Information Technology

On Change and Relevance for Higher Education

Phil Long, a veteran strategist in technology and learning, comments on some of the most asked-about challenges for higher education institutions today.

MIT Researchers Aim to Bring Neural Nets to Smartphones

Neural networks have been behind many advancements in AI in recent years, underpinning systems designed to recognize speech or individual faces, among others. But neural nets are also large and power hungry, making them poor candidates to run on personal devices such as smartphones, and forcing apps that rely on neural nets to upload data to a server for processing. But researchers at M.I.T. are working on a new kind of computer chip that might change that. The new chip improves the speed of neural-network computation by three to seven times and reduces energy consumption by 94 to 95 percent, according to the research team.

Print Management Software Updated to Cover Fab Lab Gear Too

A new version of software intended to help organizations manage all of their printers now connects with specialty services as well, including 3D printers and CNC machines that may be located in maker or fabrication labs. PaperCut MF version 18 includes a new job ticketing capability that enables printing service operators at schools and colleges to accept specialty and 3D printing job submissions, such as laser cutting and prototype creation. The program enables the operator to track those jobs through the production process while also communicating work status to the requester.

College-Level Cybersecurity Ed Gets Formal Makeover

A two-year effort to develop curriculum guidelines for cybersecurity education will officially be released this week, two months after a report with the details was published by a joint task force. "Cybersecurity Curricula 2017" will be introduced on February 22nd at the Annual ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education meeting taking place in Baltimore. At the same time a new "community engagement website" will also be launched.

IMS Global Updates Caliper Analytics Standard

The IMS Global Learning Consortium has announced Caliper Analytics v1.1, the latest version of its interoperability standard for learning data, designed to foster an open ecosystem for educational data and analytics.

Four in 10 Top Websites Are Dangerous

Four in 10 of the top websites pose dangers to their visitors. According to cybersecurity vendor Menlo Security, out of the top 100,000 websites as ranked by Alexa, 42 percent are "risky." A risky website is any site where either the homepage or an associated background site is running vulnerable software; the site is known to distribute malware or launch attacks; or the site has already suffered a security breach in the past 12 months.

Bankruptcy Court Accepts Educause Bid for NMC Assets

The metaphorical gavel has fallen, and a new chapter has begun for the many assets of the New Media Consortium. On Valentine's Day a bankruptcy court judgment in Sacramento accepted a $55,000 bid from Educause for NMC's Horizon projects, trademarks, membership and subscriber lists, internet domain, phone number, goodwill and furniture and fixtures.

Giving CC Students Home Computers Won't Set Them up for Greater Success

Handing out computers to incoming community college students won't influence their success in higher education, maintaining jobs or lifting earnings. That's the bottom line for a study that examined the impact of providing home computers to students who don't have them. The research project pulled confidential data from California's employment office, the state's community college system and the National Student Clearinghouse on all participants in the study for seven years after the "random provision of computers." Results were published in a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

A Community Approach to Recycling Tech

Towson University's EduCycle technology recycling program reconditions and redeploys computers that would otherwise end up in the e-waste pile. Volunteers from local schools and underserved communities help perform the refurbishing work, gaining hands-on computer skills while earning service-learning hours.

Educause Could Pick Up NMC Horizon Report Assets for $55k

By next Wednesday, shortly after 10 a.m. Pacific time, the fate of New Media Consortium's assets could be decided in a bankruptcy court in Sacramento. A nonprofit best known for producing the annual "Horizon" reports on technology trends in higher education, K-12, libraries and museums could become the property of Educause, a higher ed technology association. Educause has put in the highest bid so far, $55,000, to acquire N.M.C.'s Horizon projects, trademarks, membership and subscriber lists, internet domain, phone number and furniture and fixtures.

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