Archive for the ‘My Learning Journey’ Category

PLE 2014 -a call to host

July 30th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

The PLE Conference 2014 – an Open Call for hosts

The first PLE Conference was in 2010 in Barcelona. And it was so fantastic everyone asked where it would be next. So 2011 we were in Southampton. in 2012 it was Aveiro in Portugal. And this year PLE was hosted in Berlin. Meanwhile people from the south of the world asked for their own parallel conference. In 2012 and 2013 this has been organised in Melbourne, Australia.

In this time PLE conference has developed its own unique atmosphere and style with many saying it is their favourite conference.

Which leads to the next question – where will the PLE conference be in 2014? We have also developed a tradition of publishing an open call. Would you and your organisation like to host the PLE conference next year?

You will preferably be somewhere reasonably accessible and have access to spaces conducive for intensive and sociable knowledge sharing. You will probably need the support of your organisation. And despite the great support from the PLE Conference Organising Committee you will need to commit yourself to some hard work.

If you think this sounds like you please contact Graham Attwell, myself  or another member of the PLE Committee by September 20, 2013. Also feel free to ask us anything you need more information about.

What is a University for?

July 25th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

I just came across this video/ initiative on twitter.

Enlivened Learning an introduction from Multi-Sense Media on Vimeo.

Lately I have been asking myself the same kind of questions… as I am still searching… trying to make a meaningful contribution! What is the University for? What is my role in it? And how can I help make it a place of “useful learning“?

In the current changing environment, I think these are questions that need to be debated urgently.

In the video, one of the authors alludes to the need to re-connect education to “land, place, community and history”.  How do we make Higher Education part of who we are? It is also a matter of identity, and values, and purpose, is it not?

How do we consider ourselves within the HE universe? A large percentage of the world population – the majority(!) – does not identify themselves with the University , because it’s far removed from their social, cultural and economic backgrounds. It just isn’t them, or so they think…

The University has always been an exclusive place, but knowledge has/ should not. Especially in the current socio-technological and economic context can Universities afford to continue to be what they were 200 years ago, with the aggravating ambition of becoming a business…?

I wonder!

 ”Knowledge is sacrificed when Universities become businesses” ~ a member of the Buffalo tribe

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    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.”


    Teenagers online in the USA

    According to Pew Internet 95% of teenagers in the USA now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more-persistent online activities: 45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

    Roughly half (51%) of 13 to 17 year olds say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


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