Tag Archives: ivy league

The Verge: Wesleyan Coursera Class Is Way Cool, But It’s Not College


Way cool illustration by Steve Kim c/o The Verge.

Thought you could escape Wesleyan classes simply by leaving campus for the summer? That’s no longer the case. As of September 2012, Wesleyan launched its very own MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, through Coursera— you can take these multi-week classes online, for free, from anywhere in the world, directly from the professors who make Wesleyan what it is. The first small liberal arts college to offer this opportunity, Wesleyan joined the ranks of Princeton, Stanford, and UPenn in attempting to change higher education. Is it a game changer?

Not really, says The Verge‘s Maria Bustillos. In an article published yesterday, Bustillos was pretty upfront in arguing that “online classes can be enlightening, edifying, and engaging — but they’re not college.” Some critics obviously disagree with the very idea of free online courses replacing traditional education, but at the same time, “it’s also obvious that there’s a real appetite for online learning, and that it is colossal.” So what’s a journalist to do but to try some of these classes out?

For her immersion into the world of Coursera, Bustillos decided upon “The Ancient Greeks,” taught by Wesleyan’s own Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Professor of Classical Studies and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek. She also talked to Szegedy-Maszak about the future of online learning, and to Lauren Rubenstein from Wesleyan’s Department of Media Relations about how the school’s Coursera is set up. And, after the jump, find out what Bustillos describes as “like soaking in a huge stone bath scented with rose petals while being fed grapes and gently serenaded by a distant lute.”

Pre-Frosh Feature: Adrian Simon and His Musical Endeavors

Wesleyan University certainly prides itself on its thriving music scene and we here at Wesleying hope that is at least one reason why Adrian Simon ’15–an 18-year-old musician and soon-to-be graduate of Riverdale’s Fieldston School–applied ED I (and got in!) to Wesleyan.

Adrian is perhaps best known, at least in the greater tri-state area, for performing “vocals / guitars / various keyboards” with the popular student band The Ivy League.  The irony all but kills us.  (The group also includes Alexander Beer, Dan Hockstein, and Drew Abramowitz–two high school seniors and a college sophomore respectively.)

The Ivy League’s eponymous album (its second and final one) is dropping on the intertubes today and is available to download for free here.  More after the jump!

Yale Ponders Smoke-Free Campus

More news from neighbor schools, and this isn’t quite as festive: Yale has formed an administrative committee, the “Tobacco Free Yale Workplace,” in order to weigh the pros and cons of making the campus officially smoke-free. The TFYW, which includes students in addition to faculty, staff, and health officials, plans to gauge how prevalent smoking is on campus and how apocalyptic feasible the proposed ban would be.  (Major issue number one: Yale’s campus, like Wesleyan’s, is significantly physically integrated with its city, New Haven; what becomes of smoke-happy New Haven residents who traverse the campus everyday?)

Yale would not, of course, be the first to go all out. “According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation,” the Yale Daily News writes, “at least 466 colleges and universities nationwide have entirely smoke-free campuses as of January 2011.” The University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis are included on this list. Wesleyan is not. Thankfully, I guess, our prospective students seem to have different smoke-related concerns . . .

Meanwhile, at the Other Ivies . . .

Earlier today we reported on a disturbing shooting on Cornell’s campus, in which, thankfully, no students were harmed. Because it’s good to step outside the Wesleyan bubble every once in a while and remember that ridiculous shit happens at other schools too, here are two eye-raising headlines from our other peers in the Ivy League. Enjoy.

—Five Columbia Students Arrested for Dealing LSD, Coke, Weed: “How not to make up for that gap in financial aid,” quips an anonymous Wesleyan professor who sent us the tip. Five students at the prestigious Manhattan university—Chris Coles, Harrison David, Adam Klein, Jose Stephan Perez (also known as Stephan Vincenzo) and Michael Wymbs—had unknowingly been selling drugs to undercover cops for five months, in a probe cutely dubbed “Operation Ivy League.” Arrested Tuesday, the five remain in custody until they can muster bail. Their excuse? “I just sell it to pay tuition.” Responded Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly: “This is no way to work your way through college.” And, of course, frats are involved:

The police found a list of “10 agenda items” on a wall at Psi U last night, including an eleventh that read “Don’t sell drugs out of the frat house” with a note that read “Adam should have followed this rule.”

Read the full Times article here, or, for a snarkier glimpse at the students’ Facebook profiles, the Gawker take here.

One Dead After Shooting at Cornell Apartment

The Cornell Daily Sun reports on a disturbing incident at the University-owned Maple Hill Apartments last night:

A shooting occurred at 301 Maple Ave. around 2:15 a.m. Tuesday. When police arrived, they found Paul Garcia, 47, of New York City dead in the parking lot of University-owned Maple Hill Apartments, according to The Ithaca Journal.

“The Sheriff’s Office does not believe the incident to be a random event, and has no reason to suspect that tenants of the complex are in danger,” Cornell Police said in a crime alert posted on the University’s website at 9:49 a.m. An earlier alert at 3:25 a.m. had urged people in the immediate area to “take shelter in place.”

