Archive | October 2013

The LSU Top 5 #54

This is the 54th of our top 5 bits and pieces about education from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

Are You Competent? Prove It: Degrees Based on What You Can Do, Not How Long You WentNY Times

This article looks at a new (renewed?) push for competency- rather than time-based degrees. That is, instead of requiring students to attend class for a semester before taking a test, students can instead learn at their own pace and, when they’re ready, demonstrate that have mastered the required outcomes/competencies.

The Lumina Foundation has been one of the champions of the approach. Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive, says the rationale is not just lower cost but better education. “The time-centered system says if you take the coursework, get passing grades and meet our academic standards, you get the degree,” he said. “Competency is a student-centered, learning-outcome-based model. Where you get the education is secondary to what you know and are able to do.”

Others are less in favour of the changes:

“It’s a red flag to me, the idea that this is going to be more personalized, more flexible, more accountable to the consumer,” [Amy E. Slaton, a professor of history at Drexel University,] says. “If you are from a lower socioeconomic status, you have this new option that appears to cost less than a traditional bachelor’s degree, but it’s not the same product. I see it as a really diminished higher education experience for less money, and yet disguised as this notion of greater access.”

Still room for learning skills, then!


South Korea’s education system: The great decompression – The Economist

South Korean students dream of being recruited by one of the few big firms, called chaebol, that drive their country’s economic development. With competition so intense, preparation is pushed back even into early childhood education. There are high costs for this phenomenon, such as great psychological strain on the youngsters and a low birth rate due to the expense of education. A few solutions are suggested in the article.  


Vietnam levies cash fine on exam cheatersTuoi Tre News

The Vietnamese government has just issued a decree to allow for fines of up to 20 million VND for breaking education rules, such as cheating, sitting exams for others, abusing students or hiring under-qualified teachers. 

When College Students Have an Audience, Does Their Writing Improve?Ed Tech Magazine

This article looks at how giving students an audience – a real one, not a hypothetical one – can improve their writing and learning. The author interviews an English professor on what has and hasn’t worked for her in finding this audience for her students.


Educators doubt int’l joint programs using Vietnamese translationTuoi Tre News

Educators warned students about the quality of international joint masters and doctoral programmes because of their easy entrance requirements – both for students’ academic and English backgrounds. Even non-English speaking students can gain admission to such programs offered through partnerships between Vietnamese and foreign universities, with students allowed to hire translators and complete thesis defences in Vietnamese.


Bonus #6!

7 Awkward Places You Could Be Meeting With Your Professor This SemesterBuzzfeed

You like gifs, don’t you? Because all the answers are animated.


We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!



The LSU Top 5 #53

This is the 53rd of our top 5 bits and pieces about education from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

Nick Brown Smelled BullNarratively

A plucky amateur dared to question a celebrated psychological finding. He wound up blowing the whole theory wide open.

A 50 year old first year part-time positive psychology Master’s student saw some maths that didn’t add up (so to speak) in a prominent paper. Cooperating with two academics, he wrote a detailed response that tore apart the paper’s findings. The resistance he and his collaborators encountered on the way and the total wrongness of the initial findings raise questions about just how much we should trust academic findings.


Are we teaching ourselves our degree?The Guardian

University students are expected to learn independently. But where do their tuition fees go when their courses consists of little more than independent learning?

…guidelines should be put in place to ensure that all students receive adequate direct contact time. Interactive learning with successful academics cannot be replaced by independently learning from textbooks.


The Decline of WikipediaMIT Technology Review

This article looks at some major problems that Wikipedia has faced in the past few years, and the prospects for solutions to turn things back around.

In their paper on those findings, the researchers suggest updating Wikipedia’s motto, “The encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” Their version reads: “The encyclopedia that anyone who understands the norms, socializes him or herself, dodges the impersonal wall of semi-automated rejection and still wants to voluntarily contribute his or her time and energy can edit.”


Universities told to strictly examine lecturers’ degreesVietnam Net

There have been several cases of counterfeit degrees being used to apply for lectureships in Vietnam. It seems the shortage of lecturers results in lowering requirements for candidates and substandard procedures in checking the authenticity of their profiles.


