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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Performance Competition Brings Music Students to K | Kalamazoo College

Photo: Andy Brown
"High school students visiting for the music teachers performance competition can check out the music scholarships K offers for majors and non-majors" reports Andy Brown, Director of Media Relations and Online Content
Photo: Kalamazoo College

Kalamazoo College welcomes the students visiting this weekend for the Michigan Music Teachers Association Performance Competition for solo and chamber instrumentalists. Performances will be at Recital Hall, Dalton Theater and the band room at the Light Fine Arts Building.

For those visiting students still in high school, take a look around campus and explore what it offers through our virtual tour. If you can see yourself attending K, check out the music scholarships and theater scholarships we have for music majors and non-majors alike.

If we’ve piqued your interest, learn how to connect with Admission. The Admission Office often is the first point of contact for prospective students and their families as it shares the College’s distinctive programs and opportunities in the liberal arts and sciences, which are developed through the K-Plan. The K-Plan is a nationally recognized open curriculum offering rigorous academics, a hands-on education of experiential learning, international and intercultural experiences such as study abroad programs, and independent scholarship through senior individualized projects.

Enjoy your stay!

Source: Kalamazoo College 

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QU Music Department to host Saxophone Day | Herald-Whig

"Quincy University's Music Department will host a Saxophone Day for high school students from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Connie Niemann Center for Music, located at QU's North Campus,18th and Seminary Road" continues Local Briefs.


The day will bring together high school saxophone players from around the area to form a saxophone choir. Participants will spend the afternoon rehearsing music and learning about the saxophone. Each student will receive a gift bag full of interesting music items. Saxophone players between the grades of 9-12 are encouraged to attend. All abilities are welcome. The cost is free and lunch is included. 
The day will end with a concert at 4 p.m. for family and friends.

For any questions or to register, go to or contact Christine Damm, assistant professor of music and director of jazz band ensemble, at or 217-228-5432 ext. 3159. To register, include participant's name, grade and school.

Source: Herald-Whig

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Monroe man holds rush hour sax sessions near overpasses | Monroe News Star

"If you're ever near the intersection of North 18th Street and Texas Avenue in Monroe around rush hour, roll down your car window and listen" says Bonnie Bolden, Reporter.

Photo: Bonnie Bolden/The News-Star

Donald Givens plays saxophone for hours each day in the morning and the evenings in his gazebo. His yard is nestled near the corner of two overpasses, and commuters hear his practices daily.

Strangers pull up to his house and hand him money or ask him to play for them, and people around the city know him as the saxophone man, even if they don't know his name or what he looks like.

"I don't feel famous," he said.

Givens, 67, has learned three musical instruments as an adult: piano, saxophone and guitar. He learned two of those in the past five years.

Anyone can learn, he said. Keys to success at any age are confidence and perseverance. A lot of people fail because they assume they can't succeed and don't put forth their full effort. Knowing you can accomplish your goals is essential, and tackling what, to many, seems like a monumental task later in life can have benefits.

Watch the Video

Tickling the ivories
When he was 28, he started taking his daughter to piano lessons and decided he wanted to learn too. 
He said she practiced because her mother wanted her to learn, so she was done as soon as time was up.

He, however, was learning because he had a real desire to hone his skill.

A few months into piano classes, he was discouraged. Having each hand play different notes while reading the music and using the foot pedals on the piano seemed like too much. 

His teacher told him everyone else did it and he could do it too. He said she was right, so he kept playing.

Givens would practice for hours and try working out new songs beyond his range.

He'd go to Roark Music on Jackson and buy a song if he thought the words were beautiful. He'd have his piano teacher play it for him, and if he liked the piece, he'd keep practicing until he had it down pat.

"Regardless of how difficult it was, if it's beautiful,I'm going to stay there and stick with it until I learn how to play it," he said. Many of the more beautiful pieces are more difficult...

Palm Tree Sax
He started trying to copy Kenny G and other well-known saxophonists

"When I first started, I would play inside the house. When I got pretty decent I went out to the drive way, and when I thought I was pretty good, I went out to the gazebo," he said.Since then, he's been a part of numerous drivers' days. 

His favorite pieces to play include "Jesus, You're the Center of My Joy," " You Are So Beautiful," "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," and "Memory."

Givens said he can play four to five hours without getting winded now, and he loves to keep practicing because there is no end goal with music.

"You can never master it," he said. "It's unending."

His daily practices have yielded numerous offers to play at events. At a birthday party, a local radio personality introduced Givens as Palm Tree Sax.

