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Tag Archives: universities

Best of 2012: What’s up with universities – Whackademia or just grumpy old academics?

Best of 2012: What’s up with universities – Whackademia or just grumpy old academics?

When a friend showed me the blurb for Whackademia: an insider’s account of the troubled university, I immediately left the office to buy a copy, solely on the promise in the title. I read it in just two sittings but finished with conflicted feelings. This book made me angry when I agreed with what it … learn more→

An idea too sensible to try, until now

An idea too sensible to try, until now

Most of the tech entrepreneurs I’ve met are in their 20s and seem younger, animated by the idea of a limitless future. Most of the college presidents I’ve met are in their 50s or 60s and seem older, as if they’d emerged from the womb with a conservative haircut, dark suit, and stentorian voice given … learn more→

The end of universities? Don’t count on it

The end of universities? Don’t count on it

Ernst & Young’s report on the future of Australian universities made a big splash this week, fuelled by apocalyptic headlines heralding the end of the university world as we know it. No one who has any feel for or interest in the world of higher education would deny that we are living in challenging times. … learn more→

When courses are free online, what’s left for universities to sell?

When courses are free online, what’s left for universities to sell?

When some of the world’s most prestigious universities – including Harvard and MIT in their edX venture or Stanford and Princeton through Coursera – start putting courses online for free, it tells you one thing for sure – whatever they are selling, it is not their course content. Australian universities are watching the movement in … learn more→

A question universities need to answer: why do we research?

A question universities need to answer: why do we research?

Fundamentally, there are two big motives for research. On the on hand there is intellectual ambition: the desire to know and understand the word, to appreciate the best that has been said and thought on the topics that grip our imaginations. In one of C.P. Snow’s Cambridge novels there’s an elderly character who looks back … learn more→

What CAM courses at universities should look like

What CAM courses at universities should look like

While drizzling treacle on your porridge or spreading it on your toast, you might consider the time when the calorie-laden condiment was an antidote for poison. Of course, these days the crushed vipers that supposedly gave theriac or theriacle (as it was known) power are off the ingredient list, but treacle’s fall from favour illuminates … learn more→

Duke scholars join boycott against Elsevier

Duke scholars join boycott against Elsevier

One of Duke’s most prominent scientists has joined a protest against a leading academic publisher, adding her name to a growing list on campus and at universities elsewhere. Mathematician Ingrid Daubechies says she will no longer publish, referee or do editorial work for the Amsterdam-based academic publisher Elsevier. She joins biologists Laryssa Baldridge and Eric … learn more→

Why universities should teach alternative medicine

Why universities should teach alternative medicine

Most Australian readers would know of the current debate about universities teaching complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). A core question not being addressed in this debate is what other institution is better placed to deliver evidence-based knowledge of CAM. The latest controversy started when a group called Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) wrote to … learn more→

A conceptual foundation for teaching

A conceptual foundation for teaching “Sustainability” courses

Sustainability studies, for me, is an opportunity to explore our relationship with some power greater than finite ourselves. And what could possibly be more important than that? … learn more→

Universities without borders: do we need campuses in the age of Open CourseWare?

Universities without borders: do we need campuses in the age of Open CourseWare?

Universities pride themselves on the quality of their teaching. They spruik superior teachers, superior facilities, superior learning experiences, superior learning outcomes. High scores on these four criteria will attract superior students, leading to a superior upwards spiral. But what happens if open access is provided to that exclusive property? Could open learning co-exist with the … learn more→