by

QuickWire: Collecting Altmetric Data in China

As more researchers use social media to share and comment on one another’s work, those networks have become rich sources of data for altmetrics—alternative measures that look beyond citation rates and impact factors to get a fuller picture of how scholarship is circulating. But researchers in China can’t share journal articles and papers via Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked there.

Altmetric, one of several services that have sprung up to provide altmetrics to publishers, libraries, and re…

by

QuickWire: Educause President Will Retire Next Year

Diana G. Oblinger, president and chief executive officer of the education-technology consortium Educause, will retire in March 2015, the organization said on Thursday. Ms. Oblinger, who has been president of the 2,400-member group since 2008, oversaw the creation of Educause’s first online events and its program of Next Generation Learning Challenges grants, which has distributed nearly $55-million to date. The organization said she was retiring “to focus on her family.”

by

QuickWire: Participants Vote to End 2U Semester Online

Following the defection of several participating universities, the online-course provider 2U and its remaining partners in the experimental Semester Online program have decided to shut it down following this summer’s courses. Semester Online promised to offer live online class sessions from prestigious institutions, but after uneasy faculty members at institutions like Duke University and Washington University in St. Louis forced administrators to back away from the experiment, the remaining par…

by

Google Blocks U. of Illinois at Chicago From Emailing Its Own Students

The University of Illinois at Chicago recently found itself living a modern nightmare: Google’s automated cybersecurity regime mistook the university as the culprit in a spam attack on the university’s students and began blocking university email accounts from sending messages to Gmail users.

The blocking went on for more than two weeks, and the affected Gmail users included 13,000 of the university’s own students. University officials describe those two weeks as a Kafkaesque state of limbo.

On …

by

Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money…

by

Taking Notes by Hand Benefits Recall, Researchers Find

Distractions posed by laptops in the classroom have been a common concern, but new research suggests that even if laptops are used strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students’ academic performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or pencil.

Daniel M. Oppenheimer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Pam Mueller, a graduate student at Princeton University, studied the effects of students’ note-taking preferences. Their …

by

New U. of California President Plays Down Online Education

The new president of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, does not think online education is the answer to the fundamental challenges facing her system.

Ms. Napolitano, who took office last fall after serving four years as U.S. secretary of homeland security, sat for an interview this week with Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California. Mr. Baldassare noted that online education did not figure in her stated initiatives. Here is how Ms. Napolitano responde…

by

Scholars Collaborate to Make Sound Recordings More Accessible

A project based at the University of Texas at Austin is on track to increase the accessibility and use of sound recordings by repurposing a tool originally developed to classify bird calls. The goal is to teach the tool how to classify sounds in a wide variety of existing recordings, and even to give scholars ways to visualize the sounds.

“When dealing with sound, there’s only one way to access it or move around, and that is to press play and listen to it real time. Otherwise you can’t get—f…

by

Penn State Students Plan a Landing for Their Lunar Lion

Lunar Lion Lander

Penn State’s entry in a high-stakes race to land a vehicle safely on the Moon is the Lunar Lion, expected to reach its destination in December 2015. (Penn State U. image)

State College, Pa. — It’s not unusual for engineering students to enter competitions. They regularly build bridges, concrete canoes, submarines, solar houses, even Rube Goldberg machines. But an 80-member team of Pennsylvania State University students is hard at work designing something that is unusual: a Moon lander.

It’s th…

by

New Syllabus Archive Opens the ‘Curricular Black Box’

Course syllabi are a potentially valuable source of information for teaching and scholarship. Their contents could shed light on the evolution of fields (How has Foucault’s popularity changed over time?) or help professors develop new courses (What are best practices for teaching digital humanities?). But gathering and sharing syllabi can be a messy business. Privacy concerns, legal uncertainty, fragmented and inconsistent sharing practices—all present challenges.

A group of scholars is taking a…