"I've had a lot of fun. So many people have come up in here."

Givens said one man claimed his music calmed him down and kept him from killing his boss. Several people have told him the jazz helps calm them down.
Read more... 

Source: Monroe News Star

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Music in the early years 'helps children learn to listen and speak' | TES News - School news

"Findings come after Ofsted chief inspector's call for all young children to be taught nursery rhymes" insist Helen Ward, Journalist at TSL Education. 

Photo: TES News

Singing, playing and dancing with professional musicians has helped three-year-olds progress more quickly in their listening, speaking and behaviour skills, according to research.

A year-long project, involving workshops and concerts from professional musicians and training for teachers, resulted in the children involved making on average three months' more progress than expected in their speaking skills and two months' more progress in behaviour and listening skills.

The Music for Change project included weekly musician-led workshops, in which nursery children could explore and play with instruments, play music games or sing.

Training sessions helped teachers to embed music into their curriculum. The children also visited live performances in local venues – these included musical plays such as the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Sound progress 
The project was evaluated by researchers at the UCL Institute of Education and University of Roehampton.

According to one nursery manager in the report commissioned by Creative Futures, the charity which ran the project: “Children who were shy have come out of their shell [and become] involved in a bigger group. Social and emotional development has improved.
Read more... 

Source: TES News

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Sign up for Vanderbilt’s Osher Lifelong Learning winter term | Vanderbilt University News

"African American pioneers in sports and entertainment, media in a time of fake news, and climate change and human health are among the winter classes to be offered by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt in January" according to Ann Marie Deer Owens, Sr Public Affairs Officer.

Mature learners gather at a variety of locations, including The Commons Center, for academically stimulating courses offered by OLLI at Vanderbilt.
Photo: Steve Green/Vanderbilt

Other Osher classes—open to all those who are 50 and older—will focus on music and Southern culture, resources for tracing one’s family history, and Asian American literature and the impact of technological advances on identity.

In addition, lifelong learners can sign up for courses that preview the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s winter production of Hamlet and the Nashville Children’s Theatre production of Mockingbird in February. Other courses will tackle ethical issues surrounding death, medieval Christian mystic Meister Eckhart, playing steel drums, and creative writing.

“One of our most important goals is to provide an academically stimulating curriculum with Vanderbilt faculty and other respected experts,” says Norma Clippard, program director for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt. “In addition, members often develop strong friendships with others who share an interest in lifelong learning.”

All classes are individually priced.

The following courses comprise the winter term: 
“Osher Steel Drum Band—Advanced,” led by Alli Puglisi, director of the Osher Advanced Steel Drum Band. A level up from the Beginning Osher Steel Band, this class moves at a fast pace and focuses on learning different styles of music. The class meets for seven Sundays, beginning Jan. 14, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Blair School of Music.

“Osher Steel Drum Band—Beginner,” led by Mat Britain, director of the Osher Beginner Steel Drum Band. No musical experience is needed to join this hands-on class, which meets for seven Sundays, beginning Jan. 14, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Blair.

Source: Vanderbilt University News

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Taiwan marks World Philosophy Day with marathon-style salons | Focus Taiwan News Channel

"World Philosophy Day, established by UNESCO in 2005 to promote critical and independent thought, is being celebrated in Taiwan on Thursday for the first time, attracting hundreds of people interested in brainstorming on important life issues" reports Lee Hsin-Yin.

Photo: Focus Taiwan News Channel
A two-day event comprising 16 salons that start in the afternoon and run until midnight, is being held to encourage free and continuous discussions, an area of study that has not gained the attention it deserves until recent years in Taiwan, according to the organizers, a group of intellectuals and scholars.

Claire Lin (林靜君), event coordinator and deputy head of the Philosophical Education Development Organization, told CNA that In recent years the "pursuit of reasoning" has become popular in Taiwanese society and it is timely to re-emphasize the importance of philosophy because it provides "good tools" through which people can reflect on the issues they encounter in their daily lives.

There has been more reflection on the relation between individuals and society especially since the high-profile death of Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), which raised awareness of social justice.

The 24-year-old conscript died of heat exhaustion on July 4, 2013 after being forced to do strenuous exercise in a confined facility.

Hung's death raised questions about human rights violations in the military, sparked mass protests in Taiwan and led to the prosecution of several military officials and major legal reforms such as the abolition of military courts during peacetime.

Lin said that once people familiarize themselves with the study of philosophy, they are better equipped to reflect on and understand what is happening in the world around them.

