Tag Archives: Chronicle of Higher Education

Important case about copyright: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons

23 Mar

Jennifer Howard reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, In Win for Libraries Over Publishers, Supreme Court Upholds Reselling of Foreign Books:

If you’re the legal owner of a copy of a book or other work copyrighted under U.S. law, the Supreme Court says you have the right to resell or give it away, even if it was made overseas.  http://chronicle.com/article/In-Win-for-Libraries-Over/137999/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

The Scotus Blog has a brief of the case:

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
11-697 2d Cir. Oct 29, 2012
Mar 19, 2013 6-3 Breyer OT 2012

Holding: The “first sale” doctrine, which allows the owner of a copyrighted work to sell or otherwise dispose of that copy as he wishes, applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.

Judgment: Reversed and remaned, 6-3, in an opinion by Justice Breyer on March 19, 2013. Justice Kagan filed a concurring opinion in which Justice Alito joined. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion in which Justice Kennedy joined, and in which Justice Scalia joined except as to Parts III and V–B–1.

SCOTUSblog Coverage


Here is the defense of the Association of American Publishers, Understanding Kirtsaeng v. Wiley   http://www.publishers.org/kirtsaeng-faq/

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Verifying online education identity: By your keystroke, we will know you

10 Jan

Moi wrote about verifying identity for online courses in Verifying identity for online courses:

Cheating is increasingly a concern in education. Some colleges in an attempt to curb academic dishonesty on campus are beginning to employ methods one has usually associated with Las Vegas casinos. Minnesota State University Mankato has an excellent newsletter article about academic dishonesty. Richard C. Schimming writes in Academic Dishonesty

A recent survey found that 1/3 of all students admitted to cheating on an examination, 1/2 admitted to cheating on a class assignment, 2/3 admitted to cheating at least once during their college career, and 2/3 have seen classmates cheat on exams or assignments. Paradoxically, 3/4 of those in that survey believe that cheating is not justified under any circumstances. Finally, 1/2 of the students surveyed believe that the faculty of their university do not try to catch cheaters…

There are strategies online education institutions can use to reduce cheating.

Distance Education.Org has a great article by Jennifer Williamson, Does Your Instructor Know It’s You? Issues in Verifying Online Student Identities:

While a recent study by Friends University shows that online students don’t cheat more than traditional students on the whole—and actually might cheat less—that doesn’t mean that online education isn’t vulnerable to cheating. And one major issue in preventing academic fraud in an online environment is demonstrated in the Florida case: the problem of student identity verification. How does your professor know it’s you taking that exam?

Here are a few ways online schools and instructors have been working to make sure they know the identity of students taking exams.


One of the most straightforward ways is insisting all important exams be proctored. This means you have to physically go to the school and take your exam in a room monitored by a proctor. Some schools may be able to arrange for you to take an exam in a remote location near your home, but even if this is possible for your school, this method does defeat the purpose of distance education to an extent—you have to leave the house or your workplace and travel to a test location, which could be problematic. It’s not ideal, but it is an easy way for professors to be sure it’s you taking the test.

Blackboard Acxiom

Many online degree programs use Blackboard to administer classes. Blackboard recently adopted an identity verification process powered by Acxiom, a risk mitigation company. With this software, you’ll have to enter the answers to verification questions, presumably set by you when you sign up for class, that only you can answer. The school using the software controls when students have to authenticate their identity. Of course, this isn’t a perfect solution as students could always simply tell their stand-ins the answers to their proprietary questions.

Certified IP locations

Under this system, also administered by Blackboard, teachers can specify the IP address where the student will take the test. This may allow you to take your test at your home computer, but teachers may also choose a computer for you to test on and then require you to come to campus to take the test in a proctored environment.

Remote proctor systems

There are a few remote proctoring systems, some of which are still being tested. One is the Securexam Remote Proctor System. It’s a small unit that plugs into the student’s USB port, with a fingerprint pad for identification—professors can choose how often during the test students are required to use it to identify themselves. It also includes a 365-degree camera that will alert the professor to anything strange happening in the room—like someone else walking in or speaking during the test. Professors don’t have to watch live; they can watch a recorded version of the test after it’s been taken. The device is purchased by students, and costs somewhere between $100 and $200 in most cases.

