A Virtual Conference to Determine How AI Can Be Leveraged In the Fight Against COVID-19

IBL News | New York 

In an effort to understand how AI can be applied in the fight against COVID-19, Udacity is organizing a virtual two-day, free conference on May 12th and 13th.

The “AI for Healthcare in the Time of COVID-19” event will gather through leaders who work at the intersection of technology and medicine.

This conference will offer a blend of panel discussions, keynote speakers, and breakout sessions that will include topics such as AI to detect disease, ethics in AI, deciphering the data of COVID-19, and advancements in wearable technology.

Topics will be specifically covering:

  • Predicting Disease with AI, How AI Improves Clinical Decision-making
  • How AI is Helping Fight the Spread of COVID-19
  • Can AI Predict & Prevent the Next Pandemic?
  • Ethics in AI and Preventing Bias in Healthcare and Diagnosis
  • Top Use Cases in AI & How to Scope Them
  • What’s on the Cutting-edge of AI?

Udacity instructors who are currently creating the coursework for the upcoming AI for Healthcare Nanodegree program will lead working sessions. Participants will be able to collaborate on a project and gain practical skills in AI within healthcare. Registration is open.

An Increasing Number of Colleges Are Deciding to Reopen Campuses for the Fall

IBL News | New York

Universities and college leaders are deciding this month whether or not to reopen campuses for the fall semester.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is updating a list of colleges with their plans to reopen their institutions, as well as inviting institutions to communicate their decisions. Inside of Higher Ed also wrote a report with details.

The latest addition includes the university systems of Alabama, Georgia, and North Dakota.

One of the most adopted approaches points to reopening, although being “prepared for a scenario in which much or all learning will be conducted remotely,” as noted by Harvard University‘s Provost.

Other institutions such as Stanford University says that “it expects to make a decision in May, but might delay fall quarter till winter.”



This is the Chronicle’s List (updated on April 29):


