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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Do YOU suffer from 'statistics anxiety'? Researchers say stress from math is real (and reveal how to beat it) | Science - Daily Mail

  • Approximately 80 percent of college students suffer from 'statistics anxiety'
  • University of Kansas researchers sought to quantify what factors add to this fear
  • Students were asked how they feel about their ability to do math, fear of statistics teachers, test and class anxiety and if they feared asking for help

Many people find math frustrating, as Daily Mail reports.  

Many people find math frustrating. But for some, it can turn into 'statistics anxiety,' a fear of doing math problems that can be debilitating or even stand in the way of graduation
Photo: Ollyy - Shutterstock

But for some, it can actually turn into 'statistics anxiety,' a fear of doing math or statistics problems that can be debilitating or even stand in the way of graduation. 

A new study from the University of Kansas discovered which factors can contribute to statistics anxiety and how it can be dealt with. 

Previous studies have shown that some 80 percent of college students suffer from statistics anxiety, the University of Kansas explained.  

'We teach a statistics class in the psychology department and see many students put it off until senior year because they're scared of this class,' Michael Vitevitch, professor and chair of psychology at the University of Kansas, said in a statement...

They used a technique called network science, which 'puts the most important contributors or symptoms of statistical anxiety at the center of a visual diagram of connecting nodes.'

'With statistics anxiety, it's not just that you have symptoms, it's how long you have them and which ones are more important?,' Vitevitch explained. 

Source: Daily Mail

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Science as a social practice | MIT News

PhD student Marion Boulicault believes in an interdisciplinary path forward for science, feminism, and philosophy, says

Marion Boulicault
Photo: Joseph Lee

Marion Boulicault hates making decisions. “I want to do everything,” she says, “and one of the effects of making a choice is that other choices are closed off.” Alternately drawn to work in environmental science, public policy, and philosophy, she has always felt compelled to bring her interests together.

So when she first began her doctorate in philosophy at MIT, Boulicault assumed that choosing such an abstract field meant letting go of the pragmatic, on-the-ground impact of a career in public service... 

Working at the interface of philosophy and science
Through her HASTS interdisciplinary coursework, Boulicault first encountered a field that intrigued her: the feminist philosophy of science. She was struck that problems of gender in science go far beyond equal representation. “The notion of ‘bias’ can’t be understood only at an individual level — it’s also social, cultural, and structural. Although science is often idealized as value-free and purely ‘objective,’ it’s a practice done by people and institutions,” she says. “Science is inherently social.”...

Bringing a humanities perspective to science
Boulicault has managed to merge her dual passions for conceptual thinking and public service as a founding member of the Harvard GenderSci Lab, which generates feminist critiques, methods, and concepts for scientific research on sex and gender.  

At times, operating within a truly interdisciplinary framework is difficult — the GenderSci Lab consists of biologists, psychologists, philosophers, and historians — but she has found others with similar interests and has created her own interdisciplinary space.
Read more... 

Source: MIT News 

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Maths discoveries by amateurs and distractions by cranks | Opinion & Analysis - The Irish Times

The fact that certain problems are impossible to solve does not deter enthusiasts, writes Peter Lynch, emeritus professor at UCD school of mathematics and statistics, blogs at

Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the last century, wrote unsolicited letters to three leading mathematicians at Cambridge
Photo: The Irish Times 
Do amateurs ever solve outstanding mathematical problems? Professional mathematicians are aware that almost every new idea they have about a mathematical problem has already occurred to others. Any really new idea must have some feature that explains why no one has thought of it before.

It is both difficult and rare to come up with a truly original idea. Such insights almost invariably result from an extended period of intensive work. If one mathematician thinks of something original, why would others not have done the same? Yet, there are those who convince themselves, without justification, that they have done what no one else could do.

Pseudomathematics is an activity that fails to observe the rigorous standards of formal mathematical practice and proof. Pseudomathematicians who persist in this activity become cranks. Most professional mathematicians have received communications that contain “proofs” of long-open problems. Often, these claim solutions of problems that have been proven mathematically to be impossible to solve...

The British mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan wrote a book, A Budget of Paradoxes, in which he introduced the term pseudomath. As an example of a pseudomath, De Morgan mentioned one James Smith who claimed persistently to have proved that pi is equal to three and one eighth. De Morgan wrote that Smith “is beyond doubt the ablest head at unreasoning, and the greatest hand at writing it.”

