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Higher Ed Watch

A Blog from New America's Higher Education Initiative

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Syllabus: Week of April 8

Published:  April 12, 2013
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Tower Hall at San Jose State University. Image licensed CC by roarofthefour.

Welcome to the Syllabus, a weekly guide that provides insight into what’s happening in higher education.


California State U. System Will Expand MOOC Experiment, Steve Kolowich
Chronicle of Higher Education

Last fall, San Jose State, part of the California State University system, used material from a MOOC on circuits and electronics to flip the classroom for its own introductory course in electrical engineering. San Jose State offered three versions of the course—two were taught as they had been traditionally taught before, and one section replaced the lecture with videos from the MOOC so that students could participate in group work during class. The passage rates in the two conventional sections were 55 to 59 percent. In the flipped section, 91 percent of students passed. Now, a second semester of trials is under way.

Scorecards Get an A, Paul Fain
Inside Higher Ed

Scorecard fever is in the air. First, the Education Department went live with its College Scorecard after President Obama’s State of the Union. Now, California’s community college system unveiled a new web-based scorecard on student performance for each of its 112 colleges. The “Student Success Scorecard” not only provides completion rates by gender, age, and ethnicity, but also includes those rates disaggregated by whether or not a student was college-ready.  Data on student persistence and remedial enrollment are also provided. You can view the scorecards here.


Navigating College Scorecards

As mentioned above, the White House last month debuted is College Scorecard data tool, which enables prospective students to weigh their choice schools on points like graduation rate, cost, and student loan default rate. In this YouTube clip for New America, I take a look at the tool and demonstrate how students can make the most of it when sizing up their options. My full review of the College Scorecard can be found here.


On Wednesday, President Obama submitted his fiscal year 2014 budget request. New America’s Education Policy Program generated a list of key questions that policymakers, the media, stakeholder groups, and the public should ask about the proposals. The document, which contains questions that span the education spectrum, can be found here.

For higher education, our questions focus on the president’s proposals to set interest rates on student loans, expand Pay As You Earn to all borrowers, allow non-accredited providers of learning to receive federal funding, and provide students and families with better information.

Higher Ed Watch readers, what questions do you think policymakers and other stakeholders should be asking about the president’s budget request?


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