Twelve educators, many of them well-known in the online education field, convened in Palo Alto, Calif. last month to draft a document to protect the rights of students studying at for-profit online universities, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The document supports students' rights to privacy and intellectual property of any work created in the online classroom. It asks online universities to be transparent in how it uses information about students' participation and performance in courses, and aims to prevent online universities from overcharging students. The meeting was organized by Sebastian Thrun, considered a pioneer of massive open online courses. Although the document does not have substantive power to regulate education, Thrun said he hopes that it will put pressure on universities to reform online higher education as the popularity of online courses grows, The Chronicle reported.
European researchers will resume research on the transfer of the H5N1 bird-flu virus to humans on Jan. 23, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Scientists volunteered to suspend their studies last January, when national security experts voiced concern that the research could help terrorists or states use the virus maliciously. In the United States, researchers must wait for the National Institute of Health to release its final guidelines regarding research into the H5N1 virus before resuming any work. The debate regarding the safety of such research is expected to continue at the February meeting of the World Health Organization, according to The Chronicle.
A shooting at a Houston community college on Tuesday left four people hospitalized and aroused fears that the college was the site of another mass shooting, The New York Times reported. The gunman, Carlton Berry, was charged the same day with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after a dispute between the gunman and another man sparked the incident. Both men, one of whom may have been a student or former student, received gunshot wounds, and a maintenance worker was also shot in the leg, according to The Times. A fourth person was hospitalized for other unspecified injuries. Students, faculty and administrators were evacuated, and classes resumed Wednesday, although many students chose to remain at home.
Compiled by Jessica Avitabile