22 July 2007

On Potter punctuation

On p.345 "it's a damn' sight"

Right! Oh, the story's quite good, too.

17 July 2007

Roger Scruton on the nature of education

  • 'What we teach in school, what subjects we encourage in universities and the methods of instruction are all subject to the one overarching test: what do the kids get out of it? And this test soon gives way to another, yet more pernicious in its effect, but no less persuasive in the thinking of educationists: is it relevant? And by “relevant” is invariably meant “relevant to the interests of the kids themselves”.
  • 'From these superstitions have arisen all the recipes for failure that have dominated our educational systems: the proliferation of ephemeral subjects, the avoidance of difficulties, methods of teaching that strive to maintain interest at all costs – even at the cost of knowledge.


On an academic's job description

A friend and colleague has just been told that as a course leader, it is his job to make sure the accountants have set up a project accounting system for a particular course event.

Over coffee, he went over his responsibilities for the course. It is now his job to;
  • write the course advertisements, brochure and prospectus entry
  • tell marketing where and when to place the advertisements
  • respond to prospective student enquiries
  • invite suitable students to interview
  • interview them
  • manage the course induction (across nine centres)
  • co-ordinate staffing
  • manage quality assurance procedures
  • set the agenda for and chair course boards
  • respond to any student complaints and manage that procedure
  • run staff development sessions for colleagues in the associate centres
  • liaise with the professional validating body, which includes
  • re-designing the programme to comply with their new standards
  • preparing the documentation for university validation
  • co-ordinating that validation across all the centres
  • writing new course handbooks;
  • oversee the assessment procedures
  • set work
  • mark work
  • moderate work
  • liaise with external examiners
  • visit centres to ensure consistency of teaching observations
  • ensure all assessment data is entered onto the system
  • check the accounting procedures and ensure the budget is balanced (although he is not trusted with authorising expenditure)
  • attend graduation
  • provide references for former students
In other words he has to do everything.

Except for one thing.

The university has decided not to run a cohort in the university itself any more.

So he doesn't get to teach on it.