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VOL. 39 | NO. 43 | Friday, October 23, 2015

Tennessee universities embrace online courses

Vanderbilt has had 12,500 course completions in 2 years

When MOOCs (massive open online courses) hit the Internet three years ago, they promised to bring the resources of the world’s top universities to the furthest corners of the globe – at least those with Internet access.

Online degrees gain acceptance at work

Each year, more college students are opting to replace the classroom experience altogether with degrees achieved entirely online.

Vanderbilt's music MOOC includes video field trips

Vanderbilt University was a relatively early entrant into massive open online courses through the Coursera.org platform, with topics ranging from online games and literature to nutrition and personalized medicines.

UT using digital courses to improve on-campus learning

“A free college education for all!” It’s one of the rallying cries of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, and it’s a big reason why the septuagenarian socialist is so popular among students, many of whom are graduating with crippling loans.

College Scoreboard offers a good start for making big decision

One month after the federal government released its College Scorecard database on the costs and benefits of college, parents, students and the colleges themselves are trying to wrap their heads around it.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Wind: East at 8.1 mph
Humidity: 78%


Voting Rights for Women. The League of Women Voters of Nashville is hosting the event at the Hermitage Hotel. Anne Davis is the featured speaker and will tell the story of her great grandmother, Frances Bond Davis. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served at the event, which is scheduled for today, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person and $175 per couple, with proceeds going to the work of the organization. Information: lwvnash@gmail.com, 615-297-7134.

more events »


Students finding opportunities via Tennessee Promise

Siegel High School graduate Davione Williamson wasn’t quite sure he was college material when he entered Motlow State Community College in Smyrna this August on a Tennessee Promise scholarship.

Tennessee Promise 4,000 mentors short of goal

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee Promise recruiters are scrambling to attract 4,000 volunteer mentors to apply to become part of the scholarship program within the next four weeks.


Real estate sales boom continues but it’s still not 2006

Real estate sales were up 10.3 percent for September compared to September 2014, Greater Nashville Association of Realtors (GNAR) numbers show, and year-to-date sales are up 13.3 percent over the same period last year with 28,252 closings.


Titans must alter offense to protect Mariota

As of Sunday, the Tennessee Titans’ mission has changed going forward – or least it should.


Reveiz know what Vols need to snap streak against Alabama

Tennessee place-kicker Fuad Reveiz was anxious and nervous much of the week leading up the Vols’ game against Alabama on Oct. 16, 1982.


A little-known wolf of 1800s Wall Street

Your numbers weren’t picked last night. Ah, another worthless lottery ticket. No shopping spree or mortgage payoff for you. You’ll have to go to work and get your incredible wealth just like everybody else. Or, as you’ll read in “Prince of Darkness” by Shane White, you could become rich the old-fashioned way: through grift.


Scion offers decent hatchback for less than $20K

Toyota’s youth brand, Scion, has added an impressive five-door hatchback for 2016 that features a lot of standard equipment, pleasant looks and decent ride for under $20,000.


Identifying the potential leaders on your team

Have you empowered your sales and marketing pros to lead?


The bounce in search of a rally

The lugubrious sentiment that we described in our Oct. 2 commentary, coupled with the collapse in earnings and economic expectations, coiled the market for a well-broadcasted bounce.


Revival afoot for judicial accountability ratings

So, I was in Northwest Arkansas a couple weeks ago for a golf tournament. On Friday night I swung by Penguin Ed’s, bought a mess of barbecue, and took it to the home of Sam and Pat Perroni, long-time friends who used to live in Little Rock. They have a beautiful spread a few miles outside Fayetteville, a picture-perfect spot for grandparenting.


VW affirms commitment to Chattanooga plant despite scandal

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen is sticking with planned investments at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee — including production of a new SUV there next year — despite the uncertainty caused by its emissions scandal.

Tennessee lawmakers to hear from Volkswagen today

NASHVILLE (AP) - Volkswagen is reaffirming its commitment to its lone U.S. plant in Tennessee in light of a diesel emissions cheating scandal that has rocked the German automaker.


Average US rate on 30-year mortgage slips to 3.76 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates were slightly lower to unchanged this week amid expectations that the Federal Reserve isn't ready yet to raise its key short-term interest rate.

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — September marked a slowdown in Americans signing contracts to buy homes, the second consecutive decline for a real estate market that has been rebounding for the first half of 2015.


US economy slowed to 1.5 pct. growth rate in third quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy slowed sharply in the summer, reflecting a cutback in businesses' stockpiling of goods, which offset strength in consumer spending.

