Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of California at Irvine, ed tech company Instructure and entertainment network AMC will this fall come together to offer a free, eight-week-long online course based on the hit TV show "The Walking Dead." LINK WILL GO ONLINE TOMORROW

Instructure will provide the class, called "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s 'The Walking Dead,' " through its MOOC platform, Canvas Network. Brian Whitmer, co-founder of Instructure, said the company came up with the idea after casting about for ideas about how to infuse its online course offerings with pop culture. "We have a lot of fans at the company," Whitmer said. "There was overwhelming feedback that this would be 'freaking awesome.’ "

Each module of the course will use examples seen in the first three seasons of the show and tie it to topic areas including mathematics, physics, public health and social sciences. Even though the course uses clips and other materials provided by AMC, lecturer Sarah E. Eichhorn said she is not concerned that the company's involvement affects the course's integrity. "I just saw this as a venue to promote my discipline and share some interesting mathematics," Eichhorn said. "No money is exchanging hands on any sides."

UC-Irvine was announced as a major Coursera partner in September 2012. Melissa Loble, assistant dean of distance education, said the partnership with Instructure represents another avenue for the institution to experiment with online education.

"We’ve used Coursera in the past because that’s where an opportunity came to us," Loble said. "We really believe in experimenting with all MOOC providers."

The class "meets" for the first time on Oct. 14 -- one day after the first episode of the fourth season airs.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 3:00am

Some of the nearly 100 undergraduate students in a new dormitory at Michigan's Cornerstone University will have an unusual view out of their bedroom windows -- and at least the passing risk of getting hit by a foul ball, MLive reported. Facing a campus space crunch as its residential population grew, the university built a 48-room residence hall -- as the second and third floors of the facility ringing its new baseball stadium, above a ground floor that contains athletics offices and concessions, among other things.

“I’m going to sit on my bed and watch baseball games,” one student, Matt Lewis, told MLive. “You can’t do much better than that.”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 3:00am

Drexel University has hired Susan C. Aldridge, the former president of the University of Maryland University College, to lead its online learning efforts. Aldridge has been a highly visible leader in online education for nearly two decades; she led UMUC for six years after serving as vice chancellor of Troy University's Global Campus, and resigned from the Maryland post last year suddenly and under circumstances that were never fully explained. She has been a senior fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and will be senior vice president for online learning and president of Drexel e-Learning.

senior vice president for Online Learning and president of Drexel e-Learning, - See more at: http://drexel.edu/now/news-media/releases/archive/2013/September/Drexel-...
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 3:00am

College enrollment fell by 467,000 in the fall of 2012, according to a Census Bureau report released Tuesday. The decline followed substantial increases in previous years. Most of the 2012 decline came from older students (those 25 and older). Their enrollment fell by 419,000.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 3:00am

Utica College, in New York, has been punished by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for failing to monitor its Canadian International Student Award program, with the end result being that Canadian athletes -- ice hockey players, primarily -- received more financial aid than the general Canadian student body at the college. Utica created the award program in 2010 in order to make the cost of attendance roughly equivalent for Canadian and domestic students and thereby attract more Canadian students to under-enrolled majors. However, Utica suspended the scholarship program for incoming Canadian students for the 2012-13 academic year after discovering that the aid was disproportionately going to athletes, a violation of Division III rules.

“This was unintentional and Utica College and the NCAA agree it is,” Utica’s athletics director, Dave Fontaine, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. “Nonetheless, we have to be accountable. We take full responsibility. We self-reported it.” 

Sanctions for Utica include two years of probation and postseason bans for teams whose rosters include one or more athletes who received a Canadian International Student Award. Utica is not the first college to get in trouble with the NCAA for disproportionately awarding a scholarship intended for Canadian students in general to ice hockey players in particular:  Neumann College, in Pennsylvania, was similarly penalized in 2012. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 3:00am

The falling value of the rupee has become a major source of concern for Indians studying overseas, the Economic Times reported. The rupee has lost 20 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in the last year, causing some students to scramble for additional loans or part-time jobs. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 3:00am

A Chinese student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fell victim to a scam upon arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, the News-Gazette reported. The student, who apparently had limited English ability, was trying to figure out how to catch a bus to Champaign at around 6 p.m. when a man approached, said the bus wouldn’t be there until midnight, and offered to drive him to his destination for $1,000. The student agreed; upon arrival, the man wrote down the cost of the trip as being $4,800. The student did not have that much money on hand but gave him what he had – believed to be $4,240.

The website for UIUC's International Student and Scholar Services office does include information on transportation to campus.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 3:00am

College Measures, which produces state-by-state college performance data, has released a report of key takeaways about the earnings of college graduates in five states. Associate degrees and certificates often hold their own in the job market relative to bachelor's degrees, the report found. It also said the value of credentials in STEM fields are sometimes oversold by policy makers. And the discipline in which students earned a credential influences their wages more than which college they attended. College Measures, which is a joint venture of the American Institutes for Research and Matrix Knowledge Group, created the study based on data from Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 3:00am

Mike Scott, a county sheriff in Florida, is criticizing Florida Gulf Coast University -- and specifically President Wilson Bradshaw -- for a planned concert for the fall featuring the hip-hop performers Ludacris and Kendrick Lamar. The News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., obtained e-mail messages between Scott and Bradshaw about the event. Scott questioned why the sheriff's office should help with security and why the university would host an event featuring performers who use explicit language (including the n-word) that offends many people. And Scott specifically noted Bradshaw's race. "I can’t for the life of me begin to imagine why a black university president would sanction such vile content; especially so proximate to the golden anniversary of Dr. King’s speech."

Bradshaw responded by noting that the university had found that the performers had appeared without incident at more than 200 colleges, and that students selected them. "As a university president -- black or white -- periodically there are expressed views related to students and faculty that the president doesn’t personally or professionally sanction or share," Bradshaw responded. "In this case, our students indicated a strong interest in inviting these performers."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Cambridge has ended the use of gender-specific rules for attire in graduation ceremonies, The Telegraph reported. Until now, men were required to wear suits, and women a dress or skirt. Now, all students have those options, and must also be neatly dressed. Students pushed for the changes, saying that the old rules were unfair to those who did not want to wear clothing associated with traditional gender identities.

 

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