Category Archives: Research

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What Is Being Learned From MOOCs? New Report Takes Stock

The hype around the free online courses called MOOCs has drawn millions of students, who are all essentially part of a teaching experiment of unprecedented scale. These days, researchers are increasingly checking in on that experiment.

A new report, released on Thursday, seeks to answer the question “Where is research on massive open online courses headed?”

The report is the work of the MOOC Research Initiative, funded with more than $800,000 in grant support by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundati…

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How Social Media Helps Students Adapt to College

For today’s students, social media isn’t just a diversion. It’s a support system.

That’s the key finding of a paper exploring the role that Facebook plays in helping students adjust to campus life. Collin M. Ruud, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented the paper, “Social Networking and Social Support: Does It Play a Role in College Social Integration?,” on Sunday at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting.

Mr. Ruud ha…

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Blogs Aren’t Better Than Journal Assignments. They’re Just Different.

Although some instructors are phasing out journal-keeping assignments in favor of a class blog, a study has found that blogs are not inherently better instructional tools.

Drew Foster, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, recently said so in a paper, “Private Journals Versus Public Blogs: The Impact of Peer Readership on Low-Stakes Reflective Writing,” published in Teaching Sociology.

With all the hype about blogging, Mr. Foster decided to give it a try i…

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Southern New Hampshire President to Advise Education Dept. on Competency-Based Learning

Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, will take a three-month leave of absence to join the Department of Education as a senior adviser to the under secretary of education, Ted Mitchell.

Mr. LeBlanc will be involved with the department’s innovation agenda, specifically its experiments with competency-based education and with establishing new accreditation methods for innovative programs.

Southern New Hampshire University has been at the forefront of competency-based educat…

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Understanding the New Higher-Ed Landscape: Chronicle Sessions at SXSWedu

Big challenges face higher education these days, and plenty of talk about new models and approaches. At this year’s South by Southwest education conference, in Austin, Tex., The Chronicle is organizing a morning of sessions to share some of the trends and challenges we’re seeing, and we invite audience members to share their big ideas.

As part of the event, we’re borrowing a page from the TV show Shark Tank. We’re inviting several academic and start-up leaders to make a three-minute pitch abou…

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Could Video Feedback Replace the Red Pen?

Screenshot 2015-01-24 08.12.56

Stills from a video critique by Monash U.’s Michael Henderson.

Writing useful comments on students’ work can be a fine art. And for instructors who put a lot of effort into crafting a critique, there’s always a substantial risk students will skip the written feedback and go right to the grade.

When Michael Henderson is grading his students’ final assignments, he likes to skip the written comments for them. Instead of a red pen, Mr. Henderson, a senior lecturer in education at Monash University, …

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MIT Professor’s Blog Comment Sets Off Debate Over Nerds and Male Privilege

A deeply personal posting by an MIT professor and self-described “nerdy male” wrestling with the idea of male privilege has set off a debate about feminism, nerds, and privilege across the Internet.

The posting, by Scott Aaronson, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appeared as a comment on his blog in December.

It was part of the discussion on a post Mr. Aaronson wrote earlier about how MIT had reacted after determi…

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Call for Nominations: Who Are the Top Tech Innovators in Higher Education?

We’re reviving our annual feature profiling influential technology innovators and the ideas they’re advocating, and we’d like your suggestions.

Our hope is to cover a wide range of areas within the college world—teaching, scholarship, administration, libraries, student life, and more. So this is not just about decisions made in the top tech offices of colleges. And we hope to hear about a wide range of institutions—we’re just as interested in a scrappy project on a shoestring budget as we are a…

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The 10 Most-Popular Wired Campus Articles of 2014

Technology continues to change colleges, and our coverage of digitally driven change won the most attention from readers over the past year.

We crunched the numbers to find the most popular coverage of 2014. The list—which includes predictions of big changes in classroom teaching, in academic publishing, in communicating with parents, and in the mission of libraries—highlights the range of aspects of campus life affected by technology. And it reminds us how mainstream technology coverage is thes…

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Rethinking Low Completion Rates in MOOCs

Completion rates in free online courses are low—to critics, laughably so. But exactly how low are they? The answer might be a matter of interpretation.

Let’s say 79,500 people sign up for a handful of massive open online courses offered by Harvard University. About 44,500 of those people say they are there to complete the course and earn a certificate. About 23,000 say they are there either to browse the course materials or to complete a few assignments. The remaining 12,000 say they haven’t…