Institution Control State Plan
American University Private DC preparing for a return to campus for classes and activities in the fall”
Amherst College Private MA hopes to decide by June
Baylor University Private TX We intend to safely resume in-person teaching, learning and residential life for the fall 2020 semester.”
Beloit College Private WI shifting to a “module based semester” to allow flexibility to move toward either online or in-person classes
Boston University Private MA leaning toward in-person classes
Brown University Private RI The university is leaning toward in-person classes. Brown’s president, Christina Paxson, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times that called the reopening of college campuses a “national priority” and that proposed strict virus testing and tracing protocols to ensure safety.
California Baptist University Private CA planning to resume on-ground classes for the fall semester”
California State University at Fullerton Public CA Our goal is face-to-face, on-campus instruction,” but faculty are being asked to prepare to start the fall semester teaching online.
Central Christian College of the Bible Private MO plans to open campus in the fall but use online instruction if necessary
Centre College Private KY block-scheduling courses in shorter segments to allow flexibility to shift toward either in-person or remote learning
Chapman University Private CA optimistically planning for a safe return in the fall with social distancing and safety constraints in place”
Christopher Newport University Public VA We are planning for our classes to resume on campus in the fall” depending on the state of coronavirus and guidance from state and federal authorities.
Claremont Colleges Private CA Committed” to in-person fall classes, but no final decision expected till July 1
Clemson University Public SC exploring a range of scenarios, from in-person classes to entirely online
Cornell University Private NY no decision expected until June
Dartmouth College Private NH “The probability of a full residential, business-as-usual fall term is not very high,” the provost says.
Drury University Private MO planning to reopen in the fall
East Carolina University Public NC We intend to be back on ECU’s campus in the fall, although we will do so while taking the necessary precautions.”
East Tennessee State University Public TN hopes to make a decision by early June
Elon University Private NC “Elon is planning to conduct fall semester classes on campus,” but that could change “depending on the ongoing threat.”
Emory University Private GA likely to decide by early May, according to the student newspaper
Furman University Private SC will announce plans by mid to late June
George Fox University Public OR plans to open campus in the fall
George Mason University Private VA says more information could come by early June
George Washington University Private DC will provide “a more detailed communication about our plans for operation by May 15”
Gonzaga University Private WA will work with the goal of returning to operations and re-opening our campus – including resuming in-class instruction – for fall semester 2020”
Harvard University Private MA Will be open, but the provost says “we will need to prepare for a scenario in which much or all learning will be conducted remotely.”
Haverford College Private PA “We expect on-campus learning to resume for the fall semester.”
Iowa Board of Regents Public IA planning “a full normal operation” for its universities, including the Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa; “in person classes, reopening of residence halls” in the fall
James Madison University Public VA We are expecting to open as scheduled for in-person classes.”
Longwood University Public VA exploring how it can “safely reopen for in-person learning in the upcoming fall semester”
Loyola Marymount University Private CA planning for an in-person fall semester
Macalester College Private MN Our strong preference is to complete two full semesters of on-campus instruction, but says academic calendar may be tweaked and — only if necessary — instruction could be online
Marquette University Private WI will resume campus operations this fall if governmental and medical authorities say it is safe to do so”
Marshall University Public WV The university “has begun tentative plans to have in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester.”
Merrimack College Private MA planning to be “residential and open in the fall”
Midwestern State University Public TX intends to be “fully operational this fall for in-person instruction”
Montana State University Public MT planning for the return of students in the fall, subject to guidance from a task force
New York University Private NY proceeding on the basis that it will resume in-person operations” in the fall
Nicholls State University Public LA
North Carolina State University Public NC “We fully expect to have our new and continuing students on campus for the fall semester.”
North Dakota University system Public ND intends to have students back on its 11 campuses in the fall, including North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota
Northern Illinois University Public IL Hopes to announce fall plans within the next two months
Oakland University Public MI a hybrid approach” that includes both face-to-face and remote instruction” in the fall
Ohio State University Public OH leaning toward in-person classes, with a final decision by late June
Pace University Private NY It is our hope and intention to resume our regular schedule of face-to-face classes across all three of our campuses for Fall 2020,” the provost wrote. “But ultimately that decision will not be ours to make.”
Purdue University Public IN planning to start fall semester in person if testing and contact tracing allows
Radford University Public VA will reopen on August 3, with face-to-face instruction beginning on August 24
Randolph College Private VA planning to resume on-campus, residential operations
Rhodes College Private TN will share plans by May 27
Saint Francis University Private PA Intends to return students to campus in the fall
San Jose State University Public CA planning to offer online and hybrid courses
Seton Hall University Private NJ “We have a team in place finalizing plans for our collective return to campus in the fall,” but contingency plans are being made “to ensure we are prepared should the science or government guidance delay a return or require modified approaches.”
Shenandoah University Private VA plans to make a decision by around July 1
Southern New Hampshire University Private NH planning to allow students to move into dorms, and is offering full tuition scholarships to incoming freshmen
Stanford University Private CA expects to make a decision in May, but might delay fall quarter till winter
Stetson University Private FL planning for in-person classes but will make a decision by mid to late June
Syracuse University Private NY developing “multiple fall opening scenarios” with the “hope and intention that we will be welcoming students back to campus”
Texas Tech University Public TX Plans to resume in-person instruction in the fall with a “phased return”
Tulane University Private LA No guarantees, but “we very much hope to hold face-to-face, on-ground classes in fall 2020.”
University of Alabama system Public AL We are expecting to have a fall semester at all of our universities,” the president said.”We understand that things could happen that make it impossible, but that’s what we are planning for at this time.”
University of Arizona Public AZ planning to hold in-person classes
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Public AR plans to announce around June 1
University of California at Berkeley Public CA Some or all classes will be delivered via remote instruction.
University of California at San Diego Public CA intends to offer a combination of in-person and remote instruction
University of Central Florida Public FL leaning toward in-person classes
University of Chicago Private IL plans to decide by the end of June
University of Colorado at Boulder Public CO leaning toward a hybrid plan; will announce by June
University of Connecticut Public CT no decision till summer
University of Delaware Public DE “We remain cautiously optimistic that we will be in a position to welcome all students on campus this fall.”
University of Denver Private CO “We plan to reopen with face-to-face classes when we begin our fall quarter in mid-September, as long as we can do so safely and responsibly. … We will make a final decision no later than July 15.”
University of Georgia system Public GA The university plans a “phased, gradual reopening” in the summer and will resume in-person instruction during the fall 2020 semester.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Public IL We are planning for in-person classes to begin as scheduled.”
University of Maine system Public ME planning for in-person classes
University of Mary Washington Public VA intends to start in-person instruction in August but says “we should also be prepared for the unknown”
University of Maryland system Public MD planning to start in-person, but some larger classes may be online
University of Miami Public FL Our expectation is to begin our fall semester on time and on campus, so long as we can do so safely”
University of Michigan Public MI hoping to hold classes in-person
University of Nebraska system Public NE The system “expects to hold classes on its campuses in the fall.” The chancellor of the flagship University of Nebraska at Lincoln wrote in a letter on April 24, “UNL will be open in the fall for in-person instruction.”
University of New Haven Private CT intends to bring students back to campus in August, but is also “exploring academic contingencies for a variety of scenarios”
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Public NC optimistic for on-campus classes this fall, but still considering a variety of options
University of North Carolina at Pembroke Public NC “We fully expect and it is our present intention to be back in our classrooms, labs, and offices this fall.”
University of Oklahoma Public OK “Our intention is to return to in-person educational operations on all three campuses by this fall, offering traditional instruction and residential life.”
University of Oregon Public OR The university is aiming for in-person instruction in the fall, but the president says “it is unlikely that our fall quarter will look just like last fall.”
University of Pennsylvania Private PA planning for a likely combination of in-class and virtual teaching.”
University of Pittsburgh Public PA says “back to normal probably is not likely” for the fall
University of Portland Private OR The university’s goal is to operate in-person, but the president said it may adjust the academic calendar and “conduct some or all of our instruction in an online format if absolutely necessary.”
University of Southern California Public CA hopes to announce fall plans within the next two months
University of South Carolina Public SC decision expected by June 15
University of Puget Sound Private WA We plan to welcome new and returning students to campus in the fall and resume in-person courses … while adhering to public health guidelines.”
University of Tennessee at Knoxville Public TN eyeing three scenarios: in-person instruction, a fully online semester, or a hybrid of the two
University of Texas at Austin Public TX decision expected by the end of June
University of Vermont Public VT “Based on information currently available, I am confident UVM will be able to return to in-person status in fall 2020,” the president said.
University of Virginia Public VA plans an update on fall plans by mid June
University of Wisconsin-Madison Public WI decision by the end of July, currently considering face-to-face, entire online, and hybrid models
Utah System of Higher Education Public UT intends to resume in-person classes in the fall
Virginia Commonwealth University Public VA “We have every intention of opening our fall semester in-person as long as it is safe to do so.”


