Friday, 27 February 2015

Is where you publish more important than what you write?

The latest Business Schools’ Academic Journal Guide for 2015 has been published.  The guide reviews 1,401 business journals on the basis of citation scores and a form of peer review.  Journals can achieve a top rating of 4*, meaning most “journal of distinction”, to the lowest rating of 1, meaning “recognised, but more modest standard”.

According to THE, the guide can help scholars select the best journals to publish in, while also helping deans and heads of department to measure performance.  However, there have been some complaints by scholars that this type of ranking emphasises assessment based on where they publish and not what they publish…

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Dispelling the myths around university teaching…

The Times Higher Education takes a humorous look at some of the myths surrounding university teaching.  From the idealised Hollywood version of the inspirational teacher who miraculously transforms lives, to the much rumoured death of the university lecture.

Paul Ashwin provides a useful counterpoint to banish these myths, including the most popular myth 
of all; that students just ain't what they used to be.

Monday, 23 February 2015

A rebrand for engineering?

In the Guardian Higher Education Network today, the author claims that engineering needs a makeover to attract new students. They argue that outreach in schools and lowering fees is not working and a major rebrand of engineering should be considered to reveal how exciting and valuable a subject it really is. Click the link below to read further and to see similar articles.

A rebrand for engineering?

Research or Teaching?

Writing in the Times Higher Education, David Oldfield controversially argues that in the arts and humanities, public funding should be spent on teaching as opposed to research. He further comments that engaging teaching should be the priority and a lecturer's research should not be considered more important than a student's education. Join the debate by clicking the link below.

Research or Teaching in the Arts & Humanities?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The impact of impact!

The inclusion of a formal assessment of the impact of academic research last year in the UK Research Exercise Framework (REF) was highly controversial at the time, but the recently released results have been largely well received. Assessment was made on a case study basis and since the annual research budget would partially ride on the outcome, a lot of academics were extremely nervous. According to the head of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, results confirm that academic work makes a vast contribution to society. Read more by clicking on the link to the THE below.

The impact of impact: click here for article

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Digital skills crisis looming!

A recent report by the House of Lords in the UK warns of a digital skills shortage and claims that universities are not doing enough to address the crisis. The report urges universities to provide shorter and more flexible courses, and to foster stronger links with industry and digital organisations in order to address future needs. Click below to access the article in the Times Higher Education (THE).

 THE article: Digital skills crisis

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Supporting overwhelmed students

Recent research at Liverpool John Moores University has shown that a third of undergraduates in second year experience a slump in their progress and often struggle to meet the academic demands of their course. The 'sophomore slump' is widely recognised by academics in the US. Some prominent academics in the UK discuss this in the Guardian Higher Education Network and suggest that universities should think carefully about the support on offer. Follow the link below to the article.

Click here for Disengaged students 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Is it time to move on from the PDF?

Would a more interactive document type help researchers to synthesise information and create new knowledge?

Does a lack of interactivity render the PDF extinct? The article by Ijad Madisch in the Guardian says that it is time to move to a more updated publishing format that will encourage feedback and foster communications between researchers.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Encouraging use of Wikipedia....

With the University of California, Berkeley hiring a Wikipedian in residence, should we be encouraging students to use Wikipedia more in their studies?
Chris Parr, writing in the THE reports that a survey recently conducted in 2 Australian universities says perhaps we should. The study found that although 9 out of 10 students used Wikipedia only 65% found it useful, and while it is widely used it isn't valued.

The study supports the opinion that in the face of such popularity it is pointless to try to reduce or ban the use of Wikis, but suggests that academics should consider ways of using it as part of teaching to help students to become more discerning and critical in their use of information.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Closing the gender gap in science

This article in the Irish Times draws on recent HEA figures to ask why they show a drop in the number of female new entrants to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses at university. With female role models more visible than ever, girls are still not being attracted to a career in these areas and the phenomenon is not just an Irish one. Read more here as experts debate the reasons for this imbalance and discuss ways to challenge the stereotypes.

Link to Irish Times article

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Freedom of speech…

You might think that freedom of speech, debate and protest are all part of a good liberal university education, but according to a recent study conducted by Spiked, that may not always be the case.
The study indicated that even some of the top ranked universities in the UK don’t always promote or protect these liberal values.  However Louise Tickle of the Guardian highlights some possible flaws in the criteria used by Spiked in its ranking….