Delgado's online offerings honored

Delgado Community College has been recognized as one of the best colleges offering on-campus and online learning in the nation by the Community for Accredited Online Schools, the school announced.

The site released its annual ranking for the 2017 school year, honoring Delgado for excellence in online learning.

“Schools like Delgado ... are providing exceptional education programs online,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of the Community for Accredited Online Schools. “These colleges offer an outstanding educational experience, upholding rigorous accreditation standards and show an overall commitment to maximizing student success.”

To qualify, schools must be nonprofit and have institutional accreditation. Top schools are determined by a scoring system that uses value-based methodology, analyzing qualitative and quantitative data points.

UNO computer profs get three grants

Computer science researchers at the University of New Orleans have received three cybersecurity education grants totaling $468,000 from the National Security Agency.

The funding will support efforts to develop educational materials, evaluate the effectiveness of certain teaching tools and provide an intensive training experience for middle and high school teachers from around the country.

Faculty members Irfan Ahmed and Vassil Roussev will lead the efforts.

With an award of $188,000, the UNO team will work to address challenges associated with instruction in cybersecurity for supervisory control and data acquisition systems. Those systems control major portions of critical U.S. infrastructure, such as power grids, pipelines and water management. This project seeks ways to improve instruction.

An award of $164,000 will allow UNO researchers to examine the use and effectiveness of concept maps in cybersecurity education. Concept maps are a visual tool for organizing and representing knowledge.

A third award of $116,000 will be used to conduct GenCyber, an intensive cybersecurity boot camp for middle and high school teachers, for the fourth year in a row on UNO’s campus. GenCyber allows teachers to learn about cybersecurity technology and gain the expertise needed to train future cybersecurity experts.

Tulane study doubts Facebook influence

A Tulane University study featured in Harvard Business Review Social shows that building up followers on Facebook is not always enough to boost a brand’s sales.

That's because Facebook "likes" don’t work the way most brand managers think, according to the study. If companies want to convert social media fans into more active customers, they have to engage them with advertising, said lead author Daniel Mochon, assistant professor of marketing at Tulane's A.B. Freeman School of Business.

Mochon; Janet Schwartz, a Tulane assistant professor of marketing; and Dan Ariely of Duke University worked with Karen Johnson, deputy general manager of Discovery Health, to design a study using the Facebook page of the insurance company’s wellness program, Discovery Vitality. Consumers earn points for engaging in healthful behaviors, such as exercising, and redeem points into rewards.

The team invited new customers to take a survey and randomly invited them to like Vitality’s Facebook page, to see if it turned into customers earning more health points. Those who weren’t invited served as a control group.

The team monitored both groups for four months and found no difference in reward points earned. 

Xavier fills 10,000 bags with food

Xavier University students, faculty and staff packaged, sealed and loaded over 10,000 bags of raw ingredients Thursday at the University Center. The bags were filled with rice grains, soy, dehydrated vegetables and packs of vitamins to be sent to 36 countries, including Kenya, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia, where tens of thousands are desperately in need of food because of a drought.

The food will also be distributed to schools, orphanages and other places in need of disaster relief.

The project was sponsored by Xavier’s Student Community Engagement, known as MAX, short for Mobilization at Xavier. This is the second time the organization has partnered with StopHungerNow, a nonprofit that distributes food around the world.

“We realize that Xavier students want to create a more just and humane society,” said Kimberly Hutchings, assistant director for student community engagement. “We wanted an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to come together for a good cause.” 

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