edX: Programming language Scratch isn’t just for kids anymore

Scratch is a programming language built to help children learn basic programming skills. But now edX, the MOOC (for Massive Open Online Course) backed by top colleges including MIT, Harvard and Caltech, will offer a free Scratch course for anyone “regardless of age or digital skill.”

Registration is open now for Programming in Scratch” which kicks off February 2. The course will be taught by Colleen Lewis, professor of computer science at Harvey Mudd College, a tech powerhouse and another edX partner school.

Scratch seems to be gaining momentum as a vehicle for teaching kids to create their own animations and computer cames — MIT Media Lab offers an iPad app for that purpose, for example.

This story was updated at 10:09 a.m. PST to reflect that enrollment is now open.

Boston-area institutions launch HUBweek to take on big problems

There’s never a shortage of big problems confronting the world — think the looming scarcity of fuel, food and water. Addressing such issues is the purported goal of HUBweek, a series of events planned for October 2015 and sponsored by the Boston Globe, Harvard University, Mass General Hospital and MIT.

The inaugural event is slated to take place October 3–10, 2015 at venues in and around Boston and Cambridge. MIT, for example, will host Solve to address challenges in education, healthcare, energy and manufacturing. That event will be “curated” by Anant Agarwal, professor of engineering and computer science; Phillip Sharp, institute professor and affiliate of the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; Angela Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy; and Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus of engineering and computer science (and founder of Rethink Robotics).

In a related doing-good meme, [company]Google[/company] sponsored a hackathon  that challenged data scientists to make an impact on a real-world problem in 24 hours. The winning team of Bay Area scientists used free Google cloud credits to identify prostitution rings by analyzing patterns of phone numbers and text in postings to adult escort websites.

MIT's Kresge Auditorium.

MIT’s Kresge Auditorium.

Getting an MBA? Should you bother?

The upside of earning a graduate degree in business isn’t what it once was, according to new research by the Financial Times.