05 August 2013

Items to Share: 4 August

Education Focus
  • Why today is my last day teaching online… | The Edublogger  "I just can’t shake the feeling that my students would have been much better served in a more traditional face-to-face setting. So, sadly, I know that it is now time for me to put down my grading mouse and walk away from the keyboard."
  • Using a Blog to Enhance Student Participation | Faculty Focus "A sociology professor in an undergraduate introductory social problems course used a blog to “enhance student participation, engagement and skill building.” In the article referenced below, this professor shares her experiences of using this assignment with 263 students across four semesters.
  • Names for things | Webs of Substance  "As a teaching approach, constructivism seems to imply that students need to construct knowledge either by themselves or with other students. Teachers simply ‘telling’ the students things is distinctly looked down upon, even though this could be argued as being totally compatible with constructivist learning theory..."
  • Why Online Education Works | Cato Unbound "Oxford University was founded in 1096, Cambridge in 1209. Harvard, a relative newcomer, was founded in 1636. Other than religions, few institutions appear to have maintained their existence or their relative status for as long as major universities. And few institutions, notably again other than religions, have seen so little change. Oxford in 2012 teaches students in ways remarkably similar to Oxford in 1096, seated students listening to professors in a classroom. [...]these two facts are related; stasis in methods has led to stasis in status. And [...] both of these facts are about to change. Online education will change how universities teach; as a result, online education will change which universities teach." 
  • The Internet, That Old Scapegoat - Lingua Franca - The Chronicle of Higher Education "Citing digital content appropriately is a challenge for experienced academics as well as students, and the rules on such citation continue to evolve, so even putting aside the tremendous temptation offered by online term-paper factories, it seems reasonable to conclude that use of the Internet makes both drawing and understanding hard and fast rules in this area more difficult than it once was, not that it makes students less capable."  
Other Business


  1. I've never been a student at Oxford or Cambridge, but it's my understanding that most of the learning comes in tutorials, with one or a few students in a tutor's office, no? Yes, there are lectures, but tutorials are the center of learning (as I understand such things). And individual study. These days, I'm guessing the students at those schools are pretty well prepared for schooling, and have excelled in educational settings previously, so they're ready for individual study that's pretty intense. Less well prepared students may need more guidance. But I bet a whole lot of them would do amazing work with the proper motivation and a tutorial set up!

  2. I assume you're referring to the "Online education works" link? You're right. I didn't go to Oxbridge either, but the system at Sussex ("Balliol-by-the-sea") in my day was closely modelled on theirs. And it was brilliant. And presumably horrendously expensive.

    I re-post links I hope readers will find interesting, but that does not imply any kind of endorsement of views expressed in them. I happen to think that post was just what you might expect from an economist.

    Perhaps I ought to incorporate a disclaimer...

  3. Oh, I didn't think YOU were endorsing the post; sorry if that was unclear. But it's not like it's worth saying anything on the original, right?

    1. If you scroll down to the bottom of the original page there are links to some follow-up discussion. I didn't spot a comment button--but that may be because the conversation is several months old by now.


Comments welcome, but I am afraid I have had to turn moderation back on, because of inappropriate use. Even so, I shall process them as soon as I can.