Viral video spreads Occupy message beyond college campuses

More than 1.3 million people have watched the UC Davis web video.

Chris Wong saw it unfold just hours before millions saw it on the internet: A police officer dousing students with pepper spray, a scene recorded with smart phones and turned into a viral web video that has brought national attention and energized the Occupy movement on college campuses.

Wong, a senior at the University of California (UC) Davis, was on the outskirts of the human chain formed by students who has set up tents on the campus quad in protest of state tuition hikes. Watching his peers sprayed at point blank range with the chemical gas was harrowing, he said, but broadcasting web video of the incident could be a boon for the movement, which has connections to the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests.

“In a strange way, [the police] did us a big favor,” said Wong, whose face was dotted with pepper spray, while students forming the human chain “looked like their faces had been painted.” “It’s good for waking people up to what’s happening on the ground. … Some people choose to ignore it and say it won’t accomplish anything, but we’ve seen an exponential surge in support [since the video went viral]. It served as a good platform for us.”

Read more about the Occupy movement in higher education…

Social media fuels Occupy Colleges movement

Occupy Berkeley protests focus on cuts to education

Protesters “occupied” the UC-Davis public area in part to protest tuition that has almost doubled for students in the UC system since the mid-2000s and heavy handed police tactics used on nonviolent protesters at UC Berkeley this month. Video of Berkeley students being beaten with police batons was also viewed by millions on the internet.

“The police made our case for us,” Wong said. “We exposed the true nature of the administration as far as their willingness to deal with student grievances.”

Eleven students received medical treatment on site, according to campus reports, and two protesters were taken to a local hospital.

There are many YouTube videos depicting the police officer pepper spraying the protesters. One video has 1.3 million views, another has been watched by almost 1.5 million, while a handful of other videos have between 300,000 and 500,000 views.


Steep education cuts loom as debt-panel deadline approaches

Education, agriculture, and environmental programs could soon be exposed to massive cuts.

Federal education spending could be slashed up to 8 percent in 2013 if lawmakers can’t agree on debt-reducing measures soon, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Failure by Congress’ debt-cutting supercommittee to recommend $1.2 trillion in savings by Nov. 23 is supposed to automatically trigger spending cuts in the same amount to accomplish that job.

Still, the same legislators who concocted that budgetary booby trap just four months ago could end up spending the 2012 election year and beyond battling to defuse it.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., say they are writing legislation to prevent what they say would be devastating cuts to the military. House Republicans are exploring a similar move. Democrats maintain they won’t let domestic programs be the sole source of budget savings.

In the face of those efforts, President Barack Obama has told the debt panel’s co-chairmen that he “will not accept any measure that attempts to turn off the automatic cut trigger,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters last week.

The leaders of both parties in the House and Senate have expressed similar sentiments—seemingly making any attempt to restore the money futile.

“Yes, I would feel bound by it,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said recently of the automatic cuts. “It was part of the agreement.”

But that doesn’t mean rank-and-file lawmakers won’t try to block the cuts, or that viewpoints might not change if the right deal is offered—especially in the hothouse atmosphere of next year’s presidential and congressional campaign or its aftermath.

With nearly $500 billion in defense spending and an equal amount of domestic dollars at stake, plenty of lawmakers are ready to try blocking all or parts of those automatic cuts, if only to win favor from backers of programs whose funds are on the chopping block.

“I have no doubt that there will be efforts to turn it off,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Never underestimate the willingness of politicians to try to avoid making some of the hard choices.”


Site will calculate tuition, fees for ND colleges

The state Board of Higher Education began its show-and-tell on student fees Thursday by demonstrating a website that outlines tuition and other costs for certain high-cost college programs such as pharmacy and nursing, reports the Associated Press. A North Dakota law passed earlier this year requires state colleges to list program charges and how the money was spent, in response to complaints about escalating fees. The measure also caps increases of mandatory fees at 1 percent of tuition for the next two years, unless students request it. Robert Vallie, the student representative to the board, said students are willing to pay for good programs but want to know where the money goes.

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Who was the ‘best’ education president?

George W. Bush wanted to be known as “the education president,” and so did his father, George H.W. Bush, the Washington Post reports. Jimmy Carter established the Department of Education, President Obama is heavily invested in reforming public education and other presidents were too. So which U.S. president was “the best” for public education? The website of “Learning Matters,” the nonprofit media production company focused on education and run by John Merrow, recently asked that question to a number of scholars and other people, allowing each of them to define “best” in their own way…

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Low job placement rates puts for-profits at risk

New figures show two California campuses owned by for-profit education firm Career Education Corp. appear to have placed fewer than 65 percent of graduates in jobs – the minimum job placement rate required by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, California Watch reports. And while Career Education officials disclosed earlier this month that job placement rates at 36 of 49 health education and art and design schools had fallen below the minimum required by the accrediting agency, the new data show that as many as 45 of the campuses may have missed the mark.

