Roll up, roll up for subject level TEF

Posted in Teaching on July 20th, 2017 by steve

“The Department for Education is seeking volunteers for the pilot of its TEF subject-level rating. On Thursday, the government published the specification for the trial, which provides our first glimpse at how a subject-level TEF could work if rolled out in future years in line with the plan for the exercise …” (more)

[Catherine Boyd, Wonkhe, 20 July]

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Knowledge and problem solving

Posted in Teaching on July 20th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I experienced a really good example of why knowledge is an integral part of problem solving this morning.  One of my masters students comes to me with what seems to be an intractable programming (coding!) problem. He’s tearing his hair out …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 20 July]

Sharp increase in first-class degrees triggers standards debate

Posted in Teaching on July 20th, 2017 by steve

“About a third of UK universities now award a first-class degree to at least a quarter of their undergraduates compared with just 8% of institutions five years ago, a new analysis has shown. Figures on degree scores from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, analysed by the Press Association, show that 40 higher education institutions saw the proportion of firsts rise by more than 10 percentage points between 2010-11 and 2015-16 …” (more)

[Simon Baker, Times Higher Education, 20 July]

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First-class university degrees on the increase

Posted in Teaching on July 19th, 2017 by steve

“The proportion of firsts awarded by UK universities has soared with a third of institutions now grading at least one in four degrees with the top honour, figures released today reveal …” (more)

[Shân Ross, The Scotsman, 19 July]

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UCC students under investigation over project cheating fears

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on July 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Several University College Cork business information systems (BIS) students are awaiting the outcome of a probe into allegations that they cheated on a final-year project. While more than a dozen are understood to have been subject of an initial complaint, the number being investigated is thought to be significantly less after initial consideration of the matter …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 14 July]

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Exam stress is not a mental illness

Posted in Teaching on July 13th, 2017 by steve

“There has been a surge in the number of undergraduates demanding special consideration during examinations due to mental-health issues. The Sunday Times has reported that the University of Cambridge approved requests for 218 students to have alternative exam arrangements last year – triple the amount of students allowed special measures five years ago …” (more)

[Frank Furedi, Spiked, 12 July]

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UCC withholds some results amid allegations of cheating

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on July 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“University College Cork has withheld the results of a number of final-year degree students amid allegations of cheating and breaches of exam procedures. Students from the business information systems course are alleged to have ‘outsourced’ key aspects of a final-year project which involved computer coding, according to college sources …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 13 July]

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Why not give back to students their marked examination scripts?

Posted in Teaching on July 6th, 2017 by steve

“Well, the examination period is over and we’re now in that curious interregnum in the academic year that lasts until graduation, when we get to congratulate students properly and send them on their way into the big wide world. I hope the weather is a bit cooler for that event …” (more)

[In the Dark, 6 July]

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Anthropologist studies why professors don’t adopt innovative teaching methods

Posted in Teaching on July 6th, 2017 by steve

“An anthropologist who had the unenviable task of sitting through academics’ meetings and reading their email chains to find out why they fail to change their teaching styles has come to a surprising conclusion: they are simply too afraid of looking stupid in front of their students to try something new …” (more)

[David Matthews, Inside Higher Ed, 6 July]

Stop Using PowerPoint, Harvard University Says It’s Damaging Your Brand And Your Company

Posted in Teaching on July 6th, 2017 by steve

“PowerPoint, the much maligned and misused presentation platform, is harming people’s perception of you and your brand, according to new research from Harvard University. The research team at Harvard conducted a double-blind study …” (more)

[Paul Armstrong, Forbes, 5 July]

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Thoughts on Computers in Education

Posted in Teaching on July 5th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Over at the World Conference on Computers in Education people are tweeting about change, innovation and transformation. David Putnam is saying things like ‘Should we fail to radically change our approach to education, the same cohort we’re trying to “protect” could find that their entire future has been scuttled by our timidity’. Strong words indeed but fundamentally alarmist and not really based on any evidence …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 5 July]

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English language school teachers suffer ’serious deficiencies’ says Unite spokesman

Posted in Teaching on July 4th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“English Language School teachers have said that they love their job but it is impossible to stay in the sector long term because of a lack of regulation. The Unite trade union is briefing Oireachtas members today on concerns over the industry, where the majority of schools are privately run …” (more)

[BreakingNews.ie, 4 July]

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King’s Inns monopoly on training barristers ‘should be ended’

Posted in Teaching on June 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The monopoly of the King’s Inns society should be ended and all universities should be permitted to train barristers, the Dáil has heard. People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said there was no proper statutory basis for the operation of the King’s Inns, which ‘ensures that a very small, well-vetted elite decide who gets to be a barrister and controls the legal system and who is kept out …” (more)

[Marie O’Halloran, Irish Times, 27 June]

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Disrupting institutional entitlement in higher education: the Teaching Excellence Framework

Posted in Teaching on June 27th, 2017 by steve

“Let me first of all declare an interest. This post is going to be about the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in the UK. My university, Robert Gordon University, entered, and was awarded a Gold rating. So you may conclude that this colours my judgement. But let me first go back some ten years to a meeting I attended on university rankings …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 26 June]

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NUIG to drop students’ names from exam papers amid bias concerns

Posted in Teaching on June 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“NUI Galway will no longer require students to put their names on exam papers amid concern over marking bias. The college’s academic council has approved a proposal to introduce anonymous marking which will commence in the new academic year …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 26 June]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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