Thankfully, students are no longer believed to be in danger, but still, much love to friends at Cornell. Like us, the school (and town) has gone through a lot lately.

Girl Talk, Sweating Across New England

To help you get pumped for billowing waves of sweaty nostalgia on Saturday night (assuming you’re among the half of the student body which should ostensibly have scored a ticket by now), here’s how recent Girl Talk shows went down at other schools:

  • Brown students were drenched in Greg Gillis’ sweat as he swam over the swelling crowd while opening for M.I.A. at Brown’s Spring Weekend this year.
  • Yale devolved into a writhing mass of disinhibition in response to Gillis’ “laptop antics and mind-blowing abs”, with double the venue’s maximum capacity crammed into the Dining Hall.
  • Harvard’s Police Department had to cut the outdoor pre-game pep rally show last month short after multiple failed attempts at crowd control, because hundreds of overeager concertgoers were swarming the stage and compromised its structural integrity.

This is more likely how it’ll be at the Bacon Field House, from a September show at Bates:

White People Love/Hate the Ivy League

Ok I’m just a sucker for Stuff White People Like, but last week’s entry, The Ivy League, is too spot on not to share:

White people have a tortured relationship with the Ivy Leagues, and if you broach the subject in the wrong way you can offend and even anger a white person.

But before getting into the more nuanced aspects of the subject, it’s important to know that all white people believe they have the intelligence and work ethic required to attend an Ivy League school. The only reason they did not actually go to one is that they chose not to participate in the “dog and pony show” required to gain acceptance… This should always be at the back of your mind as you talk to a white person about the Ivy League.

Once you have determined that a white person did not attend an Ivy League School, you should try to give them the opportunity to explain why their school was actually a superior educational experience. Some easy ways to do this are to mention grade inflation, professors who value research over teaching, or high tuition costs. Any one of these will set a white person off on a multi-minute rant.

…White people also like to call their school “The Harvard of the [insert region or conference]”. Do not challenge this, it will ruin their confidence.

Replace “white people” with “elite New England liberal arts school students” and it is just as effective. Sorry if this post offends you, either as a white person or as a Wesleyan student.

Stuff White People Like: The Ivy League

Risk Meets College in Epic Online Battle Game

Like you don’t have enough nerdy things to do online – last fall, a group of Yale undergrads created an online game called GoCrossCampus (GXC), a territorial-conquest game along the lines of the board game Risk in which teams consisting of unlimited numbers of players play on behalf of real-world dorms or schools (or any other collective interests) by competing for control over a virtual map of relevant geographic areas.

The company behind GXC, based in New Haven, is slowly growing, and the game has already spread to 24 universities and high schools. Google is even on board, planning to bring the game to its New York office by playing the sales department against the engineering one on a map of its Manhattan campus.

The rules of GXC are relatively simple. Every player is allocated a number of armies each day and must coordinate attacks, troop movements and defensive maneuvers with teammates. Players can move their armies once each day, and the game software calculates the result of clashes with an algorithm that gives a slight edge to defenders.

Some of the most significant moves occur offline, as players gather in the real world to elect commanders, recruit other players and discuss strategy and ways of spying on opponents as they formulate battle plans.

Check out this slideshow for a scintillating account of the recently played Ivy League free-for-all (Northeast conquest map pictured above).

So, who’s up for organizing a Wes edition of this, or maybe waging war on some of our sister schools? A Little 3 competition spanning Connecticut and Massachusetts? An inter-dorm brawl over Andrus field? SciLi vs. Olin, for domination of our study habits? Possibilities are endless!

Thanks to Mark E. Miller ’79 for sending this over.

Radar Names Cornell Worst Ivy

Worst Ivy League University: Cornell University

Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, Cornell’s suicide rate turns out to be no higher than the national average. But over the years, low academic satisfaction, an oppressive Greek system, and a boring host town, have inspired dozens of depressed students to hurl themselves over campus gorges, earning Cornell a reputation as the worst of the Ivies.

Illustrious Alumni: Failed Senate candidate and drunk-driving enthusiast Pete Coors; right-wing performance artist Ann Coulter (right); lecherous lip-flapper Bill Maher.

Notable Course: Post-National Gastroidentities. An excerpt from the class description: “We will attempt to answer the question of how food, cuisine, and gastronomy play an important part both in the strategies to instrument normalcy through the imagination of the modern Nation-State, and the ways in which discourses affirming nation, race, ethnicity, hospitality, the universality of humanity, interact with each other fragmenting the national gastronomic field and undermining the unpolluted self-understanding of the modern Nation-State.”

Raw Data: Of all the Ivies, Cornell has the lowest incoming SAT scores, the highest acceptance rate (27 percent), and the lowest academic satisfaction among students, which makes it America’s Best Safety School.

School Pride: “I haven’t overheard a single intellectual conversation in three years, unless it was between Indian or Asian students,” writes an architecture major on Students Review.

Fun Fact: According to a survey on College Prowler, Cornell has the ugliest girls in the Ivy League. In fact, it ranks close to dead last in the country. So when students here get together for a “study session,” they actually study.

Tuition: $32,800 plus room and board.

(source: radar magazine)