by

A New Department Marks the Rise of a Discipline: ‘Computational Media’

Pixar movies, interactive video games, smartphone applications—all are forms of computational media, the marriage of computer science to the arts and humanities. Signaling a deeper investment in that fast-growing if slippery field, the University of California at Santa Cruz announced the creation on Monday of what it called the first computational-media department ever.

“There’s always been, in the heart of computing, a concern with human communication and media,” said Noah Wardrip-Fruin, …

by

New App Measures Students’ Moods and Mental Health

A computer-science professor at Dartmouth College is building a smartphone application that can detect users’ levels of happiness, stress, and loneliness, he says, with the hope of helping students monitor their mental health.

The app, called StudentLife, draws on sensor data from smartphones to “infer human behaviors,” says the professor, Andrew Campbell. It was inspired partly by the mental-health struggles that Mr. Campbell’s brother experienced while in college. The professor also wants to…

by

The 5 Least-Flattering Details in Report on San Jose State’s Tech Spending

San Jose State University’s spending on technology over the past year has made the campus ground zero for heated discussions about how university leaders should try to innovate—and the role faculty members should play in those decisions. And it hasn’t been pretty: Just five months ago Mohammad H. Qayoumi, the president, had to apologize for bypassing “longstanding SJSU consultation practices” in his attempt to move quickly toward his goal of “engaging SJSU with Silicon Valley.”

That was in May. …

by

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…

by

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…

by

New Online Journal Offers Daily Dips Into JSTOR’s Deep Archive

A 1931 analysis of Herman Melville’s posthumous literary reputation doesn’t exactly scream headline news in 2014. But that essay, published decades ago in the journal American Literature by O.W. Riegel, got a new lease on life this week, thanks to an online journal, JSTOR Daily, that made its official debut on Wednesday.

The idea is to create a publication “that bridges the gap between news and scholarship,” says Catherine Halley, the new journal’s editor. That means turning smart writers loose …

by

Optimism About MOOCs Fades in Campus IT Offices

MOOC fever is cooling, at least among campus information-technology administrators, according to the 2014 edition of the Campus Computing Survey, an annual report on technology in higher education.

While a little more than half of last year’s respondents thought MOOCs “offer a viable model for the effective delivery of online instruction,” just 38 percent of this year’s participants agreed with that statement. And only 19 percent of respondents in 2014 said MOOCs could generate new reven…

by

For Bill on Disabled Access to Online Teaching Materials, the Devil’s in the Details

As smart classrooms become the norm on more campuses and online courses proliferate, some observers worry that the digital revolution will leave students with disabilities behind. But a bill under consideration in the U.S. Congress, the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (HR 3505), would deal with that concern by creating accessibility guidelines for electronic materials used or assigned by college professors and administrators.

While the bill, known as t…

by

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…

by

New Online Services Aim to Democratize Admissions Counseling

Websites offering online college-admission counseling have proliferated in the past few years, with services whose prices range from free to thousands of dollars. This week saw the launch of two new options that claim to make low-cost resources more widely available.

Chegg, an online textbook retailer and student-services website, entered the market on Tuesday by announcing a fee-based platform that connects college applicants with advisers for one-on-one video, audio, and chat counseling. On Th…