Oberlin cancels classes following latest hate incident

Oberlin College canceled classes Monday to hold a “Day of Solidarity” following a month of hateful vandalism and the latest report of a person spotted on campus wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style outfit, the Huffington Post reports. Throughout February, multiple acts of vandalism on the Ohio campus have targeted the black, Jewish and LGBT communities with hate speech, the Oberlin Review reports…

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A university steak to go with that sweatshirt?

Tongs in hand, you lean over to take in the smoky sizzle of a steak on the grill, and your thoughts naturally turn to … your alma mater? That is the plan, the New York Times reports. Food stopped being a punch line at most colleges years ago, as salad and burrito bars supplanted the overcooked broccoli and beans. Now, Washington State, a big public university in farm country that has been raising its own cattle for generations to train veterinarians and farmers, is trying to put a brand name on the college’s meat. It shipped the first introductory orders of packed and frozen W.S.U. Premium Beef in January. Students conducted surveys at football games to determine whether there was an appetite for well-marbled, expensive cuts of Wagyu, a Japanese breed raised here since the 1990s. Unsurprisingly, in a sea of tailgate parties, they found ample evidence for a market share…

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EDUCAUSE and Internet2 Offer Fall 2013 E-Content Pilot To Help Colleges Nationwide Transition From Printed Textbooks and Traditional Media to Electronic Platforms

EDUCAUSE and Internet2 Offer Fall 2013 E-Content Pilot To Help Colleges Nationwide Transition From Printed Textbooks and Traditional Media to Electronic Platforms

Courseload, CourseSmart, McGraw-Hill Education and Over 50 Publishers Involved

Washington, D.C.—March 1, 2013–EDUCAUSE and Internet2 today announced that Courseload, CourseSmart, McGraw-Hill Education and more than 50 publishers are participating in a pilot in Fall 2013 to further provide campuses nationwide an opportunity to explore, evaluate, and advance the transition from traditional media models, including textbooks, to electronic platforms. Colleges and universities interested in participating should attend a webinar at 3 p.m. Monday, March 4, must apply by March 8 and submit their signed contract by April 30, 2013.

The fall 2013 pilot is the latest in a series of efforts. Like its predecessors, the pilots have two principal goals:

• To continue to advance the higher education community’s understanding of online materials and what is necessary for them to attain and surpass the effectiveness, accessibility, economy, and other relevant outcomes associated with traditional textbooks, and
• To explore innovative business models, terms, and conditions that make access to digital educational materials more flexible, economical, efficient, and simple for institutions and publishers alike.

“As we move into the next evaluation opportunity for campuses, we are seeing not only increased interest from publishers and platforms to experiment with new offerings, but also requests from new players to work with Internet2 and EDUCAUSE communities to participate in service design discussions,” said Shelton Waggener, Internet2 senior vice president. “Questions we are asking include, What will the evolving landscape look like in the e-content space? How can designs that previously focused on working with the publishing author or faculty member add institutional and student needs into the e-content design? How can cloud based services interoperate with campus systems and students unique device needs?”

“The fall 2013 offering includes all new experimental platforms direct from McGraw Hill, a new version of software from Courseload that has new features and reflects continued progress on Courseload’s public commitment to accessibility, and a CourseSmart pilot that tests new business models,” said Rodney Petersen, managing director, EDUCAUSE Washington office.

“The genius of the EDUCAUSE & Internet2 E-Content pilots is in providing an easy way for institutions to experiment with solutions for digital course materials that best suit their objectives,” said Mickey Levitan, chief executive officer, Courseload. “Courseload is pleased to support trials that can help inform institutional strategic choices about how best to leverage digital course materials to improve affordability and educational outcomes. Given the rapid move to digital in music, video and recreational reading, there is broad agreement that higher education is not far behind. With much input from students, faculty and administrators, Courseload has systematically removed barriers that have slowed the move to digital, enabling institutions to more readily consider a solution that can work campus-wide.”

“CourseSmart is pleased to continue our success with Internet2 and EDUCAUSE by participating in the fall pilot,” said Sean Devine, chief executive officer, CourseSmart. “Last year we partnered to increase the use, affordability and accessibility of digital course materials with our CourseSmart Subscription Pack, which allowed students to save money, reduce book load and conveniently access their books digitally in one place. This year, we’ve added an additional component to the pilot that will allow faculty, instructors and staff to participate in the Faculty Instant Access program, which provides free, unlimited and universal access to the CourseSmart catalog through integration with the institution’s learning management system. “

“McGraw-Hill is excited to partner with Internet2 and EDUCAUSE to offer a pilot option that will deliver cutting-edge adaptive learning tools that take full advantage of the digital learning environment to enhance teaching and learning,” said Tom Malek, vice president, McGraw-Hill Higher Education Learning Solutions. “We’re looking forward to working closely with a select group of institutions and faculty that are interested in assessing the impact of these digital-first tools on teaching and learning.”