In the past, many European scientific academies were bombarded by circle-squarers, angle-trisectors and cube-duplicators demanding immediate recognition of their mathematical achievements.

Source: The Irish Times

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Third of PhD students in Europe ‘fail to complete in six years’ | Postgraduate and early-career - Times Higher Education

Supervision highlighted as a ‘big challenge’ in wake of study on doctoral education, according to Ellie Bothwell, rankings editor and international reporter at Times Higher Education.

Photo: Getty
Universities have been urged to improve training for PhD supervisors as new figures show that a third of doctoral students in Europe fail to complete their thesis within six years.
A survey of 311 institutions by the European University Association (EUA) reveals that, while the PhD completion rate across the continent is improving, 34 per cent of candidates still fail to finish their doctoral dissertation within six years – with many of these students expected to have dropped out altogether.

The EUA’s Salzburg Principles on doctoral education state that PhD programmes should “operate within an appropriate time duration”, approximately “three to four years full-time as a rule”, but only around half (51 per cent) of respondents said that doctoral students typically completed within this time period. More than a quarter said that the average completion time was five years or longer.

Alexander Hasgall, head of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (CDE), said that “the risk that the thesis is not defended after six years” increases in cases where the average duration is longer than the recommended three to four years...

However, Professor Biscari added that universities still have “a lot to do” to improve training for PhD supervisors. He said that some institutions have introduced mandatory training for new professors, which will improve the situation in the long term, but institutions could “try to speed up the process”.

“Candidates working with supervisors who have been trained show [fewer] problems and much more satisfaction than candidates working with general professors,” he said.

Alexandra Bitusikova, vice-rector for research at Matej Bel University in Slovakia and author of the 2017 book Structuring Doctoral Education, agreed that supervision was “still a big challenge” across Europe.

Source: Times Higher Education

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Online learning vs face to face learning: why you should make the switch | Blog - Elucidat

Are you yet to harness the power of online learning? This article can help, recommends Georgina Cooke, Learning Consultant at Elucidat.


You might be wondering what great digital learning looks like, what benefits you can expect from making the switch and how can you make the transition a success. Read on to answer these questions and get started on your own move from face to face to online learning.

Your learners want digital 
Recent research from the likes of Bersin by Deloitte, Fosway and many more revealed the learning habits of modern professionals in 2018. The results paint a picture of employees adapting to cope with the fast pace of modern working life. They are often busy and overwhelmed but still keen to learn; they value high quality content that’s personalized and relevant to their needs; and they are getting increasingly impatient and turned off by content and experiences that isn’t high value, relevant, and available when they want it.

The reality behind these stats is that both employees and employers struggle to justify the time spent in classrooms; especially when that training is targeted at a broad group...

Final thoughts 
A successful digital learning blend is the solution to the online learning vs face to face learning debate. By harnessing the skills you already have in your face-to-face team and taking inspiration from digital learning examples, you will be able to tackle the move head-on.

Source: Elucidat

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The Chinese primary school where nearly a sixth of the parents hold PhDs | Society - South China Morning Post

  • Of the 1,200 pupils at school in Suzhou’s hi-tech innovation district, 194 have highly educated mums and dads
  • Fathers who are academics and scientists regularly give talks to the students on topics including nanomaterials, computer viruses and network security

A primary school in eastern China is generating interest online because of the high number of its pupils’ parents – 194 mums and dads – with PhDs, observes Laurie Chen, Reporter at South China Morning Post.

The highly educated parents of children at Hanlin Primary School in Suzhou, Jiangsu were first featured on the local government’s official WeChat page, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Monday.

Suzhou government said on the social network that 133 fathers and 61 mothers held PhDs – or nearly a sixth of the parents of the school’s 1,200 pupils...

Suzhou is home to a research campus of the prestigious University of Science and Technology of China, as well as the Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Colleges located in the school’s district include Suzhou University, Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University, and campuses of Renmin University and Southeast University.

