PhD: Has the quality dropped? If so, who’s “to blame”?

This is rather concerning (but not particularly surprising, as we've heard all those complaints about GCSE, A-Level, degree level standards dropping, etc.) re PhD doctorates. Really, by the time you sit the viva, you should know that your work is ready to pass, and that your job in the viva is to demonstrate that you actually wrote it (although others will still see it as a test) ... and as I hope to take on…

The Power of the Pencil

An interesting piece on the power of the pencil in the age of the machine (I've had several conversations about the growth of the hand-written when we so often just get bills through the door): However, I still come back to pencil or ink line drawings as my favoured technique. Hand-drawing (from sketching to technical drawing) became an essential tool in my professional career – before I turned to academia – as a means of conveying…

Too much data? @timeshighered

In the information age, there's increasing amounts of data availabe: Could society be placing too much reliance on the quantity of information at its disposal when it should be equally focused on its accuracy? subject of a conference on 5th November The Big Data event at the British Academy, due to take place on 5 November, will assemble academic researchers and statisticians to discuss how best to use the increasingly accessible sets of public data…

‘Sins of Omission’ (@timeshighered)

With stories that schools are 'sending difficult students out before Ofsted inspections', there are suggestions that Universities are also massaging their expertise - and a call that all should be included in the REF: "The European Union economy doesn't look too bad - if you exclude Greece and perhaps a couple of others from the 27." "Spurs are a decent team, if you don't count those games in which goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes gifted points to…

Academic Independence? Possible in an age of Quality?

Working in a Learning and Teaching Development office, we look at questions of quality quite a lot, so picked up on this story: As officialdom's demands for meaningless Transparency and Information multiply, Thomas Docherty asks: has clandestine scholarship become the only way to carry out real research and teaching?For a number of years, the university, in common with much of public life in general, has become obsessed with the need to present itself to the…