All posts by Tushar Rae

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Princeton Professor Gains Cult Status With 3,200 Essays on Facebook

Elephant hunters head to Africa. Salmon fishers head to Alaska. Jeff Nunokawa, a professor of English at Princeton University, heads to Facebook.

“You hunt where the ducks are,” says Mr. Nunokawa, “Facebook is where my students are.”

So, when Mr. Nunokawa found the e-mail questions that he was answering for students in his lecture classes “were taking a life of their own,” he turned to Facebook as a solution. He started posting essays on topics that he thought his students might need or enj…

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Collaboration Seeks to Provide Easier Access to E-Books

The steady growth of e-books has forced libraries to contend with how to curate and distribute materials in a way that makes them easy for increasingly technology-oriented patronage to access.

Some 150 public and academic libraries are trying to respond to that challenge through a new collaboration with the Internet Archive and Open Library. The arrangement will allow library patrons at participating institutions to access e-books owned and stored at libraries other than their home libraries. Br…

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Colleges Consider Updated Pager Technology for Emergency Alerts

A key fob that is used as a part of the RavenAlert system.

Colleges have wrestled with emergency-alert systems for years. E-mail is sometimes inaccessible to students and staff on the move, and text-message systems have been slow. The latest fix is based, surprisingly, on one of the oldest wireless communication systems around: the pager.

IntelliGuard Systems, a company that offers wireless “first responder” messaging, has introduced RavenAlert for college campuses. The technology mimics paging…

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Wikipedia’s Editing Process Is Still a Mystery to Students

Although many students understand that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, some remain blissfully unaware of how articles in the encyclopedia are created and revised, a study has found.

“I was surprised that anyone who used Wikipedia didn’t know how it was edited,” says Ericka Menchen-Trevino, a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University who is lead author of the report, “Young Adults’ Credibility Assessment of Wikipedia.” It appears in the February issue of the journal Information, Communica…

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QuickWire: Amazon Adds ‘Real Page Numbers’ to the Kindle

Amazon has released a software update for its Kindle e-reader that makes “Real Page Numbers” available for e-books, a move likely to bring joy to faculty lounges and book clubs alike. The Kindle has drawn complaints because of its use of location numbers. Amazon promises that the new page numbers will “match the page numbers in print books, so you can easily reference and cite passages.”

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Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find Crowds Can Write as Well as Individuals

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found that “crowd-sourced” articles written piecemeal by dispersed writers stack up well against those drafted by one author.

“I am pleasantly surprised,” said Aniket Kittur, an assistant professor at the university’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute and one of the lead researchers on the project. The research team developed a framework it calls CrowdForge to split up and recombine complex, creative human tasks such as writing.

Articles cre…

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iPhone App Raises Questions About Who Owns Student Inventions

An iPhone app designed by a team of students for a contest at the University of Missouri at Columbia has helped lead the institution to rewrite its intellectual-property policies.

Members of the student competition, hosted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, had been informed that the university might assert a partial or complete claim to the products that the students were creating. That led some students to drop out, said Anthony Brown, then an undergradu…

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Biology Professors Use Cloud Computing to Reach Students

To help reduce the number of dropouts in freshman biology courses, professors at the University at Buffalo have turned to the power of collaboration and cloud computing to build an online teaching tool designed to explain concepts better than a textbook can.

The tool, called Pop!World, provides a visual way to map evolution. It’s the work of Bina Ramaurthy, a research associate professor in the department of computer science and engineering; Jessica Poulin, a research assistant professor in the …

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Video Uses Student Voices to Explore New Directions in Education

Michael Wesch, an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, began “The Visions of Students Tomorrow” on January 18. It is a new video-collaboration project that he hopes will help generate a conversation about the “media-ated life” of many students. He wants not only to gain insights into how students interact with their dense and ever-changing media environment, but also to tackle the question of whether instructors have kept pace with it.

Mr. Wesch has been resp…

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Stanford U. Tops New Ranking of Colleges’ Influence via Twitter

Stanford University’s Twitter feed is the most influential among college and university accounts on that microblogging service, according to a new ranking.

The list was published this week by Klout, an online company that tracks the popularity and impact of Tweets and gives every Twitter account a numerical score for influence. Factors reflected in the score include the number of followers a user has, how often a user is retweeted, and how a user’s tweets are being used in the conversation on Tw…