In higher education, 2013 may be remembered as the year of the MOOC. For those playing catch-up, MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are college-level classes taught entirely over the internet, Penn State News reports. Like students in brick-and-mortar classrooms, students enrolled in MOOCs take notes and tests and participate in discussions. Unlike traditional courses — or even typical online courses — MOOCs are usually free, draw hundreds or even thousands of students, and are run with minimal direct contact with teachers, with an emphasis instead on brief and (presumably) engaging video presentations. Colleges and universities are scrambling to get onboard the MOOC train (hundreds now offer some form of Web-based curriculum) while at the same time debating what the trend means for the future of higher education. Is MOOC-mania justified and are MOOCs here to stay? “We know a lot about teaching small classes and even large lecture classes,” Penn State Associate Professor of English Stuart Selber said. “And we know a lot about creating online courses for the scales we’re used to. But the ‘massive’ part of MOOCs is a new frontier for higher education. We know very little, if anything, about teaching and learning in a context involving tens of thousands of students.”…Read More
Jewish students in the University of California system labeled terrorists for their support of Israel. Black high school students pelted by bananas on a Tennessee campus tour. A hostile student in Maryland challenging his professor to a fight after the teacher limited the use of cell phones and laptops during lectures.
In a society where anonymous internet commenters freely lob insults, and politicians spew partisan barbs, the decline of basic civility isn’t limited to academia. But the push for more polite discourse—often as an extension of more entrenched diversity efforts—is firmly taking root on campus.
From the University of Missouri to Penn State and Vanderbilt, colleges across the country are treating the erosion of common decency as a public health epidemic on par with measles outbreaks and sexually transmitted diseases.…Read More
Legions of filing cabinets have become casualties of higher education’s war for students.
Computer-based admissions and financial aid systems are not nearly ubiquitous in higher education, with many schools shuffling reams of paper from office to office, costing precious time and staff hours while competing colleges process their decisions as many as several days earlier.
Campuses with paper-based admissions and financial aid processes are at a distinct disadvantage in their always-heated competition for students applying to many schools every winter and spring.…Read More
Penn State football was all but dismantled Monday by an NCAA ruling that wiped away 14 years of coach Joe Paterno’s victories and imposed a mountain of fines and penalties, crippling a program whose pedophile assistant coach spent years molesting children, sometimes on school property.
The sanctions by the governing body of college sports also imposed unprecedented fines of $60 million, ordered Penn State to sit out the postseason for four years, capped scholarships at 20 below the normal limit for four years and placed football on five years’ probation.
Current or incoming football players are free to immediately transfer and compete at another school.…Read More
Ashley Garcia scribbles away in her spiral-bound notebook, slowly filling it with numbers, functions and equations.
It’s early on a lazy summer morning, but instead of sleeping in like many of her classmates who graduated last month from Coronado High School, Garcia is hard at work studying in a windowless computer lab at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
Garcia is cramming because she doesn’t want to become a statistic.…Read More
The independent panel investigating Pennsylvania State University’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal has determined that the school’s top leaders, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, tried to cover up the abuse for 14 years.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who led the investigation, outlined the findings of the panel’s 162-page report in prepared remarks released in advance of a 10 a.m. news conference in Philadelphia.
Two of the universities on Google’s top-10 most searched list for 2011 made the cut thanks to far-reaching scandals, campus tragedies, and public relations nightmares.
The search giant’s 11th annual Zeitgeist list, which ranks the most popular people, events, and news items of the past year, includes the colleges and universities most frequently search for on Google.
Colleges have long vied for search-engine supremacy with careful use of web analytics, engagement with website visitors, and a consistent social media presence. But if Google’s Zeitgeist rankings are any indication, bad news might be the best way to make the vaunted list.…Read More
Facebook has become ground zero for crisis management in higher education, as demonstrated by Penn State University’s consistent communication with its 243,000 followers as the campus descended into riots after the Nov. 9 firing of head football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier.
The university’s Board of Trustees dismissed Spanier and Paterno days after PSU drew national attention when former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sex crimes against minors.
Students took to the University Park, Pa., streets and protested the firing of Paterno. The university updated its Facebook page after midnight with alerts telling students to “vacate” the rioting areas immediately.…Read More
Update—Should school newspapers, or any newspapers for that matter, be forced to delete archived stories in order to clear a person’s record online? That was the issue before a state judge in Pennsylvania in a case that touches on the potential for media censorship in the digital era.
The Centre Daily Times and the Daily Collegian student newspaper at Penn State were ordered to expunge records of information about two defendants, an unusual provision inserted by a defense lawyer into otherwise standard orders signed by Centre County Judge Thomas King Kistler. Kistler signed new expungement orders in the cases on July 7 and called the initial orders “an inadvertence.”
Such orders typically direct public agencies to clear a person’s record in cases where charges are dismissed, withdrawn, or aren’t applicable for someone who’s a first-time offender who completes a rehabilitation program.…Read More