Welcome, Freshmen. You Don’t Deserve to Be Here.The Chronicle of Higher Education

This is an imaginary convocation speech to Stanford University first year students that in no uncertain terms puts them in their place, telling them that admission doesn’t necessarily make them worthy of the university.


We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!

The LSU Top 5 #52

52! A year! Or it would be if we hadn’t missed a week, so it’s a year and a week of our top 5 bits and pieces about education from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

Asia’s parents suffering ‘education fever’BBC News

You can have too much of a good thing. This article covers the ways in which parents are perhaps putting too much pressure on students in a lot of Asian countries.

“It is not easy to dampen education fever. In South Korea as in other East Asian countries, “it is deeply embedded in the culture. It’s also based on reality that there is no alternative pathway to success or a good career other than a prestige degree, this was true 50 years ago, and it’s just as true today”.

“As long as that’s the case it’s actually rational for parents to spend so much and put so much pressure on their children,” said Prof Seth.


Three years of exams

This picture shows how many exams a Chinese student took in three years of high school.

If your Chinese is up to scratch, there’s a TV piece to go with it (link).


TMI From ProfessorsInside Higher Ed

Professors are sometimes advised to connect with their students to make them engaged in classes by telling self-deprecating jokes or sharing life stories. However, a recent study suggested that there should be limits to this teaching approach, with such informality reducing the perceived credibility of the teacher, leading to student behaviour that is less conducive to learning.


Students for hire in Vietnamese schoolsDan Tri International

Too busy to go to class, but want a degree? Pay someone 100,000VND (US$4.80) or less and they’ll pass you the notes.

Nguyen Hong Hanh, who works in the media sector, said, “I’m busy with work during the daytime and then my kids at night, yet I still need time to study for a second degree, so I need some help. I pay VND80,000 per class and additional fees for phone calls and lunches. I only come to class to take tests.”

Check out some requests and offers (in Vietnamese) for ‘class attending services’ on Facebook (link).


Beyond learning stylesThe Brilliant Report

The idea of learning styles isn’t as fashionable as it once was, having been quite thoroughly debunked.

While students do have preferences about how they learn, the evidence shows they absorb information just as well whether or not they encounter it in their preferred mode…All learners benefit when information is put forth in diverse ways that engage a multitude of the senses.  

This isn’t to say that things shouldn’t be mixed up a bit. The author encourages teachers to focus on the ‘universal learning style of the human mind’, where novelty and different learning approaches help everyone. She also suggests that teachers focus more on whether students are surface, strategic or deep learners rather than look at the traditional distinction of kinaesthetic, auditory or visual.


We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!


The LSU Top 5 #51

We missed last week, but we’re back with the 51st of our top 5 bits and pieces about education from around the internet.

(Linking doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with these articles!)

SparkNotesExploring the Matrix

I’m pretty open about the fact that summaries, like those on Wikipedia, are a decent place to start researching. This article does a good job of explaining why reading should never stop (and maybe not even start) there.

It is the very experience of reading great literature that is the point of university courses which assign such texts for you to read. Tests that ask about details in readings are means to ensure reading is done and to evaluate comprehension. But the details asked about on the test are not the point. The reading itself is the point.


Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academicTenure She Wrote

The title says it all. There are some new things for me here so it’s worth a read and some thought.


Graduate school vice chancellor found plagiarizing PhD thesisTuoi Tre

The PhD and professorship might be revoked from Hoang Xuan Que, vice president of the School of Banking and Finance, after it was found that his PhD was ~30% plagiarised.


Top 5 major economies with “corrupt” education systemsTimes Higher Education

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 for G20 major economies shows that the Mexican, Indonesian, Japanese, Indian and Russian education systems are, in increasing order, most corrupt. The report suggests that the lower public investment in the higher education system facilitates corruption worldwide.


The Predator Press ScamWriting Wrongs

 This article describes a scam in which students are flattered with offers to publish their work. The only catch is that the dodgy publications will offer no credibility to their work or their CV, they’ll lose the rights to their work, and the student will see none of the potential financial returns.


We love hearing your thoughts on these articles, so feel free to comment below!

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