Monday, 30 November 2015

Will video kill the lecturing star?

The Guardian today reports on the flipped classroom approach, in which lectures are viewed at home and class time is used for discussion, project work and other practical exercises. The article argues that ‘flipping’ your classroom gives students the chance to apply ideas rather than simply absorbing them and reports that in their research they received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students about the approach and the use of new technology. The article includes some tips on how to flip! Read more by following the link below.

Will video kill the lecturing star?

An obsession with metrics?

An article in The Guardian today reports that universities’ growing addiction to tracking progress will destroy the very things they are supposed to nurture and make academics into data drones. The author argues that metrics are not about the individual student, or teacher, but are about making educators accountable. Furthermore, the author insists that creativity, love of knowledge and thirst for discovery are things that universities should teach, incentivise and promulgate but they are not easily measured. Interestingly there is also an article today in the Times Higher Education which reports on metrics and the process of peer review but this article argues that they can help determine attention and impact. Read more at the second link below.

Read more by following the link below.

An obsession with metrics?

Don't throw out the baby with the metrics bathwater! TLE

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

What exactly is a professor?

In the Times Higher Education today James Derounian writes that a professorship is widely seen as the pinnacle of achievement for staff in higher education, but what  – in 2015 – should a professor be? Broadly speaking (and with many caveats around the differences between countries and cultures), professors teach students at a high level, they conduct research and they publish scholarly works. In a world of mass migration, climate change, poverty and war should we expect more? Read more of this article by clicking on the link below. If you have access problems you can either sign up directly with the journal or view content through the Nexus UK database available on the DIT library website.

What is a professor?

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Reviewing peer review

There has been regular debate recently in the media about the process of peer review in academia. While it is agreed the process is at the heart of scholarly communication, some are unhappy about the integrity of the system. The Guardian reports on new research which sets out to explore where peer review falls short of expectations and the reality of the process. Follow the link below to read this article and others on the same subject.

Work being marked

Reviewing Peer Review - link

Academic writing skills

These pages from the library at the University of Leeds offer some help and guidance to those seeking to improve their academic writing. The guides aim to deconstruct the process of writing academically and introduce methods you can use to improve your academic writing style. Additionally there are sections on planning, structuring and proofreading your work and further links to referencing and critical thinking. Follow the link below.

Academic writing

Academic writing skills...

Friday, 13 November 2015

Learning through failure - can we teach children to be smarter?

According to an article in the Irish Times this week, nurturing a ‘growth mindset’ in the classroom, where effort and persistence are valued, has dramatic effects. Children adapt better to challenges, seek strategies to improve performance and show higher attainment levels. This theory was first posited by psychology researcher Carol Dweck, now at Stanford University. The author of the article discusses how after an opportunity to put the theory to test in her school classroom, it profoundly transformed her approach to teaching. Read more below.

Children at Holy Trinity National School did a workshop on the physical changes in the brain when a new skill or knowledge is mastered, which neuroscientists call “neuroplasticity”. The fixed mindset sees intelligence as unchanging from cradle to grave; the growth mindset sees intelligence as a malleable attribute that can grow through effort and persistence

Learning through failure - link to Irish Times

Thursday, 12 November 2015

What is the future of the academic book?

In an age of vocal campaigns for open access publishing and continuing digital upheaval the British Library and the Arts and Humanities Research Council launched a campaign last year to determine the future of academic books. In a new book due for publication this week, experts, including publishers, librarians and academics debate how scholarly publishing is going to have to change. Read more by clicking on the link below to the THE.

Open book, bookshelf and e-book reader
Click here for The Academic Book...

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Student Hub launched in Irish Times

The Irish Times launched a new Student Hub website this week with the aim of providing students – no matter what institution they attend – with an opportunity to engage with each other and to stay informed of what’s going on in each other’s colleges. Student Hub will carry news relating to on-campus developments and issues facing students today, as well as developments on the arts, music, health and political fronts.

The Student Hub: The platform will feature articles written by students and Irish Times writers.

Read more below.

Irish Times Student Hub

Are you a conference troll?

Presenting a paper at a conference is a scary enough prospect for most academics – so why do some members of the audience persist in making things worse by trying to catch them out with difficult questions, condescending statements and thinly veiled attempts to show off superior knowledge? If you're one of those people who hope the fire alarm will go off just as your presentation ends and the questions start, then this Guardian article is for you, offering some practical advice on dealing with difficult questions but also reminding others that questions should be about personal and collective development, not scoring points.


Read more by clicking on the link below.

Conference trolls at the Guardian..

Monday, 9 November 2015

Crowdsourcing for peer review… has launched a community review facility called PaperRank.  This is a recommendation based ranking system, with researchers recommending papers to other researchers.  The rating is influenced by the reputation of the recommending scholar, based in part, on their PaperRank. Ratings will be much quicker than the traditional peer review process, taking weeks instead of months.

However, whether this method could replace traditional peer review remains to be seen.  With some commentators already pointing to potential flaws in the system….

University reform in the UK....

Universities in the UK appear to be in line for a new raft of reforms.  In addition to a new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), changes to funding and management structures are also looming. Mike Boxell, writing in the Guardian, asks if the green paper addresses some of the most important issues in HE today, such as improving the quality of teaching, getting the balance right between research and teaching and widening access for students from all backgrounds.

Will these changes improve the student experience or their job prospects?

Monday, 2 November 2015

Student satisfaction and the Teaching Excellence Framework

The Guardian reports today on the debate surrounding the UK government's proposed new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Countless surveys have indicated a growing dissatisfaction among students who feel they are not getting value for money while the universities minister Jo Johnson has said the quality of teaching in higher education is “lamentable”. While some universities have welcomed this new emphasis on teaching - especially those fed up with league tables that focus heavily on research, others are unsure how the government's new criteria for measuring good quality teaching will work. Read more by clicking on the link below.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Using analytical tools to measure quality of academic staff

At a recent JISC conference in the UK, the University of Edinburgh announced that it was developing tools to monitor academics’ performance in areas such as assessment and feedback. The event heard how digital applications are increasingly being used to collate data which may help identify students who are struggling and need support. Edinburgh's Chief Information Officer and Librarian also confirmed that this is “only half the story”, noting that analytical tools could also be used to “measure the quality” of academic staff, particularly in relation to the quality and timeliness of assessment and feedback. Read more from the Times Higher Education at the link below. This journal may also be accessed from the Nexus UK database available on the library website.

Digital Big Brother