nsf.gov & insidehighered.com

by Alexander Unkart

www.nsf.gov - where discoveries begin

 The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently unveiled its new website, which is designed to provide better service to the research and education communities as well as the general public. The NSF is an independent federal agency created to promote progress in the sciences and is one of the main funding sources for research in the U.S.. The NSF slogan, "where discoveries begin," also perfectly describes the new webpage.

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The NSF designed a user-friendly site to better illustrate its use of around $5.5 billion in public funds to support scientific research. "One of our major goals in designing the new website has been to reach out directly to the general public - the taxpayers - to let people know what is going on in science," Mitchell Waldrop, from NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, told bridges.

The amazing content on the website explains highly complex scientific problems in a simple and exciting way. I searched the website and learned about NSF as an organization, and found the research overviews especially interesting. I recommend the astronomy and space section as well as the interactive exhibition in the physics section which illustrates different scales in the universe.

There are also examples of television programs supported by the foundation, as well as features that target the scientific and education communities. These include a newly designed "funding" section, an improved way to find NSF employees, access to science and engineering statistics, and a streamlined means to access NSF directorates, divisions, and programs.

[photo credits: nsf.gov]
Link: www.nsf.gov
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www.insidehighered.com - a new forum for higher education

The recent launch of the e-magazine Inside Higher Ed has brought a new face to the online higher education family. The Chronicle of Higher Education has long been the sole publisher of on-line, higher education subject matter. But The Chronicle might now face serious competition as the advantage to readers of insidehighered.com is their ability to access all of its articles and services free of charge. Ironically, the three founders of Inside Higher Ed have all worked for The Chronicle and bring with them a wealth of experience from their new competitor.

Inside Higher Ed intends to be a full service website for the higher education community and includes a news section, op-eds, and a career section.

 I spent several hours browsing the site, and I have to say the website appears quite promising. The News section features articles focusing on issues of importance to academe. The Views section contains op-ed pieces by guest writers who discuss hot topics in higher education. In the Careers section, I found news relating to developments in the employment policies of institutions of higher learning. The first time I visited the Jobs section, 152 jobs were posted. A few weeks later, I found 802 jobs in higher education and related fields. This fast growing job section indicates the popularity of the new magazine within the higher ed community.

The site feature I enjoyed most was being able to respond to the articles in an open forum, which allows for interesting exchanges. "People can comment on all of our articles, and we review them before publication - usually within a matter of minutes if not a couple of hours," said Doug Lederman, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed.

Once I became a registered user at Inside Higher Ed, I began receiving free news updates via e-mail. Now I always know what's new in higher education.

[photo credits: insidehighered.com]
Link: www.insidehighered.com
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