Head of Higher Ed Software Company Pleads Guilty

Ariel Manuel Friedler, CEO of Symplicity, a company that provides software to colleges for managing student disciplinary records, has pleaded guilty to charges related to hacking into the private networks of two competitors, the U.S. Justice Department announced. The hacking also involved two other employees and took place from 2007 to 2011. The Justice Department identified one of the competitors, Maxient. Friedler could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. In a letter to customers, he said that "I let competitiveness get the best of me and I crossed a line." He also resigned.



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Faculty group continues anti-MOOC offensive

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A national faculty coalition continues its anti-MOOC offensive, but some critics say the concerns are overblown.

Rutgers Graduate Faculty Rejects Online Degree Compromise

Graduate faculty members at Rutgers University at New Brunswick have once again rejected administrators' plans to create more online degree programs through a partnership with Pearson. Last October, faculty members in the Graduate School blocked any new programs from being approved, objecting to Pearson's share of tuition revenue -- 50 percent -- and an "obscenity clause" in the contract that Pearson later clarified.

On Wednesday, administrators introduced a new resolution that, instead of blocking programs, tasked the executive vice president with producing a report on the partnership with Pearson. The report "should address the effectiveness of Pearson in facilitating and delivering online master’s programs, the financial success of the agreement for the university, and any issues that have arisen regarding censorship of content. The report should also describe how faculty consultation will be implemented as we go forward," according to the resolution.

Instead of voting on the proposal, faculty members passed their own resolution, 26-2 with two abstentions, to not even consider the administration's suggestion.

"The reason why people didn’t want to vote on the dean’s resolution was that we didn’t want to conform to a procedure where the deans can bring up for reconsideration a question that the faculty have decided repeatedly," said David M. Hughes, professor of anthropology. "What people were saying at the meeting was after having pushed Pearson to the margins, we have to go get back to the discussion of why we want to have online education on campus in the first place."

Academics in Ireland hope to create an online education brand

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Would a joint effort allow the universities to find a niche in digital education?

Northwestern and Washington State U., with similar needs, pick different learning management systems

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Northwestern and Washington State U. agree on what they want from their new learning management systems -- so why are they picking different providers?

Liberal arts college consulting group announces DIY toolkit for collaboration

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The liberal arts college consulting group NITLE announces a free toolkit for institutions that want to team up to tackle common challenges.

Udacity to Stop Issuing Free Certificates of Completion

Beginning next month, the massive open online course provider Udacity will cut the first O from the acronym and only offer MOCs. Founder Sebastian Thrun, whose "pivot" last year shifted the company's focus to corporate training, in a blog post announced Udacity will stop issuing free course completion certificates on May 16. The course materials will still be available on the website for independent study, but in order to earn a certificate, students need to verify their identity. That track is currently available for about $150 a month.

"Discontinuing the 'free' certificates has been one of the most difficult decisions we've made," Thrun wrote. "We know that many of our hardworking students can’t afford to pay for classes. At the same time, we cannot hope that our certificates will ever carry great value, if we don’t make this change."

Essay urges colleges to consider succession planning for CIOs

With a wave of retirements approaching, higher education needs to consider how to prepare the next generation of technology leaders, write Jerome P. DeSanto and Robyn L. Dickinson.

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Kansas faculty finalize social media policy proposal

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The Kansas workgroup tasked to create a new social media policy doubles down on academic freedom in its finalized proposal. But will the regents who wanted to regulate social media use go along?

Broward College finds new life for paper forms with digitization software

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Broward College, in the middle of revamping its recruitment process, finds paper prospect cards still matter.


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