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Friday, July 19, 2019

Use peer support to improve well-being and research outcomes | Careers -

Sarah Masefield, PhD Student, University of York says, PhD students’ knowledge can and should be harnessed to help others who are beginning their postgraduate journey. 

Photo: courtesy of Stuart Miles at

When I started my PhD in health sciences in 2016, I knew it was a risk. I had a history of depression, and I thought the programme might trigger a recurrence. What I hadn’t expected was the extreme anxiety that I experienced. Over the Christmas holidays of my second year, I woke up every day with my heart racing and feeling sick, knowing that to reach my next deadline I had to spend another day trying to make progress with my systematic-review chapter. My only full day off during that period was Christmas Day.

Instead of seeking help, I stopped communicating with my supervisors because I felt incompetent. I worried that talking to them would expose and shame me more. I was not willing to carry on at the further expense of my health, and of my relationship with my partner. I decided that if something didn’t change soon, I’d have to drop out.

Fortunately, I’d made friends with other PhD students in my department at the University of York, UK. We discussed our research projects and shared guidance from our supervisors and other students. Hearing about their anxieties and receiving their advice really helped...

What you should know Here’s what I want current and future PhD students, and universities, to take away from my experiences: 

• Students’ knowledge of the PhD process can and should be shared — and not just within their own departmental silo — with those who are starting their PhDs. University backing is needed to help get peer-support initiatives off the ground and keep them going.
• Students can go to their doctoral training and support services and ask them what support is available for mental health and well-being. They can ask for help developing peer-support workshops across the university (not only in a single department) and promoting activities to students.
• Universities should work with PhD students to provide environments that reduce the risk factors for mental ill health, that help students to recognize when their mental health is being adversely affected and that put them at ease about asking for help.
Read more... 


The long and winding road towards a PhD | University - Study International News

Yasmin Ahmad Kamil, Senior Education Journalist at Study International writes, The PhD journey is not all doom and gloom. Here’s some advice from a graduate.

Photo: Ellen Davis via Flickr
A PhD is the crowning achievement in academia, but the road towards the finishing line proves to be a strenuous climb of resilience and perseverance. PhD students often report feeling stressed with their supervisors, struggling to balance tight deadlines with work commitments and experiencing the overarching stress of graduate school in general. But the struggle is not without its benefits. 

For many, a PhD serves as a passport for a career in academia, while others may see it as an opportunity to earn more in their lifetime. For instance, 2017 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that those with doctoral and professional degrees earn more than those with only a Master’s or Bachelor’s. 

One study notes: “Recipients of doctoral degrees have traditionally occupied prestigious positions in research and education, where they have been called upon and funded to produce new knowledge.”

It also notes that doctoral education “provides the labour force not only for top positions within the professoriate, but also in educational administration, scientific laboratories and research facilities, and business and industry”...

A PhD students’ supervisor can be their best friend or the bane of their existence. Some students report that their supervisors are not supportive, do not give timely feedback or are simply AWOL. Zabri’s experience could not have been more different.

“It’s not the same in my case because my supervisors read everything, provided that I gave them time before the next supervisory meeting to read it,” he said. Frequent changes needed to be made to his work as his supervisors had their fingers on the pulse of the latest research in his area of study and would often suggest information they felt could be incorporated into his PhD. 

“So, sometimes for me, it can be stressful. So usually after every after supervisory meeting, I’ll go to town to de-stress or go back home to sleep it off first, waking up with a fresh mind.”

Having gone through the wringer, what would be Zabri’s advice to aspiring PhD students?

Source: Study International News 

How women created some of the world's biggest education tech companies | Online learning - The Guardian

The tech industry is dominated by men, but some of the world’s biggest education tech brands have women at the helm.

The Department for Education has unveiled plans to build “the best edtech ecosystem in the world”.
 Photo: Alamy Stock
What do these women have in common? They’re all former teachers.

Everything’s going digital, and that includes education. From homework management apps to virtual reality geometry lessons, there’s plenty on offer from companies competing for a slice of the sizeable global market for online learning.