Read more... 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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Famous philosopher’s quotes for World Philosophy Day: ‘I think therefore I am’ | Metro

Do you know any famous philosopher's quotes? notes Avinash Bhunjun for

Today is World philosophy day
Photo: Getty
"World Philosophy Day is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of November and is a great time for us all to think a bit more deeply than usual" notes

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) created the event and highlights the enduring value of philosophy for the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual.

World Philosophy Day was created in 2005 and critically questions the significance of life and other topics.
The purpose of the event is to better understand the importance of this discipline, especially for young people.

Socrates (469 -399 BC) was a Classical Greek Athenian philosopher
Photo: Getty
UNESCO hopes that philosophy can be a discipline that encourages critical and independent thought and is capable of working towards a better understanding of the world and promoting tolerance and peace.

To get in the spirit of things, test how well you know your philosophers and see what quotes are you familiar with.

Source: Metro

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Why Philosophy Matters | IAI News

"To celebrate World Philosophy Day 2017, we asked philosophers why it's important to them" summarizes IAI News Editorial Staff.

Photo: IAI News
This November marks the 12th anniversary of World Philosophy Day, a moveable feast endorsed by UNESCO and aimed at underlining the significant and often overlooked impact and value of philosophy on everyday life and human thought.

The benefits of philosophy on intellectual development have been well-documented, with a recent wide-ranging study in UK schools demonstrating that children who spent an hour each week participating in philosophical discussion, debate and reflection over the course of a year saw significant gains in maths and literacy skills, with disadvantaged students reaping the greatest benefits in terms of improvement. This of course attests to philosophy’s demonstrable social and economic ‘impact’ – a word quickly that has, quite deservedly, become anathema in humanities departments – but doesn’t speak to philosophy’s broader implications for self-reflection, confidence and reasoned deduction. At at a fundamental level, philosophy equips us with the tools to ask the questions that occur to most thinking people: Why am I here? What is it to be conscious? How can I live a good life?

At the Institute of Art and Ideas, you might not be surprised to learn that we take all of this quite seriously. It is our vision that philosophy and big ideas are an essential tool in determining what is possible; to finding new and better ways to make sense of our world.

This was why we began HowTheLightGetsIn, our annual philosophy and music festival, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018. Gathering together many of the world’s leading philosophers, scientists, politicians, activists, poets, sociologists, filmmakers, writers, and theologians, our festival has broken down the idea of philosophy as being an impenetrable and irrelevant discipline. With next year promising to be our biggest and best festival yet, we can attest firsthand to the important role of philosophical ideas in the daily lives of the public.

Source: IAI News

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World Philosophy Day 2017: political philosophy across the globe [map] | OUPblog

"The third Thursday in November marks World Philosophy Day, an event founded by UNESCO to emphasise the importance of philosophy in the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual" inform Catherine Pugh, Marketing Assistant at Oxford University Press in Oxford, UK.

Photo: Galaxy world map by 3333873. Public domain via Pixabay.
This year, the OUP Philosophy team have decided to incorporate the Oxford Philosophy Festival theme of applying philosophy in politics to our World Philosophy Day content. If you would like to read further about this topic, visit our content hub for a curated list of online resources on the topics being covered by the speakers.
We have also put together an interactive map with some of the many fascinating political philosophers from across the globe. Find out more about different perceptions of political philosophy around the world, as well as some of the areas of overlap.

Recommended Reading

Oxford Philosophy Festival, 16th–19th November 2017 by Catherine Pugh.
"Oxford University Press and Blackwell’s are delighted to team up once again to host the Oxford Philosophy Festival to celebrate the quest for knowledge and ideas. This year, our theme centres around applying philosophy in politics."

Source: OUPblog

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Navy integrates cybersecurity to distance support program | DVIDS

"The threats of yesterday no longer remain valid in the technology-laden environment of today" continues DVIDS

Photo: Petty Officer 1st Class Chad Butler

Cyberattacks are prevalent and are one of the most serious and emerging threats facing the Navy. For this reason, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) subject matter experts are taking steps to protect the surface fleet’s combat and weapon systems from virtual attacks by adding a cyber incident response capability to its 24/7 Watch program. 

 “Cybersecurity tension is growing more each day,” said Phong Trinh, NSWC PHD Combat System Cybersecurity engineer. “PHD’s 24/7 Watch is established to provide combat system technical assistance to the Aegis and Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) ships. PHD is in the planning phase working with the 24/7 Watch to include support to Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The 24/7 Watch can be used to provide cybersecurity as well as combat system support, and it is the vehicle for ships to reach subject matter experts (SME) quickly.”  

