Archive for 8 June 2009

Misguided points?

Posted in teaching with tags , , on 8 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… The problem with the system is that the points required are not particularly determined by the minimum level of attainment deemed necessary in order to be able to do the course. Rather, the points are arrived at primarily as a result of supply and demand: the greater the demand for a particular programme at a particular institution, the higher the points. Therefore the most popular subjects have the highest points – and typically these have been the programmes that quality students for professions such as medicine or law, but also a number of arts and humanities subjects …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 7 June]

It would be a mistake of monumental proportions to take the shears to the country’s science budget

Posted in research with tags , , on 8 June 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Why do we conduct science? Why do we carry out research? What is it good for? As a nation, we need to be able to answer these questions. The Government is expected to put more than €4 billion into research over the period 2007-2013, so this is far from a small-change investment. Individuals’ reasons for doing science include because it is fun, and because it gives you a good job. While science causes some to gag, most of the people who get involved do so for fun, for the sheer enjoyment of it. They like the creativity involved, the discovery of something new. If you get a tenured position in a university, on the face of it, that’s a job for life …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 8 June]

Online learning, Research vs Teaching and ‘Reputation’

Posted in teaching with tags , on 8 June 2009 by Steve

USA“… First of all, I must confess that I am a heavy user of online courses. Among others I’ve attended classes on physics at MIT, on Astronomy at Berkeley and Yale, the history of physics and Heidegger’s Being and Time at Berkeley, a talk by Gayatri Spivak at UCSB, I am currently engaged with Susskind’s course on GR at Stanford and I plan to check out an intro to metaphysics from Tufts. And this is just a very limited selection of a huge offer, useful for the student who wants to revise the same topic he or she is studying or for the researcher/scholar which wants to have a basic education in a field different from his or her own (which is my case) …” (more)

[Hypertiling, 7 June]