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. 

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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.

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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?

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


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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