Bringing U.S. Universities to the World

Roundup: A State Department program is designed to get people from other lands to take free Coursera classes and expose them to American education.

O GO WITH AFP STORY 'THAILAND-LIFESTYLE-TECHNOLOGY-EDUCATION' by Amélie BOTTOLLIER DEPOIS and Apilaporn VECHAKIJ This picture taken on May 27, 2013 shows students using tablets during a lesson at a classroom in the Ban San Kong school of Mae Chan, a town located in Thailand's northern province of Chiang Rai. In a remote classroom in the Thai highlands, hill tribe children energetically slide their fingertips over tablet computer screens practicing everything from English to maths and music. The disadvantaged students are part of an ambitious scheme by the kingdom to distribute millions of the handheld devices in its schools in an effort to boost education standards. AFP PHOTO/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
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Sophie Quinton
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Sophie Quinton
Nov. 4, 2013, 1 a.m.

Every week, The Next Amer­ica pro­duces a col­lec­tion of edu­ca­tion art­icles that catch our eye. These date from Oct. 28-Nov. 4.

State De­part­ment to Boost Ex­pos­ure to U.S. Learn­ing via Cours­era. On­line course pro­vider Cours­era is work­ing with the State De­part­ment to cre­ate “learn­ing hubs” around the world, where stu­dents can get In­ter­net ac­cess to free courses, plus weekly class dis­cus­sions with loc­al teach­ers or fa­cil­it­at­ors. For the U.S. gov­ern­ment, the ap­peal lies in ex­pos­ing stu­dents from all over the world to Amer­ic­an uni­versit­ies and per­haps spur them to study in the U.S.  In­struc­tion will be in Eng­lish, and neither the fa­cil­it­at­ors nor MOOC pro­viders will be paid. New York Times

Should Full-Time En­roll­ment Be Cal­cu­lated Dif­fer­ently? Only three of 10 stu­dents who are tech­nic­ally en­rolled in col­lege full time will gradu­ate on time, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from non­profit Com­plete Col­lege Amer­ica. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment defines “full time” as 12 cred­it hours per semester, but stu­dents who do not take sum­mer courses need to take 15 cred­it hours per semester to com­plete an as­so­ci­ate’s de­gree in two years or a bach­el­or’s in four. Chron­icle of High­er Edu­ca­tion

Ta-Ne­hisi Coates on His Howard Uni­versity Re­turn. If you haven’t yet, you should read Ta-Ne­hisi Coates’ mov­ing New York Times column on at­tend­ing home­com­ing at his alma ma­ter, Howard Uni­versity, with his son. “As the op­tions for kids like my son have grown in un­ima­gin­able ways, the for­tunes of black schools have de­clined,” The At­lantic seni­or ed­it­or writes.

The End of Col­lege Board School-Sup­port Pro­gram. This sum­mer, 20 Col­lege Board schools in Col­or­ado, Mary­land, and New York lost $100,000 in per-school ad­di­tion­al fund­ing and ac­cess to Col­lege Board re­sources, like lead­er­ship re­treats and data-track­ing, when the Col­lege Board ab­ruptly ended a pro­gram that had sup­por­ted small middle schools and col­lege-fo­cused high schools. Non­profit news or­gan­iz­a­tion Gotham Schools links the change to the Col­lege Board’s new fo­cus on achieve­ment at all grades, rather than on just the col­lege-ad­mis­sions pro­cess.  

What Hap­pens to Chil­dren Who Fail High-Stakes Tests? Pro­gress­ive magazine In These Times tracks down El Paso, Texas, stu­dents who say they were pushed out of high school be­cause of their low test scores. As re­cently as three years ago, hun­dreds of low-scor­ing Lati­nos in El Paso were il­leg­ally di­ver­ted to GED pro­grams, the art­icle states. 

Chinese Stu­dents Ex­plain Cul­tur­al Dif­fer­ences to Amer­ic­an Peers. Chinese stu­dents at the Uni­versity of Wis­con­sin-Madis­on have cre­ated a You­Tube chan­nel to help ad­dress cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences with their Amer­ic­an peers. Among the top­ics ex­plained:
Why Chinese stu­dents prefer to speak Man­dar­in in­stead of Eng­lish, why they don’t party as much as Amer­ic­ans, and dif­fer­ence con­cepts of phys­ic­al at­tract­ive­ness. Quartz

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