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July 11, 2013 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2013-07-11
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Thursday, July 11, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, July 11, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


U' continues to expand online
course offerings with Coursera

Classes provide
opportunity for
public access to
higher education
Daily Staff Reporter
While the average student
'raverses the Diag between classes,
a new generation of students can
simply navigate with a mouse and
a keyboard.
In April of 2012 the University
announced its partnership with the
online course company Coursera
and in July of that year began
offering free 'massive open online
classes' to individuals seeking an
:ducation without the University
price tag.
The courses are not intended
to serve as a replacement for the
traditional education experience
and thus do not offer credit but
instead award a certificate of
Coursera currently offers 395
online courses and has a total
enrollment of over four million.
The website has partnered with 83
educational institutions including
Northwestern University,
University of Maryland, University
of Minnesota, Ohio State
University, Pennsylvania State
University, University of Illinois
and University of Wisconsin.
A handful of University

we1Midhiaia &UB
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Jay-Z falls short a
mediocre 'Grail'

like he's struggling to keep up.
But overall, the consistency just
isn't there. While Kanye West's
perfectionist approach clearly
pushed Jay-Z to his pinnacle
on the joint venture Watch The
Throne, the same can't be said for
Magna Carta.. Holy Grail. At the
same time, the hours upon hours
Grai of studio sessions with Kanye
seem to leave a deep impression
on Hov, tempting the mainstream
ion rapper to perhaps explore some
waterfalls along the way. But
without Kanye's guiding hand,
Jay trades the risk of greatness
for widestream acceptance.
Because of this, MCHG is
a very good, very traditional
hip-hop album. It falls short,
however, because today's Jay-Z
lacks the emotional investment
pervading his previous work.
Despite a life of pure luxury,
Jay tries to convince us that he's
still edgy - even though he can
ROC NATION frequently be seen palling around
with President Obama - and
makes laughable references to
his continued dabblings in the
drug game. Gangly pop-culture
references ("Got me feeling like
Brody from 'Homeland' ") slow
down his verse in "F.U.T.W." and
demonstrate Jay-Z's strained
attempts to stay relevant.
But this strain makes more
sense when you realize that Jay-Z
appears to have approached
n sight of Magna Carta... Holy Grail from a
together business - not artistic - stand-
ts on his point.
hip over With a commercial deal with
ents him Samsung that guaranteed the
ess. album's platinum status before
ts efforts it was even released, MCHG is
- easily every inch a well orchestrated,
song on manufactured success. An album
demonic that travelled down the assembly
horitative line, pausing in front of some of
ate Jay's hip hop's best producers, before
wirl a toe Jay-Z turned his attention to an
ess pool," impressive marketing scheme.
le of solid The man's smart - deceptive
e. We get even - in his attempts to gather
Watch The Yeezus-level hype, including
ever feels legendary producer (and Yeezus

architect) Rick Rubin in his
promotional videos (even though
Rubin didn't work ott any pf
the album). Jay-Z certainy is a
shrewd businessman.
But at the end of the day,
Jay had to stop listening to the
instrumentals, close the door to
Samsung's boardroom and put
some lyrics down.
And with a contented bravado
that lacks any bite, he settles for
name-drops and referencing his
many riches in a way that is not
only boring - it's truly tiring.
The album's opening track.
"Holy Grail," begins with Justin
Timberlake's clean vocals - a
safe bet following "Suit & Tie"
- followed by one of the most
lifeless verses Jay-Z has ever
written ("Blue told me remind
you n*** / f*ck that sh** y'all
alkin' 'bout / I'm the n****").
Hova puts
business before
music on 12th
studio album.
Even with its lyrical
weaknesses, Magna Carta...
Holy Grail still arrives in a
pristine package dripping with
some phenomenal production
that will get plenty of well-
deserved radio play. People
will likely take comfort in the
album's traditional roots, adding
it to their summer playlist
for a couple of months before
ultimately moving onto the next
popular hip hop installment.
Though others, like Kanye
West, have tugged at their artis-
tic chains until they break,
Magna Carta... Holy Grail proves
that Jay-Z is perfectly content to
just make a run for it every now
and then before being yanked
back by his utter complacency.

