Harvard dean who oversaw eMail searches to step down

Hammonds created the university’s first bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer (BGLTQ) student life office.

The Harvard University administrator who authorized the secret search of staff eMail accounts following the university’s cheating scandal last year has resigned from her position as dean of Harvard College.

Evelynn M. Hammonds announced Tuesday that she would step down as dean on July 1 to focus on teaching and research in the department of African and African American Studies and the department of History of Science, according to a Harvard press release.

“I am looking forward to redesigning my classes in light of new technologies and modes of teaching, and I’m eager to return to my teaching and research on race, genomics and gender in science and medicine,” Hammonds stated.…Read More

California colleges, lawmakers turn to technology in face of budget crisis

Critics say Cal State Online is a waste of limited resources.

It now costs more to attend a public California college than Harvard University, and California campus officials are pushing for a centralized online learning repository and lawmakers are proposing a free open source textbook library that could all but eliminate students’ textbook costs, while state budget cuts threaten to make higher education even more expensive in 2013.

The open-source library – an idea that has long been pushed in educational technology circles – has become a serious public policy proposal just months after state schools raised tuition and fees as California faces steep budget shortfalls.

California State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, introduced a bill last month that would fund a comprehensive online library for the state’s 50 most popular public college courses. Students could access the books in the repository free of charge, or print a paper version for about $20.…Read More

Universities use tool to battle student ID theft

Data security crimes jumped by 47 percent from 2007 to 2008.
Data security crimes jumped by 47 percent from 2007 to 2008.

College students have to know which data are most vulnerable before they can protect their Social Security numbers, passwords, and online banking personal identification numbers. The creators of a new software program that fights identity theft say it can do just that—and some of the most respected universities are listening.

Identity Finder, a tool now marketed free of charge to college students, thoroughly scans a computer’s internet browser, files, eMail, attachments, and a range of other programs to find information that would prove most vulnerable to hackers.

The program isolates these bits of information and gives students options for how to secure each item: removing them piece by piece, scrubbing irrelevant data, or encrypting sensitive files for safe storage.…Read More

Can social media cure low student engagement?

Students can access an array of education applications of Facebook Courses.
Students can access an array of education applications from Facebook Courses.

Keeping college students and their professors connected through social media outlets could be key in boosting graduation rates, education technology experts said during a panel discussion at Social Media Week in New York.

Social Media Week ran through the first week of February in five cities worldwide—New York City, San Francisco, London, Sao Paulo, and Toronto—and authorities from the business world, academia, and other fields discussed how social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are shaping global culture.

During a Feb. 6 session called “The Future of Social Media in Higher Education,” a five-person panel explored how colleges can use social networking to communicate with traditional and nontraditional students, what impact the new Apple iPad might have on student-faculty communication, and why Blackboard is not meeting some students’ social media needs.…Read More