What is ‘Intellectual Cowardice’?

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…

Keeping distractions to the minimum?

Learning and teaching in a digital age ... remove the digital distractions? To help create such a place, I keep distractions to a minimum. Everything about the interior is designed to promote a pleasant, relaxed, but fully focused atmosphere. There is no glittering or empty decoration. My uncluttered lime-green walls lack even a nail to hang a poster or photograph. As I have previously mentioned in these pages, I dim the lighting, creating restful shadows to encourage…

Speaking Up Required in Higher Education…

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…

Facebook hubs may influence grades

Useful thinking about university course Facebook groups, which students typically set up themselves: At the start of term there is “a big rush” to create the most popular Facebook site for each course, Dr Steele-Davies said, pointing out it is likely that a number of students will attempt to set up a Facebook group designed to act as the online hub for students on a particular degree. “You may not be aware, but this can…

Summer Fruitfulness in Academia?

Great 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…