Help Scholar Hero Save Academia

Why do we think academia needs saving? Thirty-three. That’s the percent of college students who drop out every year. The trends are moving against a college student’s favor: shrinking wages and rising tuitions. There are other reasons as well:

  • Students are failing courses.

  • There is a lack of proper mentorship.

  • New enrollees are way too unprepared.

Emptying lecture halls. (Photo Source: Sean MacEnteehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/)

Emptying lecture halls. (Photo Source: Sean MacEnteehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/)

It is not simply a lack of motivation nor is the forty-one hours per week that students spend socializing is not the problem. Inflated class sizes, shrinking faculty, and lack of opportunity all factor in as well.

How can we turn those forty-one hours of peer interaction… into the solution?

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Scholar Hero provides a social community where students, graduates, and professors can help support each other by sharing research and critiquing each other’s work. We give students and academics a place where they can collaborate, and learn—all within a specifically-designed environment that is both supportive and accessible.

Saving the day is not about smashing down walls like a superhero with little regard for collateral damage. We believe it is about building something great by giving scholars confidence in their work and themselves.

Of course, we cannot do this alone. We are looking for beta users to assist us in exceeding expectations with our official release.

Let’s do this together. Sign up for our private beta now: http://www.scholarhero.com/users/create_account

Source:

http://www.classesandcareers.com/advisor/statistics-of-the-college-drop-out/

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

The New Academic: Electronic Publishing

The article Scholarly Communication and the Continuum of Electronic Publishing is an interesting read for any publishing academic, as it addresses a many Internet publishing concerns. Its three elements of the scholarly publishing model represent the same sharing, communicating, and support that Scholar Hero promotes.

The power to publish.

Empower what you publish.

Publicity: “Primary and secondary audiences may learn of its existence.”

Scholar Hero creates a social space for scholars to share their research for others to find.

Let your voice be heard by others. (Photo Source: Garry Knight http://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/)

Let your words be seen and your voice be heard. (Photo Source: Garry Knight http://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/)

Trustworthiness: “The document has been through some social processes that assure readers that they can place a high level of trust…”

Scholar Hero offers a system where peers can send and reserve trusted critique that assures a high quality for their work.

Reach the right peers. (Photo Source: buddawiggi http://www.flickr.com/photos/buddawiggi/)

Reach the right peers. (Photo Source: buddawiggi http://www.flickr.com/photos/buddawiggi/)

Accessibility: “Readers must be able to access the document…”

At Scholar Hero, accessibility means “ease.” Our products curb the hassle of peer review by offering a fun and intuitive interface.

A digital handshake never out of reach. (24oranges.nl http://www.flickr.com/photos/24oranges/)

A digital handshake never out of reach. (24oranges.nl http://www.flickr.com/photos/24oranges/)

Scholar Hero thinks critically about academia as it adapts to 21st century technologies. By keeping these three elements in mind, our products will always be relevant to the needs of the modern scholar.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

The High School Cliff: College Freshmen Lack Preparation

Too many unprepared students will certainly be languishing in their freshman year. Two-thirds of high school students are enrolling in college, but just one-third are prepared for their course load.

The face of a high school graduate. (Photo Source: CollegeDegrees360 http://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/)

The face of a high school graduate. (Photo Source: CollegeDegrees360 http://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/)

Four out of ten high school graduates are forced to take basic classes such as English and Math because they did not match the minimal expectations of their university. This leads to a very stressful game of catch-up.

The face of a freshman. (Photo Source: CollegeDegrees360 http://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/)

The face of a freshman. (Photo Source: CollegeDegrees360 http://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/)

The lack of support for new college undergraduates explains another problem: rising dropout rates. Two-thirds of students who must take those remedial classes do not earn their degree within six years. While college attendance rates are at an all-time high, the success rate is actually even much lower. This lack of preparedness transfers to the career world as well.

