Thursday, 15 March 2018

Does listening to music hinder learning?

Many students listen to music while revising or doing homework while claiming that it helps them to study better. A recent research study from the applied psychology department of Cardiff Metropolitan University found that while music can improve motivation and mood, it does not help people learn new or complex material because music – especially tunes with lyrics – can take up processing space and conflict with the material you are trying to learn. Read more by following the link below to the Guardian Higher Education pages. 

A girl studying while listening to music

Drowned in sound: how listening to music hinders learning

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The digital academic - book review

A recent review in the LSE Impact blog of 'The Digital Academic: critical perspectives on digital technologies in higher education' finds the book a lively and enjoyable read. According to the reviewer the book offers an insightful and diverse take on the digital landscape in higher education, covering topics such as MOOCs, “flipped classrooms” and academic blogging. The book is written by Deborah Lupton, Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson and is available to borrow from the LTT collection in Bolton Street Library. Read the comprehensive review by following the link below. 

Monday, 5 March 2018

"Dumbing down" for Technological Universities

An article in The Irish Times today reports on concerns from the university sector in Ireland over a potential “dumbing down” of criteria required for institutes of technology to secure new technological university status. According to the article, senior university sources have expressed concern that while the minimum thresholds required to become a technological university were first set out in 2012, such as the proportion of staff with PhDs and the volume of students involved in research, new legislation which is due to be enacted by the Oireachtas shortly, dilutes these minimum thresholds. Read more by following the link below. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Useful blog for PhD students

Pat Thomson's Patter blog is a useful source of information and inspiration for those who are finding it hard to complete their doctorate.  Recent posts include advice for those finding it hard to get through the 'stuck points' of their PhD or struggling with academic writing. The blog deals with all areas of doctoral experience including academic writing, the literature review and research methods. 


Thursday, 8 February 2018

What does a Swedish manufacturer of flat-pack furniture and a university have in common?

Quite a lot if you were to agree with James O'Sullivan (Irish Times). In particular they both share the ability to issue careful and detailed instructions that consumers (for university read students) follow to produce useful furniture (for university read degrees).  On the surface, that isn’t a bad thing, after all, who doesn’t need a table? The same can said about engineers and lawyers, both very useful professions. However following a list of instructions, from an educational perspective, doesn’t encourage independent or critical thinking….

Click on the link below for the full article.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Concluding your doctoral thesis

Pat Thomson gives some thought on her Patter blog about how to conclude the doctoral thesis. Often students write weak conclusions because they have run out of words or time. Earlier posts deal with writing and structuring the thesis and Thomson has provided some useful writing tools, including sentence skeletons, to help explain how experienced academic writers structure their work. See more by following the link below.


Leaving a good impression: thesis conclusion

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?