Remote proctoring systems may be the best way to assure student identity while keeping the benefits of online education intact; but still, the system isn’t perfect and some students find the costs hard to bear. Online student identification will need to evolve as online education has, to become easy, cost-effective for students and schools, and flexible. With time, hopefully online schools will have a more effective and cost-efficient way to verify online student identity and prevent academic fraud. http://www.distance-education.org/Articles/Does-Your-Instructor-Know-It-s-You–Issues-in-Verifying-Online-Student-Identities–234.html#.T4pas5U6vq0.email

ABC News has a good report, A Cheating Crisis In America’s Schools


Jeffrey R. Young writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Coursera Announces Details for Selling Certificates and Verifying Identities:

How is a major provider of free online courses going to tell whether you are who you say you are? By how you type.

The company, Coursera, plans to announce on Wednesday the start of a pilot project to check the identities of its students and offer “verified certificates” of completion, for a fee. A key part of that validation process will involve what Coursera officials call “keystroke biometrics”—analyzing each user’s pattern and rhythm of typing to serve as a kind of fingerprint.

The company has long said that it planned to bring in revenue by charging a fee to students who complete courses and want to prove that achievement. And Coursera has long recognized that its biggest challenge would be setting up a system to check identity. Other providers of free online courses, which are often called massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have decided to work with testing centers and to require students who want certificates to travel to a physical location, show an ID, and take tests while a proctor watches to prevent cheating.

What You Need to Know About MOOCs: A guide to The Chronicle’s coverage of massive open online courses.Coursera has decided to try to check IDs remotely, so that students can take tests from anywhere. During the pilot stage, the service will be offered in only five courses, but if it goes well, it will eventually be rolled out to nearly every course in Coursera’s catalog.

The company’s verification system involves several steps:

  • Early in the course, Coursera will ask participating students to hold up a picture ID in front of a Webcam, and then pose for a second picture of themselves, for an initial identity check. A human being will compare the two Webcam images to see if they match, essentially serving as a virtual bouncer.
  • Each student will then be asked to type a short phrase to register his or her keyboarding pattern with Coursera.
  • Each time students submit assignments, they must type the same short phrase for the system to check whether it matches their initial sample.

Can typing style serve as a reliable way to check identity?

Hany Farid, a computer-science professor at Dartmouth College who is an expert on digital forensics, said that the idea had been around for a while but that it is generally less secure than a fingerprint scan or other biometric methods.

In general, identifying people online is incredibly hard to do,” he said. “It could be that for what Coursera wants, it’s good enough. It could be that it’s just a barrier to entry and that it sort of freaks out some people” who might have otherwise tried to game the system, he added.

One potential problem with relying on typing patterns is that some people might type in different ways in different situations. “You don’t want this thing locking you out because you’re in a bad mood,” he said.

Coursera said it was testing two different software programs to do its identity verification—one from an outside company and one that it had developed itself. Coursera officials would not disclose which outside company they were working with.                                                                                               http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/coursera-announces-details-for-selling-certificates-and-verifying-identities/41519?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Coursera is proposing to use “keystroke dynamics.”

Biometrics Solutions.com has a concise description of “keystroke dynamics” at their site:

How it works

With keystroke dynamics the biometric template used to identify an individual is based on the typing pattern, the rhythm and the speed of typing on a keyboard. The raw measurements used for keystroke dynamics are dwell time and flight time.

  • Dwell time is the time duration that a key is pressed
  • Flight time is the time duration in between releasing a key and pressing the next key

When typing a series of characters, the time the subject needs to find the right key (flight time) and the time he holds down a key (dwell time) is specific to that subject, and can be calculated in such a way that it is independent of overall typing speed. The rhythm with which some sequences of characters are typed can be very person dependent. For example someone used to typing in english will be quicker at typing certain character sequences such as ‘the’ than a person with french roots.

There exists software which combines keystroke dynamics with other interactions the user has with the computer, such as mouse movements (acceleration time, click frequency).

Application of keystroke dynamics

Keystroke dynamics can be used for authentication, then it is used mostly together with user ID / password credentials as a form of multifactor authentication.

Another use is as a very specific form of surveillance. There exist software solutions which, often without end-users being aware of it, track keystroke dynamics for each user account. This tracking, historization of keystroke dynamics is then used to analyse whether accounts are being shared or in general are used by people different from the genuine account owner. Reasons for such an implementation could be verification of users following security procedures (password sharing) or to verify that no software licenses are being shared (especially for SAAS applications).

