Electronic Course Materials Will Make Higher Education More Affordable

The Ohio State University has recently been focusing on making college more affordable. Though tuition costs are usually in the spot light, there are many other costs that may include off campus housing, food, fuel, and vehicle maintenance. Though one major cost many students are often shocked by are the cost of textbooks and other course materials. Some students may spend over a thousand dollars annually on textbooks alone and even used copies of textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars a piece.

The Ohio State University will be using a new digital learning platform that should reduce the overall cost of teaching materials. Through their partnership with Unizin, the Ohio State University acquired the Courseload software – an industry-leading platform that delivers e-books and other digital course material easily and efficiently. Instructors can choose to use it as a primary or supplementary source for learning materials.

A recent study by the National Association of College Stores tells us that the price of course materials has actually gone down between 2007 and 2015 – from an average of $701 to $563. According to the Student Public Interest Research Groups, replacing textbooks with online versions may reduce student spending by $128 per course.

Courseload’s platform not only includes an eText reader, but also Engage – an online collaboration tool instructors can use to supplement in-class learning with out-of-class materials and student collaboration.

This software could provide a support system for students not previously available as well as significantly reduce the cost of class materials.

Jody Victor

New Data Lets Scientists Give Earthquakes the Shake Down

C.K. Shum, professor of Geodetic Science at the Ohio State University, co-authored a study in which gravity data captured by satellite has allowed researchers to to take a closer look at the geology deep beneath the Tibetan Plateau.

The article and analysis published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports shows gives an amazingly clear view of rock moving 50 miles under the plateau – the lowest layer of the Earth’s crust. Here, the Indian tectonic plate is inching perpetually northward in the the Eurasian plate, giving rise to the greatest mountain range on earth, but also to recent and devastating earthquakes. One of these killed over 9,000 people in Nepal this year.

The data supports what researchers have long suspected – that the plate movement which created the Himalayan mountain range is also what is causing the deadly earthquakes and is the major driving force of most geophysical processes in the region.

Shum notes that even with this new data earthquake forecasting is, unfortunately, not possible in the near future. He also mentions that in California where they have even more data than this, GPS, seismic and gravity data, researchers still aren’t able to predict earthquakes.

Jody Victor

Buckeyes In Space

Well, almost. The Ohio State University’s ElectroScience Laboratory – or ESL – played a major role in designing and building the most physically prominent feature of NASA’s New Horizons space probe – the high gain antenna dish.

This probe was designed to study Pluto in detail, the first to do so in our human history.

Launched on Jan. 19, 2006, the New Horizons probe had essentially been in hibernation mode for the past several years. Which basically means it is traveling about one million miles a day or 31,000 miles per hour. The probe has just passed by Pluto, on July 14th, 2015 and will now continue its journey of the outer solar system.

The high gain antennas provide very precise targeting of radio signals – the one that the Ohio State University ESL helped develop – is one of seven instruments gathering information and transmitting the data back to earth. In fact, without the ESL high gain antenna the mission would not have been possible as NASA wouldn’t have been able to communicate with the probe.

More information about the mission and the probe is available at NASA’s website.

Marching, Music, Travel

Next fall, the Ohio State University Marching Band will take is incredible field performance all the way to London. They NFL have invited them to play a pregame show for Buffalo Bills/Jacksonville Jaguars series of games that will be part of the National Football Leagues “NFL International Series.

The Ohio State University Marching Band has regularly played for Ohio’s NFL teams and has been invited to international sporting events in the past; however, this is the first time scheduling allowed international travel to be an option. The performance is a first for the NFL International Series, as well.

Using technology to enhance not only performances, but rehearsals has become a hallmark of “The Best Damn Band in the Land”. One such innovation includes learning drills on iPads, while other innovations include floating formations, measure-step marching and script writing—which originated with the famous Script Ohio formation.

Everyone in the band is ecstatic and thrilled about the opportunity to travel to London, said head drum major Nathan MacMaster, a graduate student from Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Ohio State’s marching band is one of a few collegiate all brass and percussion bands in the United States, and with 225 members, is commonly acknowledged as the largest of its type in the world.

The NFL will cover all of the band’s travel costs for the London trip.