US jobless aid applications fell to 42-year low last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid barely rose last week and the average level of applications in the past month fell to a 42-year low.

US stocks slip as economic growth lags

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are slightly lower in midday trading after the U.S. government said economic growth slowed more than expected in the summer. Companies including Buffalo Wild Wings and camera maker GoPro plunged after reporting weak earnings.


Fresh starts as GOP taps new speaker, approves budget deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans embraced a new leader Wednesday and swiftly consented to a major budget-and-debt deal to avert a federal financial crisis, highlights of a day of dramatic fresh starts at the Capitol after years of division and disarray.


Hillary Clinton to make first campaign stop in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is making her first Tennessee campaign stops in Memphis and Nashville next month.

Report: Small to no change on Tennessee national test scores

NASHVILLE (AP) - Two years after Tennessee proclaimed itself the fastest-improving state for education in the country, that growth has leveled off, according to a national report that concluded the state has seen little to no change in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores over the last two years.


Ramsey springs to Haslam's aid on Tennessee outsourcing talk

NASHVILLE (AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey is dismissing rising concerns among fellow Republicans about Gov. Bill Haslam's efforts to privatize elements of state government as a result of complaints from "squeaky wheels" in their districts.

Town hall meeting Thursday to focus mass incarceration

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators and the NAACP State Conference will host a town hall meeting on Thursday to discuss mass incarceration and its impact on the community.


3 state appeals judges finalists for Supreme Court vacancy

NASHVILLE (AP) — Three state appeals judges appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam were selected Tuesday as finalists to fill a vacancy on the Tennessee Supreme Court.


Volkswagen suffers loss, lowers forecast due to scandal

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen reported a loss of 1.67 billion euros ($1.83 billion) for the third quarter as the company set aside 6.7 billion euros to pay for recalling and fixing cars that were rigged to evade U.S. diesel emissions tests.

Ford recalls 129,000 SUVs to fix fuel leaks

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling 129,000 midsize SUVs in parts of the U.S. and Canada to fix potential fuel leaks.

Mini recalls 86,000 cars to fix power steering problems

DETROIT (AP) — Under pressure from U.S. safety regulators, BMW's Mini brand is recalling more than 86,000 cars because the power steering could fail.

Green self-driving cars take center stage at Tokyo auto show

TOKYO (AP) — Visions of cars that drive themselves without emitting a bit of pollution while entertaining passengers with online movies and social media are what's taking center stage at the Tokyo Motor Show.


Drug prices top Americans' list of health care concerns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans from across the political spectrum are worried about the cost of prescription drugs for serious diseases, following weeks of news coverage about companies hiking prices for critical medicines.


After a wobble, stocks end higher as investors watch the Fed

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market ended solidly higher Wednesday, recovering from an afternoon wobble, after the Federal Reserve indicated that it will consider raising its benchmark interest rate at its December meeting. Bond yields rose and the dollar climbed against other currencies as traders anticipated that higher rates were on the way.

Fed keeps rate at record low but will consider December hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is keeping its key short-term interest rate at a record low in the face of a weak global economy, slower U.S. hiring and subpar inflation. But it signaled the possibility of a rate hike in December.

Poll: Americans still feeling economic gloom

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans are more likely than they were a year ago to have positive views of the nation's economy, but they're still feeling more pessimism than optimism, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll conducted ahead of CNBC's GOP primary debate on Wednesday.

US economy likely crawled last quarter but outlook brightens

WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy has resembled an especially dizzying roller-coaster ride this year, with a hurtling dive followed by a steep climb leading to yet another slide.

Icahn says AIG 'too big to succeed,' urges a break up

NEW YORK (AP) — Activist investor Carl Icahn urged American International Group Inc. to split up into smaller companies Wednesday, saying that the insurance provider is "too big to succeed."

Walgreens buying Rite Aid, creating drugstore giant

NEW YORK (AP) — Walgreens is buying rival Rite Aid for about $9.41 billion in cash, creating a drugstore giant with nearly 18,000 stores around the world.


Fresh starts as GOP taps new speaker, votes on budget deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans embraced a new leader Wednesday and prepared to get behind a crisis-averting budget-and-debt deal in a day of dramatic fresh starts at the Capitol after years of division and disarray.


Supreme Court appoints panel to review indigent defense

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has appointed a task force to review the state's representation of defendants who are unable to afford hiring their own lawyers.


