New Partnership for Open Educational Resources

In a match seemingly made in open educational resource heaven, the free textbook producer OpenStax College and OER support provider Lumen Learning on Wednesday announced a partnership that aims to save college students $10 million on textbooks by 2015. Lumen Learning helps institutions transition away from traditional course materials, and will use OpenStax College's textbook offerings to bolster its catalog of open resources. The free textbook producer, based at Rice University, has published six textbooks so far and has another seven in the works.

"Lumen is the latest example of a growing coordination amongst philanthropic grantees to further the mission of access in a dynamic way," Richard Baraniuk, the founder of OpenStax College, said in an email. "Greater coordination will fuel a more rapid transition to a more efficient and open market."

State Dept. blocks access to MOOCs in countries with economic sanctions

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Want to enroll Iranian students in your MOOC? Get a waiver.


Harvard U. experiments with three versions of the same course

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Students in Harvard University's introductory computer science course face a choice of what they earn upon completion: a certificate, a $350 voucher or academic credit.

Monash Is First University Awarded Top-Level Domain

Monash University, in Australia, announced this morning that it has been awarded the right to use a .monash domain, becoming the first university awarded the right to use its own name in that way. The news was confirmed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which governs such matters. The decision is part of a new program in which globally recognized brands may seek their own domains, rather than remaining in such domains as .edu, .com, etc. While the university plans a transition, it will continue to use a domain.


Spending Bill Includes Open Access Legislation

Tucked away on page 1,020 of the 1,582-page spending bill winding its way through Congress, Section 527 of the ‘‘Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014’’ would make taxpayer funded research publicly available within 12 months of publication.

According to the bill, federal agencies must develop public access policies that provide a "machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journal." The policy applies to all federal agencies with research and development expenditures exceeding $100 million a year. The proposal resembles that introduced last year by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, although it is not clear how Congress's involvement would affect the rollout of those policies.

The $1.1 trillion bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, is expected to be signed into law.

Brazilian MOOC seeks to focus on Portuguese market

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Boosting skills and access are the aims of a new Portuguese-medium platform.

SUNY Outlines First Degrees in Its New Online Initiative

Open SUNY -- through which the State University of New York plans to take existing online programs in the 64-campus system and to build on them, making them available for students throughout the system -- has its first degree programs. In her annual address on the state of the university, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced the first degree programs and the campuses that are producing them. The offerings include associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. Two SUNY institutions -- Empire State College and SUNY Oswego -- are each offering two programs. The others are being offered by Broome Community College, Finger Lakes Community College, SUNY Delhi and SUNY Stony Brook.


Blackboard acquires college planning company MyEdu

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Blackboard buys MyEdu, signaling it will get serious about the "consumerization" of higher education.

Boston U. Investigates 'Phishing' Thefts of Paychecks

Boston University is investigating how someone managed the steal paychecks of 10 employees. The thefts were apparently the result of "phishing," in which someone uses a scheme to obtain access to email accounts or digital records. In this case, the person changed direct deposit information so that checks would not go into the accounts of employees, but instead elsewhere.


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White House Meeting Rescheduled for Jan. 16

The Obama administration has rescheduled a White House meeting with college leaders to discuss how to boost the success of low-income students in higher education.

The summit will now take place on Jan. 16, a White House official said Thursday. Leaders from higher education, philanthropy, business and city and state governments are expected to take part in the daylong event. As part of the event, the administration has been seeking voluntary commitments from colleges on how they plan to increase efforts to help low-income students.  

The meeting was supposed to take place last month, but it was postponed at the last minute because of President Obama’s travel to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.


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