With a Rethinking of the Arts/Science Distinction, Trinity has the Opportunity to be Pioneering

Posted in Teaching on June 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“With some exceptions, Trinity’s degree structure is divided on clear lines. Much like the campus itself, with its hubs of the Arts Block and Hamilton Building, most students take a course that’s neatly labelled under ‘Arts’ or ‘STEM’, with courses that bridge the divide often finding themselves lost in a confusing and bureaucratic maze …” (more)

[University Times, 25 June]

Tags: , , , ,

University rankings: good intentions, image polishing and more bureaucracy

Posted in Teaching on June 24th, 2017 by steve

“Some UK universities will be cheering, some groaning, after the release of rankings under the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). My own university received a silver, so we’re shrugging. Despite all these reactions, we don’t know if we can expect any impact on the quality of teaching. What we do know, however, is that it will lead to a large-scale image polishing, the mushrooming of rankings-related bureaucracy, judicious gaming of the new rules, and cynicism amongst professors and lecturers …” (more)

[Andre Spicer, The Conversation, 23 June]

Tags: , ,

Why we need to get rid of STEM

Posted in Research, Teaching on June 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“On the surface, ‘STEM’ is a harmless acronym, a handy and catchy way of promoting disciplines that, let’s face it, are pretty important in this technological age. But, to an engineer like me who has worked in a science faculty for my whole career, the idea of lumping science and engineering together, along with maths and ‘technology’, seems a bit … simplistic …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 23 June]

Tags: , ,

Eight first lessons from the TEF results

Posted in Teaching on June 22nd, 2017 by steve

“The Teaching Excellence Framework could have a seismic impact on the reputations of British universities, both for good and for ill. As effectively a government-sponsored evaluation, its Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards could be stuck with institutions for up to three years …” (more)

[David Morris, Wonkhe, 22 June]

Tags: ,

The results of the Teaching Excellence Framework

Posted in Teaching on June 22nd, 2017 by steve

“No exit polls here or counts to follow through the night. Just the final outcomes showing higher education institutions that have been awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards for the quality of their teaching, student experience, and graduate outcomes. Wonkhe is full of analysis of these results and will continue to be so throughout Thursday, with the underlying data released by HEFCE just after midnight …” (more)

[Wonkhe, 22 June]

Tags: ,

Performance management is here to stay, but TEF needs a rethink

Posted in Teaching on June 21st, 2017 by steve

“The post-election regroupement of the government provides a surprising and welcome opportunity to rethink the TEF before it does too much damage, before the shaping of behaviours and unplanned consequences become entrenched …” (more)

[Simon Marginson, Wonkhe, 21 June]

Tags: , ,

To my colleagues, on the death of their students’ grandmother(s)

Posted in Teaching on June 21st, 2017 by steve

“It’s entirely possible that I’m just not cool enough to enjoy this ‘humorous’, ‘fictional’ take on the the phenomena of students manufacturing dead grandmothers during finals week. Maybe it’s because my own grandmother died while I was in college, my grandfather died while I was in grad school, or another grandmother died in while I was in grad school (are you keeping track? That’s two grandmothers) …” (more)

[Tenure, She Wrote, 19 June]

Careers in science and technology

Posted in Teaching on June 21st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I have to say that the recent blitz of ‘Stem’ (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) articles in your newspaper (June 20th) gave me pause for thought. Amidst all the hype about successful scientists and high-tech companies, I found myself returning to one of the Higher Education Authority’s reports on what graduates actually do when they leave college …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 21 June]

Tags: , ,

The road to STEAM

Posted in Teaching on June 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Mary gets a degree in a traditional discipline. Mary gets her first job and it’s right in the middle of her discipline. After a few years, Mary moves ‘sideways’ and starts to drift away from her discipline. Mary does a postgraduate degree in a completely different discipline …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 20 June]

