Eight thoughts on higher education in 2012

These days it’s perplexing and painful to think about the future of traditional universities. How do we know what’s coming and how quickly it will come? How can we properly prepare for change without sacrificing the university’s best traditions? Ask Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and Henry J. Eyring, advancement vice president at Brigham Young University-Idaho in an open letter to university administrators. In grappling with the uncertainty of the future, it helps to bear in mind four things that, in our heart of hearts, we really know: 1. Many of our current challenges are long-term and will, if anything, become more serious. These include the decline in federal and state support of higher education, the practical ceiling on tuition created by household income levels, and the advent of technology that fundamentally reshapes the teaching and learning processes…

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Protecting United States from hackers means redoubling education efforts

If there was ever a time for the U.S. to get back on track with math and science, it’s with the latest ABC News report on China: ” For more than a year, hackers with ties to the Chinese military have been eaves dropping on U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials involves in Asian affairs, authorities say,” Yahoo! News reports. This is alarming and completely unacceptable. The Chinese hackers should have been found immediately not left unchecked for more than a year, but how can we find hackers when we’re below the world mean in math and science? We can’t protect ourselves if we don’t have citizens with the skills to protect us, and protection starts with education and training. Right now, the United States is average when compared to other developed nations, as reported by the Huffington Post. The problem with being average is that the U.S. only scores “around 500 in math and science.” Those scores are based on a 1000 point scale. The U.S. should be closer to 550 if we want to be competitive in the global market…

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UConn revises policy on abuse claims

The University of Connecticut is drafting a policy that would require all employees to report any allegation of sexual abuse to school officials, the Associated Press reports. The policy is expected to be presented to the school’s Board of Trustees in January, school spokesman Mike Kirk told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The school currently requires deans, directors, department heads and supervisors receiving complaints of possible sexual assault to refer them to the school’s Office of Diversity and Equity. Some employees involved in public safety, residential life, student activities, Greek life, athletics, student services and the student union also are required to inform the police of any reported sexual assault, Kirk said. The new policy would mandate that “all employees (with the exception of those who hold statutory confidentiality within the context of their positions) who receive reports of sexual assault must report that to ODE and/or other appropriate University officials, who would be in a position to ensure victim services and response, as well as to protect the campus community,” Kirk said in an email…

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How can colleges help teen moms (and teen dads)?

There has been a lot of talk about college graduation and success rates this year, as President Obama aims to dramatically increase the total number of graduates by 2020, says Jenna Johnson, columnist for the Washington Post. Achieving that goal will likely require targeting the types of students who struggle to graduate in less than six years. One such group: Young parents. I wrote an article for Thursday’s paper about Generation Hope, a new mentoring and scholarship program that is helping young parents through the financial and emotional challenges of college. For many of these students, raising a child while working and going to school requires an elaborate juggling act: To get to class, there must be steady child care. To be prepared for class, there must be quiet study time. To pay for class, there must be a steady income. So what can colleges do to help these students?

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The ten most popular eCN stories of the year

Here are the 10 most popular eCampus News stories from 2011.

Recently, we published our editors’ picks for the 10 most significant higher-ed tech stories of 2011. Now, see what our readers think.

These 10 stories were the most popular among our readers in 2011, as judged by the number of page views they received at www.eCampusNews.com. If you missed any of them before, don’t worry: You can go back and read them now, simply by clicking on each headline.

Rules could prompt colleges to pull online programs in some states

Online college students in Massachusetts, Arkansas, and Minnesota soon could have more limited school options as colleges and universities plan to withdraw their online programs from those states in response to a much-debated set of regulations…

Text messaging: A lecture hall epidemic?

College students say their professors would be “shocked” to know just how often they send text messages during lectures, and one researcher has offered a simple and stringent solution: Give failing grades to text-happy students…

How online education could stop the higher-ed bubble from bursting

Low-cost online courses could help higher education from becoming the next economic bubble that bursts and inflicts fiscal pain on institutions, investors, and students, say ed-tech experts who want more inexpensive options for those seeking a college degree…

Ending the ‘tyranny of the lecture’

At an ed-tech conference in Boston July 27, Harvard University physics professor Eric Mazur explained how he uses “peer instruction” to help his students engage in deeper learning than traditional lectures can provide—and he unveiled a brand-new ed-tech service that can help educators take this concept to a whole new level…

Google tablets expected to challenge iPad

Apple’s iPad will maintain tablet supremacy for the next four years, but higher education soon could see an influx of tablets that operate with Google’s operating system during the same period, according to an April 11 report from IT research company Gartner…

iPad beware: Android tablets gain foothold in higher education

The Apple iPad’s reign as higher education’s computer tablet of choice might be put to the test as Seton Hall University announced a pilot program that will put Android-based tablets—the iPad’s main rival—in the hands of 350 students and faculty members…

Students stage textbook rebellion at University of Maryland

College students are going without required textbooks, doing their best to eke through the semester without shelling out hundreds in their campus bookstores. With inexpensive alternatives sparse, a group of college activists—backed by the Obama administration—is railing against skyrocketing textbook prices … one campus at a time…

Campus survives the ‘iPad jitters’

Putting Apple iPads in the hands of every student and professor on a PC-based campus required some convincing, but a year later, Seton Hill University officials said the tablet program has changed the way classes are taught…

College students use social media to cheat

Social media and content sharing websites account for one-third of plagiarism among college students, and paper mills are far less popular than once thought, according to a report detailing the most common cheating methods in higher education…

10 of the best apps for higher education

In this special feature, we’ve assembled a list of education “apps” for Apple devices that we think are noteworthy for higher education…


NACUBO’s 2012 meeting will highlight future changes, challenges

The 2012 meeting will focus on how universities can leverage changes in the marketplace.

