Weekly News Roundup

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Bruno Girin

  • Microsoft released the results of 2 STEM surveys this week -- one among college students pursuing STEM degrees and one among parents of K-12 students. Among the findings: 93% of K-12 students believe that STEM education should be a priority in the U.S., only half (49%) agreed that it actually is a top priority for this country and less than 24% said they were "extremely willing" to spend extra money to help their children excel in math and science. Of the college students surveyed, nearly four in five STEM college students said they decided to study STEM in high school or earlier. One in five decided in middle school or earlier.
  • According to The Loop, iTunes U, Apple's lecture-podcast distribution network, has had more than 600 million downloads since it launched in 2007. More than 300 million of those occurred in the last year alone. The most popular downloads come from Open University and Stanford University, each with more than 30 million downloads. More than 30% of the iTunes U traffic is mobile, says Apple, and more than 60% of iTunes U users come from outside the U.S.
  • Google wrapped up another Summer of Code this week. The program, now in its seventh year, had participation from 1115 university students from 68 countries. As part of Summer of Code, they wrote code for 175 open source organizations began writing code for 175 open source organizations. Summer of Code gives college students a chance to do real world work and to mentor with others in the open source community.
  • National Louis University became the first university to offer a Groupon on tuition. This week's daily deal offered a 57% discount on an introductory graduate level teaching course. (I recommend reading the fine print, however). The deal needs 15 students to tip; so far only 8 Groupons have been purchased.
  • Hacking the Academy was published this week. The project is the result of one week's worth of Tweets and blog posts from May of last year. The introduction to the book, written by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt from George Mason University, describes the process of crowdsourcing this sort of academic publication, one that elicited over 330 submissions from 177 authors. The book is freely available online.
  • JSTOR, a database of academic journal articles, announced this week that it was making freely available its "Early Journal Content" -- all articles published prior to 1923 in the U.S. and 1870 elsewhere in the world. Earlier this year, Internet activist Aaron Swartz was indicted for felony hacking for downloading some 4 million documents from the JSTOR database.
  • The Department of Education released details on the requirements for Round Three of its Race to the Top funding program. The 9 finalists from the second round are eligible for the $200 million grant, provided they can meet the government's various standards.
  • Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced this week that he and his wife were forming the Biz and Livia Stone Foundation to invest in California education and conservation projects.
  • Back to school for many college students means participating in the AlcoholEDU program. It's been shown to help reduce binge drinking among college students, but according to research in Inside Higher Ed, those benefits have disappeared come spring semester.
  • Michael Hart, the inventor of the e-book and the founder of Project Gutenberg, the free digital archive of over 36,000 books, died this week. The site has posted this obituary.