All posts by Nick DeSantis


Purdue Kicks Off Global Online-Education Project

Purdue University today joined the group of universities that have recently announced plans to experiment with online courses aimed at a global audience.

The new effort, called PurdueHUB-U, will serve up modular online courses with video lectures, interactive visualizations, and tools for students to interact with their peers and the professor. The project’s leaders hope it will improve face-to-face classes and bring in revenue by attracting students around the world.

PurdueHUB-U grew out of a c…


Creator of ‘Anonymous’ Gossip Site Names Names

Update (5/9/2012, 9:48 a.m.): The list of student names has been removed from PSUacb. In a new note, the site’s creator wrote, “I’m not cruel enough to embarrass someone in front of the whole country for something stupid they did in college, especially when everyone at Penn State (or at least 7,846 people) has already realized you suck.”

Campus-gossip Web sites like JuicyCampus and CollegeACB used the lure of anonymity to entice students to post on them. The cloak gave students a virtual bathroo…


Groups Team Up to Turn Free Online Courses Into Cheap College Credit

The Saylor Foundation has been building an online catalog of free, self-paced college courses since 2010. But students who completed those courses could not typically earn credit toward a degree, since the nonprofit group is not an accredited institution. Saylor’s new partnership with the online course-provider StraighterLine seeks to change that, giving students an inexpensive way to earn academic credit using freely available materials.

The collaboration, announced today, will give students tw…


Harvard and MIT Put $60-Million Into New Platform for Free Online Courses

The group of elite universities offering free online courses just got bigger.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced a partnership that will host online courses from both institutions free of charge. The platform, its creators say, has the potential to improve face-to-face classes on the home campuses while giving students around the world access to a blue-ribbon education.

The new venture, called edX, grew out of MIT’s announcement last year that it w…


U. of California at Berkeley Receives $60-Million for New Computing Institute

The University of California at Berkeley has won a $60-million grant from the Simons Foundation to create a new center for theoretical computer science, the university announced today.

The center, called the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, will give researchers a place to explore complex mathematical algorithms that could help solve everyday problems in climate science, health care, economics, and other fields. The Simons Foundation, which focuses on advancing research in science …


Next Generation of Online-Learning Systems Faces Barriers to Adoption

More colleges are experimenting with online-learning platforms to meet the growing demand for higher education and to increase revenue in the face of budget cuts. But the next generation of online-learning systems faces several barriers to adoption, according to a new report.

Chief among them are professors’ desires to customize what they teach and their reluctance to use prepackaged course material. The most sophisticated of today’s online-learning systems rely on machine-guided instruction to …


3 Ways College Libraries Are Exploring Pinterest

Pinterest, the social network on which users share collections of images inspired by their hobbies and design interests on digital pin boards, has exploded in popularity since coming online in 2010. The Association of College and Research Libraries hosted an online seminar this week dealing with Pinterest’s potential in academic settings, and some college libraries have already incorporated it into their social-media tool kits. Here are three ways college library staff members say they’re us…


New TED-Ed Site Turns YouTube Videos Into ‘Flipped’ Lessons

YouTube holds a rich trove of videos that could be used in the classroom, but it’s challenging to transform videos into a truly interactive part of a lesson. So the nonprofit group TED has unveiled a new Web site that it hopes will solve this problem—by organizing educational videos and letting professors “flip” them to enhance their lectures.

The new Web site, unveiled today, lets professors turn TED’s educational videos—as well as any video on YouTube—into interactive lessons inspired by the


Internet2 Adds Dell, Microsoft, and Others to Cloud-Services Program for Colleges

Last fall, Internet2 began helping colleges drive down the price of cloud computing by negotiating group deals between its members and technology companies. The collective-bargaining project is now expanding to include new partnerships with firms including Dell and Microsoft, the group announced today.

The effort, known as Internet2 Net+ Services, brings together companies offering cloud services and the nonprofit consortium’s 221 member colleges. Internet2’s leaders say the program lets adm…


3 Start-Up Announcements From the Education Innovation Summit

The theme of disrupting higher education was buzzing among hundreds of conference attendees this week at the Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University. The event offered start-up companies a captive audience for pitching their products. Here’s a small sample of announcements they made:

Altius Education: This company has already gained prominence among educators for its creation of a “transfer college,” which gives students a bridge to a bachelor’s degree by helping them transfe…