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), which aims to advance the economic viability and business practices of higher education institutions in fulfillment of their academic missions, will hold its Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., July 28-31, 2012.

The conference will focus on the changes and challenges that business officers have gone through and will go through. Topics will focus on what the future may bring, and how attendees will address these challenges to help lead their institution and professions.

The meeting will be held across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. in National Harbor, Md., at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

Held each year, the NACUBO annual meeting regularly attracts more than 1,500 attendees and more than 200 exhibiting companies for three days of professional development and networking.


ACUTA’s annual conference to focus on new technologies, thinking, leadership

Conference topics will focus on how technology's changing nature impacts students and edcators.

The Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA) will kick off its 41st Annual Conference and Exhibition on April 29, 2012, in Indianapolis.

Three featured keynote speakers will cover a wide range of topics relevant for today’s higher education technology professionals.

Brad Wheeler, vice president for Information Technology and CIO at Indiana University, has focused on understanding and leading in the use of digital networks. As colleges and universities rethink their approach to reliable, policy-aligned services through means of aggregation, scale, and unprecedented agility, we must also rethink our approach. What new models should we favor and why? At what pace? What are the risks and rewards of stewardship and leadership in an era of shifting economics for education? Wheeler will speak on April 30 at 8 a.m.

Futrist David Zach works with universities, businesses, and associations to help them understand how to think about the future, change, and continuity – and how to make choices about them. In his entertaining and thought-provoking tour of modern times on May 1 at 8 a.m., David Zach will deliver useful answers to some of today’s biggest questions. Do we really want major appliances that can argue with us? Are there any jobs that won’t be automated? What new changes will emerging technologies bring to education – and what will never change about education? Can we actually afford the future
everyone keeps talking about? What are the really cool trends that are coming?

And in the May 2 keynote at 2:30 p.m., Will Miller, a comedian and psychotherapist, will focus on change. While most of us acknowledge that experiencing change is stressful, there is not a lot of clarity about what this means precisely. What kind of changes are we talking about? And in light of changes whose features and pace we cannot affect or control, what do we do in response? How do we cope? The best of current social science research indicates that all change, both good and bad, positive and negative, cause us to react and adapt. And inherent in these adaptation processes is stress – both physical and psychological. What do we do? What can we do?

Educational sessions will focus on a variety of topics, including:

  • Mass notification systems planning
  • Meeting the demand for broadband mobile services
  • Network chargeback and sustainable business models
  • Leveraging ACUTA resources
  • Navigating the future of emergency communications
  • Using iPads to improve network infrastructure and UC service
  • Scaling 802.11n wireless networks to handle “bring your own device” initiatives



From combat to Columbia University: Returning troops head to Ivy Leagues despite cuts to GI bill

Though recent cuts to the GI Bill have limited their academic options, returning troops are finding ways to offset the exorbitant costs of an Ivy League education, the Huffington Post reports. Up until January, the revamped GI Bill paid for the full tuition at public two- and four-year schools for those who had served for a minimum of three years since Sept. 11, 2001. But recent cuts to that program capped tuition at $17,500, threatening to take away the opportunity to study in the hallowed halls of prestigious institutions, like Columbia University. Cameron Baker, an Air Force veteran, was already enrolled at Columbia when the cuts were made. He feared that he would have to transfer out.

“I come from a very low socio-economic background,” Baker told the Huffington Post back in April. “My family can’t afford to help me out. I mean, at this point, I’m the one who’s supposed to be helping them out.”

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Facebook agrees to changes to improve transparency

Facebook Inc. has agreed to make several changes to its services to improve transparency and better protect the personal data of its millions of users outside of the U.S., following an in-depth audit of its international headquarters that was released Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The social media company, based in Palo Alto, California, agreed to changes including asking European users if they wanted to partake in its Facial Recognition, reworking its policies of retaining and deleting private data, and reducing the amount of information collected about people who are not logged into Facebook, the company said in response to the report of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. Facebook’s international headquarters are based in Dublin, Ireland, a member of the European Union. This means the company is required to comply with European data privacy laws, which are more stringent than those that apply in the United States, particularly regarding how long data can be retained…

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Opinion: Newt Gingrich and the meaning of smart

As Newt Gingrich has surged in the Republican presidential polls, we’ve heard more and more in the media about his intelligence, about him being a large thinker, the big idea guy in the GOP, says Mike Rose, who is on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and is the author of several books, for the Washington Post. This standard description of him has gotten me to think about intelligence, particularly about the ways we commonly ascribe intelligence to others. I remember as a young man watching William F. Buckley on television and being fascinated by the way his eyes would flash and his tongue flick across his lips when he made a point—and the words! The big words. And that accent, that intonation. I didn’t know anyone who sounded like that. Clearly, this guy was smart. Since those days, I’ve taught a lot of people—which enables you to observe thinking in detail—and have studied intelligence, and I’ve spent a good chunk of my professional life in a university, the epicenter of smarts…

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