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Responding to Offensive Posts on Yik Yak, Professors Stage Social-Media Takeover

Yak Back 1At the end of a semester plagued by offensive social-media posts, professors at Colgate University on Friday started a campaign to bring some positivity to digital communications on the campus.

Using the smartphone application Yik Yak, which allows people to submit anonymous comments visible to other nearby users, professors posted positive messages to students, wishing them luck on their exams, praising their work, and infusing an uplifting tone into the digital discourse. Unlike most users, th…

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Sexual Harassment in the Age of MOOCs

Following an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Tuesday severed ties with Walter Lewin, a retired physics professor known for his lively lectures and live demonstrations.

The story of the professor who makes sexual advances on his students is as old as academe itself, but this one was unusual because of its ultramodern setting: the free online courses known as MOOCs.

But even old problems are made new by the dynamics of MOOC…

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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…

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Open Education’s Publicity Problem

Arlington, Va. — David Wiley calls the annual Open Education Conference, now in its 11th year, a “family reunion.” This year, the hearth is crowded. The Hilton ballroom here overflows with bodies.

Mr. Wiley, the co-founder and chief academic officer at Lumen Learning, an upstart company that organized this year’s event, asks that all the new people stand up. At least a third of the crowd rises. “Our little family is growing,” he says.

And yet, outside the family, open educational resources have …

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At Liberal-Arts Colleges, Debate About Online Courses Is Really About Outsourcing

Lifetime residents of Maine tend to look askance at people who are “from away,” an epithet reserved for transplants, summer vacationers, and college students. Such people might mean well, the thinking goes, but ultimately they do not belong.

Bowdoin College, a 220-year-old institution in Brunswick, Me., takes a similarly protective view of its curriculum. At a time when online education has blurred campus borders—and institutions face growing pressure to train students for specific jobs—Bowd…

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An App to Make Career Counseling More Like a Video Game

JobVille
Diana Cobbe believes she has a way to help students communicate their skills to potential employers: Make filling out an online résumé feel more like a video game than like paperwork, and use it to connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking for talent. In short, she’s created an app that she describes as a mix of Candy Crush and LinkedIn.

“In college, kids leave the job-search process for the last minute,” Ms. Cobbe says. “They’re in a situation where they don’t find o…

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For New Course, U. of Oklahoma Seeks Boost From Old Media

Many colleges are turning to online “enablers” to help them get new online courses off the ground, but the University of Oklahoma is looking to generate buzz through an older channel: cable television.

Oklahoma is producing a new course with the History Channel, which will provide content from its archive and advertising on its airwaves.

The 16-week course, which covers American history since 1865, will be open to both credit-seeking students and noncredit learners, although it is “emphatically …

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Technology Group Promises Scientists Their Own Clouds (the Data Kind)

Scientists will soon have access to their very own clouds. Not the meteorological sort—although these clouds might help advance weather research as well as improve medical systems and power-grid management.

The new clouds for scientists are the kind that store data on servers, as part of a trend known as cloud computing. Consumers use the commercial variety to store documents, photographs, and music. Researchers use those too, but they sometimes need more control over and information about cloud…

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Why One Professor Thinks Academics Should Write ‘BuzzFeed-Style Scholarship’

buzzademiaMark Marino wants to shake up academic publishing. To declare his intentions, the associate professor of writing at the University of Southern California chose a format both fitting and provocative: a BuzzFeed listicle.

Posted on Thursday, Mr. Marino’s piece, “10 Reasons Professors Should Start Writing BuzzFeed Articles,” serves as a “manifesto” for BuzzAdemia, a new journal he’s creating to encourage “BuzzFeed-style scholarship.”

For more stories about technology and education, follow Wired Cam…

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Surprising Gadgets, Not Just Books, Are Ready for Checkout at College Libraries

Justin Ellis’s official title at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s library is instructional-technology associate, but he thinks of himself as the gadget guy. He manages a program at the library that lets students and professors check out a growing catalog of computers, cameras, and other electronics—a selection more akin to a Best Buy store than a lending library. A colleague, Ameet Doshi, compares him to the character Q in the James Bond series because he not only has the latest device bu…