All posts by Jill Laster


Google Launches New Course-Scheduling System

Last week was a big one for Google fans in higher education. Google Wave opened its doors, and Google Voice now lets students get calls forwarded from their old numbers to their new phones.

Google made one more announcement last week—about a new course-scheduling system, CloudCourse—that could potentially have implications for higher education.  CloudCourse is integrated with Google Calendar and allows users to schedule classes, look up user profiles, and sync the service’s data with internal un…


Google Wave Has Officially Opened Its Doors

Google Wave has switched from an invitation-only offering to one open to all interested users, the popular service announced Wednesday.

Google also announced a batch of special features and tweaks to Google Wave, which allows real-time communication online. Google introduced the project in May 2009 and put out a limited preview release in November. Some educational institutions have used the service as a way to do collaborative work more efficiently.

Gregory D’Alesandre, product manager at Googl…


Exhibit at Princeton U. Blends Science With Art

A new exhibit at Princeton University shows that science isn’t just useful, but pleasing to the eye, too.

The university will open its fourth “Art of Science” exhibit online Monday. All the photographs and other images in the collection were made in the course of the institution’s scientific research.

This year’s theme is “energy,” a broad term that can refer to everything from the use of electric propulsion technology to protein design meant to identify new amino-acid sequences. There are 45 …


Electronic Literature Directory Gets a Redesign

An updated version of an electronic-literature compendium is out, with the goal of creating a more interactive community.

Since 1998 the Electronic Literature Directory has compiled lists of works that are digitally born: for example, electronic poetry, or a text or even a game with a multimedia element. Electronic literature, or hypertext fiction, came to national attention in the 1990s; some called it revolutionary, others merely a passing trend.

The directory, supported by a grant from the Na…


New York U. Students Plan New Social Network With Focus on Privacy

Four students at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences want to create an alternative to current social media that lets users better control their privacy.

Diaspora is a planned personal Web server that stores information to be shared with friends securely. Instead of centralized social media, such as Facebook, the server is meant to provide a more secure, decentralized network. Some Facebook users have criticized it for lifting privacy restrictions in recent months; fo…


Government Recruits MIT to Help Stop Distracted Driving

The U.S. Department of Transportation has enlisted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in its effort to stop drivers from using cellphones behind the wheel.

Ray LaHood, secretary of transportation, spoke at MIT on Monday as part of a university lecture series. According to his blog, he solicited scholars at Transportation@MIT, a multidisciplinary program, to use “their prodigious research skills to help us end this epidemic.”

Mr. LaHood has used his office to launch what he calls a “rampag…


Black Students Experience More Online Bias Than Do Whites

A new study has found that black students experience more online racial discrimination and generally have a more negative view of campus racial diversity than their white counterparts.

Brendesha M. Tynes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Suzanne L. Markoe of the University of California at Los Angeles will present their study at the American Educational Research Association conference on Monday. They used an online survey of 217 African-American and European-American college …


Students Denied Social Media Go Through Withdrawal

A new study from the University of Maryland finds that students are hooked on social media and cellphones, describing withdrawals in terms similar to those used by drug and alcohol addicts.

The study from the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda, “24 Hours: Unplugged,” asked 200 students on the campus to give up all media for a full day and blog on private Web sites about their experience. Student reaction showed addictionlike withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, misery, and bein…


Newton and Leibniz Duke It Out on Twitter

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Isaac Newton are an unlikely pair for a face-off on Twitter. But a class at Muskegon Community College has brought the pair’s struggle for credit as the inventor of calculus to the social-networking site.

Maria H. Andersen, a math instructor at the Michigan institution, came up with the idea together with the three students in her honors section of Calculus II. She typically has students work on a project based on The Calculus Wars, by Jason Socrates Bardi. Newton h…


College Fights to Get Off Web Site’s ‘Most Dangerous’ List

One college wants off of a Web site ranking the most dangerous colleges in the country, although representatives for the site say they have no plans to remove it.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in Geneva, N.Y., is ranked 44th on the list of 100 most dangerous American colleges at American School Search. The institution sent the Web site a letter demanding that it be removed and filed for a subpoena in New York State Supreme Court to get the identity of the site’s owner.

Robert Flowers, the c…