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Education Ticker: Bloomberg’s gift, online learning stops germs

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Johns Hopkins University. The mayor has donated $1.1-billion dollars since he graduated.

LUKE SHARRETT/NYT

The best of the web on education from kindergarten to postsecondary, as chosen by Globe and Mail education editor Simona Chiose.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg largest donor ever to a university

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed he has donated over $1.1-billion (U.S) to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. The latest gift of $350-million was made on Sunday: The amount makes Mr. Bloomberg the most generous donor to any academic institution. In return, the university has remade itself in Mr. Bloomberg's image, using the mayor's own favoured architects, art consultants and landscape designers to put his donations to use. The exchange has operated in the other direction as well: It was exposure to ideas about behaviour and health that transformed Mr. Bloomberg into the crusading public health advocate he became, banning smoking in city parks and limiting the size of pop drinks in New York restaurants. A fascinating study in how philanthropy expands the imagination of the donor and the recipient.

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Online courses will never equal traditional B.A., Coursera founder says

The co-founder of one of the biggest providers of online learning has said that getting a degree online will never equal the value of a degree from a traditional university. Online certification is best for people who are looking to upgrade their B.As or older students who can't attend classes during traditional times, said Andrew Ng, the co-founder of Coursera and a professor at Stanford. The company has recently launched a service that offers students certification in exchange for fees. Someone might want to tell Thomas Friedman, who thinks online learning will change learning, employment - and foreign aid.

But it will cut down on germs

Ever wonder how professors feel when they look at a lecture hall full of students playing with their phones? In this blog post, a teacher lists the top 10 "Hate Crimes Against Professors" (because profs hate them). Among the unsurprising items are on the list are asking for extra credit rather than accepting a poor mark, sending e-emails eight hours before a paper is due and expecting a response and unprofessional emails. Among the ones students may not be aware of? "Asking for handouts for missed classes" and "being sick and touching everything in my office."

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