The Importance of Taking Notes

Posted in Teaching on September 24th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Well, term has officially started and the campus of Maynooth University is looking very busy. Taking a short break from the task of preparing notes and problem sets for the modules I’m teaching this term. I’ve just remembered an old post I did some time ago about lecture notes. I won’t repeat the entire content of my earlier discussion, but one of the main points …” (more)

[In the Dark, 24 September]

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Some Advice for On-line Educators Part I via @MFPaulsen

Posted in Teaching on September 24th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Now that I am heading into my second week as an on-line educator, I am reminded of some great advice from Professor Morten Flate Paulsen given many years ago that still stands today. In his book ‘Online Education and Learning Management Systems’ (published in 2003) Paulsen tells us …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 24 September]


Government of Ireland Academic Mobility Programme

Posted in Research, Teaching on September 24th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The HEA has launched the 2019 call under the Government of Ireland International Academic Mobility programme. €500,000 is being made available to support the outward mobility of staff from Irish higher education institutions to countries on any continent …” (more)

[Eimear Hayes, Higher Education Authority, 24 September]


After Complaints, Law School Organises New Lecturer

Posted in Teaching on September 24th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“… In an email to final-year law students, the Head of the Law School, Prof Mark Bell said: ‘I am pleased to inform you that we are going to be able to recommence delivery of the module in Intellectual Property Law from Monday 24 September 2018’. ‘I am very sorry for the difficult start to the academic year …'” (more)

[Eleanor O’Mahony, University Times, 23 September]


The unexpected delights of working in academia, according to Twitter

Posted in Teaching on September 22nd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Academics have been sharing the parts of their job which make them feel warm and fuzzy inside, sparked by a post from historian Dr William Pooley. He told of his ‘joy’ about writing a reference for one of his brightest students …” (more)

[Nicola Irwin, Independent, 21 September]

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Maths, rules and creativity

Posted in Teaching on September 21st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“I’m a chemical engineer. I’m ok at maths – competent but not a natural like this guy with whom I went to secondary school. Nevertheless, I have written a book on mathematical modelling. The book is not all that advanced – it mainly contains calculus and ordinary differential equations – but I’m kind of proud of it …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 21 September]

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Lecture capture – don’t fight it, feel it

Posted in Teaching on September 21st, 2018 by steve

“Lecture capture would be a strange choice of hill for me to die on since I work at a university that doesn’t do lectures, and have no experience of it. But Sheila MacNeill started a twitter conversation about it, and I think it captures some broader ed tech issues, so here I am, weighing in with my ill-formed opinions …” (more)

[The Ed Techie, 21 September]

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Lecturer denies jibe at Muslim student

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on September 21st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A law lecturer, whose first class in Trinity College Dublin ended in controversy and is under investigation by the college, insists that it was a case of ‘crossed wires’ …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 21 September]


Minister Bruton Launches Campaign to Encourage Learning of Foreign Languages and Announces Funding for School Exchanges

Posted in Teaching on September 17th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Government prioritizes teaching of foreign languages in context of Brexit. €15,000 for schools to offer school exchanges. Upskilling opportunities for teachers and new website launched as resource for schools, students and teachers. The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD today (17th September 2018) launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of foreign languages and announced new funding for teacher upskilling and school language exchanges …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 17 September]

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English grades are ‘back to normal’ in Junior Cert results

Posted in Teaching on September 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“More than 62,000 Junior Cert students are celebrating their results today, although many middle-ground students will be disappointed there is no repeat of the bumper share-out of ‘honours’ grades that marked the introduction of the new-style English written exam last year. At English higher level, there was a slight increase in the proportion of candidates achieving a ‘distinction’ – the equivalent of a traditional A – while the number awarded a ‘higher merit’ (75-90%) is broadly similar to last year …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 12 September]


I have my PhD, but what is the value of a university education?

