By Barbara Fister. I’ve often thought one of the intriguing differences between university presses and university libraries is that one is generally accepted as an outward-facing organization and the other inward-facing. There have been arguments that presses once did and perhaps once again should focus on publishing work of the university’s faculty, but that’s considered a bit outlandish in most academics’ minds. Likewise, the idea of libraries engaging in projects that are intended for a broader audience are often considered an expendable frill that cannot come at the expense of providing information from outside to the local community. Read more...
So my unit is making a MOOC.
I will admit that I’ve been underwhelmed with much of the hand-wringing about MOOCs. Most of the time the critique seems to be that they will threaten the traditional classroom. I’m just not that convinced that the kinds of traditional classrooms they plausibly threaten - mostly overcrowded, underfunded classrooms taught by underpaid, undersupported adjuncts - are serving anyone so wonderfully that they don’t deserve a little healthy competition. This widely-circulated letter from the San Jose State University Philosophy Department articulates powerful criticisms of Michael Sandel’s MOOC, but they seemed to me to be specific to that class and not generalizable to the technology as a whole. Watching my colleagues put a MOOC together, I am pretty impressed with the technological and pedagogical creativity involved. I am not prone to nostalgia or luddism, and it strikes me as an utterly open question whether the traditional classroom is the best educational forum for the vast majority of students who are not enrolled in fancy advanced seminars at top schools.
Now that I am in on the making of one of these, though, it seems to me that there are interesting problems they raise that are getting little to no attention. I want to mention a couple, although I can’t delve into them in detail in a blog post. I don’t claim these are the most pressing issues MOOCs raise; they are just examples. More..
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a “Humanities Report Card” Tuesday to accompany its earlier, lengthier Heart of the Matter report on the state of the humanities and social sciences. The academy described the report card as a “snapshot of the current data illustrating where the humanities are today.”
The report card is made up of infographics, data for which mainly were drawn from the academy’s existing Humanities Indicators statistical database. John Tessitore, director of programming for the academy, said the document is meant to be accessible to the general public, which has taken a keen interest in the original report, as well as academics and others involved in the humanities. It’s also meant to drive traffic to the Humanities Indicators, he said, which paint a much more detailed, data-driven portrait of the humanities in schools, colleges, work and other aspects of American life. Read more...
By Carl Straumsheim. Despite the talk about how massive open online courses, or MOOCs, will dramatically alter the landscape of higher education, the courses have in some ways taken academe back -- to the days of huge gender gaps, when senior scholars overwhelmingly were men. An unofficial count by Inside Higher Ed shows 8 of the 63 courses listed on edX’s website are taught by women, and an additional 8 are taught by mixed-gender groups. Of Coursera’s 432 courses, 121 feature at least one female instructor and 71 taught exclusively by them. Udacity lists 29 courses on its website, and while only two are taught by women, many of them were created by female course developers. Read more...
By Allie Grasgreen. Recent research has suggested various ways in which girls outperform boys in high school, making them more likely to go to college: stronger desire to get good grades, better social skills, greater validation from academic performance. But a new study suggests gender sorting -- a boy’s or girl’s decision to attend one school or another – could have its own effect on the college enrollment gap. In a study of public school systems in Florida, researchers found that what high school a student attends is “strongly associated” with college enrollment; girls are attending high schools that have higher rates of college-going than one would expect based on the students’ test scores – and boys, vice versa. Read more...
Par Serge Delwasse. Les associations d’anciens élèves, d’"alumni" comme il est à la mode de le dire, en retournant au latin via les États-Unis, sont une des forces des grandes écoles françaises. Certaines sont même allées jusqu’à sauver "leur" école. L’Université les envie. Et pourtant elles sont en crise.
Un triple rôle
Revenons tout d’abord sur ces associations, et leur rôle. Il est en général triple, même si, suivant les écoles auxquelles elles sont affiliées, certains sont plus ou moins développés :
• Un rôle social : liaison entre les anciens, maintien de la camaraderie, voire solidarité (caisse de secours) ;
• Un rôle professionnel : clubs thématiques, cercles de "relations", bureau des carrières ;
• Un rôle double commercial :
– Une association d’anciens forte contribue au prestige et au rayonnement de l’École, que ce soit chez les candidats ou les recruteurs ;
– Les associations sont, et c’est une tendance lourde qui vient des États-Unis, le principal outil de levée de fonds. Suite de l'article...