Recent Higher Education News: Wired, Rigor, Plagiarism, Citations, and more…

I don’t usually read the LinkedIn emails that come across my inbox, largely because, like the SMARTS funding search engine, there often isn’t much of immediate interest. But I clicked on their “headlines in higher ed” digest this morning, and there were a bunch of interesting items. So, combined with the AHA news bulletin, and the high desirability to post a post, here’s a rundown of some recent higher ed news:

I had no idea that Cornell had capped students’ bandwidth use, charging them if they went over their monthly quota.  Well, this has been happening for a while (granted, if memory serves Cornell students are among the most voracious downloaders of our student population, so…).  Apparently you get creamed if you’re a heavy user of Skype and Netflix.  And now there’s a growing protest movement against the regulation, covered here in the Chronicle.

In February, there was an article in NPR covering a recent University of Chicago book about the “lack of rigor” in higher education. Read before you dismiss. I have come across a lot of the things described in the article and book except, but I’m not sure that I would describe them as a paradigm. You’ll always find students who for some reason blow off your course as easier than their high school AP class, who throw a fit if you give them less than a B, while as an educator you’re not out to “get” your students, so you look for positives in their papers, and put effort into helping students who are struggling. And, in my experience anyway, those students who work hard are not restricted to “more restrictive” institutions. Anyway, read and discuss.

And here’s an article from Sunday in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Toward a Rational Response to Plagiarism,” by Rob Jenkins.  Again, worth reading and taking note. Lot of common-sense advice, if you ask me (I know, nobody did, but it’s my blog, darn it, so there…)

Oh, and while not directly higher ed news, I guess it has implications down the line: Google just purchased Motorola Mobility, in a bid to challenge Apple more directly.  Oh, the games and stakes of corporate technology…

And finally, here’s an article from August 8, from the AHA Today: “Are Citations the Best Measure of History Journals?”  Interesting attempt to trace the impact of journals through how frequently they’re cited, but Townshend is quite right to worry that the method doesn’t tell us much about the significance of individual articles–thus causing many important and quality pieces to be passed over, because their journals don’t have wide circulation or much perceived “impact.”  Actually, when I first saw the headline I thought it had to do with the number of citations IN an article–and I’ve started to notice that more is not always better (except for dissertations, of course, heh heh). Perhaps it’s a shallow approach, but I usually judge the status and rigor of  a book or a journal by flipping through quickly and seeing how heavily footnoted it is. Then I’ll move to evaluating scholarly rigor and such.

Ok, that’s all for now. Have a great day!