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Higher Education, Interdisciplinarity, and some related things like Expertise and Future of Work

Welcome to my new blog. You can read more about me in the About tab, top left. I'm looking forward to getting back to 'writing and thinking out loud' about Higher Education, Interdisciplinarity and other things that interest me. You can talk to me either here or on my linked Twitter feed.


Two problems with academic specialisation

One theme of this blog is the relative importance of specialising over staying broader in your education while at university – particularly at undergraduate level. Elsewhere I’ve made the case for a broader higher education on a number of grounds. But let’s say you want to go on to become an academic, the next stage is usually to do a PhD and then to publish papers in learned journals. A PhD must be ‘an original contribution to knowledge‘ and that must be significant, right?

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, think enough about how it applies to us in our academic and intellectual lives?  This paper introduces the concept of Academic Empathy in order to clarify how empathy mig

Assessment in universities

The way we assess students at university is currently subject to some interesting challenges. I discuss two of these challenges in the vlog below. 1. The challenge to university assessment posed by an economic situation which causes a younger generation questions the processes, values and even competence of the older generation. 2. The challenge to assessment posed by the immediacy and ubiquitounsess of high-quality academic materials and different points of view available el

Humanities – a source of future value?

This is my first vlog. I discuss how recent reports from think-tanks and discussions with major employers point to a re-evaluating of the humanities – not along the lines of their inherent or social value (that is a separate argument) but along purely monetary lines. References: Future Work Skills 2020 by the Institute for the Future See Also: Council for Industry and Higher Education Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities by Martha Nussbaum Valuing the Humanities

Design for Learning vs Emergent Outcomes

There is a growing interest in what is called Design for Learning. I am reading a nice book on the subject by Julie Dirksen, and Aaron Sams (who is usually credited, along with Jonathan Bergmann, with establishing the ‘flipped’ classroom), discusses UDL (Universal Design for Learning) here at this video post. In engineering, where design has always been implicit, there is renewed explicit focus on all aspects of design, including the aesthetic, and UCL’s Anthony Finkelstein w


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