Your next USB connector will be reversible

6 December 2013

As mobile devices get increasingly slimmer, so too will their corresponding USB connectors.

Even better, you won’t have to flip the cable when you try to slip it in upside down. Finally.

Development for the next-generation USB connector, called the Type-C, is underway and will be thinner and sleeker than current USB 3.0 cables (pictured above), according to the USB 3.1 Promoter Group, which is made up of industry heavy hitters including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

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Helping Professors Use Technology Is Top Concern in Computing Survey

25 October 2013

As professors step out from behind lecterns to stand beside laptops or in front of cameras—or both—the top concern for campus information-technology departments across the country is how they can help faculty members move smoothly into the digital age of learning.

That’s one finding of the Campus Computing Project’s annual survey of senior technology administrators, released on Thursday. The survey found that as technology continues to grow on campuses—through both online classes and the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices—the ability of faculty members to use and integrate technology is a big concern. Another worry is the effectiveness of information-technology spending.

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For Upstart Learning-Management Company, an Educause Moment

25 October 2013

Brian Whitmer does not look like the co-founder and chief learning officer of a major education-technology company. Here in the Educause exhibit hall, he looks like a college kid.

Mr. Whitmer stands beneath the elaborate setup of his company, Instructure, chatting with several potential clients. Baby-faced and blond, he wears jeans with an untucked button-down shirt and a large black backpack slung over both shoulders.

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QuickWire: ‘Flipping’ Classrooms May Not Make Much Difference

25 October 2013

In preliminary research, professors at Harvey Mudd College haven’t found that students learn more or more easily in so-called flipped courses than in traditional classes, USA Today reports. In flipped courses, students watch professors’ lectures online before coming to class, then spend the class period in discussions or activities that reinforce and advance the lecture material.

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For Disruption, MOOCs Beat Open-Access Journals, Scholar Says

25 October 2013

MOOCs are more disruptive to higher education than open-access megajournals are, in part because of structural protections in the scholarly-publishing world and because some policy makers are pushing massive open online courses as a means to increase productivity, a professor argues in a new article on open-access alternatives in higher education.

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Google and edX Create a MOOC Site for the Rest of Us

10 September 2013

Until now, massive open online courses have mostly reinforced existing hierarchies in higher education. MOOC providers have recruited elite institutions and offered them and their professors the opportunity to broadcast their courses to the world.

But now edX, a nonprofit provider founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is joining forces with Google to create a spinoff Web site where ordinary folks—and professors at colleges that have not been invited to join high-profile MOOC consortiums—can not only sign up for a MOOC but also build one themselves.

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The Lernstift smartpen checks your spelling as you write

19 July 2013

Wher woud some of us bea withoot spell check?

The sometimes annoying, but frankly indispensable computer aid has spared billions of typographical blushes.

Now, an ingenious prototype pen developed by a German start-up is promising to give our longhand writing a similar sort of safety net.

Lernstift (German for “learning pen”) is a digital pen with a difference, carrying not only ink inside its casing but also a tiny computer that alerts users to spelling errors.

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