Monthly Archives: November 2014

What is a small private online course?

If you have studied an online course at a university over the past couple of decades, you’ve probably already experienced a SPOC, or Small Private Online Course. SPOC is a new term for an old concept, which appears to be frustrating members of the distance education community: [SPOCs are] the kind of online courses that […] … learn more→

Time for a sexual-climate change

As more sexual-violence incidents at colleges across the country come to light, the need to understand campus sexual cultures becomes increasingly important. The University of Virginia is now under scrutiny for its handling of sexual-violence cases, revealed in an investigative report in Rolling Stone magazine. Administrators at UVa and elsewhere might lean heavily on the […] … learn more→

Professor criticizes Higher Ed, uses real name: Pt 2

Professor criticizes Higher Ed, uses real name: Pt 2

So, a professor critical of what’s going on in education, and making the mistake of using his real name for such criticism, was, allegedly punished by admin by having all his e-mails for the last few years leaked. I have to say “allegedly” for now, but the leak came so quickly on the heels of […] … learn more→

The wrong measure of success in universities

It’s time to retire an irresponsible numbers game by which the success of a state university is supposed to be measured. What do I mean by that? Take the four-year, and even six-year, degree completion rates that legislators want to use to gauge the California State University. Last year, such measures via Assembly Bill 94 […] … learn more→

Grey seals in the dock over porpoise murder mystery

It’s one of the big mysteries in my career as a marine biologist. Something lurking in the seas off Britain has been chomping away at local porpoises and none of the usual suspects fit the bill. Now scientists have finally identified the cuddly culprit. I first became aware of the attacks on porpoises – beakless, […] … learn more→

Fighting academic fraud

A colleague of mine once asked me a rhetorical question. “What kind of magic does it take for college athletes, especially those from very disadvantaged educational backgrounds, to remain eligible when they must spend most of their waking hours training for or playing sports?” “The magic,” he suggested, “is academic fraud.” In his view, which […] … learn more→

US student body grows ever more international, but inequality persists

Through its higher education system, the US student population is slowly shedding an unfortunate image it may have once had of being rather parochial. The US continues to be the destination of choice for students worldwide, with international student enrolment growing by 8% last year, according to new figures released by the Institute of International […] … learn more→

The best two books on doing a thesis

I started my PhD at the University of Melbourne in early 2006 and finished in 2009. I did well, collecting the John Grice Award for best thesis in my faculty and coming second for the university medal (dammit!). I attribute this success to two ‘how to’ books in particular: Evans and Gruba’s “How to write […] … learn more→

Six things that make College teachers successful

1. Study the knowledge base of teaching and learning. You have chosen to teach in higher education because you are a subject-matter specialist with a tremendous knowledge of your discipline. As you enter or continue your career, there is another field of knowledge you need to know: teaching and learning. What we know about teaching […] … learn more→