A University of Oregon student is suing the university and its men's basketball coach, alleging that they knowingly recruited a basketball player who had previously been accused of sexual assault and suspended from Providence College. That player, Brandon Austin, was one of three members of the Oregon basketball team who were accused of sexually assaulting the female student last year. All three were suspended for up to 10 years, or for as long as it takes for the female student to graduate. The three athletes were not charged, Oregon Live reports, though the district attorney acknowledged that the Eugene Police Department's investigation concluded that there was "no doubt the incidents occurred."
The suit also alleges that the University of Oregon scrubbed the players' transcripts of any references to sexual misconduct, making it easier for them to transfer to play elsewhere. Austin was able transfer again, this time to Northwest Florida State College, where he is now a member of the basketball team. Steve DeMeo, Northwest Florida State's head basketball coach, has acknowledged Austin's previous suspensions, saying at the time of the transfer that "the college has decided to give this young man an opportunity to continue his education."
Dartmouth College has charged 64 students -- many of them athletes -- with cheating in a sports ethics course, the Valley News reported. According to the course's instructor, Randall Balmer, dozens of students frequently did not attend the class, and instead handed their clickers to other students who then used the devices to respond to questions during in-class assignments. The course was originally created, Balmer said, to help college athletes who struggled with Dartmouth coursework. The university declined to comment on the matter, but did confirm the number of students facing potential punishment, which could include "suspension or separation."
Submitted by Randy Best on January 9, 2015 - 3:00am
As the hype around MOOCs has subsided, a frequently asked question in university circles today is: Who have massive open online courses helped or hurt?
Providing free and open access to content from revered institutions is laudable. But enrollments at elite colleges’ MOOCs do not translate into revenue at the vast majority of colleges and universities, many of them already cash-strapped. And learning that fails to deliver credit that leads to a credential may not yield much for students, even if they enjoy the courses. MOOCs may have been more faddish than altruistic.
For MOOCs to be important long term, they must be more than a curiosity. A 2014 study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education found that only 4 percent of those who had registered for a MOOC actually completed it. The curious are obviously much less likely to see a course through to completion than are serious students seeking a credential to help them advance in their lives.
Studies like the one out of Penn suggest that MOOCs may have little long-term utility for students. And for institutions, the risks of issuing credit for MOOCs could have a serious impact on their operating income. Most of those who have created MOOCs have invested a lot of sweat equity in return for relatively little, and no meaningful income for provider universities that contributed their brand and reputation to support the concept.
Higher education needs to be affordable, but it cannot be free. As aptly observed by Michael Cusumano of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the software, music, video, book publishing, newspaper, and magazine industries are “still struggling to recover from the impact of free,” and many companies within those industries never did. In fact, two-thirds of the public software product companies operating in 1998 had shuttered by 2006. While a variety of factors may have contributed to their demise, the proliferation of free products was chief among them, points out Cusumano, a fact that should be kept in mind as we evaluate the impact of MOOCs on higher education.
At a time when many colleges and universities are struggling to justify their value proposition and find financial sustainability, marking their core product to zero seems to be misguided, an observation that is gaining currency among higher educators worldwide. This practice also raises a question whether free implies little value.
Giving away education can make sense in some cases. For instance, the country of Colombia, which has offered MOOC-like courses through SENA, its agency focused on providing practical and technical educational courses to increase employment, and India, which is considering putting high-demand courses online for workforce training may prove that free and open courses online can be effective in up-skilling societies. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these initiatives are seen as a public good and, as such, are fully funded by the government and not by institutions that need to find their way to self-sufficiency.
Using technology to deliver relevant, affordable, and credential-bearing education from top universities to help more citizens progress in their lives is within the incredible potential of the Internet and can be done inexpensively and at scale, as MOOCs have demonstrated.
While the participation of top universities in the delivery of MOOCs has helped further legitimize online learning and infuse higher education with much needed innovation, it has not proven to be the anticipated game changer for either students or universities. History has shown us that giveaways are a gambler’s game and not a strategy for a sustainable future.
Randy Best is the chairman and CEO of Academic Partnerships.
The woman who says that Jameis Winston raped her is suing Florida State University, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. Winston, a star quarterback who on Wednesday announced plans to enter the National Football League draft, has denied raping her. Numerous journalistic investigations have raised questions about whether Florida State or local authorities took the charges seriously. The suit charges that the university largely refused to investigate and didn't fill the woman in on her various legal options. The university again on Wednesday denied wrongdoing in the case.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association will help cover the expenses of basketball players' family members who travel to the men's and women's Final Four games this spring, the association announced Tuesday. The NCAA also granted a waiver that allows the College Football Playoff to help cover the expenses of families traveling to the national championship football game next week.
Under a new pilot program, the NCAA will pay up to $3,000 in travel, hotel and meal expenses for family members of each athlete who competes in the Final Four. The association will pay as much as $4,000 for families of athletes playing in the championship games. The NCAA will allow the College Football Playoff to provide $3,000 in assistance to families of football players participating in the national championship. Member institutions can now also begin providing family travel expenses for other championships on a permanent basis, the NCAA said. The current, 14-year deal between CBS and the NCAA to broadcast the men's basketball tournament is worth $11 billion.
The change is among several the NCAA is making in response to pressure it's under to provide more support for athletes. At the NCAA convention next week, the newly autonomous "power five" conferences are expected to vote on several reforms, including providing better medical, financial, and academic support to athletes. "From multiyear scholarships to opportunities to return to school and complete their degree on scholarship, we have been dedicated to further improving the student-athlete experience since our presidential retreat in August 2011,” Mark Emmert, NCAA president said. “Providing travel expenses for student-athletes’ families is another example of this progress.”
Joy Laskar, a a former tenured professor of electrical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, has been indicted on two counts of racketeering, based on allegations that he poured some $1 million of university funds into his own tech company, Fox6 WBRC reported. In an interview with the station, Laskar denied the charges, saying that he used university funds to make legitimate purchases of computer chips that benefited his students and research work. Laskar’s university office was raided by investigators in 2010, and he was later suspended and fired. In 2011, the university settled with him for more than $181,000, after he sued, saying he'd been wrongfully suspended without pay. A criminal investigation continued, however, and the indictments were handed down as the statute of limitations for the case neared. Craig Frankel, one of Laskar’s attorneys, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A university spokesman confirmed that Laskar’s employment there ended officially in August 2011, but he declined further comment on the pending litigation.