Some of the News Fit to Print
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PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES TO OFFER FREE ONLINE COURSES FOR CREDIT
In an unusual arrangement with a commercial company, dozens of public universities plan to offer an introductory online course free and for credit to anyone worldwide, in the hope that those who pass will pay tuition to complete a degree program. The universities — including Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Arkansas system — will choose which of their existing online courses to convert to a massive open online course, or MOOC, in the new program, called MOOC2Degree. The proliferation of free online courses from top universities like Harvard and Stanford over the past year has prompted great interest in online learning. But those courses, so far, have generally not carried credit. The article is in The New York Times.
'BILL OF RIGHTS' SEEKS TO PROTECT STUDENTS’ INTEREST AS ONLINE LEARNING EXPANDS
A dozen educators met last month in Palo Alto, Calif., to discuss the future of higher education. They had been convened at the epicenter of technological innovation in higher education by Sebastian Thrun, a pioneer of massive open online courses, and yet the task at hand had nothing to do with software or strategy. It had to do with citizenship. The Philadelphia Convention, it was not. But the 12 educators, many of them well known in online-education circles, did manage to draft a document that they hope will serve as a philosophical framework for protecting the interests of students as online education, propelled and complicated by the rise of MOOCs, hurtles into a new phase. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Today's provosts are a skeptical lot. That may come with the territory, as they must constantly prioritize some ideas (and some people's careers) over others -- tasks that are never easy and have been made more challenging by the economic downturn. But the 2013 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers finds evidence that in some areas of higher education (MOOCs or massive open online courses, for example) provosts aren't yet ready to jump on the bandwagon, and relatively few see these offerings playing a positive, transformational role in higher education. In other areas (tenure), provosts see established practice as the norm at their institutions, but an apparent skepticism for tenure shows up in the very high percentage who are open to the idea of long-term faculty contracts in its stead.
HOW CALIFORNIA’S BUDGET CRISIS COLORS MINORITIES’ COLLEGE HOPES
Changes to the California's public higher-education system will affect large number of students of color attending any of the Golden State's approximately 145 public colleges and universities. California Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget, released earlier this month, moderately increases state spending on higher ed and freezes tuition for the next four years. The budget also encourages state colleges and universities to rein in costs, increase graduation rates, and reduce the amount of time it takes students to earn a degree. Although Brown’s changes haven’t been framed as a minority issue per se, they will affect many students of color across the state. In California, “almost anything you do to the higher-education system one way or another is going to affect students of color,” said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute in San Jose, Calif. “I would say these are modest constructive initiatives that will help California students and certainly will help students of color - especially if we make sure we can serve more students at a reasonable cost. The article is in the National Journal.
COLLEGES OVERPRODUCING ELEMENTARY TEACHERS
Though universities' economics departments preach the gospel of supply and demand, that principle is not always followed when it comes to their education departments. Data, while imprecise, suggest that some states are producing far more new teachers at the elementary level than will be able to find jobs in their respective states—even as districts struggle to find enough recruits in other certification fields. The article is in Education Week.