A Year of Closure

Posted in Life, Teaching on March 13th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Today is 12th March 2021, which means it is exactly one year since Maynooth University campus closed because of Covid-19. Last year 12th March was on a Thursday and I remember doing my Computational Physics lecture in the morning and a computer lab in the afternoon and then heard we couldn’t go back to teaching the following day …” (more)

[In the Dark, 12 March]

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USI condemns the passing over of 39 Trinity medical students for the Covid-19 vaccine at Coome hospital

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on March 10th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has condemned the passing over of 39 Trinity medical students for the Covid-19 vaccine on the night it was given to 16 relatives of staff at Coome hospital. In a statement to Trinity News, the USI said it was ‘very disappointed and concerned to see the story break’ …” (more)

[Kate Henshaw, Trinity News, 9 March]

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Govt discusses sanctions over Leaving Cert calculated grades process

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on March 10th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Anyone seeking to improperly influence the Leaving Certificate calculated grades process is likely to face sanctions. Cabinet discussed the matter as part of an Education Amendment Bill which is focused on the accredited grades system, operated by the State Examinations Commission …” (more)

[Mícheál Lehane, RTÉ News, 9 March]

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Minister loses appeals over home-schooled Leaving Cert students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on March 9th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The Minister for Education has lost her appeals over findings two home-schooled students were unfairly and unlawfully excluded from the Leaving Certificate calculated grades process. In a 127-page judgment on Tuesday, the three judge Court of Appeal (COA), comprising Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, Ms Justice Mary Faherty and Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh dismissed the appeals concerning High Court findings in separate cases by the two students …” (more)

[Mary Carolan, Irish Times, 9 March]

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Thinking about critical thinking

Posted in Teaching on March 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“I’m increasingly struck by the extent to which education commentary has found itself in a bit of a rut. As someone who is broadly conservative and in favour of what’s known as ‘knowledge-rich’ curricula, I find it a little bit disappointing that the same arguments are being rehashed over and over. Yes, critical thinking requires relevant knowledge. Yes, skills tend to be discipline-specific and not generic and yes, attempting to teach skills in a context-free way has proven to be ineffective …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 8 March]

Podcast 412, Academic Integrity: Plagiarism, Predatory Publishing and Contract Cheating

Posted in Teaching on March 8th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“On this week’s podcast I address the topic of academic integrity, a concern at all levels of the education system. My guest is Professor Diane Pecorari from the City University of Hong Kong, who is an expert in this area. Among the topics we discuss on the episode are the following …” (more)

[Inside Education, 6 March]

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Sherry v The Minister for Education and Skills and others [2021] IEHC 128 (2 March 2021)

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on March 3rd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The fight to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus has involved the imposition by the State of restrictions on almost every aspect of our lives. The young, the old, those with disabilities, and those without have all been affected, some to a greater degree than others. To halt the spread of the virus, it is necessary to limit, if not restrict entirely, the circumstances under which people meet and congregate. In excess of 62,000 students were due to sit the Leaving Certificate in 2020 …” (more)

Sherry v The Minister for Education and Skills and Others (Approved) [2021] IEHC 128 (2 March 2021)

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Calculated grades will be seen as a success even if individual students feel hard done by

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Legal issues, Teaching on March 3rd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The official reaction from the Minister for Education Norma Foley was muted. ‘The Minister for Education has received the judgment of Mr Justice Meenan given today in the case taken by a student in relation to the calculated grades system for Leaving Certificate 2020 and notes its content’ …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 2 March]

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Coombe Hospital Vaccinated Staff Family Members over 39 Medical Students

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on March 2nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“On the evening of January 8th, 16 relatives of Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital staff were vaccinated ahead of 39 medical students who were on stand-by for the vaccine. Hospital management was made aware of the 39 students on stand-by an hour before vaccines were given out to family members, Prof Deirdre Murphy, Head of Obstetrics at Trinity College Dublin, has told an investigative review into the incident …” (more)

[Adam O’Sullivan, College Tribune, 1 March]

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Gender bias and predicted grades