Education technology (edtech) exports are worth £170m to the UK economy and the Department for Education (DfE) has unveiled plans to build “the best edtech ecosystem in the world”, with a new edtech strategy. It’s hoped powerful technologies will improve student learning and relieve teacher workload in the face of shrinking education budgets.

Yet, despite a majority female teaching workforce at school level, women are missing from senior edtech roles: a problem highlighted when the DfE recently announced an edtech leadership advisory group in which women from the edtech industry were equalled by men named Chris. That’s not even including group chair, Chris Holmes, and universities minister, Chris Skidmore, who works with the panel...

Leading the way for female edtech representation globally is Daphne Koller, a Stanford University professor and creator of online learning platform, Coursera.

Source: The Guardian

Online Learning Is Getting More Popular Among Students | Easy Reader

Teri Marin, Easy Reader News summarizes, Online courses, provided by some of the best schools in the country, are very popular among professionals. 

Photo: Santiago Jaramillo via Flickr
The fact that they can go back to school while maintaining a fulltime career is one of the things that make online courses suitable for professionals. Even entrepreneurs are returning to school and pursuing degrees in specific fields.

However, online degrees aren’t just popular among professionals. Highschool graduates now prefer continuing their journeys online instead of attending brick-and-mortar courses. In fact, recent studies showed that the number of students actively choosing to continue their education online is growing by an average of 8% per year.

So, what makes online learning so popular among students? What about those who are pursuing their master’s or doctorate degrees? There are some common threads in how online courses are seen by students.

Source: Easy Reader 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

9 ways e-learning maths can do away with any math phobia and make you an expert | Mathematics - India Today

Studying mathematics through e-learning can do away with the math phobia or anxiety that many students feel because of the way the subject is taught traditionally, notes Sachin Gulati, teaches maths in a fun learning way. 

Math phobia is caused by the traditional system of teaching mathematics. Rather than mugging up questions, students need to understand the concept and theory well.
E-learning has offered convenience, user-friendly interface, accessibility to quality faculties and host of other benefits to a student. For a subject like mathematics, the platform is more capable in offering one-to-one attention thereby solving student's need for the subject.

In a classroom scenario, a student often does not consult the teacher due to shyness or forgetfulness. In an online environment, a student is free to ask and resolve any question-be it mathematics or any other subject. Therefore learning becomes inclusive and interactive.

In this regard, Indian company TruMath is working towards eradicating the fear that students have for mathematics.

Mathematics can be fun!
Learning mathematics requires a lot of patience both from students and teacher. Unfortunately, in India, the reputation around the subject is so poor that everyone thinks Math is boring, painful to learn and un-enjoyable! But not anymore!

E-learning can make the subject fun, interesting and understandable. E-learning actually opens door to a world of mathematics that is fun and exciting...

When teachers use technology strategically, they can provide greater access to mathematics for all students.

Source: India Today

University of Zagreb uses Moodle to support e-learning in over 115 higher education institutions in Croatia | Case Studies - Moodle

University of Zagreb University Computing Centre (SRCE) is currently the main institution for planning, designing, building and maintaining the e-infrastructure in the Academic and Research community in the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in Croatia by Júlia Verdaguer.

In this case study, learn how SRCE became the key organisation in e-learning implementation and guidance for the whole Research and Higher Education systems in the country...

The Challenge
In 2007, University of Zagreb established the E-learning Centre at SRCE with the aim of starting a systematic implementation of e-learning and enhancing the quality of university education.

That included providing a virtual learning environment (VLE) for all the varied and diverse institutions of University of Zagreb, many of which did not see how e-learning could fit in their strategy.

Source: Moodle

Local STEM camp inspires young girls just in time for Apollo 11 anniversary | KMTV 3 News Now

A local STEM camp pushes young kids to think differently, says Ruta Ulcinaite, Reporter at  KMTV 3 News Now team.

Photo: Screenshot from KMTV - 3 News Now Video
"Camp Invention's been hosted with Bennington Schools for nine or ten years," director of the camp Kendal Runde said.'

