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Why This Professor Is Encouraging Facebook Use in His Classroom

Facebook and academe aren’t exactly friends. Over the years, the social-media company has been the source of ethically questionable research, the purveyor of uncomfortable teacher-student interactions, and, of course, the consummate classroom distraction, scourge of lecture halls the world over.

At least on that last note, however, one researcher says higher education has unfairly maligned the social-media behemoth. Kevin D. Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University, ha…

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Can You Really Teach a MOOC in a Refugee Camp?

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Two men living in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya, would watch lecture videos and take online quizzes at a nearby United Nations compound. (InZone)

One narrative that has driven widespread interest in free online courses known as MOOCs is that they can help educate the world. But critics like to emphasize that the courses mostly draw students who already hold traditional degrees.

So when Coursera, the largest provider of MOOCs, published a blog post about how a professor had used one of its onli…

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Feds’ Drone Regs Draw Profs’ Fire

Some professors are worried that the federal government will stifle their ability to teach and do research with unmanned flying machines.

In a letter sent to the Federal Aviation Administration last week, 30 professors argued that its recent pronouncements on drones would unreasonably restrict scholars’ ability to use the small aircraft for academic purposes, the Associated Press reports.

“To the best of our knowledge, no fatalities have resulted from academic research with model aircraft,” …

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What’s in an Ed-Tech Name? Here’s All U Need 2Gnō

The name of the company was 2gnōME.

2gnōME is pronounced “to know me,” according to the company’s website (although in my head it sounds more like a vinyl recording of some actual word playing in reverse). It is a pun on the word “gnōme,” which means “thought” in Greek. There’s a “2” in the mix as well because we live in The Future now.

The company’s product is a “feedback platform with novel methodologies that assess ‘soft’ skills and qualities, based on situations and behavior,” according to i…

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With Scrim and Rolling Desks, a Journalism School Seeks a Tech Edge

A little over a century after his death, Joseph Pulitzer still looms large at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. The building that houses the school bears his name. Every year the school announces the Pulitzer Prizes from the World Room, a reference to The World, his New York newspaper.

A bust of the publishing tycoon and school founder peers across the first-floor lobby and into what has been a construction zone for the past nine months. But on Monday, professors are to move i…

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Should You Build a Data Center Today? 2 Universities, 2 Answers

When it comes to building campuses from scratch in the information age, few institutions have a track record like New York University’s. Under its current president, John E. Sexton, NYU has opened campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. In 2012 it earned New York City’s backing for a new graduate-level institute in downtown Brooklyn.

While in New York recently to cover Cornell Tech and its ambitious plans to build an applied-sciences graduate school on Roosevelt Island, I asked members of New York U…

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Would Graduate School Work Better if You Never Graduated From It?

Learning continues long after college ends. What if being enrolled in college was also a lifelong condition?

That is how Christian Terwiesch, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, thinks graduate business programs might work in the future.

He and a colleague, Karl T. Ulrich, vice dean of innovation at Wharton, have published a paper on how the ascent of short video lectures—the kind popularized by massive open online courses and Khan Academy—might change the cost an…

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QuickWire: College and Library Groups Petition FCC on Net Neutrality

[Update (7/15/2014, 5:31 p.m.): The FCC has extended the public-comment period until Friday, and for that reason the college and library group has not yet officially released its comments.]

[Update (7/18/2014, 1:53 p.m.): The coalition officially filed its comments with the FCC this morning. There are now 11 groups signed onto the document.]

A coalition of seven university and library organizations on Tuesday filed comments asking the Federal Communications Commission to preserve net neutrality….

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QuickWire: Desire2Learn Rebrands and Adds Partners

The education-technology company Desire2Learn said on Monday that it was renaming its learning-management system, which will now be called Brightspace, and adding assorted features, including game-based learning. The company also said it was teaming up with IBM to improve Desire2Learn’s predictive analytics and with Microsoft to add a Windows 8 mobile app for e-books to Desire2Learn’s offerings.

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Mellon Comes to the Rescue of Missouri’s Moldy Books

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Mold-afflicted library books at the U. of Missouri. (U. of Missouri Libraries photo)

This past January, Jim Cogswell, director of libraries at the University of Missouri at Columbia, got news no library administrator wants to hear: Mold had invaded a rented remote-storage facility that housed some 600,000 of the university’s books.

It wasn’t a happy time.

Then came an email from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation expressing sympathy and offering to help. “I practically shouted out loud,” Mr. Cogswe…