HE funding, productivity

Letter from BIS to Vice Chancellors and Principals with more info on the £6 billion of savings, £836 million from their department
One of this country’s greatest assets is the strength of our university and college system … We are all going to have to do more with less and stop doing some of the things we currently do.

Also, what the hell’s going on with Vince Cable’s signature?

AJ Jacobs: My colossal task burden
The stereo is silent. The TV black. The room dark. I am focused on nothing but a glowing computer screen. I’m doing this because I have a problem focusing. My brain is all over the place. Unless I’m doing at least two things at once, I feel like I’m wasting my time. Phone and email. Watching TV, checking Facebook and reading the news online. Texting and peeing.

Meetings, sketchbooks, stress

The experience must be finished to enjoy the fruits of the effort
Disorganized meetings with no well defined goals inhibit positive communication and lead the participants to wonder if the organizers of the meeting really know what they are doing.

Pretty obvious really, but useful prompts nonetheless.

David Cameron has banned the use of mobiles and Blackberries in his meetings. The BBC asks what would happen if our workplace did the same.

Certainly, fiddling with your phone in a meeting doesn’t look good, but perhaps what people are doing on them is only what other people are doing on their laptops. They get to look all keen as mustard and productive and whatnot, typing away notes (or looking like they are), so why are we mobile phone users not equally given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be working appropriately too? (I think in my case it would be fair to assume I’m tweeting and not working, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT.)

Some photos of Irina Vinnik’s wonderful sketchbook. This is how you’re supposed to fill a moleskine.

I’m very jealous. The doodles I make in meetings never come out as good as this. I need to go to longer, more dull meetings, I guess? I’m compelled to dig out my old moleskines and bring them to work next week.

Stressed staff can’t get no satisfaction
People working in higher education are “dissatisfied with their jobs and careers” and are “stressed at work”, according to new research. … Staff were asked questions about job satisfaction, well-being, work-life balance, stress at work, control at work and working conditions using a Work-related Quality of Life (WrQoL) scale devised by Darren Van Laar, a Portsmouth psychologist.

Student satisfaction

Online Evaluations Show Same Results, Lower Response Rate
Students give the same responses on paper as on online course evaluations but are less likely to respond to online surveys, according to a recent study. … The only meaningful difference between student ratings completed online and on paper was that students who took online surveys gave their professors higher ratings for using educational technology to promote learning.