Wake Forest University Private NC We plan to conduct fall semester classes on campus.”
Washington State University Public WA planning for in-person classes
Wayne State University Public MI leaning toward starting fall classes online
West Virginia University Public WV exploring a range of scenarios, from in-person to entirely online
Wheaton College (Mass.) Private MA “We have affirmed our intention to deliver an on-campus fall semester” subject to the guidance of public-health experts.
Whitworth University Private WA plans to reopen the campus and resume in-person classes
William Jewell College Private MO intends to open for fall semester
Williams College Private MA plans to announce by July 1
Yale University Private CT decision expected by early July

Columbia University’s TAs Say They Will Not Teach as They Face Financial Precarity

IBL News | New York

Hundreds of Columbia University’s TAs (Teaching Assistants) say that they won’t teach and grade until the institution offers them financial relief.

They demand $6,000 for every grad worker this summer, cancel rent in university apartment housing, and extension of funding and time to degree, among other requests.

In a letter to the university, the group called Columbia Graduate Workers on Strike, complains about their “extreme financial and housing precarity in a pandemic,” and reminds:

“Columbia is a wealthy institution that has wrongly partitioned its budget. Even by the logic that the university simply cannot use its endowment directly to these ends, Columbia should take advantage of its endowment to use as collateral to borrow at nearly 0 percent interest rates in order to address the needs of its workers in this crisis.”

Columbia’s graduate students‘ financial struggle is similar to other private campuses.

Columbia has a graduate workers’ union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The union called a strike in 2018 after the university refused to negotiate a first contract, arguing that graduate students are not laborers entitled to collective bargaining.

The institution recently said that it would provide summer relief of up to $3,000 per graduate student that are on nine-month contracts.

Columbia University has a $10 billion endowment and is one of New York City’s biggest landowners.

Harvard’s Credit-Bearing, Free Course on Mechanical Ventilators Has Attracted 170,000 Learners in Two Weeks

Mikel Amigot | IBL News, New York

The “Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19” explanatory course on edX.org has surpassed the 170,00 people enrolled, becoming a reference for licensed medical professionals worldwide.

Developed by Harvard University in conjunction with the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and released on April 6th, this free course now can grant up to three CME (Continuing Medical Education) credit hours to those who complete the course (2 to 5 hours) and pass a brief quiz.