For more details about the EDUCAUSE-Internet2 Fall 2013 pilot, visit www.internet2.edu/netplus/econtent.

Media contacts:

Internet2, Todd Sedmak at todd@internet2.edu or 202-331-5373
EDUCAUSE, Rodney Petersen at rpetersen@educause.edu or 202-331-5368
Courseload, Shannon Zumbaugh at szumbaugh@courseload.com or 317-257-0570 x 9011
CourseSmart, Jessica Nelson,
jnelson@kwitco.com
(646) 747-7141
McGraw-Hill Education, Tim Peyton at Timothy_Peyton@mcgraw-hill.com or
614-354-6126.

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Mystery of the Chinese zombie Yalies

U.S. universities have responded to China’s exploding demand for American higher education with branch campuses and aggressive recruiting, the Associated Press reports. Now, some are trying to boost their brands by casting photos and other snippets of campus life out into the confounding sea of Chinese social media. How confounding? Consider the mystery of the Chinese Yale zombies. That’s “zombies” as in “zombie followers” on Sina Weibo — the hugely popular “weibo,” or microblogging, site that’s roughly akin to Twitter and has attracted more than 500 million followers since debuting in 2009. A common feature on Chinese social media, these zombie accounts could represent actual users who lurk inactively online. But often they’re fake, mass-produced accounts that mindlessly follow (hence the name “zombie”) and artificially boost another account’s follower numbers — and thus prestige. Since its debut in December, Yale’s new Sina Weibo account — sharing photos and other assorted items from its Ivy-covered Connecticut campus — has exploded in popularity, apparently far faster than any other U.S. institution’s…

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Famed free NYC college may start charging tuition

For more than a century, Cooper Union has been a one-of-a-kind meritocracy: Open to any student qualified to walk through its doors. For free, the Associated Press reports. Its founder envisioned higher education open to all — regardless of race, gender or class — an ideal that has remained the prestigious school’s most cherished principle since 1902. But a lot can change in 100 years. Cooper’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote later this month in favor of a proposal to charge its undergraduates something — anything — for their education. Angry alumni have penned letters. Students have protested, even occupying part of university building where Abraham Lincoln gave a famous anti-slavery speech. But they’ve all run up against a hard reality: Money woes caused by the economic collapse and rising costs mean Cooper can no longer afford the perk that has been held up as a sacrosanct part of the school’s identity…

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U.S. Army offers citizenship track for needed skills

Carolyne Chelulei came to the United States from Kenya on a student visa for a college education, but now the Army is offering her the chance to stay for good as a citizen, the Associated Press reports. The 23-year-old is one of several hundred immigrants whose specialized skills, either in languages or in their professional background, make them eligible for a Pentagon program that repays service in uniform with an accelerated path to citizenship.

“I am excited about it,” Chelulei said while visiting in her recruiter’s office. “I like helping people, and I think I will be a great asset to America, to the Army.”

As debate swirls in Washington about changing the nation’s policies on immigration, the Army is going ahead with offering some legal immigrants living temporarily in the U.S. a path to citizenship if they can fill certain critical jobs…

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Prevention through information: Promoting social norms awareness with digital signage

A small liberal arts college located in the heart of the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) are home to one of the most progressive and successful alcohol and drug prevention programs in the nation. Developed by Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins and Professor of Chemistry David Craig, the purpose of the Alcohol Education Project is to better inform our community about the social norms of alcohol and other drugs, and address the problems of abuse.

At the heart of our program is an understanding that most students misperceive social norms, assuming that it is typical for their peers to engage in risk-taking behavior. To combat these misconceptions, we gather credible data about behaviors such as drinking and tobacco and other drug use, and then communicate the actual healthy norms to students.

We’ve been using the social norms approach at HWS for more than 15 years, and up until last year, the communication aspect was achieved through the use of paper posters and screen savers on campus computers. Over the last few years, however, these methods began to feel dated. In addition, only one message could be communicated per sign. We were looking for a way to deliver our social norms content in a high-tech format that would engage students and increase exposure through multiple messages.

As it happens, some of our staff saw a digital signage network at Le Moyne College in Syracuse that had been installed by integrator VIZIONefx and is powered by X2O Media software. We immediately saw the potential of such a network for our Alcohol Education Project. It could be used to promote social norms awareness — from alcohol and drugs to other socio-cultural issues such as bullying and anorexia — to help students make better decisions in their lives. In addition, we could use it to keep students and staff up to date about campus news and events. With this in mind, we made the call to VIZIONefx between semesters in 2011.

(Next page: Implementing and using the digital signage)

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