Some of the News Fit to Print
ABOUT HIGHER ED
Wesleyan, which offers courses through Coursera, was the first liberal arts college to venture into MOOCs, and the announcement this week that Wellesley College has partnered with edX means two of the major MOOC providers now offer courses from liberal arts colleges. In contrast, the founders of MOOCs were almost exclusively prominent research universities where the idea of teaching classes so large the instructor doesn't know everyone's name wouldn't shock anyone. So how will MOOCs change liberal arts colleges? Or will liberal arts colleges change MOOCs? The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
MOST PROFS SAY THEY THINK OF QUITTING OVER WORK-LIFE CONFLICTS
Work-life conflicts have caused roughly three out of every four assistant professors to think about leaving their institution, according to the results of a new survey. For some assistant professors, leaving their institution isn't enough to solve their work-life problems. Almost 45 percent of those surveyed said they could see themselves leaving academe altogether. Meanwhile, 65 percent of full professors surveyed said that they had considered leaving their university in the last year. The survey, of 511 full-time faculty members, was conducted by Horizons Workforce Consulting, a company that helps its clients provide work-life programs to employees, and was released this month. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
NAEP DATA ON VOCABULARY ACHIEVEMENT SHOW SAME GAPS
A new analysis of federal data that provide a deeper and more systematic look into students’ ability to understand the meaning of words in context than was previously available from “the nation’s report card” finds stark achievement gaps in vocabulary across racial and ethnic groups, as well as income levels. The analysis aims to offer greater insights into reading comprehension. The first-of-its-kind National Assessment of Educational Progress report suggests a consistent relationship between performance on vocabulary questions and the ability of students to comprehend a text, which experts say is consistent with prior research on the subject. The article is in Education Week.
START-UPS TARGET TEACHERS
Internet-savvy teachers are increasingly finding tools to use in the classroom on their own, and lower business-startup costs mean the tools are more readily available. In response, many education companies are changing how they market and sell their products. Nationwide sales teams and central-office visits are giving way to word-of-mouth and sophisticated business-intelligence software as preferred methods for pushing adoption. Companies offer free products to teachers with the goal of influencing districtwide purchases of more-robust versions—known as the "freemium" pricing model. The article is in Education Week.
THE REPERCUSSIONS OF NATIONAL EDUCATION STANDARDS
Connecticut's student test scores are expected to drop drastically when standardized tests based on the Common Core standards are adopted in 2015. According to one study, the shift also is expected to cost districts millions to update their textbooks, teaching materials, technology to administer the new tests on computers, and to train teachers to align lessons with the new standards. The article is in the Connecticut Mirror.