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Changes on this site

January 7th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Ok – nothing dramatic. But we are slowly adding to the functionality and features on Wales Wide Web.

Firstly we have updated our PB wiki – accessible through the badge on the right hand side of this page. We are using the wiki to record both work in progress about different themes and ideas and about projects we are working on. We hope the wiki will prove especially useful for those wanting access to source materials around particular topics.

We have also used the Goggle API to provide access to Google translate fort those unable to read Maria’s blog in Greek language. OK – Google translate isn’t perfect. But it does provide a good overview of her blog articles in different languages.

Jo is working at adding easy access to academic papers produced by members of the Pontydysgu team. We set out to do this once before using the BIBTEX standard through CiteULike, However, in practice this turned out too unwieldy. After a lot of thought we have decided to use Scribd. We are planning to embed them on the publications page of the site. In the meantime if you can’t wait you can search for Graham Attwell on Scribd (more papers to go up in the next few days).

And, finally, we are embarking on a long overdue redesign of our projects pages. Pontydysgu takes part in many projects. Our previous page design was not really fit for purpose and we are redesigning the pages, dividing the projects into current and completed past work.

If you have suggestions for how we can further improve the site please do leave us a message.

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    News Bites

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.

    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time

    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”

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