Eligible learners can claim three AMA PRA Category 1 Credit (physicians), nursing CEU credits, or a certificate of attendance for allied health professionals and other learners.

The authors of the course, Dr. Susan Wilcox and Thomas Piraino, are continuously updating the course, given that the subject of mechanical ventilation and the offering of manufacturers are evolving.

In addition to high enrollment, participation in the discussion forum, with clinicians sharing knowledge and tools, has made the course a valuable tool to fight to the COVID-19 pandemic and treat patients developing pneumonia.

“The medical system will need clinicians that can assist in operating mechanical ventilators,” wrote the authors. “We encourage all non-ICU clinicians to consider completing this course, readying themselves to best help their colleagues and patients on the front lines of this virus.”

With 27 million learners, the edX.org learning platform –founded by MIT and Harvard University as a non-profit venture– hosts over 3,000 courses, from over 150 universities, corporations, and business organizations.

IBL News, April 7: An edX and Harvard Course to Train Clinicians on Mechanical Ventilators for Covid-19

Google Classroom, Class Dojo, and TikTok Rank Top Used Apps

IBL News | New York

Google Classroom, along with Zoom, have benefited from a significant surge in their audience during this global pandemic.

In March, the top three education apps in use were Google ClassroomRemind: Safe Classroom Communication and ClassDojo for sharing photos, videos, announcements, and private messages with families–according to an analysis by App Annie.

Other apps that performed well were Zoom Cloud MeetingsTikTok, and Houseparty.

The report by App Annie found that mobile education applications have experienced a 90 percent increase in weekly downloads and usage worldwide, between the last three months of 2019 and the first three months of 2020.

For the United States, the overall growth rate in educational app downloads was 135 percent.

Coursera Offers Government Agencies Fighting Unemployment Free Access to Its 3,800 Courses

IBL News | New York

Coursera announced yesterday its Workforce Recovery Initiative will provide governments free access to 3,800 online courses and 400 Specializations until the end of the year.

This promotional offer is part of the Coursera for Government effort, launched in 2017.

The U.S. states of Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma, as well as the governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, are the first to make the initiative available to their unemployed workers, according to Coursera.

The U.S. states and countries around the world can sign up until September 30, 2020, and those enrolled by then can learn until the end of the year.

The Workforce Recovery Initiative covers critical business, technology, and data science skills taught by leading universities, along with Professional Certificates from industry educators like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.

The Linux Foundation Plans a Massive Virtual Open Source Summit

IBL News | New York

As COVID-19 safety concerns continue, the Linux Foundation announced yesterday that rather than holding a physical event in Austin, Texas, they will transition the Open Source Summit + Embedded Linux Conference North America 2020 (OSSNA 2020) to a virtual event. The digital conference will take place from June 29th to July 2nd, 2020.

“While it doesn’t quite take the place of meeting face to face, it comes darn close,” said the organizer.

“Without the barriers of cost and travel, we expect the attendance to the online OSSNA 2020 to be significantly higher than an in-person event.”

The attendance fee will be $50 and registration will open on May 5, 2020.

The schedule, released yesterday, includes:

  • 230 conference sessions, tutorials, and keynotes across 14 tracks, with live speaker Q&As
  • Attendee networking via 1:1 chat and group networking lounges across a range of topics
  • An interactive sponsor & demo showcase to speak directly with representatives, sponsors, watch demos, download resources, and view job openings
  • The ability to earn schwag and prizes by accumulating sessions attended, sponsor booths visited, and trivia questions answered
  • Platform access for one year post the event.

Topics covered will be Linux Systems, Embedded Linux, IoT, AI, Cloud Infrastructure, Cloud App Development, OS Dependability, OS Databases, Diversity and OS Leadership (Business, Community, OSPO).

The mechanics of the conference is based on celebrating sessions at scheduled times just as they would at a face-to-face event. Speakers will be available for a live Q&A with conference sessions & tutorial attendees. And attendees will be able to build a personalized agenda of sessions they want to attend and receive notifications before sessions start.

All sessions will be recorded and available to attendees on-demand after the event.




Develop.com, a New Subscription-Based Learning Platform for Tech Professionals

IBL News | New York

A team of U.S. industry professionals in education and business technology led by Kevin Pawsey, Global CIO at Global Knowledge and Chief Executive Officer at Develop, launched today Develop.com, a career-boosting, subscription-based learning platform.

