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Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014
Source: Babson Survey Research Group

This report, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Pearson, examines the attitudes, opinions, and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. Some of the key findings:

  • Faculty are not very aware of open educational resources. Depending on the strictness of the awareness measure, between two-thirds and three-quarters of all faculty classify themselves as unaware on OER.
  • Faculty appreciate the concepts of OER. When presented with the concept of OER, most faculty say that they are willing to give it a try.
  • Awareness of OER is not a requirement for adoption of OER. More faculty are using OER than report that they were aware of the term OER. Resource adoption decisions are often made without any awareness of the specific licensing of the material, or its OER status.
  • Faculty judge the quality of OER to be roughly equivalent to that of traditional educational resources. Among faculty who do offer an opinion, three-quarters rank OER quality as the same as or better than traditional resources.
  • The most significant barrier to wider adoption of OER remains a faculty perception of the time and effort required to find and evaluate it. The top three cited barriers among faculty members for OER adoption all concern the discovery and evalua- tion of OER materials.
  • Faculty are the key decision makers for OER adop- tion. Faculty are almost always involved in an adoption decision and — except for rare instances — have the primary role. The only exceptions are in a minority of two-year and for-profit institutions, where the administration takes the lead.
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Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and a number of illicit drugs declines among U.S. teens (PDF)
Source: University of Michigan Monitoring the Future Survey

A national survey of students in U.S. middle schools and high schools shows some important improvements in levels of substance use.

Both alcohol and cigarette use in 2014 are at their lowest points since the study began in 1975. Use of a number of illicit drugs also show declines this year.

These findings come from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Each year the national study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States.

See also: E-cigarettes surpass tobacco cigarettes among teens (PDF)

Measuring Illegal and Legal Corruption in American States: Some Results from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Corruption in America Survey

December 16, 2014 Comments off

Measuring Illegal and Legal Corruption in American States: Some Results from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Corruption in America Survey
Source: Harvard University (Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics)

Although corruption is not endemic in America as it is in several other countries, it does exist. According to the Justice Department, in the last two decades more than 20,000 public officials and private individuals were convicted for crimes related to corruption and more than 5,000 are awaiting trial, the overwhelming majority of cases having originated in state and local governments.1 Understanding the causes and the consequences of corruption and designing the policies in the fight against it starts with measuring corruption itself. How do we measure corruption, an activity that requires secrecy? The most commonly used measure of corruption in American states comes from the Justice Department’s “Report to Congress on the Activities and Operations of the Public Integrity Section.” These data cover a broad range of crimes from election fraud to wire fraud. The measure, based on the Justice Department data, suffers from several significant problems, however.

U.S. Financial Diaries

December 8, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Financial Diaries
Source: Financial Access Initiative (NYU Wagner) and Center for Financial Services Innovation

USFD tracked more than 200 low- and moderate-income households over the course of a year to collect highly detailed data on how families manage their finances on a day-to-day basis. This research reveals hard-to-see aspects of the financial lives of working Americans, providing new insight for the design of financial services policies, programs and products for a broad range of Americans. USFD is a joint initiative of NYU Wagner’s Financial Access Initiative (FAI) and The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). Leadership support for USFD is provided by the Ford Foundation and the Citi Foundation, with additional support and guidance from the Omidyar Network.

Anticipating the Landscape in the Years Ahead: Military Members Transition to a Post-War Mission

December 7, 2014 Comments off

Anticipating the Landscape in the Years Ahead: Military Members Transition to a Post-War Mission
Source: University of Minnesota (Research and Outreach (REACH) Laboratory)

Although a majority of service members are resilient and we do not anticipate that they will develop long-term difficulties, this review highlights increased risks for service members across six domains: mental health, social and role functioning, relationship functioning and family life, spirituality, physical health, and financial well-being. Although risk factors and future trajectories vary, psychiatric difficulties are a consistent predictor of a worsened course. Supporting service members in role functioning (in the classroom, in the family, and in the workforce) will be an important component of fostering wellness.

Design of Search Engine Services: Channel Interdependence in Search Engine Results

December 2, 2014 Comments off

Design of Search Engine Services: Channel Interdependence in Search Engine Results (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

The authors examine prominent placement of search engines’ own services and effects on users’ choice of destinations. Using a natural experiment in which different results were shown to users who performed similar searches, they find that Google’s prominent placement of its Flight Search service increased the clicks on paid advertising listings by more than half while decreasing the clicks on organic search listings by about the same quantity. User substitution disproportionately affected the most visited travel sites, reducing use of organic listings sending no-charge traffic to those sites by lowering their prominence and perceived importance, while highlighting paid listings to the same sites. The authors consider the implications of such changes for online marketers and for search engine operators.

Financial Development and Technology Diffusion

December 2, 2014 Comments off

Financial Development and Technology Diffusion
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

We examine the extent to which financial market development impacts the diffusion of 16 major technologies, looking across 55 countries, from 1870 to 2000. We find that greater depth in financial markets leads to faster technology diffusion for more capital-intensive technologies, but only in periods closer to the invention of the technology. In fact, we find no differential effect of financial depth on the diffusion of capital-intensive technologies in the late stages of diffusion or in late adopters. Our results are consistent with a view that local financial markets play a critical role in facilitating the process of experimentation that is required for the initial commercialization of technologies. This evidence also points to an important mechanism relating financial market development to technology diffusion and economic growth.

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