Tags: ,

UCD business school’s masters in finance ranked 36th in world

Posted in Teaching on June 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s masters in finance has been ranked 36th in the world and 31st in Europe in a survey published on Monday. The Dublin university’s MSc in finance as the only such course offered by an Irish third-level college to be included in the Financial Times Top 60 Global Masters in Finance rankings …” (more)

[Irish Times, 19 June]

Tags: , , ,

Word Mixing to Defeat Plagiarism

Posted in Teaching on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Recently I heard about a website called Spinbot.com that will ‘rewrite human readable text into additional, readable text’ – it is an ‘automatic article spinner’ tool. The site is designed for ‘bloggers, twitter users and online marketers’, and is described as a ‘dream come true’ to help rework content to help with SEO …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 15 June]


Why is the quality of our multilingual graduates so poor?

Posted in Teaching on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“For many Irish people of a certain vintage, France was an exotic overseas destination. Parents packed the kids into the car, drove on to the ferry and went to a campsite in Normandy. On Wednesday, almost half – 46% – of Leaving Certificate students sat Leaving Cert French, compared with the 14% who sat German and the 13% who sat Spanish …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 14 June]


Project maths: Do the reforms add up for students?

Posted in Teaching on June 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Five years ago, Project Maths was rolled out to secondary schools around the country. Around the same time, students were offered the incentive of 25 bonus CAO points if they sat the higher-level paper. Thousands responded to the incentive; this year, a record 36% of Leaving Cert candidates took the more challenging paper, up from 20% in 2011 …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 12 June]

Tags: ,

Call for submissions – Irish Journal of Academic Practice

Posted in Teaching on June 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Irish Journal of Academic Practice (IJAP), the LTTC (Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre) online peer reviewed journal for pedagogic research and scholarship [learning, teaching, technology and professional development, with special emphasis on innovative practices] is now inviting submissions for Volume No 6, November 2017 …” (more)

[Academic Writing Librarians, 11 June]

ASTI brings end to futile campaign that divided union

Posted in Teaching on June 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The vote by the country’s biggest secondary teachers’ union to suspend its long-running industrial action marks the end of a futile campaign which served to hurt members, disrupt students and divide the union …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 11 June]

Tags: ,

In defence of the Leaving Cert

Posted in Teaching on June 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“At this time of year it is usual for all sorts of interested parties to emerge from the woodwork and denounce the Leaving Cert. It is portrayed as cruel. It is said to be biased against those from disadvantaged areas. It is said that it rewards little more than rote memorisation and stamina …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 24 June]


Students not ready for maths at third level

Posted in Teaching on June 6th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A review of the controversial Project Maths curriculum is to examine how it affects student performance on third-level courses with a high maths content. There is already some evidence to suggest the revised curriculum has seen students less prepared than previously for the maths elements of college studies in science and technology …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 6 June]

Tags: ,

Of monsters and mentors: PhD disasters, and how to avoid them

Posted in Teaching on June 1st, 2017 by steve

“For all the efforts in recent years to improve the doctoral experience for students, Times Higher Education still receives a steady supply of horror stories from PhD candidates. To the authors of such submissions, the system appears, at best, indifferent to them and, at worst, outright exploitative. Here, we present three such examples – all of whose writers, tellingly, feel the need to remain anonymous, given the power dynamics involved …” (more)

[Times Higher Education, 1 June]

Tags: ,

We need to teach empathy … and stuff

Posted in Teaching on May 30th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Tibor Navracsics is the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Today he tweeted this: ‘Most of today’s children will have jobs that don’t yet exist. Soft skills are vital in enabling them to succeed in the labour market and life’ …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 30 May]

In Praise of Discovery Learning

Posted in Teaching on May 30th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A quick look through the DSE inspectorate reports shows that the popularity of discovery learning is showing no signs of disappearing. One inspection report from March mentions discovery learning twice, recommending that science teachers ‘should increase the emphasis on discovery learning’ …” (more)

[ellenkmetcalf, 29 May]