But it's not your typical summer camp.

"Each kido gets to make and design and decorate their own robot, and so then there's programming involved to get their robots to be able to play soccer," Runde said.

STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, is underutilized. But this growing field is critical in a fast evolving world...

And the camp is taking place during a historical time in the STEM community. 50 years ago this week, Apollo 11 made its historic landing on the moon. Today, young girls everywhere reach for the stars, just as Niel Armstrong and others did all those years ago.

Hicks said she'd like to have an all-women flight to the Moon or Mars. 

Source: KMTV 3 News Now

Kurt Gödel's legacy - Time travel is mathematically imaginable / University of Vienna from 25 to 27 July 2019 | Science X News Wire - Phys.Org

Kurt Gödel's legacy—Time travel is mathematically imaginable.

Photo: Kurt Gödel’s Legacy: Does Future lie in the Past?
"Does Future Lie in the Past?" This is the title of an international conference in Vienna that combines logic, computer science and physics featuring speakers such as Nobel laureate Rainer Weiss, mathematical rockstar John D. Barrow, AI researcher Toby Walsh, and physicist Marika Taylor among others.
Two events that have strongly influenced the world of science are celebrating an anniversary this year: The decisive review of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is 100 years old. And 70 years ago Kurt Gödel proved that the theory of relativity permits a strange kind of universe: Under certain conditions, as Gödel could show, a universe with closed world lines is possible, in which time has a circular structure and objects at some point seamlessly return to their own past. Thus time travel within the general theory of relativity is conceivable...

Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Mechanics
Matthias Baaz, TU Vienna: "Just as Einstein and Gödel shook the foundations of science, today's knowledge about statistical and logical methods could lead the way to artificial intelligence (AI) in new directions". AI researcher Toby Walsh and science philosopher Reinhard Kahle are investigating developments in artificial intelligence and the demand for explainable and responsible AI computers that can learn independently without corrupt or distorted data. Another future topic with potential for revolutionary insights is quantum informatics: quantum physicists Markus Aspelmeyer and Wolfgang Schleich as well as mathematician and physicist Marika Taylor, formerly a close collaborator of Stephen Hawking, will describe the current state of research in this field.

Source: Phys.Org

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

With 100 + episodes, 'Stats + Stories' continues to advocate for numerical literacy | Campus - Miami University

Miami University’s John Bailer believes people have a big problem with numbers by Ryan McSheffrey, Journalism at Miami University.

John Bailer, Rosemary Pennington and Richard Campbell generate the stories statistics tell. 
Photo: Miami University
"There are people who are prideful in their statements of 'I don't do math,'" said Bailer, chair of Miami's department of statistics and University Distinguished Professor. "The idea that you could be prideful in your ignorance is a sad commentary for me."

According to Bailer, there's something of a double standard going on.

"If you were illiterate, you'd be embarrassed to say so. It would be viewed as something you need to fix."

Miami professor Richard Campbell has first-hand experience in a field he says students who have this kind of statistical illiteracy tend to drift toward...

The show ramped up to weekly production after receiving funding from the American Statistical Association last year. It’s also landed a listing on National Public Radio's website.  A typical episode has 800-1,200 listeners, some of whom tell the panelists about its reach.

"My niece told me her high school math teacher was a fan of 'Stats + Stories' and used it in class," Bailer said. "My nephew who goes to another university (read: not Miami) said a professor assigned it as an assignment in class."

Source: Miami University

Are you Mathematician? We bet you to solve this viral Math equation! | Speed News Desk - Catch News

Do you think of yourself as a Mathematician? asks Speed News Desk.

Photo: Speed News Desk
If yes, then solve this equation which has beats everyone’s brains out on social media. A mathematical equation is doing the rounds on Twitter which has left many puzzled to solve it. An equation was shared by a KJ Cheetham on his Twitter handle. He captioned, "A maths meme that is funny rather than stupid: Solve carefully! 230 - 220 x 0.5 =?"

He also wrote the answer to the problem is 5. But didn’t mention the solution.