Media zooms in on university’s drone class

Drone technology already has a role in college journalism courses.

Tiger One sits on the ground like a hubcap-sized, four-legged spider. Or maybe a Lego-colored prop for a sci-fi movie. In minutes, journalism students will try to pilot this thing they call a J-bot, but the world knows it as a drone. They’re not computer engineers or information technology experts.

They’re future story-tellers learning how a cheap technology can enhance their reporting with a bird’s-eye view of a story. The national media has zoomed in on the University of Missouri journalism drone class in recent weeks.

Is this yet another dimension of the coming of the drones, the future tool of the celebrity-chasing paparazzi? For now, the Federal Aviation Administration is holding them back, along with hundreds of other business applications, creating frustration over lost opportunities. In five years, experts predict, more than 10,000 drones will be working overhead for American businesses.…Read More

Civility efforts seek better behavior on campus

The University of Missouri has launched a new civility campaign called “Show Me Respect,” a nod to the state’s nickname.

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

Lecture capture remains popular despite controversy, lack of funding

Ten percent of college students said they watched lecture videos more than six times.

Lecture capture technology is thriving in higher education, even after cuts in campus technology budgets and a national political dustup that led at least one university to put severe limitations on how lecture-recording technology could be used.

Campus-based and cloud-based lecture capture systems improved students’ grades, efficiency, and course satisfaction, according to a national survey conducted by Tegrity, maker of a lecture-recording technology known as Tegrity Campus.

The overwhelmingly positive survey results come a year after a conservative media mogul posted lecture-capture video of University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) faculty member advocating violence as a legitimate tool in labor union negotiations. The video, later deemed “highly distorted” by UMKC officials, drew national attention and scorn from a range of conservative media outlets.…Read More

University of Missouri to limit lecture recording

Some faculty members critcized the school's lecture capture policy.

From videotaped lectures to podcasts, universities are rushing to embrace the digital revolution. Yet even as some schools invite the public to view course material online, they’re starting to grapple with how to keep classroom discussions out of the wrong hands.

At the University of Missouri, a leaked classroom video that went viral in the spring and triggered an uproar on conservative media has prompted what may be the first restrictions on students recording lectures since the advent of portable tape recorders more than 50 years ago.

Under the new policy, students must first obtain written permission from their professors and classmates.…Read More

Higher education’s best mobile technology programs

The University of Missouri last fall required all incoming journalism students to have an iPhone or iPod Touch.
The University of Missouri last fall required all incoming journalism students to have an iPhone or iPod Touch.

With small private campuses and large research universities alike teeming with iPhones, iPod Touches, BlackBerries, and other mobile devices, a college counseling company has highlighted five institutions in particular as the best landing spots for students attached to their gadgets.

IvyWise, a New York-based counseling company that released a list of the most environmentally friendly colleges in April, recently unveiled another list to help college applicants, this time focusing on schools that leverage the power of mobile devices to store and deliver recorded lectures, syllabi, homework, tests, and a host of other information that can be accessed any time, anywhere on campus.

The list, compiled by IvyWise counselors and released May 12, includes Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., Stanford University, the University of Maryland’s College Park campus, Ohio State University, and the University of Missouri.…Read More

Mizzou finds balance between web security, intellectual freedom

The school struck a balance between computer security and research freedom.
The school struck a balance between computer security and research freedom.

Universities pride themselves on giving students the intellectual freedom to explore their academic interests in an open, independent, and safe learning environment. A critical component of this mission is to make sure students feel secure that their private information is being protected at all times. Imagine leaving home for the first time at 18 years of age and immediately having to deal with identity theft. You’d suddenly become much more cynical, wouldn’t you?

Like all colleges, the University of Missouri collects and stores our students’ personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, eMail addresses, transcripts, grades, and even medical records. Employees in our Residential Life department need access to this information for administrative reasons. Unfortunately, our staff members have varying levels of computer knowledge, and varying levels of internet security sense. Users inadvertently click on malicious links and visit sites that are infested with malware. As a result, several years ago, we saw that malware was taking over machines, sapping bandwidth, blocking access to applications, and potentially putting students’ personal information at risk. At one point, the security threats were coming in so fast that machines were rendered unusable.

As a part of an open learning environment it’s important that the IT department doesn’t inhibit independent thinking or intellectual freedom. However, the web surfing habits of our employees were impacting the performance of the department’s 230 computers and others’ ability to use them.…Read More