HCA misses Street 3Q forecasts

NASHVILLE (AP) - HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA) on Tuesday reported third-quarter profit of $449 million.


US home values and rents defying global slowdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. housing appears to be insulated so far from the cooling global economy.


How Comcast wants to meter the Internet

NEW YORK (AP) — Most home Internet service providers offer unlimited data, but cable giant Comcast is moving in the opposite direction.


Haslam: Let VW address emissions scandal before union vote

NASHVILLE (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says Volkswagen should be allowed to address the fallout from its emissions cheating scandal before taking up another union vote at its Tennessee plant.

Nissan making refreshed Altima sedan at Smyrna & Mississippi plants

SMYRNA (AP) — Nissan is launching production of an updated version of the midsized Altima sedan at assembly plants in Smyrna, Tennessee, and Canton, Mississippi.

GM recalling 1.4M cars; oil leaks can cause engine fires

DETROIT (AP) — For the third time in seven years, General Motors is recalling cars that can leak oil and catch fire, in some instances damaging garages and homes.

Fiat Chrysler recalls nearly 94,000 Jeeps due to fire risk

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler is recalling nearly 94,000 SUVs because the air conditioning lines are too close to the exhaust manifold and could catch fire.

Ford 3Q earnings more than double on North America results

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Pickup trucks powered Ford Motor Co. to record North American results in the third quarter.


US consumer confidence slips in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans turned slightly more anxious about the job market this month.

Stocks tick lower on mixed earnings; price of oil skids

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slipped Tuesday afternoon after several U.S. companies delivered disappointing results and forecasts. Energy companies fell more than the rest of the market as the price of crude oil hit two-month lows.

Comcast meets 3Q profit forecasts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) on Tuesday reported third-quarter net income of $2 billion.

Mega beer merger bets on the rise of African drinkers

LONDON (AP) — Charles Kwara and his friends sit around an earthenware pot, sipping a frothy gray drink through long straws as laughter fills the Charismatic Club in the slums of Kampala, Uganda's capital.

Oil company BP reports 96 percent drop in 3Q profit

LONDON (AP) — Oil giant BP reported a 96-percent drop in third-quarter profit Tuesday and announced further efforts to curtail spending as it prepares for a prolonged period of low oil prices.


No shutdown, no default: Congress leaders, Obama back deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Striving to end a cycle of crisis, congressional leaders and the White House united Tuesday behind an ambitious budget and debt deal aimed at restoring a semblance of order to Capitol Hill and ending the threat of government shutdowns and defaults until well after a new president takes office.


Oak Ridge Boys, the Browns inducted into Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE (AP) — The sound of voices in synch filled the air as two of country music's greatest vocal harmony groups, the Oak Ridge Boys and the Browns, along with the late gifted guitarist Grady Martin were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday night.


Tennessee electric co-op tax break deemed unconstitutional

NASHVILLE (AP) - A tax break for Tennessee electric cooperatives, enacted by the Legislature in 1988, violates the state constitution, according to an opinion issued last week by Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

Grants available for tree planting projects near streams

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says grants are available to help cities, civic organizations or other nonprofit agencies plant trees near streams.

Officials begin initiative to protect trick-or-treaters

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Correction says it has launched Operation Blackout, an annual initiative to protect trick-or-treaters from registered sex offenders.


State report card: Rutherford County schools show progress

MURFREESBORO (AP) — The release of the Tennessee state report card reveals a spike in graduation rates and academic progress at Rutherford County schools.


NY top prosecutor to Internet providers: Prove speed claims

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general has asked three major Internet providers to validate claims that customers are getting the access speed promised, especially for premium services.


Nissan expands fuel leak recall to 59,000 sedans

DETROIT (AP) — A Nissan recall for possible fuel leaks in crashes has been expanded to include nearly 59,000 Altima and Maxima sedans worldwide.

Bridgestone buying Pep Boys for about $835 million

NEW YORK (AP) — Tire and auto service company Bridgestone Corp. is buying auto parts and repair company Pep Boys in for $835 million in a deal that will help Bridgestone gain a more dominant position.

Scandal-hit Volkswagen hires Opel exec as strategy chief

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen AG is hiring a top strategy executive from competitor Opel as it seeks to recover from a scandal over its cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests.

United Auto Workers, General Motors reach contract agreement

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union and General Motors Co. have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract, avoiding a strike for now.

Toyota at top in global vehicle sales for first 9 months

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota was the world's top-selling automaker for the first nine months of this year, selling nearly 7.5 million vehicles, and overtaking Volkswagen which was in the No. 1 spot for the half year.


