Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News

Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News edX and Coursera learning platforms - courses and price comparison - Business Insider - Business Insider Some Top Online MBA Programs See Applications Surge - Poets&Quants UC online program ranked as one of the country's most affordable - The News Journal Will online degrees become more 'legitimate'? - BBC News Posted: 25 Nov 2020 12:00 AM PST Still, questions remain about of the impact of online degrees. Will they make the same impression as in-person degrees? Will the ubiquity of online learning devalue traditional degrees? Hollands at Teacher's College also wonders if in-person degrees will become exclusively for wealthy students, meaning campus-based programs may end up signalling a student's status instead of a 'better

Top technology official out at Fairfax Schools, as fallout continues from online learning disaster - The Washington Post

Top technology official out at Fairfax Schools, as fallout continues from online learning disaster - The Washington Post

Top technology official out at Fairfax Schools, as fallout continues from online learning disaster - The Washington Post

Posted: 22 Apr 2020 08:16 PM PDT

Luftglass has served as assistant superintendent of the department of information technology since 1999, according to her profile on the Fairfax schools website. She could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Luftglass, who previously directed information technology for the American Red Cross, was at the center of the sprawling school system's botched preparations for online learning over the past month. After two failed attempts, the district this week temporarily canceled face-to-face virtual instruction, announced it was moving away from its technology platform, Blackboard, and retained a law firm to conduct an independent review of the rollout.

In a message to families announcing the review on Monday, Brabrand wrote that the stumbles had been "frustrating and disappointing for everyone."

The school system, which serves 189,000 students in Northern Virginia, had plenty of time to prepare. It waited four weeks after schools were closed by order of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on March 13 to debut its real-time video instruction on April 14.

First, the Blackboard learning platform saw massive technological glitches that left students and teachers throughout the system unable to log on, or facing poor audio and frozen video once they did. Worse, for some who managed to get online, classes devolved into a chaotic mess as group chats filled with anonymous, hateful messages.

Fairfax ultimately canceled school for the rest of the week.

In the days after the first failed attempt at online learning, parents and teachers throughout the division demanded answers: Why had things gone so wrong? In a contentious virtual board meeting later that week, Luftglass and a representative from Blackboard traded blame.

Blackboard Chief Product Officer Tim Tomlinson noted that Fairfax had failed to implement seven updates to its technology over the past nearly two years, although company staffers had publicized the upgrades to the school system.

But Luftglass said the company never told her the updates were needed to improve performance ahead of distance learning.

The Washington Post previously reported that the troubled launch of online school also stemmed from Fairfax officials' neglect of basic Blackboard safety features, and a lack of guidance given to teachers. Documents obtained by The Post show that technology specialists within the system foresaw possible trouble weeks ago and tried to warn higher-ups long before virtual school began.

The problems continued Monday. Although Blackboard and Fairfax had promised to get things up and running, teachers and students once again struggled to access the platform — leading to the temporary cancellation of face-to-face virtual instruction.

Some watching last week's board meeting felt Luftglass had unfairly sought to cast blame on the school system's technology specialists. Kimberly Adams, president of the 4,000-teacher-strong Fairfax Education Association, wrote to the school board demanding an apology from Luftglass.

"Despite claims otherwise," Adams wrote, tech employees "are in no way responsible for the complete fiasco . . . of distance learning."

Elite colleges back away from rescue cash amid criticism of endowments - POLITICO

Posted: 22 Apr 2020 08:03 PM PDT

DeVos praised the decision on Twitter and encouraged other wealthy schools to follow Stanford's lead. Princeton University, which has not applied, has also said it will not be accepting its stimulus money.

"Our no-loan financial aid packages and other programs are designed to provide exceptional levels of support to our students, including DACA beneficiaries and international students," said Ben Chang, a Princeton spokesperson. "We have also taken steps to meet additional needs resulting from COVID-19, and will continue to look for opportunities to do so throughout this crisis."

Jonathan Swain, a Harvard spokesperson, said earlier Wednesday that the university hadn't received nor applied for any funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and was still weighing its decision.

"We continue to review the additional guidance from the Department of Education related to the Fund and will make a determination as to whether we will seek to access the allocation that was made to Harvard by statute," Swain said in a previous statement.

Later in the day, the university declared it would not seek the funds, referring in a statement to "intense focus by politicians and others on Harvard" and "the evolving guidance being issued around use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund."

"We will inform the Department of Education of our decision and encourage the department to act swiftly to reallocate resources previously allocated to Harvard," Swain said. "While we understand any reallocation of these resources is a matter for the Department of Education, we hope that special consideration will be given to Massachusetts institutions that are struggling to serve their communities and meet the needs of their students through these difficult and challenging times."