Hosted by NSWC PHD, 24/7 Watch provides ships with round-the-clock access to command SMEs who cover a wide range of weapon system disciplines, provide continuous system monitoring, and conduct corrective actions when needed. This specialized form of distance support is a necessity to ensure the strength of the U.S. Navy, enabling the fleet to be combat ready at all times. 

Due to its on-call nature and access to classified networks, 24/7 Watch is an ideal platform for quickly providing combat and weapon system cybersecurity support to Sailors at sea. NSWC PHD is poised to deploy this capability, having already conducted a tabletop exercise to confirm a solid communication path between ships and their respective organizations. 

 “Anytime ships experience suspicious cybersecurity events, they contact Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC),” explained Trinh. “NCDOC serves as the Navy’s cyber security service provider, maintaining watch across networks, managing incidents, and mitigating potential attacks. Oftentimes, they are the first to notify a ship when they detect suspicious activities on the Navy network, and likewise, are the first notified by a ship when the crew detects a problem. The ship can also use 24/7 Watch to contact PHD to receive assistance with conducting further investigation and collecting critical information.” 

Trinh worked closely with NCDOC and key stakeholders to include 24/7 Watch as part of the cyber incident response process. Moving forward, the NSWC PHD cybersecurity team plans to conduct a more formal exercise in spring 2018 to solidify the notification process across all organizations. In addition, the team is working with LCS to identify requirements for future cyber-related support. 

NSWC PHD is a field activity of NAVSEA and provides the global United States Navy fleet with integration, test and evaluation, lifecycle logistics, and in-service engineering for today’s and future warfare systems. Located at Naval Base Ventura County, Calif., NSWC PHD employs more than 2,500 personnel. 

Source: DVIDS (press release)

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PhD: Small desks cause 'hostile' environment for fat students | Campus Reform

Photo: Toni Airaksinen
  • Heather Brown interviewed 13 fat women in college, finding that “classroom design and furniture,” especially “too-small desks,” not only make fat women feel “unwanted,” but also perpetuate “thin privilege and fat hatred.”
  •  Brown argues that colleges “must make attempts to alleviate the damage a hostile physical environment causes to fat women learners,” suggesting renovating classrooms with “differently sized chairs and tables.”

    Toni Airaksinen, New York Campus Correspondent reports, "The executive director of a research institute at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) recently argued that small desks cause a “hostile physical environment” to fat students."

    Photo: Campus Reform

    Heather Brown, who heads the Women and Girls Research Alliance at UNCC, published an article in the new issue of the Fat Studies journal titled “There’s always stomach on the table and I gotta write! Physical space and learning in fat college women.

    For her research, Brown interviewed 13 fat women in college, ultimately finding that “classroom design and furniture,” especially “too-small desks,” not only make fat women feel “unwanted,” but also perpetuate “thin privilege and fat hatred.”

    Kari, one student that Brown interviewed, lamented that she felt “self-conscious” in classes because of the size of the desks, saying, “I can’t help thinking about it, and then it would turn into, like,‘Maybe if I lose ten pounds then I wouldn’t look so fat in this desk…’” 

    Later, Kari told Brown that she was too distracted in her classes to focus. 

    “Sometimes, it’s just, like, ‘Do I look okay in this shirt? What if someone’s looking at me weird? What if I don’t look good in this shirt? What if this shirt makes my arms look fat?’” Kari told Brown.
    The fact that many fat students feel “fat stigma” on their campus may explain why they tend to get worse grades, Brown suggests, arguing that it “is not body weight but rather weight stigma that is a key barrier in learning.”

    Source: Campus Reform 

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    University of Edinburgh PPLS PhD Scholarships 2018-19 | The Siasat Daily

    "The University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS) invites applications for PhD Scholarships 2018-19 from postgraduate students who are willing to pursue a full-time or part-time PhD program within PPLS (Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences)" inform Buddy4Study.

    Photo: Buddy4Study

    To be eligible for the scholarship, an applicant must –
    — Hold or be studying a postgraduate masters degree or equivalent in relevant discipline.
    — Be willing to pursue a PhD program in Philosophy, Psychology or Language Sciences.
    — Hold an excellent academic qualification at undergraduate level.

    Note: The applicants who are existing doctoral researchers in their first or second year of study are not eligible to apply for the award.

