Open access to teaching material – how far have we come?

One of the foundational aims of the open access movement, set out in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, was to provide access to research not only to scholars, but to “teachers, students and other curious minds” and in so doing “enrich education”. However almost two decades on from the declaration access to the research literature for educational purposes remains […]

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Open Syllabus Explorer: evidencing research-based teaching?

Research impact is often equated with the way in which research articles are cited and used by other researchers and non-academics. An often less appreciated aspect of research impact is the impact that the ideas contained within research papers and books have when used to teach students. In this re-post Anne-Wil Harzing presents the The Open Syllabus Explorer, an online tool […]

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    Book Review: Getting the Most out of Your Doctorate: The Importance of Supervision, Networking and Becoming a Global Academic edited by Mollie Dollinger

Book Review: Getting the Most out of Your Doctorate: The Importance of Supervision, Networking and Becoming a Global Academic edited by Mollie Dollinger

In Getting the Most out of Your Doctorate: The Importance of Supervision, Networking and Becoming a Global Academic, editor Mollie Dollinger brings together commentary and analysis from an international group of students and scholars to offer reflections on the doctoral researcher’s journey through a PhD programme. This is a smart, handy and pragmatic contribution to any doctoral student’s bookshelf, writes Sabrina Wilkinson, and […]

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    India’s retrospective review of PhD research quality is set to significantly change research practices

India’s retrospective review of PhD research quality is set to significantly change research practices

India’s University Grants Commission recently invited proposals to retrospectively assess the quality of PhD theses awarded by the country’s universities over the past 10 years. In this post Santosh C. Hulagabali, outlines the potential impacts of this review on Indian universities and scholars and highlights the role of this review in signaling the quality of Indian research.   

In the […]

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Four reasons to graphically illustrate your research

Academic writing is often criticised for being overly complicated and impenetrable to anyone outside of a small circle of experts. In this post Gemma Sou reflects on how communicating her research in the form of a graphic novel transformed her research practice. Not only making her research more representative and accessible to those involved, but also through reshaping her […]

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How diverse is your reading list? (Probably not very…)

The dominance of scholars from the global North is widespread, and this extends to the student curriculum. Data on reading lists shows large authorial imbalances, which has consequences for the methodological tools available in research and allows dominant paradigms in disciplines to remain unchallenged.

This post originally appeared on the Citing Africa Blog and is accompanied by a series of podcasts on […]

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    Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Scientific research has changed, now being largely conducted in collaborative teams. However, undergraduate student training has not necessarily kept pace with these changes. In order to work effectively in collaborative settings, students need to develop not only the technical skills related to their discipline, but also communication and interpersonal skills needed to work in teams. Nora J. Casson reports […]

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    Applying the sociological imagination: a toolkit for tomorrow’s graduates

Applying the sociological imagination: a toolkit for tomorrow’s graduates

Given how sociological concepts, theories, and perspectives can be applied to many of the relatively smaller problems of everyday life, such as improving urban spaces or enhancing work and productivity, it’s odd that the majority of sociology done in the UK remains behind closed doors, in lecture rooms, academic libraries, and conference halls. Nick Fox explains how a group […]

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    Book Review: How to be an Academic Superhero: Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities by Iain Hay

Book Review: How to be an Academic Superhero: Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities by Iain Hay

In How to be an Academic Superhero: Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Iain Hay offers a guide to how early-career academics can develop their careers while meeting the ever-growing expectations of universities. While the book does not overtly challenge the institutional demand for scholars to be “academic superheroes” and occasionally offers contradictory advice, Iván […]

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    Better information on teaching is required to redress the balance with research

Better information on teaching is required to redress the balance with research

How universities allocate resources – and how academics allocate their own time – between research and teaching is a perennial problem in higher education. The labour market for research is intensely competitive and truly global; while the market for academics focused on teaching is notable by its lack of competition. An obvious result is that academics’ promotion prospects depend […]

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The Publishing Trap! A game of scholarly communication

