for TV, and for MOOCs

Eric FonerThe new fall television season gets under way this week, and newspapers are full of roundups of the hottest new shows. It’s also the season for a new lineup of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, and in recent days several colleges have touted new offerings boasting star professors or popular subject matter.

Despite a host of questions about the staying power of MOOCs as a trend, more free megacourses are starting this month than ever before, with 328 new offerings, according to Class Central…

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Will the Next Classroom Disruption Be in 3-D? Facebook’s Virtual-Reality Company Thinks So

Brendan Iribe, chief executive of Oculus VR. (Getty Images)

College Park, Md. — Brendan Iribe dropped out of the University of Maryland here, but before he did he amassed 227 parking tickets. And he managed to meet two business partners who would help him build the virtual-reality company Oculus VR, which Facebook bought this year for about $2-billion.

One of those parking tickets remains unpaid, but the university is likely to forgive it after Friday, when he gave $31-million to erect a compute…

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Collaborative That Once Criticized Software Companies Becomes One

Ten years ago, a group of universities started a collaborative software project touted as an alternative to commercial software companies, which were criticized as too costly. On Friday the project’s leaders made a surprising announcement: that it would essentially become a commercial entity.

The software at issue, called Kuali, does the boring but important work of managing accounting, billing, e-commerce, budgeting, and other campus functions. Colleges can pay software companies tens of millio…

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Why Students Should Own Their Educational Data

ToddRoseDesigning a textbook or lecture with the average student in mind may sound logical. But L. Todd Rose, who teaches educational neuroscience at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, argues that doing so means that the lesson is designed for nobody.

In a TEDx talk last summer, the professor explained that most learners have a “jagged profile” of traits when it comes to learning. One student might have an affinity for science but have below-average reading skills. Yet standard teach…

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Are Courses Outdated? MIT Considers Offering ‘Modules’ Instead

People now buy songs, not albums. They read articles, not newspapers. So why not mix and match learning “modules” rather than lock into 12-week university courses?

That question is a major theme of a 213-page report released on Monday by a committee at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology exploring how the 153-year-old engineering powerhouse should innovate to adapt to new technologies and new student expectations.

For more stories about teaching and technology, follow Wired Campus on Twitt…

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Clay Shirky Says MOOCs Will Matter, but Worries About Corporate Players

Clay Shirky, a best-selling author and an associate arts professor at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, is known for predicting how the latest tech trends will change traditional social institutions. These days he’s turning his focus to colleges themselves, imagining ways that MOOCs and other technologies might reshape higher education.

“For as long as students and their parents have nervously scanned tuition bills, they’ve asked themselves, ‘Isn’t there another way …

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Blackboard May Double or Triple Spending on Software Development

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Jay Bhatt, president and chief executive of Blackboard. (Courtesy of Blackboard Inc.)

Las Vegas — Blackboard Inc. is changing, with plans to focus more on innovation than on simply fighting for market share, says the company’s new president and chief executive, Jay Bhatt, who took office just seven and a half months ago.

In the past 16 years Blackboard has grown into one of the largest education-technology companies, and in 2011 it came under new ownership, after being purchased for $1.64-billio…

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Blackboard Announces New MOOC Platform

Las Vegas — Blackboard, a company that makes software that many colleges use to run their classroom and online courses, announced on Wednesday that it was expanding its support for MOOCs, though it is relatively late to the much-talked-about trend of massive open online courses.

“We watched really carefully, and we thought about doing something” sooner, said Ray Henderson, president of Blackboard’s teaching and learning division, in an interview this week. “This is one of those times when we sai…