    Deadline: 24-11-2017

    How To Apply:
    Eligible candidates can apply for the scholarship through following steps –
    Step 1: Click here to apply for PhD in Philosophy program OR click here to apply for PhD in Psychology program OR click here to apply for PhD in Language Sciences program.
    Step 2: Fulfill all application requirements.
    Step 3: Finally, submit your application form.
    Note: There is no separate application process for scholarships. The PhD applications completed in all respect will be automatically considered for the scholarship. 

    Source: The Siasat Daily

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    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    City PhD student recognised by Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers | City, University of London

    "The Master's Medal is directed specifically at those making their initial 'first author' published contribution to the advancement of optometry or physiological optics" inform City, University of London.

    Photo: The Master's Medal for 2017 was awarded to Deanna Taylor, of City, University of London, for her paper “Searching for Objects in Everyday Scenes: Measuring Performance in People With Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration” – an assessment of the real life impact of dry age-related macular degeneration.

    Deanna Taylor, a PhD researcher working in the Crabb Lab at City, University of London has won a prestigious Master’s Medal prize from the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers for her research into the real life impact of dry age-related macular degeneration.

    The Master's Medal, also known as a Bronze award, and the purse of £750 is directed specifically at those making their initial 'first author' published contribution to the advancement of optometry or physiological optics. The presentation was made at an awards ceremony at Apothecaries’ Hall in London on the 4th October 2017.

    In particular, Deanna’s award was for her paper “Searching for Objects in Everyday Scenes: Measuring Performance in People With Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration”, which highlights the difficulties that people with different severities of dry age-related macular degeneration can have with a visual search, an important everyday task. The paper can be accessed here.

    The Bronze Medals are the subject of a competition, publicised among universities, colleges and medical and optical institutions each Spring. Competition winners are invited to receive their medal at a lunch at Apothecaries' Hall, so that their work can be recognised and rewarded publicly by the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants.

    Speaking about the award, Deanna said:

    “It is a huge honour to have received the Master’s Medal for this paper. The study has implications for management and rehabilitation of people with dry age-related macular degeneration and our methods also have the potential to be used as a meaningful ‘real-world’ outcome for clinical trials. I very much hope that this paper will lead to greater awareness and understanding of the impact of dry age-related macular degeneration on people’s day-to-day lives.”

    Read more... 

    Source: City, University of London (press release)

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    Is a PhD really worth your time and money? | The Fulcrum - Features

    Grad students weigh in on the challenges and benefits on the road to a PhD.

    "Investing in a PhD is a big decision. It usually means pushing an already long academic career in post-secondary education up to the 11-year mark, at least" says Eric Davidson, Editor-in-Chief 

    Photo: Alina Wang

    In the words of one professor, it can mean “working for years for very little money while you watch your friends get rich.”

    Not only that, the PhD itself is in flux. Academic jobs, the stereotypical application of the degree, can be hard to come by. Universities get strong, qualified applicants all the time, and yet many of these job seekers leave disappointed, or suspended in part-time positions with little job security.

    And yet the number of students starting their doctorate has been rising steadily for years.

    While the PhD is changing, the shifts are far more complex than the changes in academic employment. For many students, it means more work and a more creative approach, but not necessarily a sense of impending doom.

    It turns out that the potential outcomes from PhD students are myriad, but the challenges they must face are no less numerous.

    As for the reasons why people decide to extend their academic lives, in the lab or in the library—well, there are plenty of those, too.

    Why take a PhD?
    The number of students enrolled in PhD programs in Ontario nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013, according to Statistics Canada, swelling to around 20,000 students.

    So what is it that’s causing a growing number of students to take the plunge?

    For some, it’s about their career. If you want to work in some high-level jobs in academia, or in the private sector, especially on the science side, you need the fancy degree. And of course, the prestige doesn’t hurt. For others, passion is the catalyst.

    Jennifer Dumoulin is doing her PhD in the Department of Communications at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Arts. “I was in law school, and I had the idea for the topic that I ended up working on now, and then I saw an advertisement for the communications (PhD) program,” she said. “I just kind of had this feeling that that’s where I should be.”

    Alexandre Sicard, a PhD student in chemistry, says that for him, the thrill of discovery is a big driver. “When you get a great success, it feels amazing, you feel like a brilliant scientist,” he said. “You’ve created a new compound, you’ve combined the elements in such a way that have never heretofore been combined, you have something to stamp your name on that is yours.”

