When Yaser S. Abu-Mostafa, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the California Institute of Technology, began promoting his online course on machine learning, one person he turned to was Caltech’s dean of admissions, The New York Times reports. Dr. Abu-Mostafa believed that prospective Caltech students would benefit from learning what it actually takes to be an engineer — something that high schools, on the whole, fail to teach adequately. National Science Foundation statistics lend credence to his worries: while one in 10 students in the United States enter college with the intention of majoring in engineering, nearly half of those students fail to complete their degree requirements. Caltech admissions officials agreed wholeheartedly, and promptly sent out an e-mail blast to applicants suggesting Dr. Abu-Mostafa’s course, Learning From Data, on iTunes U.…Read More
A developer of educational software since the 1960s, Brown University Computer Science Professor Andries van Dam has seen education technology trends come and go, but he’s recently zeroed in on Microsoft’s interactive desktop computer as a model for the future computer.
van Dam, a co-founder of Brown’s Computer Science Department, specializes in what he calls post-WIMP computer interfaces, meaning machines that don’t use the traditional windows, icons, menus, and pointers that have come to define the modern computer.
After working on Microsoft’s Surface, a table-sized computer that recognizes hand gestures and objects and allows multiple people to use the product simultaneously, van Dam said the multimodal interface will prove valuable to higher-education researchers examining how their institutions—and the general population—can move away from the antiquated point-and-click computing experience.…Read More
Reports of Gmail’s demise, it seems, have been greatly exaggerated. After a spring that saw at least three prominent universities move away from Google’s free hosted eMail and applications, technology officials at Brown University will expand the use of these tools beyond its undergraduates this summer after faculty clamored for the services over the past year—a move that could save the university $1 million annually.
The Ivy League university in Providence, R.I., launched the free Google Apps for Education for its 6,000 undergraduates last academic year—a migration that made students “happy,” “productive,” and “excited,” Brown’s IT director of support services, Geoff Greene, wrote in a June 29 post on Google’s official blog.
“And then some people got jealous,” Greene wrote.…Read More