(Photo Source: http://mrg.bz/0L93Kh)

 Recently, President Obama announced he wants to “shake-up” the higher education system, lowering the cost barrier and easing credit completion. This policy shift will likely increase college enrollment and lower the drop-out rate, but it does not solve the lack of sufficient support for students.

On top of struggling undergraduates, we will (and already have) seen struggling graduates in the job market, leading to a dwindling employer confidence.

That is why Scholar Hero are helping university students help each other. We hope that our eco-system of academic support will curb the problem of unpreparedness and empower the enrolled to be more prepared.

A Pillar of Education: The University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning

How many feet does it take to inspire a city? John Gabbert Bowman (chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh from 1921 to 1945) had the answer to that question when he commissioned the construction of The Cathedral of Learning. The awe-inducing building that soars over the Pitt campus was completed in 1937 and reaches 535 feet, making it the tallest educational building in the United States. Today, it stands as a testament to higher education but even during construction, it was an idea being built for students by students.

Nowhere to go but up. (Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlwelsh/)

Nowhere to go but up. (Photo Source: jlwelsh http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlwelsh/)

The Cathedral of Learning was a practical solution to the space shortage problem produced by a tremendous swell of student enrollment just after the first World War. Although, such an ambitious answer did not go without its obstacle, primarily money concerns. In response, Pittsburgh proved its resilience: over 97,000 school children contributed their coins to the Cathedral’s construction through a “Buy a Brick” program.

A view from the inside. (Photo Source: Brian Donovan  http://www.flickr.com/photos/58621196@N05/)

A view from the inside. (Photo Source: Brian Donovan http://www.flickr.com/photos/58621196@N05/)

Beyond the towering neoclassical design, the Cathedral is home to the equally impressive nationality rooms. These meticulously designed classrooms represent the varied world cultures that come together at the University of Pittsburgh, all in the pursuit of academic achievement.

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The Austria Room (Photo Source: Brandon Shea http://www.flickr.com/photos/95269083@N00/)

Personally, during my time at the University of Pittsburgh, the heights of the Cathedral of Learning always seemed to make me stand a little taller and aim a little higher. Its presence carries with it a sense of pride and empowerment. It has to be seen to be felt, but fortunately for all Pittsburgh residents, all you need to do is look up.

A beacon of enlightenment. (Photo Source: dano272 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hpdpro/)

A beacon of enlightenment. (Photo Source: dano272 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hpdpro/)

Sources:

http://www.nationalityrooms.pitt.edu/about/cathedral-learning

http://www.phlf.org/2008/06/30/cathedral-of-learning-trumpets-education/

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

The Physics of Pacific Rim

We at Scholar Hero love to use knowledge to deconstruct all kinds of situations, no matter how far-fetched. The surprise blockbuster Pacific Rim, for example, raises a very legitimate question: are giant fighting robots physical possible?

For the uninitiated, Pacific Rim is a sci-fi action film about defending the human race through the use of “jaegers” (pronounced YEA-ger): enormous, skyscraper-high robots to combat an invading force of equally massive aliens called “kaijus” (pronounced KAI-joo). The film is visually impressive, but how much force would it take for a jaeger to deal a collossal right hook knockout to these giant beasts?

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Luckily for us, this Scientific American article has all the answers we are looking for. At one point in the film, a particularly ugly kaiju mug says hello to a jaeger fist delivering 125 million joules of kinetic energy. That kind of blow is “like getting hit in the face with a Boeing 747 going 60 miles per hour”!

Moreover, getting that massive metal mitt up to cruising speed requires the jaeger’s elbow thrusters to produce over 7,740 kilo-newtons of force (equivalent to the power of a Saturn V rocket engine). Suffice to say, that is a lot of pepper on that punch.

Solution to dealing with aliens? Space-powered punch. (Photo source: http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/blogs/6a00d8341bf67c53ef017d3d759ecf970c-800wi.jpg)

Who knew first contact with alien life could be so explosive? For more on this article, read here.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc. All rights reserved.