    This passion extends to a wide swathe of fields. And while social sciences and the physical and life sciences make up a large chunk of Ontario doctoral students (around 20 per cent each), there are people taking PhDs in fields from architecture to visual arts.

    While all these fields have their own distinct paths, there are challenges that affect students across all disciplines.

    But will it get me a job?
    One thing’s for sure, the myth of the PhD being a clear, non-forking path leading to a cushy, full professorship has been busted.

    According to research from the Conference Board of Canada, only around 19 per cent of PhDs end up as full-time university professors, and more than half don’t end up in academia at all.

    Jennifer Polk is a PhD graduate in history from the University of Toronto who runs a company called Beyond the Professoriate, which is designed to help PhD students find careers. She says that while in many cases the PhD is useful in getting these jobs, in some cases it isn’t the leading factor in gaining employment.

    Polk says that when people end up working in fields different from what their PhD was in, the degree doesn’t necessarily give them an advantage. “I don’t think that the way the PhD programs are structured now are doing as good a job as they could at giving PhDs skills that are transferable to other industries.”

    In other cases, it just might be a longer path to get where you want to go. Christelle Paré, a part-time professor at the U of O’s Department of Communications, is teaching one part-time class, while doing a postdoctoral fellowship, and teaching at the École nationale de l’humour in Quebec. She eventually plans to get a full-fledged professorship, but she says it can be a tedious path, even for part-time gigs.

    “You need to find an opening in your field, and not only in your field, but with your profile,” she said. “You can be very competent, be extremely smart, have a very nice resume, but if your personality or your research projects do not fit with some of the professors’ ideology or priorities, then they will pick somebody else.”

    Dumoulin says she’s heard all about the problems with getting a job with a PhD in Communications. “In the PhD world, they talk about ‘publish or perish,’ they talk about how professors aren’t hiring, that it’s really hard to get tenure, and the issue with the part-time professors now,” she said. “There’s all kinds of negativity around there.”...

    So… is it worth it?
    So, after contending with all these factors that are affecting today’s PhD students, what’s the final verdict? Is it worth it?

    Well, anyone at least partially steeped in the world of academia won’t be surprised by the answer—it depends.

    The fact is, outcomes vary widely based on the the topic of the PhD, the person themselves, and other factors like a chance scientific discovery. But it can’t be denied that there are serious challenges students have to overcome to finish and profit from their doctoral degrees.

    There are many factors to consider beyond if you like the subject or want a job in it. Studying the job market and how it might change is important, as is learning about the lifestyle of those taking and graduated from the PhD program. There are still large problems to be fixed, like the lack of full understanding of how to adapt to people’s mental health needs. And in some cases, like those of international students, you may not even be afforded the choice of completing a PhD in Canada.

    The decision to get a PhD is more complex than ever. So if you are considering it, make sure to study up.
    Read more... 

    Source: The Fulcrum 

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    Bespoke training vs off-the-shelf courses: which is right for your organisation? | Virtual College

    Photo: Cameron Glennon
    "In the last few years, e-learning has gone from being a relatively new concept to a mainstream fixture of modern approaches to training" notes Cameron Glennon, Learning Solutions Advisor interested in bespoke e-learning development.

    Photo: Virtual College
    Aided and abetted by recent advances in technology and connectivity, businesses across the world are embracing the added convenience and reduced costs provided by digital learning platforms that can be accessed any time and from any device.

    However, the ever-growing range of e-learning solutions can sometimes leave compliance training managers with difficult decisions to make regarding which option will work best for their organisation. Many firms find that developing a bespoke training programme specifically for the needs of their workforce delivers the greatest benefit, while others yield similar results from off-the-shelf solutions.

    Which of these two approaches will work best for your organisation? The answer depends on a number of factors.

    The pros and cons of off-the-shelf courses  
    For a great many businesses, off-the-shelf e-learning solutions will provide everything they need and more, without them being required to pay extra for extensive customisation.

    Since prepackaged solutions are ready to buy and developed for the widest possible audience, businesses can get these courses up and running with a bare minimum of setup time, with the design and testing process handled by the vendor. Such solutions can be ideal when providing training on relatively general subjects, as the courses will by experts to align with industry best practice and compliance standards; since they're also much more affordable, they're often favoured by smaller companies with less to spend.

    However, the inevitable trade-off is that off-the-shelf solutions will not be tailored to fit the specific needs of your business model and workflow, meaning the content may not necessarily meet your training goals as precisely as a course designed in-house. If you anticipate that your requirements are too specific for an off-the-shelf option to address, then a bespoke approach may be preferable.