Companies which develop software products applying keystroke dynamics are:

  • ID Control is a dutch company developing strong but affordable authentication solutions, some of which use keystroke dynamics. Their software integrates with MS Windows logon, Citrix, VPN and many others.
  • Psylock is a german company developping IT security solutions based on keystroke dynamics, providing software products for implementations on different scales from MS Windows login, to web login, to Citrix and VPN integration. The Psylock website offers an online demo.
  • BehavioSec is a swedish company specialized in continuous authentication systems, this is software which monitors activity on a computer to make sure that it is the genuine account owner who is using the computer. BehavioSec uses not only keystroke dynamics but also mouse dynamics and the general way in which the user interacts with the computer.


See, Enhanced User Authentication Through Keystroke Biometrics – MIT http://people.csail.mit.edu/edmond/projects/keystroke/keystroke-biometrics.pdf

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.


Will ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCS) begin to offer credit?                                                                             https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/will-massive-open-online-courses-moocs-begin-to-offer-credit/

Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges? https://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

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For-profit colleges: It’s all about the $$$

16 Oct

Moi wrote in Report: For-profit colleges more concerned with executive pay than student achievement:

Michael Stratford reports on the Harkin report in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Senate Report Paints a Damning Portrait of For-Profit Higher Education:

For-profit colleges can play an important role in educating nontraditional students, but the colleges often operate as aggressive recruiting machines focused on generating shareholder profits at the expense of a quality education for their students.

That’s the unflattering portrait of the for-profit higher-education industry detailed in a voluminous report officially released on Monday by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The report, which also criticizes the accrediting agencies that evaluate the colleges, concludes a two-year investigation into the operations of 30 for-profit higher-education companies from 2006 to 2010….

Profits Over Students

The report says that more than half of the 1.1 million students who enrolled in the colleges under scrutiny in 2008-9 had withdrawn by mid-2010. Those retention rates varied between publicly traded and privately held for-profit colleges. At the 15 publicly traded companies 55 percent of students withdrew, compared with 46 percent at the 15 privately held companies, many of which are owned by private-equity firms.

While community colleges and two-year for-profit programs have similarly low retention rates, the cost of the for-profit programs makes those programs more risky for students and federal taxpayers,” the report says. Nearly all students attending a for-profit college take out loans to attend, the report says, compared with just 13 percent of community-college students.

Internal company documents examined by the investigation reveal that decisions to increase tuition at for-profit colleges were driven by profit goals rather than increasing costs of instruction. The educational interests of students rarely, if at all, figured into that decision making, the report says. https://drwilda.com/2012/07/31/report-for-profit-colleges-more-concerned-with-executive-pay-than-student-achievement/

For-profit education exists at both higher education and K-12.

Moi wrote in Online K-12 education as a cash cow for ‘Wall Street’: There should be a variety of options and approaches in education. Still, School choice does not mean education on the cheap! K-12 education should not be the next sub-prime mortgage or derivative gambit for large for-profit companies. Lee Fang has written the alarming Nation article, How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools.

While most education reform advocates cloak their goals in the rhetoric of “putting children first,” the conceit was less evident at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, earlier this year.

Standing at the lectern of Arizona State University’s SkySong conference center in April, investment banker Michael Moe exuded confidence as he kicked off his second annual confab of education startup companies and venture capitalists. A press packet cited reports that rapid changes in education could unlock “immense potential for entrepreneurs.” “This education issue,” Moe declared, “there’s not a bigger problem or bigger opportunity in my estimation.”

Moe has worked for almost fifteen years at converting the K-12 education system into a cash cow for Wall Street. A veteran of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, he now leads an investment group that specializes in raising money for businesses looking to tap into more than $1 trillion in taxpayer money spent annually on primary education. His consortium of wealth management and consulting firms, called Global Silicon Valley Partners, helped K12 Inc. go public and has advised a number of other education companies in finding capital.

Moe’s conference marked a watershed moment in school privatization. His first “Education Innovation Summit,” held last year, attracted about 370 people and fifty-five presenting companies. This year, his conference hosted more than 560 people and 100 companies, and featured luminaries like former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, now an education executive at News Corporation, a recent high-powered entrant into the for-profit education field. Klein is just one of many former school officials to cash out. Fenty now consults for Rosetta Stone, a language company seeking to expand into the growing K-12 market.

As Moe ticked through the various reasons education is the next big “undercapitalized” sector of the economy, like healthcare in the 1990s, he also read through a list of notable venture investment firms that recently completed deals relating to the education-technology sector, including Sequoia and Benchmark Capital. Kleiner Perkins, a major venture capital firm and one of the first to back Amazon.com and Google, is now investing in education technology, Moe noted. http://www.thenation.com/article/164651/how-online-learning-companies-bought-americas-schools

Henry M. Levin of Columbia University had some cautionary notes about for-profit K-12 education in 2001.