Posted in Teaching on March 2nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – A decision has been made to use predicted grades again for the 2021 Leaving Certificate, as well as optional actual exams. When teachers and schools are predicting the grades of their students, they should be aware that in 2020 there was a bias in favour of female students and against male students. How do I know there was bias against males? The Department of Education report on the predicted grades in 2020 says so and has some interesting data to illustrate it …” (more)

[Oliver Murphy, Irish Times, 2 March]

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Leaving Cert: High Court to rule on challenge to 2020 calculated grades process

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on March 1st, 2021 by steve

Ireland“A High Court judge will rule on Tuesday on the lead challenge over the calculated grades process adopted for the Leaving Certificate 2020 exam in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Justice Charles Meenan heard the lead action by Freddie Sherry, who was a 2020 Leaving Cert student at Belvedere College, Dublin, over some five weeks before the case concluded in early February …” (more)

[Mary Carolan, Irish Times, 1 March]

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Students could be returning to face to face learning on campus in September, says Trinity

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on February 28th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Reprioritisation of the government’s Provisional Vaccine Allocation Groups could see Trinity return to face to face learning by the start of the next academic year, College officials announced yesterday evening. According to the government’s latest vaccination plan, members of third level institutions could see earlier vaccination than the general public, after those aged 55 to 60 years …” (more)

[Shannon Connolly, Trinity News, 27 February]

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Two-tier education system

Posted in Teaching on February 27th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The Irish Times reported on the potential penalisation of some students due to the removal of historical school data from the grade calculation process (‘Leaving Cert – removing school data risked penalising some students’, News, February 22nd) …” (more)

[Reamonn O’Luan, Irish Times, 27 February]

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Grades and high-performing schools

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on February 26th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I refer to the article ‘Leaving Cert – removing school data risked penalising some students’ (News, February 22nd). In light of the contents of this article and having reviewed the arrangements for the upcoming Leaving Cert, I am extremely concerned about the fairness of the Leaving Cert accredited grade process for 2021 …” (more)

[Harry Deacon, Irish Times, 26 February]

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Leaving Cert mock exams not allowed for accredited grades process, schools told

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on February 24th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Schools will be told they cannot not use the results of mock exams as a basis for estimating marks for Leaving Cert students under the accredited grades process. The ‘mocks’ are a familiar part of the run-up to the June exams and most schools hold them, usually the January and February of sixth year …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 24 February]

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More Professors Ditch Print

Posted in Teaching on February 24th, 2021 by steve

“For the first year on record, more faculty members used learning management systems than print course materials when teaching classes, according a new report released Tuesday from the National Association of College Stores. The 2020 Faculty Watch report is based on a survey of 968 faculty members from 17 two- and four-year, public and private institutions in the United States and Canada …” (more)

[Emma Whitford, Inside Higher Ed, 24 February]

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Leaving Cert: Removing school data risked penalising some students

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on February 22nd, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The Government was warned some students risked being ‘thrown under the bus’ due to its decision to remove school performance data from the calculated grades system used in last year’s Leaving Certificate. The comment is contained in internal Department of Education records, seen by The Irish Times, which throw fresh light over a decision to omit ‘school profiling’ from the calculated grades process …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 22 February]

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Thoughts on student engagement

Posted in Teaching on February 20th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“One of my favourite education quotes is Robert Coe’s ‘Engagement is a poor proxy for learning’. It’s very easy to presume that just because students are busy doing stuff that they are actually learning something. This is not necessarily the case and it seems to me that an awful lot of innovation in education focuses on engagement without really asking if students are learning anything of substance …” (more)

[Tales from Academia, 20 February]

Significant increase in class sizes at UCD Smurfit

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on February 19th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“The University Observer has found that there has been a significant increase in the class sizes in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, particularly in MSc Business Analytics and MSc Digital Marketing, based on records obtained by Freedom of Information Requests …” (more)

[Andrea Andres, University Observer, 16 February]

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DkIT students to get their withheld exam results within the next fortnight

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on February 18th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Students at the DkIT are to receive their withheld exam results within the next fortnight as industrial action at the institute has been lifted. The TUI said the industrial action – which has been lifted – had been taken due to the institute’s executive failing to honour commitments made last year, including the improvement of management bodies and progress in pursuing Technological University status …” (more)

[Michelle O’Keeffe, Dundalk Democrat, 17 February]

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