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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Crowdsourcing for social sciences researchers: data gathering, teaching, learning and research dissemination from a single project
What if your next research dissemination exercise could also help you gather unique data for your next research project, while at the same time providing your students with unique learning opportunities? Darren Moon reflects on the success of the award-winning ConstitutionUK project and suggests how its crowdsourcing techniques might represent a unique opportunity and alternative to both traditional research dissemination methods […]
As the Higher Education and Research Bill gets its second reading in the House of Commons, Dorothy Bishop revisits the costs and benefits of one of its primary components, the Teaching Excellence Framework. Based on the government’s own analysis, the system is designed to separate winners and losers with potentially devastating effects for the losers. The outcome will depend crucially […]
It’s time to teach — but which time is it? Tracing academic practices through more appropriate time metrics.
Academics may be well aware of mounting time pressures but is standard clock-time useful for understanding academic work? Alexander Mitterle, Carsten Würmann, and Roland Bloch look at how teaching is understood in relation to time in German universities. They report how the SWS, a figure related to an individual course frame, can be understood as a quantifiable time classification, but one […]
How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.
Laura Czerniewicz presents an overview of findings from a study on the practices of university students accessing learning resources at a research-intensive university in South Africa. There is a grey zone in the access of resources that is now simply part of normal life in a new communication and information order. The students’ perspectives raise critical issues for new models of […]