In the 2001 paper, Thoughts on For-profit Schools, Levin wrote:

The fact is that we know little about how for-profit schools will operate and how they will affect students and other schools. At least three major questions have yet to be answered satisfyingly:

If schools are a potentially profitable endeavor, then why did entrepreneurs wait so long to enter the market? Is there something unique about schooling that makes it difficult to earn a profit?

Now that we do have for-profit schools, how will they achieve cost savings? Will they bring fundamentally different approaches to education through curricular and technological innovations that will “break the mold”?

Even if they are more effective or less costly, or both, will they earn profits that are comparable to the returns on other investments? http://www.ncspe.org/publications_files/7_OP14.pdfhttps://drwilda.com/2011/11/21/online-k-12-education-as-a-cash-cow-for-wall-street/

AP and Seattle Times staff are reporting in the article, University of Phoenix closing some Puget Sound-area learning centers:

Apollo Group, the for-profit education company that operates the University of Phoenix, said it would close 115 of the university’s locations, including several in the Puget Sound region…

Apollo said the closures will affect 13,000 students nationwide, or about 4 percent of the university’s students. The move was spurred by a 60 percent decline in Apollo’s fiscal fourth-quarter profit, which was hurt by higher costs and declining University of Phoenix enrollment.

Shares in the Phoenix-based company tumbled nearly 8 percent in after-hours trading Tuesday.

The closings nationwide include 25 main campuses and 90 smaller satellite learning centers. At least one location in 30 states is slated to be shuttered.

Students affected by the closures will be given the option of transferring to online programs or moving their course work to other sites, said University of Phoenix President Bill Pepicello.

If no other center is nearby, the company will continue courses at other space near the closed facility until students complete their degrees, he added.

The university, which also recently announced a tuition freeze, is in the process of notifying students.

The University of Phoenix currently has about 328,000 students, down from a peak of more than 400,000. Following the closures, it will be left with 112 locations in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The announcement comes as enrollments overall in the for-profit sector are declining after years of rapid growth, even as enrollment in other sectors of higher education rises. Recent federal figures showed enrollment in for-profits fell 2.9 percent in 2011. The sector has faced tighter regulations and more pressure to enroll students who have a better chance of graduating.

Another factor in the closures: students increasingly favor online courses. Others are put off by the shaky economy.

People are simply holding off investing money in education at a time when the costs are escalating and the outcomes are uncertain,” Pepicello said.

In the June-to-August quarter, the number of students enrolled in degreed programs at University of Phoenix fell on an annual basis by 13.8 percent to 328,400. While enrollment of new students in degreed programs declined 13.7 percent.

That decline led to an 11 percent drop in fiscal fourth-quarter revenue for the university’s parent company, which helped weigh down earnings despite some changes in tuition prices and other fees.

Apollo reported net income of $75.4 million, or 66 cents per share, for the three months ended Aug. 31. That compares with net income of $188.6 million, or $1.37 per share, a year earlier.

The latest results included $9.4 million in restructuring costs and other charges. Excluding the special items, Apollo’s earnings amounted to 52 cents per share.

Revenue fell to $996.5 million from $1.12 billion. http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2019448516_universityphoenixxml.html

Many critics put the emphasis on “for-profit” and will adamantly argue that any entity which is for-profit is inherently bad for education. Moi would put the emphasis on neighborhood choice and argue that entities without strong ties to the neighborhood they intend to operate in, do not have the loyalty to succeeding in that particular neighborhood and will probably not be successful. Let’s be honest, corporations intend to generate a profit from their education activities as their primary goal. The secondary goal is probably the education of children. Moi is skeptical that a for-profit entity really has the commitment to a neighborhood and thus to a neighborhood’s schools. Still, moi is not like some so called “anti-reform” types who foam at the mouth at the words charter and for-profit. There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important. Still, the welfare of the student must be paramount.

Children are not the new sub-prime mortgage business or the new derivative gambit.People must be afraid, very afraid of the vultures who are now hovering around the education sector. If folks don’t watch them, the results will not be pretty.


College accreditation – U.S. Department of Education


College Accreditation: Frequently Asked Questions


Ask questions before deciding on a for-profit college [Video]


For Profit Colleges: Get the Facts



For-profit colleges: Money buys government, not quality for students                                                                                https://drwilda.com/2011/12/12/for-profit-colleges-money-buys-government-not-quality-for-students/

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