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Thursday, January 17, 2019

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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Debunking the emotional intelligence myth | Culture - TrainingZone

Helen Amery, Executive Coach - Wild Fig Solutions Limited reports, Getting to grips with your emotional intelligence may be easier than you think. It just takes an open mind and self-belief.

Photo: primipil/iStock

Think of a time when you were in flow. Either on your own, or in a group or team. One of those times when things just seemed to happen really naturally and easily. When you didn’t have to put much effort in and yet you were making great progress, or getting great results.

Now compare that to the definition of emotional intelligence: “the capability of individuals to recognise their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal(s)”...

Why aren’t we in flow more? 
For years we’ve been teaching people (me included until recently) that we need to intellectually manage what’s going on for us emotionally. That we need to use our brain muscle to fix ourselves, that we need to practice and repeat to build new habits and new neural pathways, all so we can be better versions of ourselves more of the time because we’ve been led to believe there’s some version of us which is not good enough and not acceptable to society right now.

The trouble is, the application of our intellectual capabilities to these emotional management tasks, takes valuable energy away from our ability to generate fresh new thoughts and ideas in any moment, from our ability to listen and hear others, from our ability to connect and collaborate.

Source: TrainingZone

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Learning Engineering: Making Education More "Professional" | Features - Campus Technology.

A Q&A with Ellen Wagner

Learning engineering has taken many forms since the term was coined by Herbert Simon back in the 1960s, explains Mary Grush, Editor and Conference Program Director, Campus Technology. 

"The evolution of ed tech has always demonstrated that as tech platforms get more complex, product teams turn to other disciplines to get the expertise they need."
Photo: Ellen Wagner
Ellen Wagner, who chairs IEEE's ICICLE SIG on Learning Engineering Among the Professions offers some perspective — from Simon's original insight to LE's application and potential today.

Mary Grush: Some 50-plus years ago, Herbert Simon (who we remember today as a famed economist and Nobel Prize winner), coined the term "learning engineering" — a term we are hearing a lot these days. What was "learning engineering" in Simon's original context?

Ellen Wagner: Back in 1967 Herb Simon shared a radical vision that colleges and universities could improve their professionalism by increasing the use of scientific methods and business processes in university administration and operation. In today's era of accountability, analytics, "big data", and performance funding, Simon's recommendations sound almost quaint, don't they?

But by increasing the use of scientific methods and business processes, Simon believed it would be possible to improve the returns on investment in college infrastructure and operational management, which in turn would lead to increased efficiency and better outcomes in curricular development, teaching, and ultimately, in student learning. Does this sound more familiar? Maybe even a bit more like performance-based funding, something that is already in place in 34 states?

Among his suggested strategies for making colleges and universities more professional settings for teaching and learning, Simon believed there might be value in providing college presidents with a "learning engineer" [see Simon, "The Job of a College President," p. 77] — an expert professional in the design of learning environments.

As Simon envisioned this role, the learning engineer would be an institutional specialist with several responsibilities related to optimizing university productivity: Specifically, they would be responsible to work collaboratively with faculty to design learning experiences in particular disciplines. They would also be expected to work with administration to improve the design of the broader campus environment to facilitate student learning and faculty improvements. And, they would be expected to introduce new disciplines such as cognitive psychology, along with learning machines and computer assisted instruction — remember, this was 1967 — to various disciplines on campus.

Source: Campus Technology

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6 Things to Know About Textbooks for Online Courses | Online Colleges - U.S. News & World Report

Online students may consider purchasing rather than renting textbooks if they plan to keep course materials as career resources, according to Jordan Friedman, New York-based freelance reporter.

There are several ways to buy – and save on – textbooks.
Photo: Getty Images

When Regina Kizer took online nursing classes in two graduate nursing degree programs, she bought textbooks in all different formats.

“I've tried eBooks; I've tried Kindle. I've tried purchasing them in hardback, and I've rented them as well,” says the 45-year-old Oklahoma resident, who earned a nursing master’s and doctoral degree from Frontier Nursing University.

She says the decision to buy or rent textbooks – either from the school or elsewhere – in part boiled down to whether she planned to continue using the textbook as a career resource once a class finished. If so, she typically chose to purchase textbooks, often in print... 

Some online courses are going textbook-free.  
Certain professors may not assign any textbooks and will simply have students download a series of journal articles and other reading materials at no cost.

Other online courses may utilize Open Educational Resources, or OERs, which are free materials on the internet that are often available to anyone and are produced through university, state or federally funded projects, says Tony Contento, program manager for the School of Professional Studies at Colorado State University—Global Campus.

“What they represent is a free resource for students designed by active professors,” Contento says. “And sometimes these professors even design other materials – videos, interactives, assessments – for student and faculty use.”
Read more... 

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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