The LSU Top 5

 By Sam Graham, LSU

This week we introduce a new weekly roundup of Higher Education articles: ‘The LSU Top 5’ . 5 articles freshly pressed, distilled and poured especially for you every Wednesday here at the LSU Vietnam blog.

Gathered like flakes of gold dust from around the mass of sites, blogs and periodicals on Higher Ed, below are the top 5 articles (with summaries so you don’t actually have to read them) on things we care about and find interesting. Hopefully you care enough about them to give these a read.

1.  The Flip: End of a Love Affair 

Flipped classrooms – where information is presented to students outside of class through online material and readings and class time is left for supervised practice – have been much talked about in recent years. This school teacher found that by flipping the classroom she actually totally lost the need to present information at all – inside or outside the classroom.

In this article she describes how her students shifted from passively absorbing whatever materials she gave them to go over at home to actively finding their own material. She ran with this, giving her students more and more freedom to teach themselves.

My goal as a teacher shifted from information-giver and gatekeeper to someone who was determined to work myself out of a job by the time my students graduated.

Although this is written by a school teacher, much of it might be applied in university classes.


2.  MOOCs will mean the death of universities? Not likely 

Are MOOCS about to take over the world? Perhaps not…

Internet resources, including MOOCs, are breaking the traditional university’s monopoly on the delivery of academic knowledge. This isn’t so much a challenge to universities as an opportunity, allowing them to increase their focus on face-to-face learning, application of knowledge, and the development of soft skills.

The internet will augment but not replace the face-to-face experience.

At the same time, MOOCs will themselves have to adapt:

“If you thought your economics lecturer was boring in person, try watching him or her on a 50 minute internet video!”


3.  The Big Bang Theory of Education

Asia’s universities have been rising up world rankings, but, taking a closer look, this article asks “which Asia?”

This article argues that academic freedom is vital in improving universities by looking at the contexts of Asia’s best universities.

…it’s really hard to build a proper research university without freedom of information and inquiry… Throw enough money and infrastructure at the problem and you can do quite a lot, he notes; Chinese leaders, who understand the importance of technical knowledge and innovation, are definitely making up for lost time in this respect. But even when it comes to math and science, you probably won’t get the best bang for your buck unless professors and students are allowed to think freely.


4.  Plagiarism and academic integrity

It’s tempting to see plagiarism as solely a student failure which can be picked up by Turnitin and dealt with punitively. However, we shouldn’t ignore the context of plagiarism and more holistic approaches to encouraging academic integrity.

This post looks at three practical strategies will make students less tempted to plagiarise and more capable of avoiding it.


5.  So You Think You Can Lecture? 

Why isn’t there any TV about life and learning in universities? This article pitches some new shows:

Law and Order: Plagiarism Unit: In the higher-education community, crimes against academic integrity are considered to be especially heinous. Our ensemble crime features two zealous faculty members working in tandem with two midcareer associate deans at a large research university to root out the criminals who are feeding the coffers of America’s term-paper mills, failing to give proper credit to Wikipedia in their research papers, and incorrectly formatting their citations. These are their stories. Really. These are original stories, we promise. We made them up ourselves.

Jersey Shore Extension Campus: Snooki, Pauly D, the Situation and the rest of the gang take online courses during the off-season, attempting to better themselves through higher education. We follow our buff and sun-tanned learners as they log onto the computer, view online lectures and PowerPoints, sit quietly reading and highlighting textbooks, and taking final exams on campus. Thoughtful expressions, bouts of test anxiety, and high-spirited late-night debates about course content—our expert camera operators capture it all.

Candid interviews with cast members about their studies, as well as a close analysis of their written work, reveal that the cast members are just as dim as they seem in their regular show.


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