Thursday, 15 December 2016

More on world university rankings.....

Carl O'Brien, of the Irish Times, tells us that a recent report issued by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), states that governments and colleges should ignore world university rankings, including the QS World University Rankings. 

The report cautions against an over reliance on such ranking systems, as the data only examines the research activity of the institution, and not  aspects such as learning and teaching.

HEPI aren't against university rankings, but feel that universities should be judged on a more holistic basis.

For the full article follow the link below.

Full report available:

International university rankings: For good or ill?

Monday, 12 December 2016

Not students - just customers!

Writing in the Irish Times today, Kathleen Lynch argues that with higher education becoming increasingly commercial in its approach to teaching and research it no longer has students - just customers. The Government’s national strategy for Irish higher education to 2030 states that third-level institutions should “strike a balance between the demands of the market and their academic mission” giving them a remit to be more commercial in its teaching and research operations. Lynch claims that of the 14 research priority areas identified by the research prioritisation steering group in 2012, not one is in the social sciences, education, arts or humanities.She concludes that the values incorporated in the governance and priorities of higher education must reflect the fact that education is a human right and that it is also a public good that greatly enriches cultural, social and political life, outside of its market value. Follow the link below to read the article in the Irish Times.
Colleges are increasingly expected to promote commercial interests and values throughout their operations. Photograph: iStock

Not students but customers!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

50 great Education books

Writing in The Conversation, Dennis Hayes says that he has often argued that he wouldn't let any teacher into a school unless they had read - as a minimum - carefully and well, the three great books of education: Plato’s Republic, Rousseau’s Émile and Dewey’s Democracy and Education. He further argues that each book is sociologically whole and together they constitute the intellectual background to any informed discussion of education.  Therefore the struggle to understand these books and the thinking involved in understanding them would change teachers and ultimately teaching. The list of 50 books on education below constitute an attempt at an education “canon”. Read more by following the link below. 

50 great books on Education

Are libraries invisible to junior scholars?

A recent report by the Publishing Research Consortium which has looked at the attitudes to publishing of early career academics and also their increasing use of Google for research purposes, has prompted debate about the future of academic libraries by suggesting that libraries have “little to offer” the next generation of academics. However, Ann Rossiter, executive director of the Society of College, National and University Libraries (Sconul) has argued that researchers don't need to come into a library building to use their services and that no matter how junior scholars discover materials, the resources were “almost certainly” made available by the university library. Others argue that while the traditional view of the library may be becoming less visible research libraries are responding by moving into new areas in the scholarly communication chain. Read more by following the link below. You may need to register to access the article.

Person reading miniature book

Are libraries invisible to junior scholars?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Oxford Graduate sues University over failure to get a first

An Oxford University graduate is suing the university for £1m claiming the “appallingly bad” and “boring” teaching cost him a first-class degree and prevented him from having a successful career. A judgement is expected later this month and if he wins, the case could open the floodgates to similar claims from students complaining about inadequate teaching, unsuitable accommodation and poor decisions. Read more from the Guardian by following the link below. 

Brasenose College in Oxford

Oxford Graduate sues university for failure to get a first

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”

I'd like to think that Mark Twain wouldn't mind if we exchanged the word "newspaper" for "Google" in the above, given the current popularity of digital as opposed to print media, the sentiment is still the same.  So with Twain's caveat firmly in mind you might like to read Carole Cadwalladr's sobering article in the Guardian on Google, the internet and searching.

Cadwalladr begins her journey of enlightenment into the ways of Google, algorithms and data mining with an innocuous search that is "autocompleted" by Google.  She then outlines the many processes that can allow persons, organisations or political movements to manipulate information and therefore potentially, control how we think, or even how we vote.

Too far-fetched for you? The article lays out, in some detail, the many insidious practices that can potentially allow us to be controlled by information that is fed to us by design rather than serendipity.

For the full article please follow the link below:

Google, democracy and the truth about internet search