04 novembre 2013

McGill takes stab at digital education with online course

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSRCwkzO65yEBiOdpF0yUWyc6DAYSjkuXLu7NcWhVNZyquZIP4xajkD69QRAQBy Karen Seidman. As McGill University entered the brave new world of digital education with the launch of its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) last week, the logical follow-up question to that development will be asked by McGill provost Anthony Masi at a special event next month: 
Is university obsolete?
Yes, those bastions of higher education could face some challenging times. Masi recently wrote in the Literary Review of Canada that the changes represent “a palpable threat to established universities.”
MOOCs have created a veritable digital tsunami, with even the finest universities offering free courses that are engaging people across the planet. And while most still don’t offer courses for credit or anything comparable to a degree — although certificates of completion may be earned — their massive appeal has some wondering if these courses could overtake traditional universities. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:43 - - Permalien [#]

Free online courses shake up the world of post-secondary education

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcREYPUZ8ftdBLUDh0lipo_aHMXPuWeHULilYfhWJv3gThAxz4X8cg4R-QBy Tracy Sherlock. Imagine studying artificial intelligence for robotics with a Stanford University instructor or discussing the moralities of everyday life with a Yale University professor.  Not only can anyone enrol in classes like these, but they are offered free of cost and on the Internet. They’re called MOOCs: massive online open classes, and they’re shaking up the world of post-secondary education. When the University of British Columbia offered its first MOOC this May, 130,000 people from around the world signed up. While only 8,000 people completed the four-week game theory class, that’s still an impressive number by any university class standard. MOOCs are mostly video-based that teach complex subjects and attract tens of thousands of people who interact during the course, solving problems and discussing issues. Individuals who complete the course don’t typically gain a traditional university credit but they usually receive a certificate of completion. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:40 - - Permalien [#]

Student debt crisis? No, expectations crisis

http://beta.images.theglobeandmail.com/media/www/images/flag/gam-masthead.pngBy Margaret Wente. Student debt in Canada is crushing – at least, that’s what we’re led to believe. 
Soaring tuition fees and an iffy job market mean that many graduates will be paying off their student loans for years to come, we’re told. Today’s graduates say they’re delaying major life milestones (marriage, house, family) in order to pay back their debts. As one news story put it: “With ever-increasing tuition fees … some students are starting to question whether a degree is an affordable option.” More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:35 - - Permalien [#]

McGill principal speaks out in both official languages

http://beta.images.theglobeandmail.com/media/www/images/flag/gam-masthead.pngBy James Bradshaw. Suzanne Fortier was not yet two weeks into her new job as McGill University’s principal when she made her first splash in September, issuing a firm declaration that Quebec’s proposed secular charter “runs contrary to our principles.” 
Dr. Fortier believed she was moving swiftly to protect McGill’s global reputation. Faculty and students feared the charter would undermine the school’s cultural diversity – a few professors wore religious habits to work in protest – and also its international allure. “With people who are extraordinarily talented, the whole world is open to them and they’ll go where they feel welcome,” she said in an interview, ahead of her ceremonial installation on Tuesday. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:31 - - Permalien [#]

Supporting excellence in science

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/images/BlogTheBlackHole.pngBy . In the United States most universities and hospitals are private businesses, and are run as such, maximizing profit margins and generally promoting low-risk ventures with greatest return on investment. Basic research by comparison is high-risk and generally takes 10 to 20 years to show a financial return on investment (if there is a financial return at all). Not surprisingly, basic research projects are thus often left to the federal government to fund – and why not? The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 permits universities and hospitals to pursue ownership of any invention made using federal funding in preference to the government doing the same. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:25 - - Permalien [#]

Sick of studenthood, early career researchers want employee status

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/images/BlogTheBlackHole.pngBy . One of the most popular topics on our site over the years has been the taxation and administrative status of postdoctoral fellows. The budgetary changes and the resultant discrepancy between postdoctoral and graduate student take-home pay galvanized Canadian postdoctoral fellows across the country and was a primary driver of the enthusiasm that formed the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS). Five years on and a lot of settled dust later, it appears that post-PhD researchers want to be treated like grown-ups. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:22 - - Permalien [#]

“Public Intellectuals”: A Losing Game

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/images/BlogSpeculativeDiction.jpgBy . For some reason, in the last few months I’ve seen a number of articles and blog posts about the nature of “public intellectuals” – how to define the term, to whom it applies, and of course, the long-running series of “critiques” that discuss the failure of public intellectuals and what contributes to it. Maybe I’m just more attuned to the topic because I worked on the Public Intellectuals Project for a year. Or maybe it’s the fact that, uncomfortably, I started to hear the term being applied to me – and I had to ask myself why I wasn’t exactly happy about it. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 15:52 - - Permalien [#]

“I’m a coach”

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/images/Blog-phd-to-life.jpgBy . A few weeks ago I flew to the U.S. for a vacation with my parents. The customs agent I spoke with at the Toronto airport asked me what I did for a living. For nearly a decade, I would have said, “I’m a PhD student.” This time, I said without hesitation, “I’m a coach!” When he inquired further, I told him I worked with graduate students and PhDs changing careers. Doing a doctorate could be crushing, I said while squeezing my hands together. As a coach I help these incredibly smart, creative, motivated people get un-crushed so they can do better for themselves and for the wider world. I opened my hands and spread my lower arms. He seemed convinced, wished me a nice trip, and sent me on my way. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 15:48 - - Permalien [#]

How much do you owe your mentors?

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/images/BlogCareersCafe.jpgBy . If you’re lucky, you have mentors. They may have come into that role officially – as supervisors or dissertation committee members. They may be personal Yodas you’ve picked up unofficially – that grad student whose unflappability you’d like to cultivate, or the colleague who knows how to make meetings useful. 
The balance of giving and receiving is pretty obviously tilted in mentor-mentee relationships. You get to bask in the sunny rays of your mentor’s time, energy and advice.  So, what do you owe your mentors in return? More...

Posté par pcassuto à 15:45 - - Permalien [#]

Sifting through the scant data on contingent faculty

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/images/BlogLeo_en.jpgBy . According to the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association, contract academic staff on temporary, per-course contracts taught 52 percent of all students registered in classes, tutorials, labs and seminars at the university in 2012. That 52-percent figure is interesting by its mere existence, since data on contract faculty (also known as contingent faculty or sessional instructors, among other terms) is difficult to come by in this country. We also discover, via a quote from university spokesman Kevin Crowley in a story in the Waterloo Region Record, that there are 376 part-time faculty teaching at Laurier this fall. The number of contract academic staff cannot exceed 35 percent of full-time faculty, which number 600, Mr. Crowley said, adding that this rule was negotiated by the union and the university during the last full-time faculty contract. We also learn that a part-time instructor is paid about $7,200 per course (for one term, typically three months). More...

Posté par pcassuto à 15:42 - - Permalien [#]