Monthly Archives: August 2016

Study reveals what it takes to become a cryptic crossword expert – and it’s more than just practice

Study reveals what it takes to become a cryptic crossword expert – and it’s more than just practice

You may have heard of the “10,000-hour rule”, the belief that it takes thousands of hours of intense practice to become an expert in something. Training and practice are clearly vitally important in many highly competitive areas such as sports, music and chess. But is that really all it takes to achieve greatness? Recent research […] … learn more→

A virtual tour of blended-learning schools, so others can see how it’s done

A virtual tour of blended-learning schools, so others can see how it’s done

When teachers want to try something new in the classroom, it helps if they can see what it looks like in action. They could ask another teacher down the hall. Or they might try to talk to other teachers on social media, perhaps in an education technology Twitter chat. But too often, these aspiring innovators […] … learn more→

Top College economist: Marx

Top College economist: Marx

Higher education is often referred to as the “ivory tower,” but a better metaphor would be a field of ivory towers. Every department is its own ivory tower. At the university level, I seldom so much as see someone from another department. While I might well know something of what goes on in my department, […] … learn more→

Returning to academic work after maternity leave

Returning to academic work after maternity leave

I’m seated at my chunky white desk in my home office. Spotify is rolling through its Southern Gothic playlist. I can hear my husband moving around on the floor below. He has begun his portion of our shared parental leave – Kieran is taking the final eight weeks – and I am officially Back At […] … learn more→

The dangers of motivational cliches

The dangers of motivational cliches

If you work hard enough, you can achieve anything”. “If you put your mind to it, and stick with it, you can do it”. “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever”. “You cannot dig yourself out of a hole”. The clock in the bottom right hand corner of the screen changes to show that it’s now […] … learn more→

Are US antitrust regulators giving Silicon Valley’s ‘free’ apps a free pass?

Are US antitrust regulators giving Silicon Valley’s ‘free’ apps a free pass?

Judging by the political winds, Silicon Valley seems headed for a showdown with antitrust regulators. For the first time since 1988, the Democratic Party’s platform includes stronger antitrust enforcement, while leading liberals have singled out Google, Apple and Facebook for holding too much market power. Republicans considered (but ultimately rejected) inserting stronger antitrust language in […] … learn more→

How three-day weekends can help save the world (and us too)

How three-day weekends can help save the world (and us too)

Almost everyone enjoys a bank holiday. A three-day weekend means more time to spend with family and friends, to go out and explore the world, and to relax from the pressures of working life. Imagine if, rather than a few times a year, we had a three-day weekend every week. This isn’t just a nice […] … learn more→

Teachers have a crucial role to play in building social cohesion

Teachers have a crucial role to play in building social cohesion

1994 was a deeply important year for South Africa. It ushered in a democratic society committed to the eradication of racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination. It brought political change that promised the building of a “rainbow nation” committed to the ideas of equity and redress. There have been many accomplishments and significant changes […] … learn more→

Starving faculty speak out

Starving faculty speak out

Throughout higher education, academics are realizing something is horribly wrong. We’ve seen the old campuses grow, and new campuses spring up, but we are told there just aren’t any permanent positions available. Faculty, if they want to be in higher education, are forced to be overworked at starvation wages, in the hope that someday all […] … learn more→

Why academics should NOT make time for social media

Why academics should NOT make time for social media

How many friends have you got, and how many people do you know? If you use social media such as Facebook and Twitter you can probably quantify these things quite readily, but the answers will be wildly inaccurate as we all routinely overestimate these things. What is more, the answers will be irrelevant to your […] … learn more→