Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 3:00am

Cengage Learning will offer the 24,000 members of the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) access to a portal of online courses and professional development tools. The site will include more than 350 online courses in health care, business, IT and other areas. Cengage also will provide 100 certificate-bearing career training programs through the portal, which will be accredited through community colleges and other institutions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Rolf Vinebrook, a biologist at the University of Alberta, discusses his research focusing on inland lakes. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Apple has a new way of promoting its Apple Watch this fall: as a secret in-class communication device. According to 9to5Mac, retail workers are being encouraged to pitch the wearable to students as a means to sneak peeks at a screen without their instructor noticing. “I don’t think the teachers have caught on to the watch yet,” Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts reportedly said in an internal video to retail workers, adding that Apple Store employees should encourage students to “jump on it before the teachers do.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Old Dominion University is not the only institution talking about "welcome" banners at off-campus homes that are sexist and that critics say make light of sexual assault. Ohio State University students put up banners at a house saying, “Dads, we’ll take it from here,” and “Daughter day care 2.0,” WCMH News reported. While many called the banners sexist, some of the male students in the house don't see it that way. Said one student: “People have been saying we are misogynists, we are sexist, we are degrading towards women. My dad, he is a good Christian man, I am a good Christian man, but we just do this for fun. We are not trying to cause any havoc or stir up any trouble, we are just trying to have some fun.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 4:27am

Lindsey Schiffler returned from a recent trip to find her apartment had been robbed, and among the items taken was a flash drive containing both raw data and personal observations for her dissertation for her doctorate in leadership at the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, The Star-Tribune reported. Before she left on her trip, she emailed a dissertation draft to her professors, so that exists. But all of her data and observation records were on the flash drive and the flash drive only. Schiffler is hoping it will turn up -- as it would have fairly limited value to the thief who hit her apartment. And she's sharing her story as a reminder to others. “I’m kicking myself for not also saving everything to the cloud or Google Drive,” she said.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Massive open online course platform Coursera has raised another $49.5 million in its most recent round of funding, a number that is expected to grow to $60 million this fall. The sum pushes Coursera well past the $100 million mark in total funding received, as the company stood at $85 million after its series B round, according to CrunchBase. Coursera CEO Rick Levin said the money will be spent on platform improvements and growth in countries such as China and India, which each have about one million registered users.

"We were not running out of money, but this simply gives us more capacity to continue to improve the platform and to really develop international markets at a faster rate," Levin said in an interview.

New Enterprise Associates, one of Coursera's original investors, returned for this round, which Levin described as a signal of "confidence." Times Internet, a subsidiary of the company that owns the Times of India, also joined the funding round, which Levin said will help Coursera expand in the country.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Career Education Corporation disclosed Monday that it received a "civil investigative demand" from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Aug. 20, according to a corporate filing.

The federal agency's request requires Career Ed to provide documents and information from January 2010 to the present, and the investigation is to "determine whether unnamed persons, partnerships, corporations or others have engaged or are engaging in deceptive or unfair acts," related to advertising, marketing, or sale of educational products or accreditation services.

"The company is evaluating the request and intends to cooperate with the FTC," according to a statement within the filing. The FTC has sent similar investigative requests to DeVry Education Group and Apollo Education Group.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

The provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is resigning, The Chicago Tribune reported, two weeks after the university's chancellor announced her departure amid revelations that top administrators used private email accounts for official business and failed to turn over some of those email records in response to public records requests. The university's top-ranking academic officer, Ilesanmi Adesida, cited "current controversies" as his reason to return to the faculty.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Several Ohio universities report that they are tightening admissions standards in light of the state's new performance-based funding system, which punishes institutions with low graduation rates, The Dayton Daily News reported. Central State University, for example, raised its grade point average requirement from 2.0 to 2.2, and its minimum ACT score from a 15 to 16. Fewer students were admitted than would have otherwise been the case, but university officials predict better completion rates.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 3:00am

Winthrop University is one of several institutions debating what to do about buildings named for Ben Tillman, a racist 19th-century politician who played a key role in building up a number of public universities in South Carolina. On Monday, the university announced that a hall named for Tillman had been vandalized, the second such instance this year. The university did not reveal the nature of the vandalism, other than to reference graffiti. President Dan Mahony released a statement in which he criticized those who are opting for vandalism as opposed to participating in the campus discussions. "I do not believe we should allow anyone to force an action that would exclude our campus from the conversation," he said.

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