Tuesday, 9 January 2018

All change at the OU

A thought provoking article in the Guardian today asks if Peter Horrocks, the new vice-chancellor of the Open University, is a visionary who will save the Open University – or the man who will run it into the ground? Horrocks has stated that platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are a potential threat to the future of the university and has warned also that what happened to newspapers could happen to universities. Critics fear that the current management is running the university down and they cite recent course closures, job cuts, the closure of seven regional academic centres and the poor satisfaction results from the most recent national student survey as evidence. While Horrocks argues that much of the savings will go to being 'the university of the cloud' and to FutureLearn, the university's online course platform, this too is beset by controversy with academics arguing that the university is promoting its competitors and repackaging the university as a media platform. Read more by following the link below to the Guardian. 

The end of the OU as we know it?

Friday, 8 December 2017

New apprenticeships for Ireland

A recent article in the Irish Times reports on the new apprenticeship opportunities which will soon be available for Irish school-leavers who wish to go the "earn and learn" route. Traditionally apprenticeships were restricted to areas such as construction and craft, but these new options will include opportunities in animation, horticulture, systems engineering and cybersecurity. Skill levels will range from level five (certificate) to level 10 (doctorate) and vary in duration from two to four years. Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, has made a commitment to enrol 31,000 people on apprenticeship programmes in the period 2016-2020. Read more by following the link below.

Photograph: Getty

New apprenticeships for Ireland


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Post-truth teaching: Critical skills for students & graduates

A recent report from the Open University claims that three of the big emerging innovations in pedagogy include equipping students with the skills to “navigate post-truth societies”, “spaced learning” and student-led analytics. According to the lead author, universities need to be thinking about the critical skills needed for students to distinguish between facts and fiction to ensure that learners are both informed by the political climate and more active in the learning process.  Read more by following the link below to the Open University report and the THE article (or access the THE journal through the library e-journals).

Trump supporters

Innovating Pedagogy report: Open University

THE article: Post-truth teaching

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Irish Student Engagement Survey

The results from the 2017 Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) have just been published.  More than 35,800 students from twenty seven higher education institutions participated in the survey in 2017, contributing to an increasingly valuable data set on how students engage with their learning environments. Follow the link below to access the report. 

Irish Student Engagement Survey

Help with your literature searching

Are you just starting out on your Masters or your Doctoral journey? If so you might be interested to know that the librarians in Bolton Street Library are available for one-to-one classes to help you make the most of the extensive scholarly resources available through the library. Take the opportunity to browse the Learning, Teaching and Technology (LTT) collection of books on all areas relating to higher education including an extensive collection of material on research design and methodology.  Follow the link below to see the list of new books which arrived in October at the LTT.

New books for the LTT collection

DIT academics concerned over amalgamation

An article in the Irish Times today reports that a second group of senior academics in the DIT has criticised the lack of engagement around a proposed merger with two other institutes of technology to create a new technological university for Dublin (TU4D). Up to 50 academics have now complained to management about their exclusion from the TU4D process and the lack of dialogue surrounding the proposed merger, claiming that the sidelining of senior DIT academics will “disable from the outset the ability of the institution to function as a university”. Read more by following the link below or log on either through the library database Nexis or the e-journals page. 

Prof Brian Norton, president, DIT. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

DIT academics have concerns over TU4D

Monday, 27 November 2017

Starting the PhD

Some useful and practical words of advice from Pat Thomson on her 'Patter' blog for those starting out on their PhD and trying to refine their topic of interest into a research-able project. Previous posts include advice for those beginning the reading and the writing process and for those who wish to be more academically critical. Follow the link below to read more.


Starting the PhD