Harvard's quick decision to skip applying for the funds followed being singled out by Trump at Tuesday's coronavirus task force briefing, where he declared that schools with large endowments shouldn't be taking any relief money.

"Harvard is going to pay back the money," Trump said. "And they shouldn't be taking it. So, Harvard is going to. You have a number of them. I'm not going to mention any other names. But when I saw Harvard, they have a — one of the largest endowments anywhere in the country, maybe in the world, I guess. And they're going to pay back that money."

Yale, after Trump's praise for Harvard and Stanford at Wednesday's task force briefing, released a statement saying it would give up the $6.9 million it would get from the CARES Act to support its students and university operations.

"Though Yale is experiencing great budgetary pressure as a result of the pandemic, the university has decided not to seek these emergency funds," wrote Karen Peart, a Yale spokesperson. "Instead, we hope that the Department of Education will use Yale's portion of the funding to support colleges and universities in Connecticut whose continued existence is threatened by the current crisis."

A senior Senate Republican aide who worked on the stimulus legislation said the backlash to the higher education funding was misguided. "It's ironic that it's being stoked by two billionaires," the aide said referring to Trump and DeVos. "These funds are going to schools to help needy kids and poor kids."

The formula in the law, which was negotiated "pretty amicably" during discussions about the CARES Act, according to the GOP aide, is heavily weighted toward giving more money to schools based on the number of Pell Grant recipients they enrolled. The money is going to help low-income students, even those at elite schools, "but I can see how it's good populism" to push back against it, the GOP aide said.

Scrutiny of big endowments isn't new. A 2017 Republican tax law levied an "endowment tax" on wealthy private schools, which is a 1.4 percent excise tax on their investment funds.

Even before the focus on Harvard's share of the stimulus funding, DeVos had urged all college presidents to consider donating their allocation to other schools in their region if they didn't need the money. She wrote in a letter to college leaders that "if you determine that your institution's students do not have significant financial need at this time, I would ask that you consider giving your allocation to those institutions within your state or region that might have significant need."

"Secretary DeVos shares the concern that sending millions to schools with significant endowments is a poor use of taxpayer money," Angela Morabito, a department spokesperson, said in a statement.

Across Harvard's Schools, Summer Programs Face Cancellations, Move Online | News - Harvard Crimson

Posted: 22 Apr 2020 10:06 PM PDT

Many Harvard schools have cancelled or adapted their regular summer programming due to the uncertainties and risks presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On April 13, Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana announced the College's 2020 summer programming will be held entirely online. A number of pre-approved courses, however, can be taken online for credit. Offices and College-sponsored programs that provide summer funding for students have also amended their funding rules.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, Harvard School of Public Health, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and Harvard Graduate School for Education have also either cancelled or moved their regular summer programming online.

GSAS will conduct its summer outreach programs remotely, according to spokesperson Ann Hall. The school also cancelled its annual professional communication program for international students planned for August.

The Business School has cancelled the in-person version of its Summer Venture in Management Program and Peak Weekend for college-age prospective students. According to a statement posted to the school's admissions blog, the programs are designed to help students learn more about the Business School, and the decision to cancel was not "made lightly."

"Our faculty, staff, and students love hosting SVMP and Peek and enjoy meeting the prospective students through the programs," the announcement reads. "We know that this is disappointing news for many, and we are sad too."

Instead of their usual in-person events, the programs will host virtual programming for participants in mid-June. There is no cost to participate.

The Law School, meanwhile, will not run its annual executive education program, a summer initiative focused on leadership development for lawyers and legal organizations, per Law School Spokesperson Jeff A. Neal.

At the School of Public Health, Dean for Academic Affairs Jane J. Kim, Executive Dean for Administration Katherine A. Hope, and Dean for Education Erin Driver-Linn announced in an email that summer educational programming will be delivered remotely.

"We still have many details to figure out about how we will transition our summer programs online," they wrote. "The intensive efforts to transition to remote learning this spring underscored that the experience of learning remotely is not the same as in-person."

The email noted, however, that the decision to cancel summer programming should not be taken to reflect any plans for the School of Public Health's fall semester.

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies cancelled its summer fellowship program and moved to virtual programming "for the foreseeable future," according to Radcliffe spokesperson Jane F. Huber.

The nearby Graduate School of Education, though, is still assessing how to deliver their summer programing, according to spokesperson Bari E. Walsh, who wrote in an emailed statement that planning is unfolding on a "case-by-case basis."

"Across the school, we are consistently and carefully evaluating the best way to deliver our programming, with student, faculty, and staff safety as our primary consideration at this time," Walsh wrote in a statement.

—Staff writer Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at michelle.kurilla@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.

—Staff writer Ruoqi Zhang can be reached at ruoqi.zhang@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @RuoqiZhang3.


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