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After 11 years away from Romania, developmental biologist Ioan Ovidiu Sirbu thought carefully before returning home to continue his scientific career. He had been convinced that reforms to Romania’s cronyism-ridden research landscape were solid, particularly when, in 2011, government grants were for the first time ever allocated solely on the basis of performance.
“With such a fair granting system, I was sure that I could do my research just as well in Romania as in Germany,” says Ovidiu Sirbu. “But what happened was really disappointing.”
Just months after Ovidiu Sirbu established himself at the Victor Babeş University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timişoara in 2012, a new government slashed research funding and unpicked the reforms, eliminating rules designed to establish a meritocracy.
Ovidiu Sirbu’s disappointment is widely shared. In April, hundreds of scientists took to the streets in protest, and more than 900 signed a petition addressed to Prime Minister Victor Ponta, demanding that the research budget and quality control be restored. The entire National Research Council, Romania’s main research-funding agency, resigned in protest (see Nature 496,274–275; 2013).
With no compromise from the government and the council seats still unfilled, Romanian science is adrift. Scientists are resigned to treading water, in the hope that the tide will turn.
Many of Romania’s best researchers left during the political chaos that followed the collapse of communism in 1989. But in 2011, the government passed a law designed to drive up standards in education and science. Research and education minister Daniel Funeriu furnished the law with rules and regulations crafted to break through local power networks and ensure that funding and academic positions would go to the best people — for example by requiring grant applications to be reviewed by foreign experts, and by instituting minimum qualifications for job candidates (see Naturehttp://doi.org/bp7nsg; 2011). At the same time, the research budget was boosted by nearly half.
But that government fell last year. Reversals to the reforms followed; many scientists blame Funeriu’s successor, Ecaterina Andronescu. (citește AICI întreg articolul)
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A computer program is a set of instructions for a computer to follow, just as a recipe is a set of instructions for a chef. Laptops, kitchen appliances, MP3 players, and many other electronic devices all run computer programs. Programs have been written to manipulate sound and video, write poetry, run banking systems, predict the weather, and analyze athletic performance. This course is intended for people who have never seen a computer program. It will give you a better understanding of how computer applications work and teach you how to write your own applications. More importantly, you’ll start to learn computational thinking, which is a fundamental approach to solving real-world problems. Computer programming languages share common fundamental concepts, and this course will introduce you to those concepts using the Python programming language. By the end of this course, you will be able to write your own programs to process data from the web and create interactive text-based games.
This course is intended for people who have never programmed before. A knowledge of grade school mathematics is necessary: you need to be comfortable with simple mathematical equations, including operator precedence. You should also be comfortable working with simple functions, such as f(x) = x + 5.Sign up aici: https://www.coursera.org/course/programming1
Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education.
From their start two years ago, when a free artificial intelligence course from Stanford enrolled 170,000 students, free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have drawn millions and yielded results like the perfect scores of Battushig, a 15-year-old Mongolian boy, in a tough electronics course offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But the courses have not yet produced profound change, partly because they offer no credit and do not lead to a degree. The disruption may be approaching, though, as Georgia Tech, which has one of the country’s top computer science programs, plans to offer a MOOC-based online master’s degree in computer science for $6,600 — far less than the $45,000 on-campus price.
Zvi Galil, the dean of the university’s College of Computing, expects that in the coming years, the program could attract up to 10,000 students annually, many from outside the United States and some who would not complete the full master’s degree. “Online, there’s no visa problem,” he said.
The program rests on an unusual partnership forged by Dr. Galil and Sebastian Thrun, a founder of Udacity, a Silicon Valley provider of the open online courses.
Although it is just one degree at one university, the prospect of a prestigious low-cost degree program has generated great interest. Some educators think the leap from individual noncredit courses to full degree programs could signal the next phase in the evolution of MOOCs — and bring real change to higher education. (sursa)