Page 7 - Campus Technology, May/June 2020
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REALISTIC TOUCH. A new virtual reality device from a team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers allows users to “feel” virtual walls and objects. The invention, dubbed “Wireality,” uses multiple string-loaded cables attached to the hand and fingers to simulate the sensation of solidity. When a user’s hand is close to a
wall in the virtual environment, for example,
the strings are locked in place to emulate the sensation of touching the wall. Similar actions enable the user to feel the surface of an irregular object, sense resistance when he or she pushes up against something or interact physically with a virtual character.
LOWERED EXPECTATIONS. Nearly half of faculty (48 percent) in a recent survey said they lowered their expectations about the amount of work
they could expect from their students after the switch to online learning in response to school closures caused by COVID-19. A third (32 percent) expected a lower quality of work. Forty-six percent said they eliminated some of their assignments and exams, and 17 percent reported dropping some readings that were part of their original planning. The survey, done by a group of higher education organizations and led by Cengage, queried 826 administrators and faculty from 641 different colleges and universities in the United States.
MERGER OFF. The merger between learning materials companies Cengage and McGraw-Hill has been terminated by mutual agreement. The reason: “a prolonged regulatory review process and the inability to agree to a divestitures package with the U.S. Department of Justice,” according to a news announcement.
VIRTUAL LABS. With nearly all campuses transitioning to online learning during the COVID-19 outbreak, California’s community colleges will let students continue their science lab-based education by giving them access to virtual laboratories. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has signed a deal with Labster, to provide 2.1 million students
in the state with access to 130 virtual lab simulations through the rest of the year. Using the labs, students perform experiments, learn science concepts and practice skills in what the company calls a “risk-free learning environment.” READ THE FULL STORY ONLINE.
SUMMER ONLINE. To take advantage of the momentum created by a quick switch from face-to-face courses to online version, one Texas university is ramping up plans for a major online summer session too. Rice University, which switched to distance learning in March in response to coronavirus, has decided to offer all of its summer courses online. Those will be made available with a “significant discount” for current students and the general public.
INTERNSHIPS IN DECLINE. Internship programs
are imploding, but not just because employers
aren’t looking for interns. Student interest has
also dropped, as a result of the continued fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent analysis by Indeed Hiring Lab, interest among job seekers for internships has fallen 21 percent compared to this time last year. The company considers this “an unprecedented era with summer internship opportunities in limbo,” suggesting that employers need to shift their internship strategies to “virtual opportunities” to get the talent they want.
Photos L-R: Concordia University Wisconsin, Smithsonian, NicoElNino/Shutterstock

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