Thursday, 23 February 2017

Yes, No, Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant....

Worried about your TEF submission?
Another Strategy meeting looming?
That promotion beckoning?
Preparing for external accreditors?
Want to make your keynote stand out?


The  Generator Of Jargon for University Management Purposes  (GO_JUMP) is here!

Just select one word from each column to generate a thought provoking phrase that will have your audience mystified and your Management team stupefied but will not burden your presentation with unnecessary meaning.


This simple matrix provides 512 separate and different phrases, making the risk of accidental plagiarism from a Donald Trump speech very unlikely.

Complete satisfaction or your monkey back.

Friday, 17 February 2017

The plagiarism iceberg

Plagiarism is becoming very commonplace in today's Higher Education. The plagiarism that is detected and punished represents tip of an enormous iceberg.  It is relatively easy to detect passages copied from published sources through text matching software and sooner or later  the use of essay mills is discovered.

But there is much below the waterline of the iceberg that still needs attention:

Collusion: between students and between tutors and students.  How far can we rely on the innate honesty of "consumer" students hourly paid teaching staff and the collusion that emanates from a "teaching to the test" mentality as this gets good feedback marks?

Lazy assessment: how many times are the same, tired, old, essays trotted out as coursework assignments?  Surely examiners can be more imaginative and authentic in designing assessments?  Problem based learning, case studies, presentations and artefacts are all capable of being moulded into the HE syllabus.

Better Organisation: very little discovered plagiarism is actually due to a desire to cheat or gain unfair advantage.  Examiners, however, can never devine the student's intent, they only see the product.  Being better organised, having a training in paraphrasing and in appropriate referencing ae often the prescription if this crime is to be erradicated.

So, let's focus on prevention rather than punishment and sink the icebarg once and for all.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Learning Gain

When I was very little I knew absolutely nothing.
When I was six I had learned not put my finger in a plug socket.
By ten I had learned that most children were quite smelly.
By eleven I had learned that nobody likes a swot.
At sixteen I had learned other things I cannot put here.
At twenty one I learned that being six was a blissful state that I wanted to return to.

What did HE learn?

We live our lives learning - even though we go through an education system that pides itself on helping us to learn - the fact is that we learn anyway.  Trying to measure learning is fraught with methodological and measurement difficulties, lack of appropriate control benchmarks and influenced by environmental variables.  So why do we bother?

Ah, well.  Those in receipt of public money and who are accountable to "society" for their efforts, such as Doctors, Nurses, Policemen, Firemen, Teachers and Lecturers need a way to be shown to be doing their jobs.  Measuring them in ways that can be measured is the brilliant response that our political leaders grope for.

So, that's alright then.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

What BREXIT means

Learning mnemonics are very useful tools in providing memorable frameworks to analyse key issues.

PESTLE is a good framework for reviewing the external environment of business or markets, for example.

SWOT and TOWS provide similar frameworks for review.

BREXIT is no different.  Theresa May says that "BREXIT means BREXIT" and, of course she is absolutely correct - BREXIT is a mnemonic that outlines a clear framework within which parties affected by the UK removing itself from the EU.

We can consider the case of Higher Education as an example:

B - Bums on Seats - will EU students avoid us even if they can still enjoy our product at home prices?  Will International student visas prove to be just too much of a barrier?
R - Research funding - will EU researchers eschew inclusion of UK boffins for fear that Brussels will not favour their bid?
E - Enterprise - actually nobody in HE knows what this is and so let's not tax ourselves.
X - Cross fertilisation of ideas -See B and R above.
I - Internationalisation -will EU academics avoid risk by remaining within the EU bubble?
T - Teaching - Teaching is always a winner as the world crumbles or rises, as crises come and go.  Good teaching reduces uncertainty in the minds of its students and awards them skills to cope with the constancy of change.

So, that's alright then.....