Posted in Teaching on September 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Four years ago in this newspaper, I wrote an article about falling in love with a man; a man who died in 1677. In March of this year, I wrote another piece about that man, the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. At that point, I was a month away from submitting my doctoral thesis in philosophy, which was heavily influenced by and including Spinoza, and I had fallen out of love with him …” (more)

[Laura Kennedy, Irish Times, 12 September]


International report endorses work of teachers and lecturers

Posted in Teaching on September 11th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The latest OECD international indicators – Education At A Glance 2018 – highlight the excellent work of Irish teachers and lecturers. Once again, the report emphasises the value of educational attainment to both the individual and society …” (more)

[Teachers’ Union of Ireland, 11 September]

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NUIG Freshers to partake in consent workshops

Posted in Teaching on September 10th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The National University of Ireland Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) are to run the first ever consent workshops at two of their student residences, Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village. Organised by the NUI Galway Smart Consent Programme, over 40 trained volunteers will participate in the education of sexual consent to first year students …” (more)

[Caroline Boyle, Trinity News, 10 September]

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Notes from Maynooth

Posted in Teaching on September 7th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“A few people have asked me to comment a little bit on difference between Higher Education Institutes in the United Kingdom and here in Ireland from the point of view of teaching and learning. I can’t do that systematically of course because I’ve only ever been at one University in Ireland, Maynooth, and that for only a year …” (more)

[In The Dark, 6 September]


UL student group taking strong stance on sexual consent classes

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on September 4th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor is considering making classes on sexual consent compulsory in all Irish colleges, following a series of workshops at the University of Limerick …” (more)

[Nicole Glennon, Limerick Post, 3 September]

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College quotas to prevent too many teachers in certain subjects

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on September 4th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Quotas are to be introduced in certain college courses to prevent an oversupply of secondary school teachers in certain subjects. In addition, more places will be made available for students who wish to teach subjects where there is a shortage …” (more)

[Irish Examiner, 4 September]

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A Sign of Progress

Posted in Teaching on September 1st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“The other day I saw this sign on my way into work the other day. It has been put up near the Science Building on Maynooth University campus, and is a planning notice that hopefully will start the process of constructing extra buildings for science in Maynooth. Among the facilities the new buildings will provide are new teaching laboratories …” (more)

[In the Dark, 1 September]

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Essay writing services must be banned to stop cheating, say academics

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on September 1st, 2018 by steve

“The British government has been urged to outlaw essay writing services that allow university students to pay for coursework for their degrees, after a study found that use of ‘contract cheating’ is rapidly increasing around the world. The study by Prof Philip Newton at Swansea University’s medical school collected evidence from surveys taken among students in higher education …” (more)

[Richard Adams, Guardian, 31 August]

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Some thoughts on constructivism in a STEM context

Posted in Teaching on August 31st, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Constructivism is now the dominant ideology within the Irish educational establishment. For a long time I’ve struggled to understand what constructivism actually is because most definitions seem pretty vague to me. But while perusing the UCD Teaching and Learning pages I came across this list of the characteristics of a constructivist learning environment and I’ve added a few comments on each point …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 31 August]


Barnacle, Schmidt and Cuthbert, ‘Expertise and the PhD: Between depth and a flat place’

Posted in Teaching on August 30th, 2018 by steve

Abstract: Expertise is under sustained interrogation. We see it in so‐called edu‐scepticism and pessimism about graduates’ apparently diminishing employment prospects, challenges to the role of Higher Education institutions as arbiters of knowledge and post‐truth rhetoric more broadly. This paper examines how the PhD is being discursively positioned in this context. We ask what these changing conceptions of expertise, education and work mean for how PhD‐level expertise is understood. Drawing on a range of sources, from the scholarly to the wider media, we draw together five exemplar models of expertise to expose the transforming ratio between generalist, transferable skills and specialist knowledge. The evident diminution of specialisation raises numerous issues for the PhD as it is increasingly called upon to serve multiple and potentially contradictory needs: an innovation society on the one hand and the discipline on the other. Reconciling the tension between depth and breadth is an important issue for a degree whose hallmark is – or at least has been – depth.

Robyn Barnacle, Christine Schmidt and Denise Cuthbert, Expertise and the PhD: Between depth and a flat place, Higher Education Quarterly. First published: 29 August 2018.