19 août 2013

Censure if you will, but let’s not censor

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/images/BlogLeo_en.jpgBy . An opinion piece we recently published online and in the August-September print edition has garnered much feedback (12 comments online to date, which is a fair amount for us, a specialty higher-education publication in Canada). The article had the innocuous headline, “Internationalizing the curriculum,” but the subhead gave more of a flavour of what it was about: “ESL students and the erosion of higher education.”
The article, by professors Norm Friesen and Patrick Keeney respectively of Thompson Rivers University and Simon Fraser University, recounts their frustration teaching students with poor English-language skills – typically English-as-a-second-language, or ESL, students – or students whose “academic or cultural preparedness is not up to speed.” The presence of these students in the classroom “fundamentally changes teaching and learning, to the detriment,” they write. “Instead of engaging students in disentangling the nuances and subtleties of a particularly important passage from the assigned readings, one begins speaking to the class as one might speak to academically challenged teenagers.” Ouch. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 05:36 - - Permalien [#]
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Internationalizing the Canadian campus

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/uploadedImages/Columns_and_Opinions/In_My_Opinion/2013/August-September/globe_langs_100.jpgBy Norm Friesen and Patrick Keeney. One of the most profound recent changes to Canadian higher education seems to have gone little noticed: namely, the increasing numbers of students on campus whose native tongue is not English. Some of these students may be first-generation Canadian or landed immigrants, while many come from other countries. Most universities now have departments dedicated to the recruitment and retention of international students and are busily criss-crossing the globe in search of new customers. Governments and senior administration in universities have been successful in persuading Canadians that “internationalizing” the campus is a positive development for all concerned. Yet, there is a dark and worrying side to this that is felt most acutely in the teaching of the humanities and critical studies. There is no sugar-coated way to say this: many of those who are welcomed at our universities are simply unprepared for the rigours of the university classroom. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 05:26 - - Permalien [#]
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An (ESL) student’s perspective on internationalizing the Canadian campus

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/uploadedImages/Columns_and_Opinions/In_My_Opinion/2013/August-September/globe_langs_100.jpgBy Stephanie Hobbis. Both foreign students – and their teachers – need support if the goals of an international campus are going to be met. The following is in response to the opinion piece "Internationalizing the Canadian campus: ESL students and the erosion of higher education" by Norm Friesen and Patrick Keeney.
When I first read the commentary by Drs. Friesen and Keeney on “ESL students and the erosion of higher education,” I was astounded and in disbelief. As an English-as-a-second-language student, I could not but feel offended. Yet, the more I reflected on their sentiments the more I came to see a much broader issue than xenophobia, linguicism or simple ignorance as suggested in some of the reader comments. Internationalizing the Canadian campus is not simply a matter of recruiting more international students. It is also a matter of providing the facilities that are needed to cater to new needs while not only profiting financially but also academically from an increasingly diverse community of students and faculty alike. I came to Canada after completing my undergraduate and first graduate degrees, in English, in the U.K. and in Japan. I had been raised in German in Germany. My English was good enough to get accepted into an English degree program, but not to inevitably succeed in it. The challenges of higher education were multiplied – not only did I have to learn to think academically, but I had to do so in a foreign language and in a cultural environment that I was barely familiar with. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 05:24 - - Permalien [#]
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Higher education should guarantee job prospects

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-frc3/373113_164878620263509_143876418_q.jpgBy Marilinda Garcia. Remember in the last few months leading up to the 2012 presidential election how everyone breathlessly awaited each jobs report? Any change, even of one tenth of a percentage point, was greeted as a glorious victory or a crushing defeat and extrapolated into a long-term economic forecast. What happened to all that attention? Or was President Obama correct when he suggested that the country should resign itself to the fact that a shabby economy is the “new normal,” at least while he’s in charge? More...

Posté par pcassuto à 05:15 - - Permalien [#]
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College costs have some graduating early

http://www.nwherald.com/images/northwest-herald.pngBy Emily K. Coleman. Taylor Berge didn’t walk into college planning to graduate early. But going through her four-year plan with her guidance counselor, the Johnsburg High School grad realized it was a possibility.
“I looked at it as I can spread everything out and take four years of school and pay for all of that and have a short-term summer job, which barely gets you everything, or I can cram it all into one and I’ll have the loans, but once I get my actual job, it will be a lot easier to pay it off quicker,” Berge said. “I just prioritized that way instead.”
While the decision means the 21-year-old is missing out on what would have been her senior year – she plans on visiting her friends often – it also means she can start graduate school at Elmhurst College a year sooner to get her master’s degree in psychology. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 05:13 - - Permalien [#]
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Mobile Learning Lessons From the Audible App