Source: South China Morning Post

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WES Centenary Conference - Celebrating the Past, Transforming the Future | WES events - Women's Engineering Society

Join us for our Centenary Conference to boost your Continued Professional Development as the Women's Engineering Society celebrates 100 years as a leading registered membership organisation supporting women in engineering.

Booking is now live for the 2019 WES Centenary Conference - Celebrating the Past, Transforming the Future on Friday 15 March 2019, 9:30 - 16:00 (followed by a drinks reception) at RAF Museum, London

Join us for a once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate 100 years of the Women’s Engineering Society whilst boosting your Continued Professional Development. Get involved in the debate about how we can face the challenges for the next 100 years and be part of the solution.

If you are an early career professional, we even have a Poster Competition where you can present your work on the theme of Transforming the Future to our multidisciplinary audience.

Confirmed Speakers include:
Mandy Hickson, Ex-fighter pilot, RAF and motivational speaker
Rachel Higham, Managing Director of IT, British Telecom
Air Vice-Marshall Sue Gray, Air Officer Commanding No 38 Group, Royal Air Force
Eva Tutchell and John Edmonds, authors of ‘Man-Made: Why So Few Women Are in Positions of Power?’ and ‘The Stalled revolution: Is equality for women an impossible dream?’ 
Emma Howard-Boyd, Chair, Environment Agency; Steering Committee Member, 30% Club
Dawn Childs, WES President and Group Engineering Director at Merlin Entertainments
There will also be an exhibition of WES’s history, featuring treasures from our archives and showcasing the WES Centenary Trail funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Source: Women's Engineering Society

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A computer science degree alone doesn’t equate to strong skills | Classroom Innovation - eCampus News

The full report detailing these and other findings is available here.

Laura Ascione, Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media explains, A computer science degree isn’t always an indicator of strong programming skills, according to a new survey of more than 10,000 computer science students.

Photo:  eCampus News
In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 571,000 open computing jobs with less than 50,000 computer science graduates entering the workforce–that’s roughly 11 job postings for every computer science major.

As businesses across all industries transform into tech companies, competition for software engineers is increasingly competitive. If companies want to beat the odds in a candidate’s market, it is critical for recruiters to understand the specific skills of the students they’re trying to hire, as well as the factors they evaluate when choosing a job.

New data from technical hiring platform HackerRank reveals the technical skills, learning preferences, and career motivators of collegiate software engineers.

Source: eCampus News

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Seven Things to Consider Before Developing Your Online Course | Online Education - Faculty Focus

This article will explore seven things that instructors should consider prior to developing an online course, inform Brian Udermann, director of online education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Photo: Faculty Focus

As the number of online courses and degree programs in higher education continues to increase, more faculty are being asked to design and develop online courses. Sometimes this course design and development process is done somewhat reflexively, in a short time period, and with limited planning and preparation. This is not ideal as it can lead to a more stressful course development process for instructors and negatively impact the quality of online offerings...

Designing and developing an online course can be a daunting task for instructors. However, thinking about the seven items outlined in this article on the front end can help make the course development process less overwhelming, more enjoyable, and more successful for instructors.
Read more... 

Source: Faculty Focus

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Call to reimagine artificial intelligence for developing world | Technology and new media - Times Higher Education

Higher education institutions who are developing AI have a responsibility to ensure that it is not biased against developing nations, conference hears, says Anna McKie, reporter covering teaching, learning and student issues, as well as higher education in Africa and the Middle East

Photo: Times Higher Education

Universities must lead efforts to ensure that the evolution of artificial intelligence tools does not discriminate against developing nations, a conference has heard.
Speaking on a panel at Times Higher Education’s Emerging Economies Summit, Sarah Anyang Agbor, commissioner for human resources, science and technology at the African Union, said that the need for global diversity had been overlooked in the development of machine learning technology.

“It is defined by the perspective of the West…the language of the machine is not the language of Africa,” she told the event at Qatar University. “Who is designing the machines that will dictate the future of all of us and do they come from a position of bias?”
Professor Anyang Agbor, who was previously a deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Bamenda, in Cameroon, said that universities must play a key role in correcting the omission of perspectives from the developing world...

Mikhail Strikhanov, rector of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI in Russia, added that “society should not let [AI] develop without a plan”. Universities must work with policymakers to create new ethical frameworks, he added.

Source: Times Higher Education (THE)   

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