“Develop provides high-quality courses across emerging and business-critical technologies, including cybersecurity, AI, and machine learning, at prices accessible to more people than ever before,” explained Kevin Pawsey.

The Boston-based platform offers two subscription levels: Foundation ($99.99 /year) and Academy ($399.99 /year). New subscribers will have a free 30-day Foundation-level trial access until May 22, 2020.

The Foundation-level subscription offer includes 200+ courses, intended to gain basic knowledge and skills. Subjects covered are the following: Technology BasicsSoftware DevelopmentDevOps, Cybersecurity, Project ManagementCloud Technology, Networking & Telecom, and Leadership & Management.

The Academy-level subscription includes Academies dedicated to a specific topic technology area and intended to gain advanced expertise, knowledge, and hands-on skills practice. At launch, Develop is offering The Data Academy, which includes 73 courses, covering Data Extraction, Analysis & Visualization, Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

The company plans to create additional Academies focused on Cybersecurity, Cloud technologies, and Software Development.

Develop.com comes with three introductory courses for free: What is Agile?, Introduction to Cybersecurity, and Introduction to Python.

Press ReleaseDevelop Launches an Online Learning Platform for Today’s Technology and Business Professionals

Blog Post at Develop.com: Hello World!


Coursera Offers Free Certificates on 50+ Courses, While It Announces New Programs and Tools

IBL News | New York

Coursera.org announced yesterday at its virtual Partner’s Conference, that it is offering 50+ free courses, which include access to lectures and quizzes, along with earning certificates at no cost.  The offer will be available through May 31, 2020.

The courses cover the following areas:


Also, yesterday, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO at Coursera, announced the addition of two new degrees to its list of 19 programs, which are the Master of Science in Population and Health Sciences—from the University of Michigan—and Master of Data Analytics Intelligence from the Universidad de los Andes (Uniandes).

In addition, Maggioncalda unveiled eight MasterTrack Certificates (in topics such as Blockchain Applications, Cybersecurity, AI and Machine Learning, Social Work, Sustainability and Development), along with 100 guided projects to gain job-relevant skills in less than two hours, such as TensorFlowscikit-learn, and Plotly.


Regarding technology tools, the educational company issued new product features. These are some of the most relevant:

  • Goal Setting. These goals will be seamlessly synced with Google Calendar and other calendar apps, integrating learning into a daily routine.
  • Smart-Review Material. A machine learning tool that serves targeted review material recommendations based on the specific questions learners miss, providing learners with a structured path to succeed on the next quiz attempt, according to Coursera.
  • Skill Tracking, This data-driven tool tracks learner skill development, sharing updated competency scores as learners takes more assessments. Through a centralized dashboard, learners can monitor their progress toward career-specific skills and see how their competency scores compare to other professionals on the Coursera platform.
  • Live2Coursera. This feature, “scheduled later in 2020”, will enable instructors to integrate Zoom live lectures into a course. Zoom recordings will be added automatically to an instructor’s course as they teach, so they can build a library of content to reuse in future private or open courses.
  • Personalized Homepage. When logged in, learners can resume a course in one click, see personalized recommendations on courses to pursue next, and view the certificates they’ve earned so far.
  • Machine-Assisted Peer Review. This tool enables grading at scale. Learners struggling to get an assignment peer-graded can have their work automatically assessed by a machine learning model trained on previously peer-graded submissions from the course.


A Student Guide to Remote Learning from GW’s Professor Lorena Barba

IBL News | New York

Engineering professor Dr. Lorena Barba, from The George Washington University (GW), published this month a Student’s Guide to Remote Learning, with tools and practical ideas to navigate this pandemic time.

“Students are now back home—some in different time zones—and expected to continue learning, with their teachers quickly adopting new technologies and methods to keep courses going; it is a tremendous challenge for all of us,” said Professor Barba.

– Take care of yourself and others
– Manage your time
– Master the tools
– Deal with pitfalls
– Stay connected

In addition to recommending to work at least two additional hours for every hour of scheduled instruction, and time-block for all your courses, one of the suggested ideas is to use the Pomodoro technique.

It works like this: set a timer for just 25 min to work without allowing yourself to be distracted, then take a 5-min break (for social media, exchanging texts with a friend, having a snack), and then repeat. After 4 cycles, take a longer break (~30min).

Prof. Barbara Oakley, who teaches the successful MOOC “Learning How to Learn”, explained in the following video:

The guide includes tips to deal with web conferencing tools and learning platforms.
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