Daily News Roundup, August 13, 2014

Perspectives: News You Can Use
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Some of the News Fit to Print

The reason typos get through isn’t because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we’re doing is actually very smart, explains psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos of the University of Sheffield in the UK. “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task,” he said. As with all high level tasks, your brain generalizes simple, component parts (like turning letters into words and words into sentences) so it can focus on more complex tasks (like combining sentences into complex ideas). “We don’t catch every detail, we’re not like computers or NSA databases,” said Stafford. “Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.” When we’re reading other peoples’ work, this helps us arrive at meaning faster by using less brain power. When we’re proof reading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent. The reason we don’t see our own typos is because what we see on the screen is competing with the version that exists in our heads. The article is in Wired Magazine. Thanks to Alexander Russo for leading me to this through This Week in Education.


Due to cost savings possible with interactive online learning, researchers looked at whether students participating in online courses performed as well as students in face-to-face classes. They compared seven undergraduate classes and found students in both types of classes performed equally well, and that students in hybrid classes answered more exam questions correctly than students in traditional courses. A quick review determined the study met What Works Clearinghouse standards with reservations. This information is from Education Commission of the States.

The University of California System, after five years and millions of dollars spent, is asking for more time and money to get its systemwide online education initiative off the ground. The 10-campus university system began to seriously consider a centralized approach to online education in 2009, as California faced a multibillion-dollar deficit that led to budget cuts, layoffs and tuition hikes across the state. Online for-credit courses, administrators believed -- and to some extent still believe -- could alleviate some the system’s access issues and create a new source of tuition revenue. But five years later, California’s economy has rebounded, and the exigency to go online and do so quickly has diminished. As a result, UC has changed its course, choosing to focus on high-demand online and hybrid courses developed at one or more campuses to benefit students across the system. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.


California education officials failed to ensure that thousands of students received English-language instruction as required by state and federal law, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled late Tuesday afternoon. Siding with the ACLU of Southern California, which sued on behalf of three students who are English-language learners, Judge James Chalfant agreed with the plaintiffs that state education officials, including schools chief Tom Torlakson, were responsible for about 20,000 ELLs who did not receive adequate English-language acquisition services in their public schools. The article is in Education Week.


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