The LSU Top 5 #58

This is the 58th of our top 5 bits and pieces about education from around the internet.

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

How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang Alexandre Afonso

The title stands alone on this one!


Pets in the academic workplaceTimes Higher Education

If the purpose of a college or university campus is to create a space for students to productively engage with teaching and learning, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the presence of pets will help.

To author, a professor at a US university, dogs make her happier at work and willing to spend more time in her office where her dogs are. To her students, pets help improve the connection between students and professors at a personal level, in classrooms and even long after they finish their studies. Some could be worried about allergies and waste, but for all benefits they might bring, having non-human colleagues in your campus is worthy…if your pets are comfortable to stay!


PISA 2012 ResultsOECD

The sometimes controversial PISA results, measuring and comparing national reading, maths and science capabilities of 15 year olds, were recently released. The overview PDFs are a good place to get an general idea of the latest results.

These tests don’t just measure academic results, but also students’ attitudes toward school and learning.


Opinion: What Asian schools can teach the rest of the worldCNN

This piece argues that the high rankings of Asian countries in the PISA results reflect hard work and a recognition that doing well in education is, well, important.

One particularly interesting piece from the article:

Some contend that [top-ranked] Shanghai’s success in PISA just reflects rote learning and immense drilling for tests.

But the most impressive performance of Shanghai’s students is actually not on the tasks that ask them to simply reproduce what they have learned, but on tasks where they need to extrapolate from what they know and apply their knowledge creatively in novel situations.


MOOCs as Neocolonialism: Who Controls Knowledge?The Chronicle

The concluding paragraph of this article sums it up nicely:

I don’t mean to imply any untoward motives by the makers of MOOCs. I’m not arguing that the content or methodologies of most current MOOCs are wrong because they are based on the dominant Western academic approaches. But I do believe it is important to point out that a powerful emerging educational movement strengthens the currently dominant academic culture, perhaps making it more difficult for alternative voices to be heard.

The comments are interestingly consistent in their criticism.


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

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