David McWilliams, education and group think

Posted in Teaching on November 17th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The weird thing about the David McWilliams show on TV3 tonight was that David seemed to think that he was saying something new. (For international readers, David McWilliams is to Irish economics what Brian Cox is to physics and astronomy.) In fact, in a talk in which he bizarrely blamed our secondary school system for the groupthink that led to the financial crisis, he was a living example of groupthink …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 16 November]


Project Maths fails to lift Irish teenagers’ performance in subject

Posted in Teaching on November 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Irish teenagers’ performance in maths saw no significant change between 2012 and 2015, a report evaluating the impact of Project Maths says. It states Project Maths has had ‘a small positive impact’ on student performance as measured by international studies but that there are ‘clear challenges’ in teaching, learning and assessment …” (more)

[Sarah Burns, Irish Times, 14 November]

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A review of Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler: Part I

Posted in Teaching on November 8th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“At the second attempt I returned to Jo Boaler’s book Mathematical Mindsets. I really wanted to get an insight into what she is proposing because I have no doubt that the curriculum designers are planning to incorporate Boaler’s ideas into what will be Ireland’s revised primary school curriculum …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 7 November]


Minister Mitchell O’Connor launches an online resource to inform Higher Level Institutions’ Student Retention Strategies

Posted in Teaching on November 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, Minister of State for Higher Education, today 2nd of November, 2017, launched an online resource to assist higher level institutions to create effective student retention strategies and to enhance student experiences …” (more)

[Teaching and Learning, 2 November]

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A new type of hacking puts professors’ accounts at risk

Posted in Teaching on November 2nd, 2017 by steve

“A former wrestler at the University of Iowa was arrested last week for his role in a high-tech cheating scheme. The student, Trevor Graves, secretly installed devices called keyloggers onto campus computers and used them to record his professors’ keystrokes. Armed with his instructors’ institutional log-in details, Graves reportedly boosted his grades over 90 times in a 21-month period, in addition to intercepting exam and test questions …” (more)

[Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, 1 November]

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Reflections on being an associate dean

Posted in Teaching on October 31st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Today I finish a three-year term as the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in our Faculty of Science and Health. The ADTL role is probably one of those admin roles that are seen as representing university bureaucracy gone mad and associate deans as a group are routinely lampooned on Twitter …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 31 October]


What’s all this about digital skills?

Posted in Teaching on October 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Over 75% of Irish school leavers will progress to further or higher education. And you might imagine that we would adopt an integrated approach to curriculum design in our education system. And you might think that we’d think about each level of the education system in terms of how well it prepares pupils and students for the subsequent level …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 25 October]


Brexit perspectives in the academy

Posted in Teaching on October 25th, 2017 by steve

“Apparently like all university heads in the United Kingdom, I received a letter this week from Mr Chris Heaton-Harris MP, a Conservative Whip in the House of Commons and, as his own website states, a ‘fierce Eurosceptic’. In his letter, Mr Heaton-Harris asks me to supply him with the names of professors ‘who are involved in the teaching of European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 25 October]

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Adult advisory explicit content: Queen’s University warns students courses may offend

Posted in Teaching on October 25th, 2017 by steve

“Queen’s University Belfast is giving students ‘trigger warnings’ that material on some courses may offend or cause distress. History and politics undergraduates at the university have been told they may be upset by modules on the far right movement in Europe and North America …” (more)

[Jonathan Bell, Belfast Telegraph, 24 October]

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It’s really all about knowledge

Posted in Teaching on October 24th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“For the last three years I’ve been teaching a first year module called Introduction to Bioprocessing. To be honest, the purpose of the module is to get our biotechnology students together as a relatively small group (25 students) which I hope will help make the transition to university that little bit easier for them. The module is, to a large extent, an ice-breaker …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 24 October]

‘Never memorize something that you can look up’ #Einstein #InstantLearning

Posted in Teaching on October 24th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I wonder can you learn how to do anything you want on YouTube? Yesterday I went about fixing my broken car key fob. I had to buy a replacement shell, get a new key cut, and take the transponder and circuit board out of the old key and insert into the new key fob. Easy? …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 24 October]

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Upgrading all borderline students’ degree classes ‘unacceptable’

Posted in Teaching on October 22nd, 2017 by steve

“UK universities must ensure that their policies on borderline scores do not in effect lower the thresholds for degree classifications, sector bodies say. In a new report, Universities UK and GuildHE call for more transparency around degree algorithms – the set of rules that institutions follow to determine a student’s final degree classification …” (more)

[Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, 18 October]

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Study suggests overhaul of how maths is taught at primary level

Posted in Teaching on October 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Children’s progress in maths at the age of nine has a major influence through to Junior Certificate preparations and suggests a need to overhaul how it is taught at primary level, a leading education researcher says …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 19 October]

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The UK’s Cautionary Tale of Teaching Excellence

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on October 18th, 2017 by steve

“Higher education in the UK, and in England in particular, has undergone more than two decades of continuous reform, in its governance, structures, funding and quality assurance mechanisms. Among these reforms has been the imposition of research assessment as a mechanism for distributing research funds, which has acted as a huge and successful incentive to improve the quality of research …” (more)

[Bahram Bekhradnia, University Times, 17 October]

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The philosopher’s stone

Posted in Teaching on October 10th, 2017 by steve

“Outside of the world of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, little attention is probably paid these days to the philosopher’s stone, or indeed the study of alchemy from which it derived. Even if we don’t now want to focus on the ostensible chemical transformation suggested by the concept (of base metals into gold or silver), alchemy provided an interesting framework for the study of life, enlightenment and perfection …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 9 October]

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Students Are Frustrated and Angry. They Need Places to Air Their Concerns

Posted in Teaching on October 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“When a group of third-year chemistry students in Trinity found themselves experiencing mental health problems as a result of a severely high workload, meeting little or no support from their school, they decided to take action. Compiling and submitting a report to the School of Chemistry that detailed the impossibly high academic standards set for them and the stress and upset for students, they received a muted response …” (more)

[University Times, 1 October]


Note this, Students

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“I read with interest the post by the ever-excellent Eugene O’Loughlin on student note taking. He notes, pun intended, a reluctance and resistance from students to taking notes, relying instead on the handed out powerpoints he creates. I agree, this is a common experience …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 26 September]


 Students Don’t Take Notes Anymore?

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“While taking my usual perusal through the very funny Waterford Whispers News this morning I had a giggle at one of their latest posts: Fucking Loser In Front Of You Actually Taking Notes During Lecture. In this post a student who doesn’t take notes thinks others who do are ‘losers’ while scribbling rude drawings and checking out Snapchat and Netflix. Funny – maybe, but real? …” (more)

[Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 26 September]


The ideal PhD researcher has no baggage

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2017 by steve

“The way institutions conceptualise doctoral candidates – as individuals without baggage, able to devote all their time to their research – has very real consequences for those who do not fit this profile. Marie-Alix Thouaille reports on recent research into the professional development behaviours and experiences of doctoral and early-career researchers …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 26 September]


Professors Have Taken Over the MOOCs

Posted in Teaching on September 26th, 2017 by steve

“We need to revise our thinking about MOOCs. The old story was that MOOCs are just another overhyped educational technology, one more example of interests outside of the academy (investors, technologists) seeking to ‘disrupt college’ without any true understanding of how higher education actually works. The new MOOC story may be about the professors …” (more)

[Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, 25 September]