    The pros and cons of bespoke training 
    Naturally, then, the single biggest benefit of a custom-built training programme is that of relevance. With a bespoke option, you'll be able to tailor every aspect of the course - from the content and the learning materials through to the choice of vocabulary and the values it embodies - to your individual corporate needs.

    Because your organisation will have full ownership of a bespoke course, it will be possible to make changes, updates and revisions as and when necessary; it also means the course can be provided to any number of employees without having to pay licence fees for individual learners, and remain in use for as long as you need it.

    However, companies that choose to go down this route should be prepared for higher upfront costs and time spent getting the solution up and running. Since bespoke training needs to be carefully designed to address specific needs, it can be challenging for companies that lack experience in e-learning development to realise the potentially considerable benefits without the help of a trusted external partner.

    Working with a vendor such as Virtual College, who can work as part of your team and offer support at every stage, can facilitate these efforts, turning a challenging process into a creative and thought-provoking collaboration. Although this requires a commitment of resources and time, many companies ultimately end up learning just as much from creating a bespoke e-learning solution as they do from running it.

    Source: Virtual College

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    Technology at the Forefront of Education | American Libraries - The Scoop

    Photo: Phil Morehart
    "Day One of the 2017 AASL conference" inform Phil Morehart, Associate Editor at American Library Association.

    “We need to consider how the world is changing.”

    Jaime Casap, chief education evangelist at Google, talks to librarians in the exhibit hall after his keynote talk on the first day of the 2017 AASL National Conference and Exhibition in Phoenix.

    Jaime Casap, education evangelist at Google, opened the 2017 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference and Exhibition, held November 9–11 in Phoenix, with an examination of the evolving state of education in the US and how it has changed—for better and for worse—with the advance of technology. The future is now, Casap says, and librarians and educators need to know how to connect with and teach a generation of learners who have spent their whole lives in a digital world.

    Casap relayed a personal anecdote to illustrate the power of technology education to change lives—studying computer science allowed him to escape poverty as a kid living in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood during the 1970s and 1980s. He also had stats: Computer science majors earn a salary 40% higher than the average college graduate. But a gap exists between where we’re going and where we are, he says. In Arizona, only 10% of schools offer Advanced Placement computer science courses. Today’s learners are digital natives, and schools must offer them tools and resources they need to thrive.

    Casap said that without new technological tools educators won’t be able to reach digital natives. “Imagine what life is like for kids who have grown up in a digital generation,” he says. “How they think about learning is different because of the world they grew up in.” Today’s learners are autodidacts when it comes to digital technology, he says, and the educational system has to be retooled to adapt to that. Instead of adhering to old models that stress rote memorization of facts, educators need to teach students problem-solving skills that allow them to use technologies that are already a part of their everyday lives.

    “Information on its own is a commodity,” he says. “We need to teach kids how to apply it. We need to teach kids how to find information and put it together.”

    Source: American Libraries (blog

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    HRM learning networks delivering on literacy programs |

    "Along with traditional subjects, each of the three HRM learning networks now offer some form of computer literacy training" continues

    RIGHT: Volunteers Jennie Sanford, computer tutor, and Tyler Colbourne, community learning program co-ordinator.

    Literacy and numeracy skills are essential for navigating life in today’s society. More and more jobs require proficient reading, comprehension, math and, more recently, digital skills.

    To help identify the status of literacy in Canada, researchers of adult literacy developed a five-point literacy scale to categorize one’s level of literacy. Generally speaking, at level five on the scale, the individual is entirely equipped (in terms of literacy) to work in a knowledge-based, rapidly changing, digitally-driven economy.

    At level three, the individual is on the cusp of having enough reading and comprehension skills to get along in a workplace where understanding and conveying information are key skills.

    The statistics show, explains Alison O’Handley, executive director of the Dartmouth Learning Network (DLN), “about 50 per cent of adults in Nova Scotia have yet to reach that level three [of literacy] and are deprived of opportunities to live and work [more fully] in a modern environment.”

    Canadian society, as a whole, did not fare much better. And the stakes of literacy deprivation are incredibly high.

    “Canadians with low literacy skills have lower incomes, higher unemployment, poorer health and die earlier than Canadians with higher levels of literacy,” reads the Bedford-Sackville Learning Network’s “Literacy Facts” webpage.

    The good news is, entirely free and proven literacy programming is available to adult residents of HRM wanting to acquire more literacy, numeracy and digital skills.

