Link Boxers: September 2012

In this episode of The Boxers, we tackle several pressing questions. Such as: Is less more when it comes to college-wide websites? How many people are really going to employ lawyers to fight over the term “Innovation University?” And can you really pay someone $1 billion in nickels?

Doesn't Go to ElevenBecause Spinal Tap Already Cornered the Market on All Black and Wordless

Ozarks Technical Community College recently unveiled a web design that would probably make xckd proud: a Google-esque page with a search box its only real content. As Inside Higher Ed notes, “The bare design lacks the classic quad photos, headlines trumpeting the college’s latest accomplishment, or scrolling list of athletics results that adorn most college home pages. But its emptiness is eye-catching.” (You might recognize a few of the experts Inside Higher Ed consulted). George Lamelza, director of web services at Ozarks, told the site that he noticed a huge percentage of hits on the search box on the schools website. The design is a way of better serving those customers school officials say. Web users can still access the full school site with one click.Will other school follow suit?

Photo by Mike Hoff, Flickr.

Innovation UniversityCompetition is Inflating Costs

Rochester Institute of Technology President Bill Destler wrote about his shock in the Huffington Post when his school got a cease and desist order from another school over the term “Innovation University.” That letter got Destler thinking about what he calls a “dirty little secret” in Higher Ed — competition for rankings and better students is actually making education more expensive.

The fight to recruit better students is leading to more merit-based scholarships rather than tuition reductions for all students. Competition for faculty is leading to more costly pay and benefits packages. Athletics, student amenities, even the personnel and time required to answer ranking surveys are driving up costs, Destler says. While not laying out a solution, he does argue that “to simply say, as many academic leaders do, that the market basket for higher education is different than the one that determines the consumer price index inflation rate is being less than honest.”

Photo by Chuck Coker, Flickr.

NickelsSee, They Totally Should Have Tried Bitcoins Instead

There was a lot of silliness to come out of the Apple vs. Samsung court case.  And most of it happened in the courtroom. So it should come as no surprise that Internet pranksters had a little fun with the outcome. It should come as even less of a surprise that some traditional media fell for a hoax. In late August, a meme sprouted up saying that Samsung decided to pay the $1 billion jury award in nickels, and that 30 armored trucks had shown up at Apple’s headquarters.

The story made it into some legitimate media outlets before it was proven false. Here’s a downright gleeful dissection of the claim.

Photo by Mike (Inbet_1979), Flickr.