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According to a new study based on details of 1,700 UK students who applied to 11 of the University of Oxford's colleges in 2002, men were twice as likely as women to be offered a spot in a science subject, and 1.4 times more likely to gain a seat in an arts subject. Researchers also found that white applicants were 5 times more likely than students of South Asian descent to be offered a place in a science program. Oxford's director of undergraduate admissions dismisses the study for relying on out-of-date statistics, and denies discrimination claims by one of the study's authors. The Guardian

Men more likely to be admitted into Oxford, study finds Top Ten Fri, 08/21/2009 - 16:09
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A recent report conducted for the US Department of Education that examined comparative research on traditional classroom versus online teaching from 1996 to 2008 found that, on average, students learning in an online environment performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. Students taking part of a course or its entirety online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, the analysis found, while the average classroom student scored in the 50th percentile. Some of the comparative studies examined were in K-12 settings, but most were conducted in colleges and various adult continuing-education programs. New York Times | Read the full report

Report finds students perform better in online environment Top Ten Thu, 08/20/2009 - 16:44
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The redesigned mascot logo for Louisiana-based Nicholls State University is generating controversy within the institution's community. The updated Col. Tillou mascot, named for the school's founder, has some likening it to a soldier from the Third Reich or a member of Soviet Russia's Red Army. A Nicholls graduate who created a Facebook group opposing the new mascot describes it as a "very angry Nazi soldier," while another says the "new image seems evil, faceless and inhuman." A Nicholls official says that while the university has no plan to abolish the new logo, the redesign could fade away within a couple of years if no one purchases merchandise bearing the logo. Times-Picayune | "I hate the New Tillou (a.k.a the 'Nicholls Nazi')" Facebook group

Mascot rebranding at Nicholls State U spurs controversy Top Ten Wed, 08/19/2009 - 17:17
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On Monday, Facebook responded to concerns expressed in a report last month by Canada's privacy commissioner, offering assurance that users will have better control over their personal information. If the privacy commissioner is not satisfied with Facebook's proposal, she has 15 days to determine whether to pursue legal action against the social network. Both sides have reportedly been working well together over the last month. Toronto Star | Marketing Magazine | CBC | Canadian Press

Facebook expected to comply with privacy commissioner's recommendations Top Ten Tue, 08/18/2009 - 15:47
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Students at California State University have sued the school's board of trustees, alleging the institution illegally billed them twice for tuition -- accepting one payment in June for the fall semester and then requesting more money this month for the same term. California State U told students they could be dropped from enrolment if they fail to pay the second bill. As part of efforts to trim the university's budget, trustees raised undergraduate fees in May by 10%, and later on approved a second tuition fee hike of 20%. San Francisco Chronicle

California State U students sue school over alleged tuition double-billing Top Ten Mon, 08/17/2009 - 15:34
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An opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education argues that tenure-track positions at US colleges face extinction in a war of attrition. Deans faced with shrinking budgets and the choice of $12,000 per course for a tenured faculty member, or $4,000 per course for an adjunct, will make the obvious choice -- particularly in "softer" humanities and social science departments, which often have less power and prestige on campus. Unless institutions are concerned about their showing in the US News rankings, "nothing will ensure the survival of tenure in the next 20 years."  Chronicle of Higher Ed 

The tenuous future of tenure Top Ten Fri, 08/14/2009 - 14:03
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Anti-trust experts are concerned that Google's recent copyright settlement gives its Book Search digitization project unique and unparalleled ownership of millions of books, and ultimately the entire world's written history. Privacy activists worry that Google plans to track our private reading habits. And the Library Copyright Alliance, which represents thousands of libraries, sees that very soon, any university library will have no choice but to purchase an institutional subscription, whatever the price Google sets.  Inside Higher Ed 

Google seeking "monopoly on the breadth of human knowledge"? Top Ten Thu, 08/13/2009 - 15:12
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In a post yesterday on their Webmaster Central blog, Google announced a major upgrade to their search engine architecture. Nicknamed Caffeine, the new search engine promises to increase index size, improve the speed of search engine queries, and change the value of search engine rankings. Some individuals suggest that the changes made may have negative implications for businesses that rely on Google-generated traffic, as the new architecture could change how companies rank in search engine results.  ComputerWorld  |   PC World 

Google introduces "Caffeine" search engine Top Ten Wed, 08/12/2009 - 17:26
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Forbes magazine has just published the second annual ranking of "America's Best Colleges," as determined by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. The rankings consider quality of education, student experience, and student achievement -- based in part on inputs from RateMyProfessor.com, PayScale.com, and Who's Who in America. The number one college in America?  West Point (the US Military Academy), which this year bumped Princeton from the top spot, thanks largely to the complete lack of tuition for enrolled students. The Ivy league remain prominent -- Harvard placed 5th, Yale 9th, Stanford 10th, and MIT 11th -- but Duke and Cornell placed 104th and 105th, while the US Air Force Academy placed 7th, and the US Naval Academy placed 30th. The "best value" ROI schools are predominantly located in the Southern US. There is also a do-it-yourself screener tool.  Forbes Rankings  |  Do-It-Yourself Screener  |  ABC News  |  How West Point Beat the Ivy League 

Forbes ranks 600 "best" US colleges Top Ten Tue, 08/11/2009 - 15:02
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In his University Affairs blog, Leo Charbonneau questions the future of alumni magazines, observing that the University of Western Ontario will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of its Alumni Gazette by cutting its print issue from 3 times per year to once annually. Charbonneau acknowledges that while printing and distribution costs of alumni magazines can be substantial, they also can be magnificently engaging and beautiful, providing a medium to maintain a connection between alumni and their former universities. As for new grads, Charbonneau contends that the future of alumni relations more than likely resides with the Internet and social networking sites more generally. University Affairs 

The uncertain future of alumni magazines Top Ten Mon, 08/10/2009 - 17:41

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