Wading In

I read Toby Young’s piece on ‘The Blob‘ over the weekend. Some of it I agreed with, some of it I didn’t. Here’s a few sections of what could be many in response. Facts Is it really true that up and down the country children are being denied the knowledge of facts? I have two...

Academic Empathy

An occasional paper given at The Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies (FIGS) within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL November, 2013. Academic Empathy: A concept worth bearing in mind? Abstract Talk of empathy is everywhere: in science, the humanities, business and politics. Yet do we, as academics,...

Generation Blend

This year on Arts and Sciences BASc at UCL, several students studied MOOCs and used online sources alongside their undergraduate modules at UCL. I knew anecdotally of around  8-10 students who were doing this so I wrote to them to ask how they had used MOOCs and other online sources to supplement and...

Would you do your own degree?

This is a question I am increasingly asked. It’s a well fair question to someone leading a big course which includes a lot of innovation. The shortish answer is: I can’t know for sure because I am a different person now and the world has changed a bit, but probably yes. People who are brighter...

General expertise – the gap between rote learning and a different sort of mastery

The work of Fernand Gobet and Herbert Simon seems to indicate that expertise is ‘domain specific’. That is, you can only learn to be an expert or have mastery in a well-defined area or discipline. This is a challenge to someone who would like to argue for the value of a more general and...

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