US new home sales fall sharply in September

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new homes plunged sharply in September to the slowest pace in 10 months, as higher prices and slower overall economic growth weigh on the housing market.


No Fed rate hike likely yet as it monitors global pressures

WASHINGTON (AP) — Not long ago, it seemed a sure bet: The Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by year's end. Fed Chair Janet Yellen herself said she expected it.

Economists see modest Q4 growth, fewer firms giving raises

NEW YORK (AP) — Many business economists expect modest economic growth for the rest of the year, with only a small percentage taking a more bullish outlook, according to a new survey.

US stocks slip as earnings reports fail to impress

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing mostly lower as traders look ahead to a busy week of corporate earnings and a Federal Reserve meeting.

Corporate deals set to rise despite global economy jitters

LONDON (AP) — There is no let-up in executives' appetite for corporate takeovers despite volatility in the stock market and mounting concerns over the global economy, particularly China.

FedEx predicts 12 percent increase in holiday shipments

With online shopping growing, FedEx is bracing for a record volumes this holiday season.


GOP-led Congress moves to block Obama's Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans are moving to block President Barack Obama's plan to force steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants.

Speaker Boehner pushes for budget deal before leaving House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker John Boehner is trying to make one last deal as he heads for the exits, pushing to finalize a far-reaching, two-year budget agreement before handing Congress' top job over to Paul Ryan this week, congressional officials said Monday.


TSU part of consortium to improve nation's cyber security

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee State University is joining a consortium of 11 universities and national laboratories to improve the nation's cyber security.


Ratings agencies give strong marks to Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee has once again received top grades from two bond ratings agencies, and an improved outlook from the third.

Tennesseans encouraged to learn about their legal options

NASHVILLE (AP) — State officials are encouraging Tennesseans to learn more about their legal options this month.

Report card shows 88 percent Tennessee graduation rate

NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's high school graduation rate improved to 88 percent, the third consecutive year it's increased, but students in earlier grades continue to struggle in reading, according to a state report card released Thursday.


Average US rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.79 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, marking a 13th straight week below 4 percent and offering an enticement for potential homebuyers.


Maintenance workers at Chattanooga VW plant seek union vote

NASHVILLE (AP) — Maintenance workers at Volkswagen's lone U.S. plant in Tennessee are seeking a new election in two weeks on exclusive union representation by the United Auto Workers.

GM cuts 2nd Orion Assembly plant shift; 500 layoffs planned

ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — General Motors Co. says it's cutting the second shift at its Orion Assembly plant in suburban Detroit in a move that's expected to result in about 500 hourly worker layoffs.

Tech companies face rocky road on the way to making cars

NEW YORK (AP) — Silicon Valley may think it can build a better car. But should it?

US reports 8 deaths, 98 injuries from exploding air bags

WASHINGTON (AP) — People whose cars have been recalled to fix air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. should get the repairs done as soon as possible or face the risk of death or injury, U.S. safety regulators said Thursday.

Diesel scandal keeps Volkswagen's US sales forecast flat

DETROIT (AP) — After some summer gains, Volkswagen's U.S. sales seem to have stalled amid revelations it cheated on emissions tests.

UAW approves new contract with Fiat Chrysler

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union has approved a new four-year contract with Fiat Chrysler.


Free housing, other efforts try to attract women to tech

SEATTLE (AP) — Free rent and groceries were selling points, but college freshman Aishwarya Mandyam was more excited about the chance to connect with like-minded women when she moved into the eight-bedroom house offered up by a Seattle software startup.


US stocks return to black after summer swoon

NEW YORK (AP) — Maybe you shouldn't have put your money under a mattress after all.

Tech stocks lead a rally; S&P 500 turns positive for year

U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, delivering their second gain in two days and pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index back into positive territory for the year.

Amazon 3Q results up on strong sales, cloud computing growth

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is Primed for success as the busy holiday season approaches. The e-commerce powerhouse reported a surprise third-quarter profit, driven by a boost in revenue from its Prime Day promotion and continued strong growth in its cloud-computing offerings.

Twitter CEO gives up $200M in stock for company employees

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After laying off more than 300 workers, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is trying to lift the spirits of the remaining employees by giving them 6.8 million shares of the stock he owns in the online messaging service.

Talks on climate deal heat up over bill for global warming

BONN, Germany (AP) — The trillion-dollar question of who should pay for global warming is coming to a head in talks on an international climate pact, as developing countries worry they won't get enough money to tackle the problem.

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