Internet Addiction Impacting Studies?

Image Credit: RGB Stock

Image Credit: RGB Stock

Curious about this piece of research:

Internet addicts were less motivated to study, according to responses given in the survey.

Students with mild or worse internet addiction were judged to be 10 per cent less intrinsically motivated, on average, than those without such a problem. The effect was more marked on internet-addicted students’ self-efficacy, which was about 25 per cent lower.

Phil Reed, who led the study, said that the results “seem to show that prolonged problematic use of the internet seems to reduce people’s ability to make long-term plans and to resist immediate temptation”.

Read full article.

“Good Works” = “Academic Citizenship”

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The realities of academic life – more than research and teaching … and incredibly difficult with short-term funding/contracts

For Mary Evans, centennial professor at LSE’s Gender Institute, the rewards of fully engaging in these diverse areas of academic life have been personal and political. “For many women of my generation it was very important to construct networks within the academy, hence motivation for ‘citizenship’ was very much about establishing a ‘voice’,” she says, adding that “building friendships through work as a ‘citizen’ is a huge help in limiting that sense of isolation that is part and parcel of being an academic”.

Susan Bassnett, professor of comparative literature at the University of Warwick, outlines her “citizenship” workload in the first half of 2015: “I have three PhDs to examine, only one in the UK; an appointing committee overseas; three meetings of projects on whose advisory board I serve; two plenary lectures abroad and a week-long workshop in Italy; plus reviewing for journals, funding bodies, references, etc.”

Read full article.

Overwork = Less Creativity? Milking the academic cow dry?

mflfn0I (1)A fascinating piece on the culture of overwork within academia, finishes:

We need coalitions of the sane to lead discussions about what can reasonably be expected of academics, to recruit and promote accordingly and to mentor younger academics into a way of thinking that says: “Enough is enough. If you want to do extra, we won’t reward you for it.”

You might assume that institutions run by coalitions of the sane would automatically fall behind those run by further achievers. But think again. Universities vitally depend on academics’ ability to productively use their intellect, curiosity and creativity. In business-speak, ensuring a sane working environment therefore safeguards their supply of academic human resources.

A dairy farmer might streamline his delivery routes or negotiate discounts on milk bottles. He won’t run the health of his cows into the ground by demanding that they produce ever greater yields. But that, in essence, is what universities are currently doing to their academics. Fingers crossed that voices like Schell’s will wake them up to how counterproductive that is – preferably before the cows come home.

Read full story.

What is ‘Intellectual Cowardice’?

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Always interesting to read from those who are public about their ‘fears’ – once fears have been named, they can be faced, right?

Anxiety about being a fraud does seem to be an occupational hazard in academia. Ruth Barcan has written in these pages about the reasons for its prevalence – the increasing demands and complexities of the job, the stratification of the university, the insecurities of teachers and of the institutions they work for, and indeed the insecurity of higher education itself. Surely Barcan is right that a “fractured, competitive system” makes people feel overwhelmed and undermined. It often seems as if neither we academics ourselves nor others think us worthy. How can anyone finish anything in such conditions?

Yet I came to think that the final word about feeling fraudulent rests with the person who consents to that feeling. Was I victim of “impostor syndrome” or was I responsible for my fate? If I refused to take responsibility, if I gave in to my fear of finishing, then wouldn’t I make a fine candidate to join Dante’s neutrals? It was only when I learned to confront – and exploit – the deep fear that was at the heart of the project, the fear of being cowardly, that I was able to finish.

Read the full article – and a couple of interesting comments – including blaming much on the compartmentalisation of departments.

Speaking Up Required in Higher Education…

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A really interesting piece about the place of ‘introverts’ in higher education where action learning means not speaking up is no longer an option:

However, university students are no longer allowed to be shy. “Active learning” has become a modern mantra. Students must ask questions, express opinions, lead oral presentations and participate enthusiastically in community projects. To collaborate is sacrosanct. Passivity, on the other hand, is considered the enemy of learning. They must be vocal, expressive and assertive. The extrovert ideal, as Cain calls it, is all the rage.

Read full story, and see my PGCLTHE work re: group work… and this letter response.

Summer Fruitfulness in Academia?

ook5dkSGreat piece on the joys of academic pressure:

It’s not true, of course, that September is entirely grim. Being back at work means colliding with cheery colleagues in the corridor, each of us ruefully clutching course-packs and exchanging sympathetic smiles; it also means spotting suntanned students with newly stylish “second-year haircuts” sauntering around all the familiar spaces. I’ve missed them all. But there is a certain pang that strikes you like the memory of a lost youth – or, more precisely, the memory of an article you were meant to finish, a book proposal you intended to start, a research proposal you thought you would concoct and never did as July sank into August and then, whoops, suddenly September started impudently banging on your door.

Read full article.

Value in a PhD?

An interesting piece on the ‘value’ and employability of a PhDphdgrad

Who would do a PhD? Who would willingly submit to spending endless hours, over three or four years, in the laboratory or library, racked by self-doubt and money worries, in preparation for a career for which vacancies were never more oversubscribed? …

But do doctoral students really feel prepared for life beyond the ivory tower? And how ready are they to embrace it? Here, we speak to five current and former doctoral students from a range of disciplines and universities about why they did their PhDs, what their experience was like and where they see their futures now.

Read full piece, with a couple of more positive responses 28/811/9.

 

Group Work: Not Pulling Your Weight?

Enthusiastic Study GroupI’m really interested in group dynamics (see mini project undertaken as part of PGCLTHE), so an interesting case study here:

“Academically ambitious students contribute to moving the average up – unenthusiastic students and shirkers do just the opposite,” he added.

Indeed, some hard-working students may even defect to “the dark side” of the slackers if they saw their classmates getting away with minimal effort, he continued. To combat this problem, students were offered the chance to gain a higher mark for their group assignment if they managed to raise the grade scored by the weakest student in individual tests on the same subject.

Read full piece.