Mobile apps help students answer, ‘Where’s the bus?’

Tiramisu uses crowdsourcing to tell riders if there are any remaining seats.

College students waiting patiently for the campus bus or shuttle can find out exactly when their ride will arrive, if it’s packed to the brim, and—for disabled students—whether or not the vehicle has room for a wheelchair: All it takes is a few taps of their smart phone.

Students and faculty members on many campuses use smart phone applications designed for any transit system, while others have apps specifically for their campus.

Carnegie Mellon University is among the schools creating the smart phone add-ons that keep a close virtual eye on the nearest bus.…Read More

$20 billion in ed funding slashed from student aid legislation

Funding for an online course program was cut out of the final student aid bill.
$500 million in proposed funding to create open online courses was cut out of the final student aid bill.

In last-minute maneuvering designed to get the measure to pass, lawmakers eliminated $20 billion in proposed education funding from the student aid overhaul enacted by Congress last week—dampening enthusiasm for legislation that K-12 and higher-education officials had lobbied for over the past year. Of that $20 billion, $12 billion was slated for community colleges to boost graduation rates, partly through the development of open online courses, and $8 billion was pegged for an early-childhood education program.

Community college officials cheered the American Graduation Initiative (AGI) when lawmakers introduced the program last fall, but last-minute compromises and worries over the cost of the student aid bill forced legislators to eliminate the $12 billion set aside for AGI, observers said. The program aimed to help community colleges produce 5 million more graduates over the next decade.

AGI had included $500 million for an online skills laboratory modeled after Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI). The free, open internet classes were to be created by the Departments of Defense, Education, and Labor, according to a White House announcement.…Read More

Carnegie Mellon to offer online safety program

Ninety percent of children surveyed said they use some form of online social networking.
Ninety percent of children surveyed said they use some form of online social networking.

Carnegie Mellon University will use a $20,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to create and distribute internet safety advice to faculty, teachers, and students in K-12 schools and on college campuses.

The university’s internet safety lessons can be found on its Information Networking Institute web site, which also includes tools such as an encyclopedia of hundreds of web terms.

The web-based tools will be sampled at St. Bede School in Pennsylvania, the university announced Jan. 25.…Read More