May 11, 2012, 6:02 pm
Purdue University today joined the group of universities that have recently announced plans to experiment with online courses aimed at a global audience.
The new effort, called PurdueHUB-U, will serve up modular online courses with video lectures, interactive visualizations, and tools for students to interact with their peers and the professor. The project’s leaders hope it will improve face-to-face classes and bring in revenue by attracting students around the world.
PurdueHUB-U grew out of a course taught this year on Purdue’s nanoHUB, a collaborative platform for nanotechnology research. The course, on the fundamentals of nanoelectronics, was broken into two parts that lasted a few weeks each. It attracted 900 students from 27 countries, most of whom paid $30 for the class and a certificate of completion. Students also had the option to turn their certificates into…
May 9, 2012, 4:55 am
Update (5/9/2012, 9:48 a.m.): The list of student names has been removed from PSUacb. In a new note, the site’s creator wrote, “I’m not cruel enough to embarrass someone in front of the whole country for something stupid they did in college, especially when everyone at Penn State (or at least 7,846 people) has already realized you suck.”
Campus-gossip Web sites like JuicyCampus and CollegeACB used the lure of anonymity to entice students to post on them. The cloak gave students a virtual bathroom wall on which to write racy rumors and explicit insults about their peers without fear of being exposed.
Now, the creator of a similar site at Pennsylvania State University has apparently turned that veil of secrecy inside-out, hoping to teach students a public lesson about cyberbullying.
In a bait-and-switch prank, the creator of PSUacb.com has revealed information about students who…
May 9, 2012, 12:01 am
The Saylor Foundation has been building an online catalog of free, self-paced college courses since 2010. But students who completed those courses could not typically earn credit toward a degree, since the nonprofit group is not an accredited institution. Saylor’s new partnership with the online course-provider StraighterLine seeks to change that, giving students an inexpensive way to earn academic credit using freely available materials.
The collaboration, announced today, will give students two different ways to save money when pursuing academic credit. Beginning in the fall, students can study free courses on Saylor.org and then enroll at StraighterLine to take an exam. After passing, they will receive American Council on Education recommended credit. Students could also enroll in a StraighterLine program, using Saylor’s free course materials as they go along.
May 2, 2012, 3:20 pm
The group of elite universities offering free online courses just got bigger.
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced a partnership that will host online courses from both institutions free of charge. The platform, its creators say, has the potential to improve face-to-face classes on the home campuses while giving students around the world access to a blue-ribbon education.
The new venture, called edX, grew out of MIT’s announcement last year that it would offer free online courses on a platform called MITx. The combined effort will be overseen by a nonprofit organization governed equally by both universities, each of which has committed $30-million to the project. Anant Agarwal, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, who led the development of MITx, will serve as edX’s first president.
May 1, 2012, 5:25 pm
The University of California at Berkeley has won a $60-million grant from the Simons Foundation to create a new center for theoretical computer science, the university announced today.
The center, called the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, will give researchers a place to explore complex mathematical algorithms that could help solve everyday problems in climate science, health care, economics, and other fields. The Simons Foundation, which focuses on advancing research in science and mathematics, selected Berkeley from a group of three finalists.
Richard M. Karp, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the university, has been named the institute’s founding director. He noted that the new institute won’t be a simple computing center where researchers will process their data. Instead, researchers there will train the methods of theoretical…
May 1, 2012, 12:01 am
More colleges are experimenting with online-learning platforms to meet the growing demand for higher education and to increase revenue in the face of budget cuts. But the next generation of online-learning systems faces several barriers to adoption, according to a new report.
Chief among them are professors’ desires to customize what they teach and their reluctance to use prepackaged course material. The most sophisticated of today’s online-learning systems rely on machine-guided instruction to adapt lessons to the needs of individual students. But most of those systems do not yet allow instructors to deeply tailor the material to meet their course needs. And highly-interactive systems are often too complex for pioneering professors to adopt and sustain on their own.
Those are the findings of a report issued today by Ithaka S+R, the research service of the nonprofit group Ithaka,…
April 25, 2012, 12:01 am
YouTube holds a rich trove of videos that could be used in the classroom, but it’s challenging to transform videos into a truly interactive part of a lesson. So the nonprofit group TED has unveiled a new Web site that it hopes will solve this problem—by organizing educational videos and letting professors “flip” them to enhance their lectures.
The new Web site, unveiled today, lets professors turn TED’s educational videos—as well as any video on YouTube—into interactive lessons inspired by the “flipped” classroom model. The site’s introduction is the second phase of an education-focused effort called TED-Ed, which began last month when the group released a series of highly produced, animated videos on a new YouTube channel.
The TED-Ed site is both a portal for finding education videos and a tool for flipping them. On one page, videos are organized by themes, such …
April 24, 2012, 10:31 am
Last fall, Internet2 began helping colleges drive down the price of cloud computing by negotiating group deals between its members and technology companies. The collective-bargaining project is now expanding to include new partnerships with firms including Dell and Microsoft, the group announced today.
The effort, known as Internet2 Net+ Services, brings together companies offering cloud services and the nonprofit consortium’s 221 member colleges. Internet2’s leaders say the program lets administrators save money by taking advantage of their collective buying power, and it gives them an organized method of selecting tools for their institutions. The first companies to sign on were the technology giant HP and the online file-storage service Box, which announced their participation in October. Today’s additions include prominent companies such as Dell and Microsoft, whose cloud…
April 18, 2012, 6:45 pm
The theme of disrupting higher education was buzzing among hundreds of conference attendees this week at the Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University. The event offered start-up companies a captive audience for pitching their products. Here’s a small sample of announcements they made:
Altius Education: This company has already gained prominence among educators for its creation of a “transfer college,” which gives students a bridge to a bachelor’s degree by helping them transfer to traditional four-year institutions. And now the chief executive of Altius, Paul Freedman, has bigger plans—he wants to put “the flying car of higher education” in the driveway of every student. The engine, he says, is called Helix, a new tool that seeks to reinvent what learning-management software can do. Altius bills Helix as a “learning environment” that uses personalized …