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/styles/blog_landing/public/technology_and_learning_blog_header.jpg?itok=aQthgJ91By Joshua Kim. My goal is to read a book a week. You?  The majority of my book reading is audio, and nowadays my preferred reading platform is an iPhone 5 and the Audible app. The Audible app is interesting because it demonstrates both the advantages and limitations of a mobile and app-centric approach. There may also be some lessons in how Audible has designed the app, and how audiobook listeners interact with the app, for mobile learning. The most important advantage of the Audible app is that I can utilize the device (the iPhone) that I always have with me. Consuming audiobooks from my phone means I never need to remember to take another device, never need to worry about syncing, charging, or managing yet another piece of technology. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 03:56 - - Permalien [#]
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Debating the Dropout Data on Argentina

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/styles/blog_landing/public/the_world_view_blog_header.jpg?itok=P3OlGEpQBy Cristina Bonasegna Kelly and Daniel Levy. A Few Final Comments on the Dropout Problem, Cristina Bonasegna Kelly
Ana Fanelli has written a most thoughtful response to my piece and she adds very interesting and valuable data. I was aware that, since students take longer than the scheduled five years to graduate, the best way to count the drop-outs would be to compare the number of enrollees and graduates of each cohort. But since the figures are unavailable,  I figured that I could establish a reasonable estimate of the graduation rate by comparing  the number of enrollees with the number of graduates each year, given that the level of enrollment remains more or less stable at public universities.  I know it is a very simple methodology but it compensates for the fact that in Argentina it is not uncommon for students to  take 10 years to graduate, or even longer. Read more...
Complexities in Understanding Argentina’s High Dropout Rate, Daniel Levy
The blog Argentina at the Top — For Its Dropout Rate! highlights an alarming fact: Argentina’s dropout rate. It is put at 73%. Beyond being alarmed and saddened, however, what are we to make of the situation, its causes, and what might be done? As I reflect on the blog’s quite reasonable interpretations, and offer some additional interpretations, I’m impressed by how uncertain such interpretations are. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 03:53 - - Permalien [#]
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A Call for Nuance

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgBy Scott Jaschik. Derek Bok can hardly be accused of being unwilling to criticize American higher education. His 2007 book, Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More, lived up to its title. But in his new book, Higher Education in America (Princeton University Press), Bok appears impatient with the cottage industry producing books saying that colleges are doomed to fail, cost too much, are too liberal (politically), are too conservative (in terms of unwillingness to change) and any number of other criticisms. Bok -- the former president of Harvard University -- notes very real problems in American higher education. But he writes that "the principal problems with many of the criticisms ... is not that they are wrong, but that their sweeping nature diverts attention from significant weaknesses that can and should be remedied." Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 03:41 - - Permalien [#]
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The PLUS Loan Problem

http://www.insidehighered.com/sites/all/themes/ihecustom/logo.jpgBy Justin Draeger. This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced changes to the PLUS loan underwriting standards that may help previously denied PLUS loan applicants obtain loans. This will be welcome news to previously approved loan applicants who found themselves unexpectedly denied last year. But federal PLUS loans can be risky business for graduate students and parents of undergraduates who can use them to borrow up to the full cost of attendance at college. Much more can be done to protect consumers from getting too deeply into debt. The Department of Education recently added PLUS loan underwriting standards to its list of items to potentially consider during negotiated rule-making, the process where students, advocates and colleges work with the federal government to hash out new regulations. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 03:30 - - Permalien [#]
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What is learning, exactly?

http://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_145x100/WashingtonPost/Content/Blogs/Images/201308/books-227x300.jpgBy Joanne Yatvin. Back when I was a child, an important rite on the first day of school each year was the handing out of textbooks.  By the time we had reached the middle grades we could expect to receive a math book, a reading book, a geography book, a history book, a spelling book, a science book, a language book, and maybe a health book, too.  Having all those mysterious tomes piled on our desks that first day was a thrilling experience, especially if some of them were brand new, fresh smelling, and colorful.  All the fifth-grade knowledge in the world was spread out right before our eyes and belonged to us for an entire year!
With a sense of pride and status we carried the whole load back and forth between home and school those first few days, making brown paper covers to protect them and showing them off to our approving parents. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 02:58 - - Permalien [#]
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