All posts by Ben Pokross


U. of South Florida Professors Try ‘University of Reddit’ to Put Courses Online

U. of Reddit logo The social-news site Reddit has slowly grown a spin-off ”university” where anyone can offer free courses, and two professors at University of South Florida’s Honors College are trying the system to turn courses they’re teaching this fall into Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC’s.

The instructors, Philip S. Bishop, a visiting assistant professor, and K. Edward Renner, an adjunct professor, are offering courses simultaneously in-person, to registered students, and online, to anyone who wants to…


Students in Free Online Courses Form Groups to Study and Socialize

Map of Udacity meet-ups.

As enrollment has rapidly increased in free online classes, also known as Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC’s, students are increasingly forming groups, both online and in the real world, to study and socialize.

Whether aiming to make the experience more personal or to learn more about the possibilities of free online education, the students are seeking out various ways to connect with classmates. Following are examples of some of those gatherings:

  • Both Coursera and …

Start-Up Lets Graduates Raise Money in Exchange for a Share of Future Earnings

A new company lets recent college graduates sell a share of their future earnings in exchange for cash to help them start entrepreneurial projects.

The company is called Upstart, and it was founded by a former Google executive, David J. Girouard. It works by having investors give money directly to individuals in return for a percentage of future income from their ventures. Mr. Girouard expects it to be of interest to students who want to pursue any field that is entrepreneurial and high-risk, s…


Art School’s Program Combines Computer Science and Art

A new course at the California Institute of the Arts is seeking to teach computer programming through assignments in which students will create music and visual art. The program will be the first of its kind among art institutions, according to Perry R. Cook, a developer of the curriculum.

Beginning this fall, the college, in the Los Angeles suburb of Valencia, Calif., will offer all undergraduates a two-semester digital-arts sequence. The new program, supported by a $112,000 grant from the Nat…


Coalition Moves to Bring High-Speed Internet to Rural Colleges

A new group aims to provide rural colleges and universities with high-speed Internet by harnessing unused television channels in an approach known as “super wi-fi.”

The group is called AIR.U (the first part stands for Advanced Internet Regions), and it plans to send Internet signals via unused broadcast frequencies, or “white space.” The signals are transmitted at much lower frequency than most wireless Internet connections, so they are able to reach obstructed and rural areas more effectively.


U. of Utah to Help Students Publish Video Games

Many universities offer programs that teach video-game design, but the University of Utah has taken the unusual step of creating a company to help its students bring their electronic amusements to market.

The company, Utah Game Forge, opened in May and just released its first game, Heroes of Hat! (above), written and produced by a group of 14 Utah seniors.

Owned and financed by the university, the company is the brainchild of faculty members in the entertainment-arts-and-engineering program, a…


Plan Seeks to Streamline Transfer of Online Courses Across State Lines

Leaders in online education are nearing completion of a plan to streamline the procedures required to offer classes in multiple states, saving colleges time and money.

To gain approval for national financial-aid programs, colleges must receive authorization from any state in which they are offering courses. Each state’s rules for granting this authorization vary widely, however, and some are far more stringent than others, said Paul H. Shiffman, executive director of the Presidents’ Forum, a gro…