LSA senior Sara Boer engages in a discussion for an online pharmacology class in the Law Library Wednesday.

professors have already posted
classes, with subjects rangingfrom
thermodynamics, classical music
and science fiction.
The curriculum is designed by
the professors with assignments
that are completed and submitted
online. Coursera provides online
with each other and ask questions
tobe answered bythe professor.
Because online classes often
times see high enrollment
figures, professors often face the
challenge of answering a high
volume questions.

Music, Theatre & Dance Prof.
Kevin Korsyn said his Coursera
class is structured with eight
90-minute lectures posted
online. Throughout the semester,
as more and more questions pile
up, Korsyn will post response
videos that address the most
common questions.
"I think that instructors need
to have realistic expectations
about what can be accomplished
in each setting," Korsyn said. "An
online course for 10,000 students
cannot have the same intimacy as
a seminar for ten people, but this is

also true for live lectures that have
several hundred students."
Former University President
James Duderstadt said a major
advantage of online classes is that
they are like textbooks, in that
students can access and learn from
them at their own pace.
Duderstadt said as a public
institution with a mission of
reachingoutto thosewho mightnot
be able to afford acollege education,
the University is better positioned
than many private colleges to
expand their free online classes.
See ONLINE, Page 6

Professor aids in carbon-dating project
to monitor illegal elephant poaching

Daily TV/New Media Editor
Jay-Z's 12th studio album,
Magna Carta... Holy Grail, has
arrived with the polished sheen
of a birthday present you enjoy
for a few months and then quickly
"We should make like four
more, since we've got time,"
Jay-Z says in a Samsung promo
for MCHG, suggesting to
contributing producer Timbaland
that they should crank out some
more tracks. "I think I'm ready
now - like before was just the

Well, not exactly.
The best part of MCHG is
its grounded production, and
unfortunately the worst part
is Jay-Z. Glimmers of intense
effort from the album's producers
thankfully make up for the sheer
lyrical laziness on Jay-Z's part,
and somehow this unbalanced
cocktail results in a host of good
- but not great - tracks.
Jay-Z has both the influence
and money to enlist the help of
hip hop's most celebrated sound
crafters, and in this regard
Magna Carta... excels. It's a
conglomeration of talent that's
never in danger of failure, while

simultaneously never it
greatness. Jay-Z puts
a team full of safe be
album, but his kings
mainstream rap prev
from unhindered progre
Producer Travi$ Scot
on the song "Crown"
the most experimental
the album, featuring
screeches and sheer aut
heaviness - demonstr
willingness to dip and s
around in the "greatne
and he lays down a coup
verses for good measur
a glimpse of the post-W
Throne Jay-Z, and it nt


Sales Manager

Research requires
more funding
to have forensic
Daily NewsEditor
New research by a team that
includes Paleontology prof. Daniel
Fisher could apply carbon-dating

methods used to study prehistoric
animals to fight modern-day
elephant poaching.
Using standard carbon-14 dating
methods on seized ivory tusks,
Fisher and his colleagues can now
predict the date of an elephant's
death, indicating whether or
not the material was extracted
before the ivory trade was banned
in 1975. Kevin Uno, a former
researcher at the University of
Utah, is the lead author of the
paper detailing the discovery.

The illegal ivory trade is one that
has seen significant growth in the
past several years as demand in
Asiahas increased. Thure Cerling, a
geology professor at the University
of Utah who worked with Fisher
on the project, said some estimates
predict that the illegal trade
could amount to a billion-dollar
underground market.
"There are now something
like 30,000 African elephants
a year that are being killed by
poachers," Fisher said. "'It's really

a serious problem. And that's from
a population of only a fewhundred
thousand and so at this rate they
could be in really dire straits."
The carbon-dating used by
the research team relies on
changing carbon-14 levels in the
atmosphere. Cerling said that in
the 1950s and 1960s the U.S. and
the Soviet Union both engaged in
numerous above-ground nuclear
weapons tests which doubled the
atmosphere's carbon-14 levels.

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