ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Amazon Announces Coming Online Marketplace For Education.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Singer, Subscription Publication) reports on Amazon Inspire, the company’s “major foray into the education technology market for primary and secondary schools.” It is “an online marketplace with tens of thousands of free lesson plans” and other materials. It should be available later this summer.

The Puget Sound (WA) Business Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Lamm, Subscription Publication) reports Inspire is a free digital service that enables teachers to upload and share resources such as lesson plans, software, and worksheets. This service is part of a US Department of Education initiative to expand teachers’ digital access to teaching tools.

TIME Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Rao) adds that for now these services are free for teachers. However, according to one report “global education technology spending will reach $19 billion by 2019,” and Amazon is not the only company looking to tap into this massive market.

Higher Education

Study: College Is Not Affordable, Especially For Low Income Students.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Lambeck) reports the 2016 College Affordability Diagnosis found that Connecticut was around the average in “college affordability,” ranking at 21st nationwide. The study found that in Connecticut it is impossible to “work one’s way through state college without incurring debt,” as both public and private colleges would require more than a full-time job to pay tuition. The study also found that regardless of affordability and financial aid, lower income families are expected to contribute a greater “percentage of their overall income to pay” for college.

Washington State To Cut University Tuition.

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Li) reports that while many colleges “hike” their tuition, Washington state has approved tuition cuts between 15 and 20 percent for public state universities. Other colleges and state legislatures are making similar moves, but not without opponents arguing these cuts will “make those smaller colleges already in financial trouble struggle to stay open.”

Missouri Senator Pushes For Pell Grant Expansion.

The Springfield (MO) News-Leader Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Riley) reports Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) is trying to get the US Department of Education’s Pell Grants more funding so that they apply to summer months, as they did “nearly a decade ago.” The aim of this push is to keep the “neediest students…on track to graduate,” by being able to take classes over the summer. Under Blunt’s plan, the “average Pell Grant” would increase by “$1,650 a year.”

University Of New Mexico Nearing Agreement With DOJ On Sexual Misconduct Policy.

The Albuquerque (NM) Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Quintana) reports the University of New Mexico has announced it is likely to reach an “agreement” with the US Justice Department “within months” over how to “update” policies so that the school can effectively handle sexual misconduct cases. In 2014, the Department of Justice began investigating UNM’s “fail[ure] to comply with gender anti-discrimination laws.” The new policy updates will “eliminate redundant” rules and “require…students to take online training regarding sexual assault and harassment.”

NSF Grant To Support Precision Agriculture At Clark State Community College.

The Dayton (OH) Business Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Navera, Subscription Publication) reports Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio has received a $400,000 grant to support its Precision Agriculture degree program. The program includes training in the use of “drones to collect topography and other kinds of information on how crops are growing.”


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Research and Development

NASA Testing World’s Most Powerful Rocket Ahead Of 2018 Launch.

Wired Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27) reports that NASA is conducting a second and final round of qualification testing for the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) booster on Tuesday morning at Orbital ATK’s facilities in Utah “to determine whether SLS is ready to send the Orion spacecraft on the first leg of Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), an unmanned mission planned for 2018.” The article explains that EM-1 needs to the SLS, “the most powerful rocket in the world,” in order to launch the Orion capsule 40,000 miles beyond the moon, “which is further than any spacecraft built for humans has ever gone.”

SPACE Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27) adds that when it is ready for launch in 2018, the booster “will consist of a core stage powered by four RS-25 engines,” as well as “two 177-foot-tall (54 meters) solid rocket boosters like the one being tested Tuesday.”

PC Magazine Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27) notes that NASA says that although the 2018 mission will be unmanned, “it paves the way for future missions with astronauts.”

Industry News

Commercial Drone Usage To Expand Following New Rules.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Mims, Subscription Publication) reports on the future role of commercial drones in the wake of the FAA’s new regulations, which are becoming increasingly popular in photography, surveying, mapping, agriculture, insurance, and more.

Engineering and Public Policy

Federal Regulators Leaving Autonomous Car Manufacturers In “Gray Zone.”

NBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Eisenstein) reports Mercedes-Benz USA product management general manager Bart Herring said federal regulators are pushing automakers’ self-driving vehicle initiatives into a “gray zone” because they “don’t want to stand in the way and that’s very progressive, something that we as a manufacturer really appreciate,” but simultaneously create uncertainties on future technological limitations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is unable to develop regulations swiftly enough to keep up with the technological developments, and Consumer Watchdog director John M. Simpson warned that the resulting industry freedoms that result could be “foolhardy” and “dangerous.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

New York Teachers Develop Marine Science Track From Grade School To College.

Chalkbeat New York Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Disare) reports on high school teacher Lane Rosen who is working with other teachers on Coney Island to “build a marine science pipeline” from elementary school through college. Students at P.S. 188 have “a science-heavy curriculum that includes basic coding and experimenting with Lego robotics,” followed by advanced robotics at I.S. 281 and marine science and technology at John Dewey High School. They are now working with Kingsborough College and the local divers union.

California District Offers Career Pathways In Its High Schools.

The San Francisco Chronicle Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27) reports on Hayward Unified School District’s effort to boost STEM education at its high schools by adding “new career pathways” such as Biomedical, Advanced Manufacturing, and Engineering. The pathways are four-year programs and all meet admissions requires for the state’s universities. They all also make use of “cutting edge technology, from a 3-D printer pod that can create prosthetics to laser cutters and tool and die makers.” In addition to STEM fields there are pathways targeted to careers in law enforcement and business. Local private schools have developed similar programs.

Florida High School Students Bring Science Lessons To Elementary School.

The Orlando (FL) Sentinel Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Carter) reports on a program through which science students at East Ridge High School teach Lost Lake Elementary students. The 75 high school students developed 36 lessons which they taught at different stations. The elementary students chose three stations and spent a half hour at each station, learning the science and conducting an experiment.

Also in the News

Bloomberg Business Analysis: Cybersecurity Industry May Have Peaked.

Bloomberg Business Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Niemi) analyzes the current state of the cybersecurity business and claims the “industry has reached a critical crossroads” after reports that Intel is trying to sell the company that was McAfee and FireEye “has fielded takeover offers.” Bloomberg Business says the flurry of activity shows that “cybersecurity mania has peaked.” Bloomberg Business concludes that hackers are not going away, but for struggling companies “the moment of reckoning is here.” Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27) presents a video interview with columnist Shira Ovide, who says fallout from Brexit and the struggling industry may force cybersecurity firms to consolidate. Ovide says now is the time for struggling companies to prove they have technology worth funding and a viable business plan to stay relevant.

Virginia Establishes Criteria For Cybersecurity Apprenticeships. The Hampton Roads (VA) Virginian-Pilot Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Delesline) reports the Virginia Apprenticeship Council has established criteria for registered apprenticeships for occupations of cybersecurity analyst, computer forensics analyst, and incident response analyst. Apprenticeships are administered by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Opinion: Cybersecurity Could Be Improved If Careless Users Were Punished. In an op-ed for The Atlantic Share to FacebookShare to Twitter(6/27), Professor Josephine Wolff argues that one way to improve cybersecurity is to impose “concrete penalties and consequences associated with participating in bots, falling for phishing attacks, failing to install security updates, and other basics of computer hygiene” on Internet users who unwittingly propagate attacks through their compromised computers. Wolff opines there must be a serious debate over “the possibility of individual liability for unintentional complicity in computer crimes.”

Monday’s Lead Stories

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