All posts by Danya Perez-Hernandez


European Students and Employers Seek More Web-Development MOOCs

Students, education providers, and employers call massive open online courses one of the best ways to learn web-development skills, according to a report released on Thursday by the European Commission.

The report, which drew on a survey of about 3,000 people, including 731 students, said that only one student in four was not familiar with MOOCs and that about 64 percent of the respondents had taken such courses.

Web-development courses appeared to be in high demand but were not always easy to f…


Minerva Project Awards $500,000 to Harvard U. Pioneer of Peer Instruction

Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard University, will receive the first Minerva Prize for Advancements in Higher Education for his pioneering work on peer instruction in the classroom. The award, which includes a $500,000 cash prize, is offered by the Minerva Academy, a nonprofit offshoot of the entrepreneur Ben Nelson’s for-profit Minerva Project, which aims to create an elite online liberal-arts college.

Mr. Mazur developed peer instruction more than 20 years ago, and it has become po…


Calif. Community-College Students Fare Less Well in Online Courses

While the use of online courses is increasingly widespread in California’s community colleges, the success rate of students in the courses lags behind that of their peers taking in-person courses, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank that focuses on the state’s public programs.

The report, “Online Learning and Student Outcomes in California’s Community Colleges,” says online-course enrollment reached clos…


Law Professors Defend Students’ Right to Sell Used Textbooks

Responding to a campaign by law professors, a leading legal publisher said on Thursday that its new casebook-publishing program would not threaten students’ ability to buy and sell used textbooks.

The professors feared that Casebook Connect, a new offering from Wolters Kluwer’s Aspen Law imprint, would be a step toward the eradication of students’ first-sale rights, which allow book owners to do whatever they please with their copies of a book, including sell it. After the professors gathered mo…


‘Napping Stations’ at U. of Michigan Library Help Students Face Exams

Universities have long embraced digital technology that improves students’ academic performance. Now the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is embracing another, simpler performance booster—sleep.

Concerned with students’ bad sleeping habits during final-examination season—and their tendency to fall asleep on top of library tables—the university’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library has installed “napping stations.” The pilot program is meant to allow students who live far from the campus to take nap…


Passive MOOC Students Don’t Retain New Knowledge, Study Finds

Students in massive open online courses are apt to take a passive approach to learning, avoiding collaboration with others, seeking only passing grades, and therefore not retaining new knowledge, a new study has found.

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University surveyed about 400 students who were taking the Harvard Medical School’s “Fundamentals of Clinical Trials,” a MOOC intended for health professionals and offered through the U.S.-based platform edX.

The researchers found that most studen…


QuickWire: Blackboard Deal Will Make Digital Resources Available

Blackboard, the company that produces a leading learning-management platform, has announced a partnership with Discovery Education Higher Ed, an arm of Discovery Communications, the Discovery Channel’s parent. The two companies aim to engage students and faculty members through the use of digital media.

The collaboration will give professors access to the more than 90,000 digital resources available at Discovery Education, including videos, images, and audio-learning guides, says a news release….


Coursera Seeks to Create a ‘Global Translator Community’

Last year Coursera announced partnerships with international organizations to expand the number of its massive open online courses available in foreign languages. Now the for-profit MOOC provider is going a step further by establishing a Global Translator Community in which individuals will volunteer to help translate lectures.

Coursera says it hopes not only to “make more content more available in more languages” but also to create a close-knit community of translators who will be recognized fo…


OpenStax Deal With College-Stores Group Will Trim Textbook Prices

The open-source textbook publisher OpenStax College, based at Rice University, has cut a distribution deal with a subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores that will lower prices on print versions of OpenStax textbooks.

OpenStax, a two-year-old nonprofit venture, offers open-source textbooks that are free online and that cost from $30 to $54 in print versions. Print prices are expected to drop by about 2 percent in 2015, thanks to the agreement with college-stores association. The…


Students Prefer Smartphones and Laptops to Tablets, Study Finds

When tablets appeared on the market, there were expectations that they would be laptop computers’ greatest competition. That has not turned out to be true at Ball State University, where students see tablets as a form of entertainment—as essentially a bigger and more expensive smartphone, according to a recent study.

The study, by Michael Hanley, a professor of advertising and director of Ball State’s Institute for Mobile Media Research, found that students’ use of smartphones for entertainment,…