Monthly Archives: October 2016

On this course, there are no grades, no syllabuses and no measures of success

On this course, there are no grades, no syllabuses and no measures of success

It was an experiment based on a simple hypothesis: by allowing students from wildly different learning cultures to take on huge challenges together, truly powerful outcomes might be achieved. Fortunately for the students, the hypothesis was proved correct. But perhaps more surprisingly, the two institution presidents who conceived the experiment learned even more. These lessons might […] … learn more→

We need new laws to regulate the world’s newest frontier: the datasphere

We need new laws to regulate the world’s newest frontier: the datasphere

The rise of information technologies – smartphones, sensors spread across public and private spaces, data analytics – has led to the production of considerable amounts of data on human activity and the world around us. The quantity of data has increased exponentially, in parallel with Moore’s law, which predicted in 1965 that computers’ capacity would […] … learn more→

What must fall: fees or the South African state?

What must fall: fees or the South African state?

The polarising effects of #FeesMustFall are now pervasive in the academy, and probably beyond. Academics turn on each other, as do their schools and faculties. Whole universities are pitted against one another – the “Wits option” vs the “UCT option”. Some academics are accused of being blindly supportive of “the innocent students” and parading their […] … learn more→

Moving toward computing at the speed of thought

Moving toward computing at the speed of thought

The first computers cost millions of dollars and were locked inside rooms equipped with special electrical circuits and air conditioning. The only people who could use them had been trained to write programs in that specific computer’s language. Today, gesture-based interactions, using multitouch pads and touchscreens, and exploration of virtual 3D spaces allow us to […] … learn more→

Why I won’t be issuing trigger warnings to students

Why I won’t be issuing trigger warnings to students

When it comes to the debate around the use of trigger warnings on university courses, my feelings are mixed. While I applaud students’ political investment and concerns with issues of equality and well-being, I also have my own concerns about what the roll-out of trigger warnings could do to teaching – both for students and […] … learn more→

The dangers in Asia’s quest for world-class universities

The dangers in Asia’s quest for world-class universities

Asian governments are making serious efforts to boost their universities’ global competitiveness and ensure high rankings in global university league tables. The massification of higher education in Asia has also generated growing concern for graduates confronting underemployment and, indeed, unemployment. Within this policy context, there are major challenges for higher education in Asia. Such challenges […] … learn more→

Blinn College has 4.1% graduation

Blinn College has 4.1% graduation

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at a community college’s course listings, to see if they’re actually operating lawfully, and honestly offering higher education to their community. Having reviewed questionable CC’s in Louisiana, California, and New York, I guess it’s time to look at another state. Today we’re going to look at Blinn College, […] … learn more→

Is social media turning people into narcissists?

Is social media turning people into narcissists?

There has been a massive increase in the use of social media – from being almost non-existent 15 years ago, it now takes up a major part of our lives and our children’s lives. Facebook, for example, boasts over one billion users per day. This explosion of social media has led to many cultural, social, […] … learn more→

To be, or not to be doing a PhD (that is the question?)

To be, or not to be doing a PhD (that is the question?)

I’m constantly surprised (although I don’t know why) at the ability of a PhD program to trigger a full blown existential crisis. While most of the time the feelings will pass, sometimes the crisis is a good thing – it’s your subconcious speaking and you’d be advised to listen. Last week an ANU student, let’s […] … learn more→