education's digital future

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WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday called for federal legislation intended to force American companies to be more forthcoming when credit card data and other consumer information are lost in an online breach like the kind that hit Sony, Target and Home Depot last year.

"Flipping" has become a buzzword. Maybe a colleague down the hall is trying it, or you're thinking about it yourself. Or maybe you're still not exactly sure what it is.

We've compiled a booklet, downloadable below, designed to serve as a quick primer on this growing—and sometimes controversial—teaching approach. It contains several recent articles and essays from The Chronicle, along with a list of links for further reading. Downloading is simple: Just fill out this form, and the booklet is all yours.

Conventional wisdom (backed by many research studies) holds that students benefit from smaller classes. They receive more personal attention from instructors, who can spend more time evaluating each assignment turned in and can spend more time with each student. Many rankings systems reward colleges for small class sizes. Many potential undergraduates judge colleges on the availability of small classes.

STANFORD, Calif. — A CRUEL paradox of higher education in America is that its most coveted seats are reserved for young people. Four-year residential colleges with selective admissions are a privileged elite in the academic world, but their undergraduate programs effectively discriminate on the basis of age. Admissions officers typically prefer that the best and brightest be children.

At Thursday's Faculty Senate meeting, Provost John Etchemendy announced that Stanford will combine several organizations now scattered across campus to establish the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning.

The senate meeting also included presentations on a faculty survey on undergraduate teaching and on Stanford Athletics.

The U.S. Education Department wants to encourage colleges and the tech companies they work with to protect student data from misuse. But the agency’s power to protect the privacy of people taking free, online courses is essentially nonexistent.

Some of the country’s most rigorous research universities have a new obsession: flexibility. As the institutions contemplate a more modular future, experiments with blended learning may provide an early glimpse at their plans.

The massive open online course provider Coursera is taking cloud-based education to its most literal interpretation yet. Coursera's users will soon be able to watch 10 educational videos while flying on JetBlue as part of the airline's Fly-Fi onboard wireless internet service. In a blog post, Coursera said JetBlue will offer content from the Berklee School of Music and the Universities of Edinburgh and Pennsylvania, among other partners. The service should be available on any JetBlue flight by the end of the year.

LinkedIn — the social network for the working world — has been working on launching various tools to increase the usefulness and engagement of its platform to its 300m+ users. Today sees the launch of the latest of these. LinkedIn is unveiling a self-service certification feature, aimed both at helping education businesses and institutions spread their name in a more legit way on the site, and for users to enhance their profiles at the same time.

University of California administrators are prepared to raise tuition 27 percent by the end of the decade, despite the objections of students and the state’s popular governor.

The debate over the increases for the 10-campus system’s 244,000 students has set up a showdown between the state’s politicians, the Board of Regents and students.

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