Johns Hopkins University Updates the Coronavirus Map by Adding Local Data

IBL News | New York

Johns Hopkins University upgraded its Coronavirus COVID-19 Map to include local data from every city and county in the U.S. The map is maintained in near real-time throughout the day.

Initially, the map followed the naming scheme used by the World Health Organization. It then switched to the names of nations designated by the U.S. State Department.

The website relies upon publicly available data from multiple sources that do not always agree. More frequent updates of the map often result in higher case numbers than may be available from other sources that are updated less frequently.

These are the data sources included in the map:

The dashboard was built by Professor Lauren Gardner, a civil and systems engineering professor at Johns Hopkins University, with her graduate student, Ensheng Dong. It is maintained at the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering, with technical support from ESRI and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

All data collected and displayed are made freely available through a GitHub repository

The map and additional resources are available on Johns Hopkins’ online portal.

There is an embed code for the dashboard:

<iframe width=”650″ height=”400″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ title=”2019-nCoV” src=”//,11.535,163.5174,52.8632&zoom=true&previewImage=false&scale=true&disable_scroll=true&theme=light”></iframe>

This is how it looks:


Harvard University’s President, Lawrence Bacow, Tests Positive for Coronavirus

IBL News | New York

Lawrence Bacow, President at Harvard University, and his wife, Adele, tested positive for Covid-19, the university announced on Tuesday. They are being treated at home.

The couple began experiencing symptoms of coronavirus on Sunday— first coughs then fevers, chills, and muscle aches — and contacted doctors on Monday.

They are unsure how they contracted the virus since they have been working from home and practicing social distancing since March 14.

“This virus can lay anyone low. We all need to be vigilant and keep following guidelines to limit our contact with others,” Bacow wrote in a letter to the community.

“I urge you to continue following the guidance of public health experts and the advice and orders of our government officials,” he wrote.

President Bacow is the second president testing positive after John Garveypresident of Catholic University, who has been quarantined since March 13.

On March 18, University of Washington pathology professor Stephen Schwartz died from the same disease.

Thoma Bravo Completes the Acquisition of Instructure and Appoints an Interim, CEO J. Charles Goodman

IBL News | New York

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo finally owns Instructure (NYSE: INST).

Today, the company announced that it officially completed the acquisition in an all-cash transaction that valued Instructure at an aggregate equity value of approximately $2 billion.

As a result of it, Instructure’s common stock ceased trading and the company is no longer listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

“I believe that our shareholders are pleased with the outcome, and I anticipate great things to come in this new chapter for Instructure,” said Josh Coates, Executive Chairman of the Board at Instructure.

The Salt Lake City-based Edtech company–creator of the Canvas LMS and Bridge, with 30 million users–has become a privately held firm. Any remaining shares of Instructure common stock have been converted into the right to receive an amount in cash.

The Chicago-based capital firm announced on Monday, March 23rd, that it purchased all of the outstanding shares of Instructure after a cash tender offer, which expired last Friday.

Thoma Bravo made an offer of $49 per share in cash in mid-February, just before the stock market began to take a sharp decline – with a 25% loss in the past month – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As of expiration, 24,828,913 shares had been validly tendered and not withdrawn from the tender offer, representing approximately 64.4 percent of the aggregate voting power of Instructure’s outstanding shares of common stock,” the company said in a public statement.

The global Covid-19 crisis, along with the market collapse and the rise of online companies, finally put an end to weeks of ongoing deep discrepancies and disputes among shareholders and activist investors.

The big next step for Instructure after closing is to appoint a new CEO in place.

Now the company has an interim CEO, appointed by Thoma Bravo, sources told IBL News. His name is J. Charles Goodman, Operating Partner at Thoma Bravo, and former CEO at Frontline Education, another Thoma Bravo company. [In the picture below]

Instructure doesn’t anticipate widescale layoffs as it happened earlier this year, although the new owner does plan for some cuts. “There will always be adjustments and reorgs that might make someone’s role redundant,” sources say.

How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus’ Scammers Who Try to Steal Money or Personal Information

IBL News | New York

Scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis.

People are more likely to lose money online to a scam when they are socially or physically isolated from others, according to research from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, and the Stanford Center on Longevity.

“Add increased time spent online and coronavirus creates the ‘perfect storm’ for scammers because all three of these factors have increased dramatically,” said Melissa Lanning Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust.

BBB suggests these steps that everyone can take to protect themselves from losing money and compromising personal information.

  1. Don’t be afraid to contact a friend or a company or organization you trust for advice. 

  2. Before clicking a link or sharing personal information online, stop, pause, and research the company or person. A staggering 81.2 percent of consumers lost money to online purchase scams in 2019.

  3. Beware of job offers that sound too good to be true. Employment scams were the No. 1 riskiest two years in a row. Scammers prey on jobseekers, particularly those seeking remote jobs. 

  4. Learn about scammer tactics to help avoid falling prey to scams and be wary of any offer to “get ahead” that seem too good to be true. 

Currently, top coronavirus scams to be aware are those emails that impersonate official correspondence from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Scams claim to provide critical data about the virus in order to get your sensitive personal information. These are scammers are simply after account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords.