    According to O’Handley, “the bulk of the learners … have attended some junior high school but [are] unable to advance in their job — or even get a job — without a GED or high school diploma, and the skills that come with the curriculum.”

    The HRM learning networks (located in Dartmouth, Lower Sackville and Halifax) are just three of 30 non-profit literacy initiatives — found in communities all over Nova Scotia — delivering literacy programs on behalf the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning, under the Department of Labour and Advanced Education...

    Dozens of volunteers are required to run each of the learning networks from September to June. At the Bedford-Sackville Learning Network, Ann Roddick, tutor co-ordinator, is looking for volunteer tutors for reading, math and computer basics. Roddick says the demand for computer tutoring is on the rise.


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    Thursday, November 09, 2017

    Learning How to Listen with Discovery Orchestra | New Jersey Monthly

    Jacqueline Klecak, Associate Editor for New Jersey Monthly notes, "Discovery Orchestra, a classical music-focused program, aims to make centuries-old pieces more accessible and approachable to people of all ages."

    “Not everyone can become a virtuoso violinist, guitarist or pianist, but everyone can become a virtuoso listener.” — George Marriner Maull
    Photo courtesy of Dan Hedden.

    Music is a constant in the background of our lives. While eating, reading and driving we hear melodies, but are we really listening?

    “We’ve been trained to not give music our full attention,” says Bedminster resident George Marriner Maull, artistic director of the Discovery Orchestra, a nonprofit dedicated to improving listening skills.

    The Warren-based organization was founded as the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey in 1987. After years of performing symphonic concerts, the organization’s mission changed in 2006 when it became the Discovery Orchestra.

    Now, the classical music-focused program aims to make centuries-old pieces more accessible and approachable to people of all ages. During interactive music lessons, or Discovery Concerts, Maull, 70, enthusiastically leads musicians on stage as the audience follows along with listening-guide pamphlets. During frequent pauses in the performance, Maull instructs concertgoers to listen for specific instruments and musical elements.

    “Not everyone can become a virtuoso violinist, guitarist or pianist,” says Maull, “but everyone can become a virtuoso listener.”...

    Music students everywhere can view condensed versions of Maull’s teachings through the Discovery Orchestra Chat videos on YouTube.

    Source: New Jersey Monthly

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    Music only helps you concentrate if you’re doing the right kind of task | The Conversation UK

    Photo: Nick Perham
    "Listening to your favourite album might not be the best idea if you've got something to do" according to Nick Perham, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

    Music and work don’t always mix. 
    Photo: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock
    Many of us listen to music while we work, thinking that it will help us to concentrate on the task at hand. And in fact, recent research has found that music can have beneficial effects on creativity. When it comes to other areas of performance, however, the impact of background music is more complicated.

    The assumption that listening to music when working is beneficial to output likely has its roots in the so-called “Mozart effect”, which gained wide media attention in the early 1990s. Put simply, this is the finding that spatial rotation performance (mentally rotating a 3D dimensional shape to determine whether it matches another or not) is increased immediately after listening to the music of Mozart, compared to relaxation instructions or no sound at all. Such was the attention that this finding garnered that the then US governor of Georgia, Zell Miller, proposed giving free cassettes or CDs of Mozart’s music to prospective parents.

    Subsequent studies have cast doubt on the necessity of the music of Mozart to produce this effect – a “Schubert effect”, a “Blur effect”, and even a “Stephen King effect” (his audiobook rather than his singing) have all been observed. In addition, musicians could show the effect purely from imagining the music rather than actually listening to it. 

    So researchers then suggested that the “Mozart effect” was not due to his music as such, but rather to people’s optimum levels of mood and arousal. And so it became the “mood and arousal effect”.

    Unfortunately, the situations in which most mood and arousal effects are observed are slightly unrealistic. Do we really sit and listen to music, switch it off, and then engage in our work in silence? More likely is that we work with our favourite tunes playing in the background. 

    How sound affects performance has been the topic of laboratory research for over 40 years, and is observed through a phenomenon called the irrelevant sound effect. Basically, this effect means that performance is poorer when a task is undertaken in the presence of background sound (irrelevant sound that you are ignoring), in comparison to quiet.

    To study irrelevant sound effect, participants are asked to complete a simple task which requires them to recall a series of numbers or letters in the exact order in which they saw them – similar to trying to memorise a telephone number when you have no means to write it down. In general, people achieve this by rehearsing the items either aloud or under their breath. The tricky thing is being able to do this while ignoring any background noise. 

    Source: The Conversation UK

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