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Good news at last for college graduates: an improved job outlook

Hiring for college grads is poised to improve during the current academic year – a welcome piece of positive news for young Americans who have been among those most affected by a weak job market, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Hiring of new bachelor’s degree holders will increase about 7 percent, compared with the 2010-11 academic year, according to a newly released survey of 4,200 job recruiters by the College Employment Research Institute. “This year’s market … shows a more consistent pattern of growth across industry sectors,” concludes a summary from the institute, which is based at Michigan State University in East Lansing…

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What to make of Facebook’s oversharing?

Facebook’s penchant for sharing everything you read via its Open Graph news apps caused quite a weekend stir. However, I wonder how far this flap goes beyond tech insiders and news junkies, reports Larry Dignan for CNET. CNET’s Molly Wood set off a bit of a fire storm by noting that Facebook is ruining sharing. In a nutshell, she doesn’t want to click on any links on Facebook because they are broadcast to her friends. Chances are you’ve seen stuff a friend has read because they installed a news reader app from the Washington Post, Yahoo or a bevy of others…

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How many people does it take to run a college’s Facebook page?

Most colleges have social media teams of two or three people.

Most college campuses don’t have one staff member toiling away on the social web, answering students’ burning questions and updating the school’s Facebook page. Some institutions have an entire team – seven people, sometimes more, managing the daily Facebook goings-on.

It depends on the size of a university and its commitment to consistent communication with prospective and current students and web-savvy alums, but social media staff varies widely from campus to campus, according to research released Nov. 16 by Varsity Outreach, a company that advises schools with web-based promotion.

Three in 10 colleges have one employee to manage the school’s Facebook presence, according to the Varsity Outreach study, while a few schools – 4 percent of respondents – have seven or more staff members managing and updating social media sites.

Most colleges – 51 percent – have a social media team of two or three people. One in 10 schools has four to six employees managing social sites like Facebook.

The results are similar to last year’s Varsity Outreach survey, and in some cases, identical.

Researchers said some colleges’ lack of attention to Facebook as a primary means of communication was disconcerting as higher education adopts the social website to evaluate prospective students, transmit security and weather warnings, and alert students to upcoming campus events or schedule changes.

Six in 10 colleges who responded to the survey said the school spent 1-4 hours every week on social media initiatives, while one in 10 said they spent less than an hour managing official Facebook pages.

“We worry that schools spending less than one hour per week risk presenting their school in a less-than-ideal light,” the report said. “Social media is not very social if students post questions on the wall of a school’s Facebook Page and do not receive a response for a week or more.”


University of Missouri to limit lecture recording

Some faculty members critcized the school's lecture capture policy.

From videotaped lectures to podcasts, universities are rushing to embrace the digital revolution. Yet even as some schools invite the public to view course material online, they’re starting to grapple with how to keep classroom discussions out of the wrong hands.

At the University of Missouri, a leaked classroom video that went viral in the spring and triggered an uproar on conservative media has prompted what may be the first restrictions on students recording lectures since the advent of portable tape recorders more than 50 years ago.

Under the new policy, students must first obtain written permission from their professors and classmates.

Read more about Andrew Breitbart in higher education…

Recorded lectures take on new risk as blogger ‘goes after teachers’

Conservative blogger launches site to reform ‘deplorable’ public education

Administrators say they want to make sure that students and faculty don’t discover their conversations posted online or become afraid to talk openly.

The new policy “protects the sanctity of the classroom for our students so they can freely discuss their thoughts and opinions,” said Steve Graham, senior associate vice president for academic affairs for the four-campus Missouri system.

But some Missouri professors are crying foul. They say the restrictions are impractical and contradict the public university’s goal of promoting shared knowledge.

“…We are public, taxpayer-funded faculty, and so we should think long and hard about any sort of restrictions on the rights of our students to record us as we work,” said Charles Davis, a journalism professor and former executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

The proposal, which awaits approval by campus attorneys, is a response to a video of a labor studies lecture by University of Missouri-Kansas City professor Judy Ancel. Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website obtained a leaked copy and edited hours of classroom lectures to suggest that she and a classroom colleague advocated union violence.


5 ways higher education is leveraging mobile tech

Mobile technology is on the minds of higher education professionals more than ever before. At the recent HighEdWeb conference in Austin, the itinerary included several ways schools can use social media, blogs and mobile technologies to better captivate its student body, Mashable reports. And last week, hundreds of orientation professionals gathered in New Orleans for the National Orientation Directors Association annual conference, where they discussed how to engage with prospective students in modern and relevant ways—including mobile—to welcome the next freshman class. It’s no mystery why: The latest numbers show 40% of teens plan on buying an iPhone within the next three months. In the last three years, the smartphone penetration rate among the 18-24 age demographic has risen by nearly a fifth. It’s not unreasonable to expect that nearly all of the Class of 2015 will have smartphones by the time they graduate. At the same time, nearly half of all college students are using their phones to access the mobile web…

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