One email scam pretends to give COVID-19 drug advice from the WHO and makes it look like the email is from Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Don’t Let Education Fall in the Curve of Covid: An Extensive Resource Website with Tools and Services

IBL News | New York

Under the claim “flatten the curve of Covid and its impact on education,” the Center for Education Reform (CER) –a nonprofit organization in Washington DC– has created an extensive resource website.

This site includes tools and services available to students, families, and educators.

“We’ll be keeping tabs on those who are keeping tabs, sharing the best of the aggregators, product providers, media sources and above all — the real people who are doing the real work to fight the virus’ impact on learning,” Jeanne Allen, CEO of the Center for Education Reform, told IBL News.



IBM, Microsoft, Harvard, MIT and 40 Universities Join the edX ‘Remote Access’ Program

IBL News | New York

edX’s recent project providing students from partner universities with free access to courses and programs on the educational portal received an overwhelming response as campuses close impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of this week, 40 edX partners joined the initiative, including founding partners Harvard and MIT, along with universities from Europe, Asia, and South America and two corporate partners (IBM and Microsoft).

“As an educator myself, I am often inspired by the innovations and impact that our partner community displays, but the response to this initiative, in such unprecedented circumstances, is one that reminds me of why we are all working together in the first place,” Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, wrote on its corporate blog.

In addition to this Remote Access Program initiative, the edX organization plans to share additional resources and updates to support its learner community.

“As we continue to face the uncertainty and complexity that surrounds the spread of the coronavirus, it is particularly important that we come together to support and solve what challenges we can,” wrote Agarwal.

Canvas LMS Creates a Toolkit for Contingency Planning Amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak

IBL News | New York

Canvas, the leading LMS in higher-ed in the U.S., has created a toolkit to help educators in transitioning to online learning amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition, Canvas has launched Teams with Microsoft to be able to connect through virtual meetings.

Among the tips, Canvas LMS suggests the use of course discussions and messaging to continue the conversation, along with the mobile apps for push notifications and anytime anywhere access.

In addition to Canvas’s features such as Commons, Folio, and Studio, other recommendations point to leverage live video and conferencing promotional capabilities, that are offered by partners. In particular, these two:

G Suite for Education’s Hangouts Meet features, like larger meetings (up to 250 participants), live streaming, and recording.

Zoom‘s lift of the 40-minute time limit on Free Basic accounts for schools affected by the Coronavirus.

NVIDIA’s Grand Virtual Conference After Closing Its In-Person Annual Reunion

IBL News | New York

After shifting to an online format due to pandemic concern, NVIDIA’s GTC 2020 Digital Conference will take place on Wednesday, March 25. The registration for GTC Digital is free.

The conference schedule features a number of talks, panels, research posters, Q&A sessions, and demos on-demand. In addition, new content will be announced every Thursday starting March 26.

NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Institute (DLI), the company training branch, will offer seven full-day hands-on live and on-demand training sessions. DLI Training is offered at $79 per full-day workshop and $39 per 1 hour 45-minute training.

The seven full-day Deep Learning Institute workshops will also start on March 25.


Free Educational Resources In Times for Adjusting to the New Complicated Environment

IBL News | New York

An educational community on Facebook has compiled a list of resources with more than 400 free offerings, especially useful in these troubling times in light of the Covid-19 impact, along with the U.S. economy being in recession.

It is hosted at this website These resources come from education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.

An example is the Adobe Connect web conferencing platform, whom its competitors are Zoom, Webex, Big Blue Button, and Google Hangouts. Adobe Connect is providing free 90-day access, until July 1st, for individuals and businesses using virtual rooms with up to 25 participants.

Another interesting resource is the collection of over 110,000 digital files of television and radio programming contributed by more than 130 public media organizations and archives across the United States available at

In addition, the NewSchools Venture Fund national nonprofit philanthropy has also started a School Closure Resources – Public list.

These free offerings, which often entail just discounts from vendors, emerge when schools are moving online and educators are adjusting to a new environment.

Experts estimate that this is not the right time for marketing and commercial pitches but for being of service. Even research and exploration of tools, with almost all conferences being suspended, have been put on hold.

GW Plans a Workshop for STEM Faculty Who Teach Engineering through Computing

IBL News | New York

The George Washington University (GW) is planning a workshop for STEM faculty who want to transform their teaching through integrating computing.

This “Faculty Development Workshop 2020” was scheduled to be held over three days on 25–27 March. However, due to the Coronavirus national emergency and travel restrictions has been postponed, the organizers told IBL News.

The event will be sponsored; it means that GW will be able to offer full travel support –including lodging and food– for 20 to 25 participants. The sponsor is Leidos, Inc., with additional support from the National Science Foundation through a grant to Prof. Lorena A. Barba.

“This workshop is for faculty at any stage of their career, who are teaching in science, engineering, or related technical fields,” explained GW’s Prof. Lorena A. Barba, who leads the workshop.

“We use the label “Engineers Code” in a project that is developing open learning modules (see our repository on GitHub), and the #EngineersCode hashtag on Twitter for announcing newly-released content, and inviting a community,” she added.

Participants will use Python and Jupyter as the programming language and environment. They will also take advantage of the Open edX platform’s integration with Jupyter notebooks, auto-graded homework assignments, and the library-hosted JupyterHub platform.

The presenters in this workshop have developed openly licensed material that is meant to be reused.

Learners who complete course requirements receive a certificate of completion.


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