Jose Carillo's Forum


Exams come to the bedroom with new invigilation software

UNITED KINGDOM—It has long been said that exams should be sat in comfort—in loose-fitting clothing and with a glass of water handy.

Now scientists have taken this a step further and found a way for students to take tests from their bedrooms at any time of day or night.

At least one UK university—the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff—is experimenting with the technology, which has built in anti-cheating software, and dozens of others will be offered the service this summer. It has been developed by the US firm Software Secure Inc. and works through a unit that students plug into their computers.

Once a student feels ready to sit the written exam, the technology takes a fingerprint to check his or her identity and a 360-degree webcam and microphone kick into action. Throughout the exam, these pick up whether the student is trying to cheat by receiving help from others. The computer also "locks down" so that the student cannot search the internet or their files for answers.

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Asian media asked to think regional rather than just local

MANILA—To survive in today’s media industry, Asian news organizations should start to “think regional,” and media practitioners should prepare themselves to be “mojo” or “mobile journalists”—able to produce quality news material in less than 20 minutes and to use the latest technology to perform the work of a three-member crew.

This is one of the scenarios drawn last June 7 during the 5th Annual Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism, a two-day conference held at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. 

Aside from making themselves adept at using high tech devices for journalism, Asian editors and publishers were also urged to think regionally rather than just locally. Pana Janviroj, executive director of the Bangkok-based Asian News Network (ANN), told them: “Think regionally. This is my message to young emerging leaders. It means thinking beyond borders and understanding the different countries’ dependence on each other.”

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“Inchoate” tops list of most-looked-up New York Times words

WASHINGTON (AFP)—What are the 50 words that stump readers of The New York Times the most?

The newspaper on Tuesday published its annual list of the words that readers have looked up the most frequently on using the website’ built-in American Heritage dictionary tool.

“Inchoate,” “profligacy,” “sui generis,” “austerity” and “profligate” topped the list followed by “baldenfreude,” a non-existent word that a New York Times columnist threw into an article, puzzling readers.

“Opprobrium,” “apostates,” “solipsistic” and “obduracy” were next on the list of the most-frequently looked up words followed by “internecine,” “soporific,” “Kristallnacht,” “peripatetic” and “nascent.”

The top word, “inchoate,” which means not yet completed, was used in 13 news articles and seven op-ed pieces or editorials between January 1 and May 26 of this year and was looked up a total of 8,172 times.

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Spelling champ’s victory hat-trick for Indian-Americans

Is it because of Indian colonial history with Britain or is it something at the level of genetic programming? Whatever the explanation, there is no denying that Indians have a penchant for the English language, a trans-generational, linguistic love affair that gets transmitted even to far-flung diaspora.

This week, the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the United States was—for the third consecutive year and for the eighth time in the last 11 years—won by an Indian-American, Anamika Veeramani of North Royalton, Ohio.

Anamika won after nine nerve-wracking rounds, culminating in her correctly spelling “stromuhr,” a device used to measure blood flow velocity. She fought her way through earlier rounds successfully spelling words like “foggara,” “osteomyelitis,” “mirin,” “nahcolite,” “epiphysis,” and, in the penultimate round, “juvia,” a term for a Brazilian nut.

Anamika, an eighth grade student at the Incarnate Word Academy in Parma Heights, was competing in her second consecutive Spelling Bee, after tying at fifth place last year. This year’s competition began on Wednesday with 273 competitors who qualified through locally sponsored bees in their home communities.

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Britain’s new romance language is English
By Jennifer Quinn, Associated Press

LONDON—Love may have its own language—but that’s not good enough for the British government.

It wants English, too.

Starting this fall, the spouse of a citizen who is coming from outside the European Union and wants to live in Britain will have to prove he or she has a basic command of English.

The move, announced Wednesday by the new Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron, comes as countries across Europe tighten their rules on immigration amid rising unemployment rates and concerns about the ability of newcomers to integrate.

The famously tolerant Netherlands was holding an election Wednesday in which a far-right party that wants to ban all immigration from nonwestern countries has a shot at doubling its seats in Parliament.

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Quebec government struggles with access to English-language education

QUEBEC (AHN)—Canada’s divisions between its English-speaking and French-speaking communities arose again this week in a dispute in Quebec’s legislature over access to English-language public education.

The separatist Parti Quebecois is using procedural maneuvers to block a vote on a law that would broaden the rights of children to receive education in English.

Members of the Liberal government proposed the law but set aside a vote on it in the face of fierce opposition.

The proposed legislation, Bill 103, would amend the Charter of the French Language.
The charter designates French as the official language of Quebec.

In 2002, Parti Quebecois succeeded in passing a law that limited children’s access to education in English.

Last October, the Supreme Court overturned it.

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