Monday, 14 January 2008

The future of lectures

Also in last week Higher - a longer article on lectures, which relates to something that came up in our PG Certificate in Academic Practice induction last week - the problem of providing adequate facilities for teaching larger and larger groups and raising issues about whether we shouldn't be thinking about alternative delivery modes more rather than following Essex in building 1,000 seat lecture theater's!

The other issue - whatever the format is the problem of institutions responding to fluctuations in student numbers in different courses effectively and therefore using the resources more efficiently.

Student assessors

In last weeks Times Higher (the first of the re-launched Higher) there was a short piece on plans to involve students in the institutional audit teams - a radical suggestion which got some predictable negative responses from v-c's and others - I think it obviously has to be well planned but it is an interesting idea. What do you think?

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Biomedical Network

Google Reader (121): "Online Networking Site for Scientists Debuts
from The Chronicle of Higher Education: Information Technology, a social-networking Web site for health-care and life-science experts, was unveiled today at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting, in Philadelphia. The site includes profiles of more than 1.4 million biomedical experts in 120 countries. Researchers can gain access to the site for free and search for colleagues based on their areas of expertise, where they live, or other variables. The site also allows scientists to share data and analyses, and view summaries of their colleagues’ research papers.

The site is a collaboration between Collexis Holdings Inc., a Dutch software company, and Dell, a computer manufacturer. —Andrea L. Foster"

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Reflection and GTD

Just watched the u-tube video of David Allen talking about Getting Things Done - excellent and really helpful in thinking about how to organise myself better in my new job.

His ideas about distributed cognition and GTD were interesting - getting stuff out of your mind in a way that makes them more manageable, resonates with conversations I was having with Digby at Londonmet about reflection.

Effective action requires requisite attention - therefore we need tools to free up attention. If I have a range of effective reflective mirrors to give me information about what I am doing and how effective I am being - that is less to think about and more attention I can give to my action.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

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ALT-C 2008

ALT-C 2008: Rethinking the digital divide
9-11 September 2008, Leeds, UK
First call for papers and abstracts

The online submission system for ALT-C 2008 is now open:

Please read the submission guidelines for Research Papers and for
Abstracts -
- and download the Research Paper Template if you wish to submit a
research paper.

Submit your proposal on the new submission system at

Key dates:
Submissions open 14 December 2007
Submissions close 28 February 2008
Presenters' registration deadline: 6 June 2008
Early bird registration deadline: 30 June 2008
Registrations close: 15 August 2008

Keynote speakers:
David Cavallo, Chief Learning Architect for One Laptop per Child, and
Head of the Future of Learning Research Group at MIT Media Lab;
Dr Itiel Dror, Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the
University of Southampton;
Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health, Karolinska Institute,
Sweden, and Director of the Gapminder Foundation.

Web 2.0 policy debate

Brian Kelly of UKOLN’s UK Web Focus has been named IWR’s ‘Informational Professional of the Year’. Well known in the UK and abroad for his work in highlighting the benefits of Web 2.0 – or social and interactive web technologies – he accepted his Information World Review award at the recent Online conference at Olympia in London, and in an interview for JISC, called for a wide-ranging debate on the policy issues to which the new technologies are giving rise.

While I have a lot of time for Brian - I would suggest that the problem with e-learning at the moment is that there is too much policy discussion at national and institutional level and not enough people doing it!

CAA call for papers

12th International Computer Assisted Assessment Conference Research into
e-Assessment 8th and 9th July 2008 - Loughborough University, UK A Two
day Conference Organised by Professional Development

Apologies for the inevitable cross postings. This message is
deliberately small; if you are interested in submitting a paper for this
refereed conference the following URL has full conference details
including the call for papers and submission process:

For the Call for Papers choose 'Submissions'.
Registration is now open.

All proposals will be considered for inclusion in the conference
programme by the selection panel.

The 3rd - 11th International CAA Conference Proceedings are freely
available now from the conference web site (choose 'Conference

As in previous years the Conference will be accessible to those with an
interest in all aspects of e-Assessment including implementation,
pedagogy, technical, research, and those involved in strategic planning
and quality issues.

For enquiries please contact:

Sonya Medlock
Conference Secretary
Professional Development
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

Tel. +44(0)1509 223736
Fax: +44(0)1509 223992

Melbourne Model

In a couple of weeks time QMUL will be hosting the annual Draper's Lecture on Learning and Teaching which will be given by Prof Peter McPhee, Provost, University of Melbourne, on the Melbourne model - focusing on undergraduate education.

One of the key principles in the Melbourne model is the role of 'breadth studies' -and this is a difficult issue. While it is initially attractive I think it raises fundamental issues about the nature of Higher Education and levels within HE - while I think it would be good to have our students as all rounded educated people, having students doing H (honours) level work in an unrelated subject raises questions of the nature and standard of H level work.

It also raises questions about the goals of HE. If it is a good thing that arts students study some science and vice-versa, and have an all round education in ethics etc - why not go back to previous curriculum and include musical instrument playing, martial arts and horse riding - all good things you could argue?