Academic Tech News, Week of 8/10

In case you missed it – a snapshot of this week’s academic tech news from around the web.

Enlisting Smartphones In The Campaign For Campus Safety

“Several new apps offer quick ways for college students facing unsafe or uncomfortable situations to reach out to their peers, connect with resources on campus and in their communities, or notify law enforcement.”

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Confuse Students to Help Them Learn

“But when Mr. Muller analyzed the results of tests he administered to the students before and after showing them the videos, he noticed something odd: The students who had watched the more confusing videos learned more. The students who had watched the more-straightforward videos learned less, yet walked away with more confidence in their comprehension.”

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Google Opens Classroom, Its Learning Management Tool, To All Teachers

“Back in May, Google announced the limited preview of Classroom, a tool that aims to make it easier for teachers to stay in touch with their students and to give them assignments and feedback. Google says more than 100,000 educators from 45 countries signed up to try it since then. Today, it is throwing the doors wide open, and anyone with a Google Apps for Education account can now use the service.”

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Jeremy Hessman


  1. Thanks, Becky! And here’s new I was following most this week:

    D2L’s $85 million – background reporting by Phil Hill:
    D2L raises $85 million but growth claims defy logic

    Sad news about actual faculty tech use in higher ed (UK, but I imagine much the same here in USA) – shared by Alan Cann:
    “Virtually mandatory”: A survey of how discipline and institutional commitment shape university lecturers’ perceptions of technology. (2014) 45(4)748–759

    Excellent discussion by Michelle Pacansky-Brock about the need for better/different syllabuses:
    The Liquid Syllabus: Are You Ready?

    Audrey Watters’s take on Google Classroom:
    Google Classroom and the Teaching Machine

    Robert Talbert’s much needed reply to the article in the Chronicle re: big data and lectures; his reply also at the Chronicle:
    Is lecture really the thing that needs fixing?

    Thanks for these “news of the week” posts; it would be cool if we could get lots of people to chime in with their own news lists of the week here in the comments. 🙂

    • Becky Weintz

      That would be great! And thank you for the additions, all really interesting articles, especially the Liquid Syllabus. I’ve always asked myself this question – “Why do students need to wait until after they register for a class to review a course syllabus?” Furthermore, when many educators end up changing their course calendar throughout the semester, why are we still creating static calendars and expecting students to print this out and bring it with them to the first day of class. I am really looking forward to seeing what instructors and students can do with the OU Create pilot that CTE is running (Adam posted about it earlier this week) – definitely potential there for interesting and innovative syllabi, calendars and course content.