Behind the News

Careful What You Tweet

While social media is a great way to share news with family and friends, students don’t always realize the implications for their ability to secure jobs in the future. Campus administrators have been trying to educate students, especially seniors, about protecting their “personal brand” online for several years. Recently, they’ve been taking steps to protect the campus brand, as reflected in select student posts, as well.

An App for Admissions

Admissions counselors are busy folks with some pretty important decisions to make, so it’s no wonder colleges and universities are looking for ways to make their lives a little more efficient. At the University of New Haven (Conn.), this help is coming in the form of iPads and an app called Matchbox, which allows counselors to review application materials on the go.

Hurricane Sandy Response and Recovery

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City, NJ, at the end of October, creating devastation up and down the East Coast. Over 100 people in the U.S. died as a result of the storm and millions were without power for weeks. College and university campuses were not immune to the damage. Many institutions evacuated residential students as a precaution before the storm and were then forced to cancel classes for the rest of the week due to lack of power, as at the University of Hartford (Conn.) or hazardous conditions in their surrounding community, as at Fairfield University (Conn).

Voters Say Yes to Proposition 30

Higher ed ballot initiatives shown support

While voters across the nation were glued to their screens on election night counting electoral votes, the higher education community was holding its collective breath awaiting the answers on a number of important ballot initiatives, proving this year’s election was truly about more than blue and red for higher ed.

Managing MOOC Credits

The American Council on Education (ACE) has announced a research effort examining the academic potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs), in which it will evaluate select Coursera courses for college credit. If the ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) decides to recommend these courses for credit, it could mean an improvement in college affordability for hundreds of thousands of students. It will also raise some logistical questions for administrators at colleges and universities.

Weekend Visits Take Wing

As any admissions counselor knows, a campus visit can make the difference between a student enrolling or not. While most families probably do road trips when they go on college visits, some do take to the air. Campus leaders at Hope College (Mich.) are easing the financial burden for those outside of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin by reimbursing half (up to $300) of the cost of an airline ticket for out-of-state students.

Hispanic Student Success

As the Supreme Court revisits the idea of affirmative action in college admissions, new reports have been released looking at the success of Hispanic students in higher education.

“Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for Hispanic students,” a report from The Education Trust, shows improvements in six-year graduation rates for students at studied schools. Another report looks at success of African American students and updates previous briefs on these populations.

Free Textbooks for California

If funded, open-source digital textbooks coming to public higher ed

In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.

Bills 1052 and 1053, passed in late September, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, The California State University, and California Community Colleges systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.

Food Trucks Pull Into Campus

The food truck craze that’s hit cities large and small across the nation has made its way to college and university campuses, offering up new dining options in new spots with more hours. Bringing a food truck to campus isn’t as easy as throwing in an oven and hoping students are hungry, though. It takes serious planning, but it’s worth it, shares John Cummins, general manager of residential dining for Parkhurst Dining, who brainstormed The Flying Bison food truck at Bucknell University (Pa.) for more than two years before the converted laundry truck became operational this spring.

Grading Trends Get Attention

An infographic by OnlineColleges.net analyzes today’s students’ study habits, as well as grade inflation, to suggest that college grading may be getting easier. Whatever the case, grading methods have certainly changed over the years.

James Wollack, director of University of Wisconsin-Madison testing and evaluation services and an expert in educational measurement, says grading used to be dominated by test scores: fail a final and you’d flunk the course.

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