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The 10 most popular eCN stories of the year

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5. Apple unveils interactive textbooks, revamped iTunes U

Apple might make the heavy backpack an endangered species: There won’t be much students can’t do with a few taps and swipes of their Apple iPads after the tech giant’s introduction of iBooks 2—a bookstore that now includes interactive textbooks—and an iTunes University app that could create a comprehensive school experience inside the popular computer tablet…

4. Research: Spread of smart phones leads to rampant cheating

Higher education soon will absorb a generation of high school students who frequently use smart phones to store cheat sheets, share test answers with classmates, and scroll through Google search results during exams, according to researchers who examined student cheating habits…

3. Driven to distraction: How to help wired students learn to focus

Today’s digital technologies are creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans. Here’s one way to fight back.

2. How ‘collaborative learning’ is transforming higher education

At Duke University, business school students use a state-of-the-art “virtual lecture hall” to have conversations with CEOs and fellow students from around the world. At Harvard, physics students learn from each other—as well as their professor—by discussing key “concept questions” in small groups periodically during class. And at dozens of institutions nationwide, students continue their discussion of lessons long after the class period is over, through “social collaboration” platforms that move the conversation online.

Welcome to higher education circa 2012, where on many campuses, the stale, passive lecture model is being replaced by a more dynamic way of teaching and learning—one in which students and instructors collaborate in a give-and-take fashion to “make meaning together,” says Tony O’Driscoll, a professor of business administration at Duke…

1. The top 10 ways college students plagiarize

When it comes to plagiarizing, students who use the unethical shortcut seem to be all in: Copying and pasting a research paper word for word is now the most common form of plagiarism…

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