Posts tagged ‘Rice University’

July 24, 2012

Coursera expands with a dozen major research universities – credit for classes

by Grace

Coursera, an online learning company offering free massive open online courses ( MOOCs), is adding a dozen major reasearch universities to its existing group of Michigan, Princeton, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.

Now, the partners will include the California Institute of Technology; Duke University; the Georgia Institute of Technology; Johns Hopkins University; Rice University; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of Washington; and the University of Virginia, where the debate over online education was cited in last’s month’s ousting — quickly overturned — of its president, Teresa A. Sullivan. Foreign partners include the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the University of Toronto and EPF Lausanne, a technical university in Switzerland.

And some of them will offer credit.

Schools feel pressured to participate.

“This is the tsunami,” said Richard A. DeMillo, the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. “It’s all so new that everyone’s feeling their way around, but the potential upside for this experiment is so big that it’s hard for me to imagine any large research university that wouldn’t want to be involved.”

It is still experimental and unproven.

But even Mr. Thrun, a master of MOOCs, cautioned that for all their promise, the courses are still experimental. “I think we are rushing this a little bit,” he said. “I haven’t seen a single study showing that online learning is as good as other learning.”

The University of Washington, ranked 42 on US News list of national universities, will offer credit.

So far, MOOCs have offered no credit, just a “statement of accomplishment” and a grade. But the University of Washington said it planned to offer credit for its Coursera offerings this fall, and other online ventures are also moving in that direction. David P. Szatmary, the university’s vice provost, said that to earn credit, students would probably have to pay a fee, do extra assignments and work with an instructor.

Most MOOC students are from overseas, but if more top universities began to offer course credits toward a degree more U.S. students may become interested.  Online cheating and grading are among the thorny issues.

An alternative to a traditional college degree for some?

“There’s talk about how online education’s going to wipe out universities, but a lot of what we do on campus is help people transition from 18 to 22, and that is a complicated thing,” said Mr. Page, the Michigan professor, adding that MOOCs would be most helpful to “people 22 to 102, international students and smart retired people.”

Eventually, Ms. Koller said, students may be able to enroll in a set of MOOCs and emerge with something that would serve almost the same function as a traditional diploma.

“We’re not planning to become a higher-education institution that offers degrees,” she said, “but we are interested in what can be done with these informal types of certification.


November 25, 2011

Colleges that saddle graduates with the most debt (and those that don’t)

by Grace

From U.S. News & World Report, based on 2010 graduates

Colleges With the Most Student Debt

10. Fordham University – 64% of students graduate with debt averaging $38,151
..9. Stevens Institute of Technology – 70% of students graduate with debt averaging $38,554
..8. Case Western Reserve University – 60% of students graduate with debt averaging $39,236
..7. Widener University – 85% of students graduate with debt averaging $40,386
..6. New York University – 55% of students graduate with debt averaging $41,375
..5. Florida Institute of Technology – 65% of students graduate with debt averaging $41,565
..4. Barry University – 64% of students graduate with debt averaging $42,798
..3. Nova Southeastern University – 76% of students graduate with debt averaging $43,206
..2. Clark Atlanta University – 93% of students graduate with debt averaging $45,227
..1. University of North Dakota – 83% of students graduate with debt averaging $45,369

Fordham offers relatively generous merit aid, but it seems the combination of a high COA (approx. $59,000) and loan-heavy financial aid helps put it on this list.  Barry University is a HBCU.

Colleges With the Least Student Debt

10. Louisiana Tech University – 49% of students graduate with debt averaging $14,039
..9..Rice University – 36% of students graduate with debt averaging $13,944
..8. Brigham Young University – 31% of students graduate with debt averaging $13,354
..7. Texas Tech University – 40% of students graduate with debt averaging $11,502
..6. Lamar University – 63% of students graduate with debt averaging $12,110
..5. California Institute of Technology – 43% of students graduate with debt averaging $10,760
..4. Harvard University – 34% of students graduate with debt averaging $10,102
..3. Yale University – 28% of students graduate with debt averaging $9,254
..2. Sam Houston State University -46% of students graduate with debt averaging $7,602
..1. Princeton University – 24% of students graduate with debt averaging $4,385

With their generous financial aid policies that include middle- to high-income families, it’s not surprising to see the Ivy Leagues well-represented on this list.  Rice combines  relatively low tuition and favorable need/merit aid.

July 6, 2011

Strategic race selection for college admissions

by Grace

Is it ethical for a student to pick and choose the racial identity that will grant the most advantage in the college admissions game?  This question is important in light of recently revised race and ethnicity reporting requirements for college applicants.

The change has made it easier for students to claim a multiracial identity — highlighting those parts of their backgrounds they might want to bring to the fore and disregarding others…

A recent NY Times story featured a prime example of strategic race selection in the person of Natasha Scott, a high school graduate with a black father and an Asian mother.  In an environment where Asians are ORMs (Over-Represented Minority) and blacks are URMs (Under-Represented Minority), checking the Asian box on her college applications could have lowered her chances of admission.  She grappled with her choices, and in the end she chose to identify herself only as black to the colleges to which she applied.  While some applauded her decision as smart, others like the MIT Admissions Counselor who posted on this CollegeConfidential thread would say that she “lied for perceived strategic advantage”.

Many scholarships are tied to racial or ethnic identity.  The National Achievement Scholarship Program for Black students and the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) are just two examples.

Well, then, what is a student to do?  Here are some pulls from the article that shed light on factors that might influence students.

  • The onus of determining racial makeup is almost entirely on the students; the colleges do not typically seek out guidance counselors or other adults in the students’ lives for corroboration.
  • … at Rice … an applicant’s racial identification can become an admissions game changer.
  • “From an academic standpoint … they may all look alike,” said Chris Muñoz, vice president for enrollment at Rice since 2006. “That’s when we might go and say, ‘This kid has a Spanish surname. Let’s see what he wrote about.’ Right or wrong, it can make a difference.
  • Emory, like other colleges, was acting at least in part to ensure a sizable African-American student population, which the college’s leaders consider an institutional priority.
  • When asked for advice by an applicant weighing whether to identify as multiracial, Mr. White, the counselor from New Jersey, said, “…  If they’re Caucasian and African-American, I’d let them know that it would probably be beneficial to put yourself down as African-American or multiracial.”
  • When Mr. Muñoz was asked if, within the multiracial pool, there is a hierarchy of sorts for getting an edge in the admissions process … Not in an intentional way, but it’s just the reality….“It’s part of, what’s the story? How underrepresented is this group on campus?
  • “I think that when you’re a stressed out high school senior, you’ll do anything that’s legal to get into college,” 

It’s a dysfunctional system.  Here’s Roger Clegg:

I think our condemnation then and now should be more concentrated on the racially discriminatory system itself rather than on those who tried or try to game it.

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