Water Filter Pitchers Don’t All Filter Equally

A new study at the Ohio State University found that water filter pitches don’t all do an equal job of filtering harmful materials from water. The new study compared three popular brands in their ability to filter out microcystins from tap water. One brand did fine, the other two didn’t stop the microcystins, which get into the water during harmful algal blooms.

The study, which appears in Water Science Technology: Water Supply, found that the fastest filter made with coconut-based activated carbon could only remove about 50% (or less!) of the microcystins. While the slowest one, made from an active carbon blend, made microcystins undetectable in the water.

The researchers don’t specifically name any of the three bands, but they are all common and range in price from $15 to $50. Interested parties would be able to read the study, which does specifically name the features of each pitcher and their findings, and deduce from that data which brand of pitcher to buy if they want the best filtration.

Students with Intellectual Disabilities Not Spending Enough Time in Gen Ed?

In 1975 a national law was created that required students with intellectual disabilities spend as much time as is possible in gen. ed. courses. A new study by OSU researchers has found that progress in that regard has come to a standstill. No other study has examined nation-wide patterns in placement for students with these disabilities for the entire life span of the law, some 40 years.

In this time, 55-73% of students with intellectual disabilities spend nearly their whole day in specialized schools or classrooms instead of with their non-disabled peers.

Researchers used multiple data sources to find out how students between the ages of 6-21 where placed in each federally-reported educational system between 1976 and 2014.
One possibility might be that inclusion has stalled because most students are already placed in the least restrictive educational environment possible, as per the federal law. However, data from multiple states suggests that the issue could be a lack of standardization among school systems on what constitutes the “least restrictive education environment”.

The study will be published in the American Journal on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities.

OSU Welcomes New Students Through Mobile Devices

OSU will feature a “digital wallpaper” on university-provided devices that will greet thousands of incoming students next month at orientation. It is the creation of 3rd year industrial design student Nadia Ayad. She is the winner of the universities Digital Flagship Wallpaper Contest. It is an annual contest in which undergraduates compete to have their work featured on mobile device home screens that many incoming freshmen will see. The winner’s drawing comes pre-loaded on some ten-thousand devices distributed to  students each academic year.

Ayad’s winning design features a variety of imagery from fast foods like pizza and doughnuts to imagery that nods towards majors like chemistry, agriculture and sports. Ayad earned herself an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil as a prize for her outstanding design work.

Similar digital tool kits will be given to new first-year students at all campuses as part of an initiative to help prep students for the mobile workplace. Furthermore, these students will have access to app building tools and related business partnerships and professional development opportunities.

Buckeye’s DELTA Program Teaches Teachers to Take Their Course Online

Henry Griff is a teacher who is now teaching other teachers at OSU. Griffy is the liaison in the DELTA program, in the OSU Office of Distance Education and e-Learning. Distance Education Learning and Teaching Academy (DELTA) is a program intended to teach and support OSU faculty to be more effective online instructors.

DELTA is just one way in which OSU is working to keep their faculty and students at the forefront of how we teach and learn. The new DELTA plan asks for the university to be the benchmark of teaching practices and student success.

Marcia Ham, DELTA founder, and Griffy are running a monthly workshop in which instructors can bring in their course materials, lesson plans and questions about how to adapt them to an online classroom experience. Instructors like Connie Lutz, who needed to adapt new materials to an online format, have been given the opportunity to improve themselves through the DELTA program, and consequently their students.

Do Bacteria Get Sick? If So, What Does That Mean?

Buckeye researchers are diving into new worlds, observing the interplay between bacteria and the viruses (also known as phages) that infect them. Their study was published in The ISME Journal.

Whether it’s a body of water or a human body, viruses and bacteria interact inside these bodies and influence everything from world oxygen levels to if a new born will get sick. Knowing the secrets of these interactions could help future researchers figure out how to fight disease and save the planet. For the study, the researchers used some very special equipment in league with the US Dept. of Energy.

It allowed them a real-time look at what was going on when two of the same bacteria where given the same or different viruses or phages. They then could analyze, step by step, what was happening.

Researchers say it is not yet clear exactly where their observations and work will lead, but they hope it’ll reveal ways to improve the health of humans and the world we live in. Researchers pointed out that looking beyond what they called “ideal” interactions between viruses and bacteria—a more well-rounded knowledge is needed to move forward.