This 3D ‘sci-fi technology’ is revolutionizing universities

Critical uses for 3D printing expand to all departments; faculty say it’s the future

3D-universities-technologyIn just the span of one year, a relatively new technology is beginning to transform every department within colleges and universities, thanks to its versatility, general affordability, and ‘wow’ factor: 3D printing. And from campus libraries to chemistry departments, faculty and students are reaping the benefits of what was once considered science fiction.

“If you can think of it, you can print it,” said Tony Frankino, assistant professor of biology in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston (UH), who believes that 3D printers are transforming university teaching and research.

The concept of 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, but advances in the technology–along with reduced costs–have made the printers more practical for everyday use in academia.…Read More

New: Guideline for universities on censoring social media

Students and staff beliefs on social media censorship create a guideline that may prove useful

censor-university-socialIn a problem that’s stemming from both the proliferation of social media use and campus violence, universities are considering what’s appropriate to censor on social media and what’s not, often leading to confusion and infringement of students rights. But a new guide may be able to help.

Free speech, which has always been a hot-button topic for higher education and continues to be, has never been more confusing than with the explosion of social media forums over the last five years. A confusing issue that John Rowe, academic registrar for Curtin University in Australia, thought worth an intensive study.

“All universities have been struggling to balance freedom of speech and the right to express an opinion, with reasonable expectations of responsible and respectful behavior by students, as well as the protection of staff and student well-being,” says Rowe in his study, “Student use of social media: When should the university intervene?” published by the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management.…Read More

Universities now taking major gamble on one person

Not just for large powerhouses, this position is now getting filled for all institutions

investment-institutions-positionImagine that you’re in debt, so much so that your house is on your bank’s radar for repossession. You have a little money, but not much, and you feel if only you knew how, you could leverage that money to make more money and keep your house. Heck…maybe even renovate your 1970’s pea-green and pink bathroom. Who could help you leverage your funds?

If that scenario doesn’t sound unusual, that’s because it’s one being faced not only by individuals across the U.S. thanks to the Great Recession, but for universities large and small, looking to leverage funds to keep the campus open and [hopefully] improve upon services.

The answer? Chief Investment Officers (CIOs)—once positions filled only in large powerhouse higher education institutions needing someone to manage large endowments, are now getting filled for small- to mid-sized universities desperate to better leverage manageable funds.…Read More

4 ways universities can use the social media app Vine

Although Vine videos are not yet a mainstream practice in higher ed, they can play an important role in showcasing university life

vine-education-universityHave you heard of Vine? Chances are you may have seen a cute six second video of a pet, toddler or food dish posted on a friend or colleagues’ mobile device.

Teens have gravitated towards Vine in massive numbers, even at the expense of leaving Facebook for this ultra-quick video sharing device. In 2013, active teen Vine users skyrocketed by 639 percent.

Although the majority of Vine video clips are for fun and personal use, educators and administrators in higher education could capitalize on the growing popularity of this social media application.…Read More

Innovation corner: Hitting back against data attacks

Colleges and universities have more data than ever, and with that exponential increase in sensitive information has come the prying eyes of hackers hoping to find their way into those massive data silos.

dataData breaches aren’t just disastrous public relations for universities — they can also be terribly expensive, with schools having to purchase credit monitoring services for thousands or tens of thousands of students, parents, and campus employees.

Just ask officials at the University of Maryland, which suffered a nightmarish cyber attack that compromised more than 280,000 records stored on campus servers. It marked one of the largest higher education breaches in recent memory.

UM decision makers pledged to identify sensitive information in university databases to determine whether they are needed and how to better isolate them, along with examining national cybersecurity policies and best practices to establish an appropriate balance between centralized security and broad access on university networks.…Read More

New course format gives universities revenue

New bite-sized courses cater to every student, helps universities make money

course-universities-newAs universities search for new ways to move online, attract students and prepare them for the working world, new bite-sized, short courses for those who don’t have time to earn a specialized degree represent the next step. They also are a way for institutions to make money with existing resources.

For example, a decade ago, subsea engineering was a relatively obscure field in the U.S. Now, as oil drillers move farther out to sea, it’s become a vital part of Gulf Coast production.

Such rapid changes in industry leave schools like the University of Houston’s College of Engineering scrambling to keep up. UH is among the institutions patching these gaps with bite-size courses that could benefit their own students while opening up a new higher education market.…Read More

How to battle the dark side of for-profit universities

States need to work together, develop new battle plan to combat what some say are the evils of for-profit colleges and universities

battle-for-profit-statesWhen Hannah Benbow ran into problems with the for-profit college she attended, she turned to the federal government for help.

Benbow, 24, wrote to the U.S. Department of Education when the Art Institute of Washington in Arlington, Va.—one of more than 50 for-profit Art Institute campuses across the country—told her unexpectedly that she would need to apply for yet another student loan, on top of the nearly $120,000 she’d already borrowed, to cover $7,000 in fees she said were not disclosed to her before she signed up.

“Since my parents and family have already co-signed my other ridiculous amount of loans, they were denied on this one,” Benbow wrote in her letter to the agency, whose responsibilities include regulating higher education.…Read More

How to leverage the intellectual power of universities

State pours millions into partnering universities with companies to fund 15 technology projects

universities-research-technology In what could serve as a national model for states, universities, and the private sector to help bring innovative technology closer to market, one state’s inspiring partnership initiative announced its decision to fund 15 technology projects based on university research.

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, has approved 15 research projects worth $4.1 million to 15 teams combining Maryland companies with state university researchers to bring technology products closer to market, announced program officials.

MIPS grants money—matched with company funds—to faculty engaged in each project to help accelerate technology and boost the economy. Commercial products benefiting from MIPS projects have generated more than $28.1 billion in revenue, added thousands of jobs to the region, and contributed to successful products such as Martek Biosciences’ nutritional oils, Hughes Communications’ HughesNet, MedImmune’s Synagis, and Black & Decker’s Bullet Speed Tip Masonry Drill Bit, says MIPS.…Read More