All posts by Jeffrey R. Young


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…


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…


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…


Are Courses Outdated?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…


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 …


Blackboard May Double or Triple Spending on Software Development


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…


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…


Virtual Universities Abroad Say They Already Deliver ‘Massive’ Courses


The Virtual U. of Pakistan developed a video lecture titled “The Physics of Donkey Carts.”

Cambridge, Mass. — Since long before anyone uttered the word “MOOC,” virtual universities in many countries have been using technology to teach thousands of students at a time. Even so, leaders of those online institutions, who gathered here this week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said they were watching massive open online courses closely.

One key takeaway from the event, though, was that …


MOOC Provider edX More Than Doubles Its University Partners

Fifteen more universities have agreed to offer free massive open online courses through edX, a nonprofit provider of MOOCs founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, more than doubling its membership, from 12 to 27.

Tuesday’s announcement came as the group celebrated its first anniversary and as its leaders said it was bringing in revenue and was on track to financial sustainability.

The new partners are five institutions in the United States, including Cornell …


Internet2 Signs Deal With Smithsonian to Connect Colleges to Digitized Artifacts

The Smithsonian Institution has signed a deal with Internet2 that could make it easier for colleges to connect with digital content in museums on the National Mall.

The new partnership, to be formally announced this morning at Internet2′s member meeting, will also bring high-speed Internet connections to some of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums and a technology-demonstration area in the institution’s Arts and Industry Building, which is currently being renovated. Internet2 is a nonprofit group that …