California launches first ‘Battery University’ to push energy storage technology

The United States’ first graduate program in battery technology launches this autumn at a Silicon Valley university, the National Journal reports. Given the spate of bankruptcies of American battery makers such as A123 Systems and Ener1 over the past year, one might ask if that horse has already left the barn. But battery storage has emerged as the linchpin for scaling up intermittent sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind—where a continuous steady supply can’t be guaranteed—as well as for commercializing electric vehicles. And California is trying to take the lead in battery research at a time when China is also working hard on it. A123, for instance, ended up in Chinese hands when Wanxiang Group bought the battery maker at a bankruptcy auction. The two-year master’s program in battery technology at San Jose State University announced today is part of an effort to create an “energy storage cluster” of research institutions and companies in California.

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Peter Thiel is wrong — entrepreneurs should stay in school

I am a stick-in-the-mud. I disagree with PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel – I want people to stay in college if they possibly can, rather than dropping out to work full time on startups, Ed Zimmerman writes in The Wall Street Journal. I want people to take art history, to broaden their knowledge of literature, world religions, history, political science and foreign languages, among other subjects. I worry that in our rush to mint the next set of exciting founders (and, for investors, to fund them), we do them a disservice. That disservice arises from a monomaniacal approach to learning computer science and coding. Of course, these are important components of an education. But they are just components. Over-focusing on these attributes deprives students of the social skills and social network that come with being in school for four years and studying away (hopefully abroad). I regret not having availed myself of several of these opportunities. While in college, I was pretty concerned about (and short on) finances, but the real issues for me were that (a) I lacked the courage and self-confidence to study abroad and (b) I was a kid making decisions that reflected my naiveté and immaturity.

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Student wrongly tied to Boston bombings found dead

A body pulled from the water off Indian Point Park in Rhode Island has been identified as the Brown University student mistakenly linked by amateur sleuths on a social media site to the Boston bombings, USA Today reports. Health Department spokeswoman Dara Chadwick said Thursday that the body of Sunil Tripathi was identified through dental records. It was not immediately clear when Tripathi, who was last seen March 15, died. The cause of death has also not been determined. Tripathi’s body was found Tuesday by members of the Brown University crew team. The Pennsylvania native was on leave from the Ivy League school but was living in an apartment near campus in Providence, R.I., with several other students.

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Video Experts Worldwide Flock to Madison, Wis. for Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite User Conference

Attendees at seventh annual Unleash to share enterprise video and online learning strategies

MADISON, Wis. — April 24, 2013 — Madison, Wis. will be the hub for video gurus from around the globe next week as Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), the trusted leader for video content management and webcasting solutions, opens its three-day Mediasite User Conference, Unleash 2013.

The seventh annual conference at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center is the world’s best education and networking venue for Mediasite Enterprise Video Platform enthusiasts from around the world. This year’s conference has a record attendance with over 300 participating from 35 states, Puerto Rico and 14 countries — Germany, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Spain, Norway, Netherlands, UK and Grenada. Forty percent of the attendees are new to the conference this year, and nearly 20 percent will participate online via live interactive Mediasite webcasts.

The conference features four concurrent tracks and more than 30 training sessions, including the new Mediasite Developers’ Corner for API enthusiasts, as well as over 20 customer-led sessions from organizations such as North Carolina State University, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Goethe University – Frankfurt, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Lockheed Martin, Ontario Hospital Association and Sandia National Labs. Plus there will be many other interactive and collaborative discussions and networking opportunities.

Past attendee Adam Williams of University of Southern California -– Marshall School of Business says Unleash opens his eyes to new e-learning possibilities. “On our campus we have a lot of different schools using Mediasite. And yet you realize, when you see this broad array of people using Mediasite at universities and businesses around the world, how many different applications there are for it. It’s good to be able to learn from other people’s experiences,” said Williams, Instructional Operations Coordinator.

Plus, Sonic Foundry welcomes industry-recognized video and technology consultant Scott Walker, CTS-D, LEED AP, president and CEO of Waveguide Consulting, as its keynote speaker. “Unleash Your Organization in the Age of Video,” kicks off the conference at 8:05 a.m. CT April 29 and is open to the public. Register at

All Unleashers will have access to conference sessions streamed live and on-demand via Mediasite, plus online networking opportunities including:
• Live Unleash discussion rooms in the Mediasite User Group Community
• The Unleash 2013 mobile app
• Daily posts to World of Webcast, Sonic Foundry’s blog
• Real time updates via Twitter and Instagram using #mediasite

“This will be the largest gathering of Mediasite users ever assembled. It’s the best place to network with fellow video pioneers, share best practices and get a hands-on look at the latest product innovations,” said Gary Weis, Chief Executive Officer of Sonic Foundry. “We’re looking forward to three information-packed conference days and know that regardless of where people are participating from, whether it’s remotely via Mediasite webcasts or in-person, they’ll leave feeling equipped to take their video strategies to the next level.”

Trusted by more than 2,600 customers worldwide in education, business and government, the Mediasite webcasting and video content management system quickly and cost-effectively automates the capture, management, delivery and search of live and on-demand streaming videos and rich media presentations.

About Sonic Foundry®, Inc.
Sonic Foundry (NASDAQ: SOFO) is the trusted market leader for enterprise webcasting solutions, providing video content management and distribution for education, business and government. Powered by the patented Mediasite webcasting platform and webcast services of Mediasite Events, the company empowers people to advance how they share knowledge online, using video webcasts to bridge time and distance, enhance learning outcomes and improve performance.


Florida to open first online-only public university in U.S.

