Notes in the Margins: Online ed, commercialization and student engagement

Four Loko ban fuels buying binge While federal officials announced plans this week to outlaw alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko, five 20-somethings living in a Columbia Heights group house hatched a plan of their own: Anytime someone sees Four Loko for sale, buy as much as possible. (The Washington Post)

Enrollment in Online Courses Increases at the Highest Rate Ever Despite predictions that the growth of online education would begin to level off, colleges reported the highest-ever annual increase in online enrollment—more than 21 percent—last year, according to a report on an annual survey of 2,600 higher-education institutions from the Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group. (

U. of California Will Raise Tuition by 8 Percent With declining support from the state, the university’s president, Mark G. Yudof, had cast the fee increase as necessary to maintain the system’s academic excellence. (

Researchers Criticize Reliability of National Survey of Student Engagement In a paper presented this week at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Alberto F. Cabrera, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland at College Park, and Corbin M. Campbell, a doctoral student there, challenge the survey’s “benchmarks,” which are intended to measure colleges’ performance in five categories: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environment. (

Views: Commercialization Is Not the Problem The corporate model leads to remarkable increases in product quality and lower costs; the record is clear in this respect. So how could such a model have exactly the opposite result (higher cost/lower quality) when applied to higher education? (Inside Higher Ed)