A MOOC that will ‘cut across institutional boundaries’

Vanderbilt University and the University of Maryland (UMD) could create a new massive open online course (MOOC) cross-institutional model for higher education, and team up for a two-part MOOC on mobile app development.

Each university will teach segments of the MOOC that last 8-10 weeks.

Many colleges have delved into MOOCs, while others have approach the massive courses with caution. Either way, however, MOOC implementation has been isolated to a single school working with a MOOC platform.

The Vanderbilt-UMD MOOC will have two segments, both 8-10 weeks long, hosted on the Coursera platform. The mobile app development class will start Jan. 6, according to a Vanderbilt announcement.

“This trans-institutional and interdisciplinary MOOC sequence will provide an exemplar of how intentionally coordinated MOOCs can create learning communities that cut across traditional institutional and disciplinary boundaries,” said Douglas Schmidt, professor of computer science and of computer engineering at Vanderbilt.…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

Justices will review racial preference for college

Justice Elena Kagan won't participate in the race-based admissions case.

The Supreme Court is setting an election-season review of racial preference in college admissions, agreeing Feb. 21 to consider new limits on the contentious issue of affirmative action programs.

A challenge from a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas flagship campus will be the high court’s first look at affirmative action in higher education since its 2003 decision endorsing the use of race as a factor.

This time around, a more conservative court could jettison that earlier ruling or at least limit when colleges may take account of race in admissions.…Read More