Monthly Archives: July 2012

Olympics sponsorship: supporting sport or funding fat?

What does the Olympics stand for: is it the inspiration for a healthier, sportier community? Or is it just another way to sell junk food and booze to an ever-fatter, ever-drunker population of couch potatoes? The high ideals in the Olympic Charter include “to oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes”. Organisers […] … learn more→

Dear Apostrophe: C Ya

Nearly 30 years ago one of my professors, talking about the way language evolves over time, predicted that the next evolutionary stage would involve common punctuation marks. Specifically, he said, the apostrophe would eventually cease to exist. Think maybe I should send him a text to let him know just how accurate his prediction was? […] … learn more→

Giving feedback on student drafts

Given that most research is assessed by means of a written research report or dissertation, it is essential for research students to develop the appropriate strategies in academic writing that help them to signify the rigour and quality of their research writing. Without necessarily being conscious of it, research supervisors have different agendas when they […] … learn more→

What we do, not what we know

I count a lot of influences on how I teach, but perhaps the most significant one is Ken Bain’s book, What the Best College Teachers Do. Published in 2004, it came on to my radar at just the right time. I’d been back to teaching for three or so years following a post-postgraduate dalliance with […] … learn more→

The broken escalator; or, can you ever really retract a paper?

It’s a clear, curious, irresistible finding. In a study published in March of last year in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers tracked donations to the Salvation Army from mall shoppers who had just taken the up escalator versus those who had just stepped off the down. They found that more than twice as […] … learn more→

Sick of paying for textbooks? Get them now, free and online

In the same way that free open online courseware is threatening to disrupt traditional universities, open textbook initiatives such as OpenStax College from Rice University threaten to do the same to the traditional textbook market. OpenStax College has taken five of the most popular topics taught in American universities and produced high quality peer-reviewed textbooks […] … learn more→

Rethinking area/Asian studies

Ahhh, summertime @UWMadison. It is a tad hot these days but the Terrace is a truly conducive place for enjoyable and illuminating conversations with colleagues. On this note I\’ve had several recent conversations on the Terrace with faculty and students about the future of international studies and internationalization at our university. By coincidence I also […] … learn more→

Surviving a PhD – 10 top tips…

I was awarded my PhD in January this year following a successful viva in November 2011, so thought I would try and summarise my experiences over the last 3-4 years and see if I could come up with some key points of advice from start to finish… Tip 1 – Academics need you: Most are […] … learn more→