In a complex, evolving scholarly communications environment, it is more important than ever for researchers to have access to information and support resources relating to copyright and intellectual property rights. However, many among the academic community continue to view copyright as something of a problem and difficult to engage with. Experimenting with new ways to communicate and critically examine […]

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    Book Review: Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology by Karen Head

Book Review: Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology by Karen Head

In Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology, Karen Head draws on a “view from inside” of developing and teaching a first-year writing massive open online course (MOOC) to critically interrogate the claim that such technology will fundamentally “disrupt” educational structures. This is an eloquent and intricate analysis that shows how personal experience and practice can add nuance to questions regarding the […]

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    The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in how games and simulations might be applied to higher education learning. Dimitrios Vlachopoulos and Agoritsa Makri have reviewed the literature on the subject and here outline the positive learning effects of games and simulations; from cognitive outcomes such as improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to behavioural outcomes […]

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    There are clear reasons for the increasing award of first-class degrees. A lowering of standards isn’t one of them.

There are clear reasons for the increasing award of first-class degrees. A lowering of standards isn’t one of them.

Recent HESA figures revealing yet another increase in the award of first-class degrees have provoked predictable consternation among commentators. Liz Morrish provides some clarity and insight into why student achievement has risen sharply in recent years. The higher education system, and its culture of metrics and key performance indicators, has constructed a student who is a consumer with anxieties which […]

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    Academic excellence still paramount but students clearly favour greater diversity in admissions and faculty recruitment

Academic excellence still paramount but students clearly favour greater diversity in admissions and faculty recruitment

Mirroring debates in the US, members of universities in the UK are increasingly concerned with the diversity of students and faculty in higher education institutions. Drawing on a methodology developed at Dartmouth College, John Carey, Katie Clayton, Simon Hix and Yusaku Horiuchi present a fascinating analysis of the results of a 2017 survey of the views of LSE undergraduates […]

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    Following the success of the learning technologist, is it time for a research equivalent?

Following the success of the learning technologist, is it time for a research equivalent?

With so many scholarly communications tools and technologies now available, how do academics decide which are most appropriate for their research? Andy Tattersall suggests it might be time for a research equivalent of the learning technologist, a role that has helped drive innovations in teaching underpinned by technologies. The research technologist would be embedded within the university department, make […]

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    Undergraduate researchers report only moderate knowledge of scholarly communication: they must be offered more support

Undergraduate researchers report only moderate knowledge of scholarly communication: they must be offered more support

Undergraduate students are increasingly participating in the scholarly communication process, mostly through formal research experiences. However, Catherine Fraser Riehle and Merinda Kaye Hensley, having surveyed and interviewed university students, reveal that undergraduate researchers have only moderate levels of confidence in their knowledge of scholarly communications, especially publication and access models, author and publisher rights, determining the impact of research, and […]

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    University students are buying assignments – what could, or should, be done about it?

University students are buying assignments – what could, or should, be done about it?

‘Contract cheating’, whereby students pay companies to complete assignments on their behalf, threatens to seriously undermine higher education standards. Philip M. Newton and Michael J. Draper consider what might be done to tackle this issue, including the Quality Assurance Agency’s suggestion of deploying the UK Fraud Act (2006). While questions remains as to whether the Fraud Act is likely […]

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    Why students should not be taught general critical-thinking skills

Why students should not be taught general critical-thinking skills

It’s natural to want children and graduates to develop a set of all-purpose cognitive tools with which to navigate their way through the world. But can such things be taught? Carl Hendrick argues that general critical thinking skills cannot be so easily transferred from one context to another.

Being an air-traffic controller is not easy. At the heart of the […]

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    Academic labour markets in Europe vary widely in openness and job security

Academic labour markets in Europe vary widely in openness and job security

Having examined the organisation of Europe’s academic labour markets, Alexandre Afonso outlines the main differences between countries across the continent. There is greatest variance in two particular areas: the extent to which they are open to outsiders, and the job security they provide for recent PhD graduates. This has obvious consequences for the mobility of academics across Europe and […]

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