ResearchKit, Apple's software framework intended to turn smartphones and tablets into medical research tools, was on Tuesday made available to developers and researchers. Apple unveiled the open-source framework during an event last month, showing how researchers can design apps that regularly survey users or use the sensors in smartphones and tablets to gather data about breast cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Cornell and Stanford Universities, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Universities of Pennsylvania, Oxford and Rochester are among the first institutions to develop apps using ResearchKit.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today "Extending the Credential," our latest print-on-demand compilation of articles. Pieces in the collection explore such topics as competency-based education, internships, the role of cocurricular activities, and the evolving roles of the transcript and of the degree. The booklet is free and you may download a copy here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on Wednesday, May 20, at 2 p.m. Eastern about the themes of the booklet.
The U.S. Department of Education has granted federal aid eligibility to two new academic programs that do not rely on the credit hour -- a form of competency-based education called direct assessment. So far six institutions have earned approval from the department and regional accreditors for direct-assessment programs.
Walden University, a for-profit institution that Laureate Education owns, announced on Tuesday that the department approved its new competency-based master's degree in early childhood studies. The university offers the degree through its Tempo Learning program, in which it said "students can progress at their own pace by applying their existing knowledge and prior experience while focusing on mastering the skills they need to meet the demands of the workforce."
The Texas State College System last October got a green light from the department for its competency-based certificate in industrial systems technology, according to a spokeswoman for the system. The 27-credit program features training in electrical and computer systems. Students work at their own pace and can earn a certificate in two semesters or less. The credential appears to be the first department-approved direct-assessment program to feature face-to-face instruction.
Eastern Maine Community College has announced that it is suspending intercollegiate athletics for 2015-16, The Bangor Daily News reported. Next year the college will evaluate whether to restore athletics. The college currently has 11 varsity teams.
University of Pennsylvania students are protesting the decision to close the Africa Center, saying that it is too vital to be shut down. Penn officials said that cuts in federal support for international research and education programs left the Africa Center without a source of funds. In addition, officials noted that Penn continues to support Africana studies, which includes all groups of African descent. Students said that they needed a center focused on Africa. They staged their protest to interrupt a brief outdoor talk by Jeffrey Kallberg, associate dean for arts and letters, at an event at which faculty members discussed the offerings of different departments.
The 35 postseason games of the Football Bowl Subdivision paid out more than $500 million to college football conferences this season, the Associated Press reported. The payout is an increase of $200 million from last season, the final year of the Bowl Championship Series. The increase is primarily the result of media deals to broadcast the seven games that make up the new college football playoff. ESPN pays the conferences about $470 million per year to broadcast the games.
Missouri State University on Tuesday announced that it was calling off a concert by the rapper Nelly, scheduled for next week. The university's announcement did not give a reason. But Nelly was arrested last week in Tennessee and charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. His lawyer has said that "we are extremely confident that when the facts come out, Nelly will not be associated with the contraband that was allegedly discovered."
Authorities are searching for an ex-student at Wayne Community College who they suspect shot and killed Ron Lane, a print shop director at the North Carolina college, WRAL News reported. The suspect had been a work-study student reporting to Lane. After the shooting, at 8:10 a.m. Monday, the college called off all classes for the day.
Knoxville College, a struggling historically black institution, will suspend classes in the fall, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. As a result, a panel of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission has recommended that the commission suspend the college's authorization to operate. Knoxville has struggled to revive itself since losing most students after its accreditation was revoked in 1997. Currently, the college has 11 students.