“We host one of the most renowned faculty in the world,” boasts a woman introduced in one promotional video as the head of a law school. “Come be a part of Newford University to soar the sky of excellence.”
Yet on closer examination, this picture shimmers like a mirage. The news reports are fabricated. The professors are paid actors. The university campuses exist only as stock photos on computer servers. The degrees have no true accreditation.
In fact, very little in this virtual academic realm, appearing to span at least 370 websites, is real — except for the tens of millions of dollars in estimated revenue it gleans each year from many thousands of people around the world, all paid to a secretive Pakistani software company.Declan Walsh for The New York Times
Last year, The Cooper Union For The Advancement Of Science And Art publicly admitted it was in dire financial straits and raised the idea of charging tuition for the first time in 110 years. The students responded in an appropriate manner. But now as the specter of tuition becomes closer to reality the students took a more drastic option: Since Monday, eleven undergraduate students have expertly barricaded themselves inside the top floor of the New York college. They talk about what they want. They even get pizza. [more inside]
Big Data On Campus (NYTimes) “We don’t want to turn into just eHarmony,” says Michael Zimmer, assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he studies ethical dimensions of new technology. “I’m worried that we’re taking both the richness and the serendipitous aspect of courses and professors and majors — and all the things that are supposed to be university life — and instead translating it into 18 variables that spit out, ‘This is your best fit. So go over here.’ ”
Rarely is the question asked -- is our business majors learning?
Harvard's 1869 Entrance Exam (PDF - NYT)
The main business of Napanoch, N.Y., is a maximum-security prison, Eastern New York Correctional Facility, also known as Happy Nap... There is, however, a reason that inmates call the prison Happy Nap. Eastern is more relaxed than other maximum-security prisons, or 'maxes,' in upstate New York, with less hostility between staff and prisoners, and as a result fewer U.I.'s, or 'unusual incidents' -- stabbings and the like. It is said that the farther upstate you go, the harsher the prison conditions can be. Among New York's maxes, Eastern has one of the best reputations. It is one of only three maximum-security prisons in the state where you can still get an education -- not just in manual skills, but a proper college education with a degree at the end, thanks to privately financed initiatives. Uncaptive Minds
M.I.T. to give education for free M.I.T. plans on Wednesday to announce a 10-year initiative, apparently the biggest of its kind, that intends to create public Web sites for almost all of its 2,000 courses and to post materials like lecture notes, problem sets, syllabuses, exams, simulations, even video lectures.