Public university students in Florida next year will be able to start working toward college degrees without actually going to college, under a law Governor Rick Scott signed on Monday in front of educators and business lobbyists, The Huffington Post reports. The state-run University of Florida plans to start a series of online bachelor’s degree programs next year, with $15 million start-up funds for 2014. Until now full-time online education has just been available to elementary and high schools in the state. “This bill transforms education in Florida,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Republican who has long been a proponent of “virtual learning” in public schools.

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IU joins $2 million cybersecurity effort

Indiana University Vice President and CIO Brad Wheeler and Internet2 President and CEO David Lambert today announced a $2 million initiative to stimulate collaboration in higher education cybersecurity efforts and to provide leadership on strategic cybersecurity issues nationally and globally, the Indiana Business Journal reports. Speaking at the Internet2 Annual Meeting in Arlington, Virginia, Lambert and Wheeler invited the presidents and CIOs of other colleges and universities to join as investors and sponsors of this initiative. They noted that the higher education sector is unique in having significant cyber activities in research, education and operations. This initiative is intended to stimulate more interaction among these activities to further higher education contributions to national efforts. This new collaboration will immediately launch a national search for an executive director with significant operational experience in cybersecurity in the higher education community.

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Poster on college’s ‘hookups’ Facebook page brags about sexual assaults

Toronto police are investigating a potential rape case after an anonymous poster described having sex with a heavily intoxicated woman on a Facebook page called “Humber Epic Hookup Fails,” Jezebel reports. The page, which went live two weeks ago, featured anonymous posts by Humber College students about hookups gone awry, because people have some weird impulse to share their “epic” hook up stories with the public.

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University opens ‘living lab’ of energy efficiency

Lighting systems will be monitored for energy use.

Building 661 at the Navy Yard was never a thing of beauty. Built in 1942, during the first months of U.S. involvement in World War II, the brick-and-concrete structure’s purpose was to house an indoor swimming pool, basketball courts, and offices, a function it pragmatically performed until the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard closed in 1995.

On April 24, the building, which has been unoccupied for nearly two decades, will begin a new life as headquarters of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, the two-year-old federally funded innovation center operated by Pennsylvania State University.

The EEB Hub plans to renovate the recreational building into a “living laboratory” of energy-efficient design. But it won’t necessarily employ the latest fancy-pants renewable-energy gizmos.

Rather, the mission of the Center for Building Energy Science is to help develop “scalable, repeatable, and cost-effective” systems that can be deployed into the real world, according to the U.S. Energy Department, which is funding the lab’s operations.

“There’s not a big appetite for experimentation in this space,” said deputy director Laurie Actman. “We’re very much about demonstration, deployment.”

Lighting systems, heating systems, and sensors embedded in the walls to monitor the building’s energy performance all will be of commonly available design.

Three parts of the building will use different mechanical systems, which will be contained behind a single glass wall for visitors to ogle – sure to become a mecca for the HVAC set and facilities managers.

New insulated panels will replace the 71-year-old concrete roof, which will be crushed and used to fill in the pool. Combined space from the pool and the basketball courts will become a great room, surrounded by a mezzanine and cooled with active chilled beams.


Pearson Acquires Ed Tech Startup, Learning Catalytics™

Real-time learning analytics and assessment system enables faculty to connect instantly with students’ personal devices to personalize learning

New York, N.Y. — April 22, 2013 — Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, announced today that it has acquired Learning Catalytics™, an advanced, cloud-based learning analytics and assessment system developed by Eric Mazur, Brian Lukoff, and Gary King of Harvard University.

Research has shown that instant feedback as well as peer-to-peer engagement helps improve student comprehension. Learning Catalytics allows faculty to obtain real-time responses to open-ended or critical thinking questions, determine which areas require further explanation, and then automatically group students for further discussion and problem solving. The system supports numerical, algebraic, textual, and graphical responses. The comprehensive and advanced analytics also help faculty better understand student performance in real time while lecturing.

“A wide body of research has long supported peer instruction, student engagement, and active learning in the classroom,” said Paul Corey, Pearson Higher Education president of Science, Business, and Technology. “What attracted us to Learning Catalytics is its unique ability to make these proven learning techniques more scalable in and outside the classroom, to enrich them with more actionable data and innovative analytics, and, ultimately, to make them even more effective. The use of Learning Catalytics in the classroom also enables instructors to be more effective. Faculty benefit greatly from the graphical dashboard in the classroom and more detailed results afterwards; and equipped with these insights, they can dive more deeply into areas of common misconceptions or make adjustments in real-time.”

By actively engaging students with questions and receiving their immediate responses, faculty can see a graphical representation of the current state of learning in their classes. Faculty can then adjust their teaching method, in real-time, and provide more in-depth instruction on areas of common misunderstanding. Learning Catalytics also empowers faculty to author questions directly, or further develop questions written by other faculty whose questions they can rate, comment, and improve upon.

Learning Catalytics was co-founded by Eric Mazur, a thought leader in the flipped classroom movement and an esteemed Pearson author, Brian Lukoff, an education researcher and software engineer, and Gary King, a noted social scientist and statistician.

“Pearson’s global reach and their focus on truly understanding what leads to better results in learning is in perfect alignment with our goals for Learning Catalytics”, said Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and Area Dean of Applied Physics. “We want faculty and students worldwide to benefit from our system.”

To learn more about Learning Catalytics, visit

To learn more about Pearson, visit:

About Pearson

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has global reach and market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO). Pearson helps people and institutions break through to improved outcomes by providing innovative print and digital education materials, including personalized learning products such as MyLab and Mastering, CourseConnect customizable online courseware, education services including custom publishing, content-independent platforms including the EQUELLA digital repository, and the Pearson LearningStudio online learning platform and OpenClass online learning environment.

Colleen DeVine
Zer0 to 5ive