Fees and fairness

A love of lists

  • “… And if you think the previous sentences were a little clogged, repetitive, extravagant, wasteful, prodigal, lavish or over-egged, then it is just possible that this is not the book for you. To anyone, however, who takes pleasure, delight, joy, gladness, glee, satisfaction, gratification, contentment, enjoyment or amusement in contemplating excess, it may be just the ticket, pass, authorisation, permit, token, coupon or voucher. …”

Meditation, 2009 blogs

  • “The mind can do wonderful and unexpected things. Meditators who are having a difficult time achieving a peaceful state of mind sometimes start thinking, “Here we go again, another hour of frustration.” But often something strange happens; although they are anticipating failure, they reach a very peaceful meditative state. My first meditation teacher told me that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. He was right. During the difficult meditations you build up your strength, which creates meditation for peace. We may want to spend much time—months or even years—developing just these first two preliminary stages, because if we can reach this point, we have come a long way indeed in our meditation. In that silent awareness of “just now,” we experience much peace, joy, and consequent wisdom.”
  • “Editors Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens and fellow bloggers talk about the latest and greatest additions to their RSS readers.”

E-admin

  • “Resources in the area of e-administration.”
  • “… e-Administration, or electronic administration, refers to any of a number of mechanisms which convert what in a traditional office are paper processes into electronic processes, with the goal being to create a paperless office. This is an ICT tool, with the goal being to improve productivity and performance. …”
  • “… e-Administration is ‘the effective management of the coordination and control of business processes and the electronic information they create’. It has two fundamental objectives: to increase the efficiency of administrative processes within institutions and to lessen the administrative burden faced by all staff during this process. …”
  • “… I can’t help visualising Twitter as a loud hailer. And… it doesn’t necessarily matter how witty and apt your tweets might be if you’re stuck talking down the wrong end of it! As you tap your 140 characters into the Twitter dialogue box it is as if you are talking aloud to yourself, but with the added echoing effect of a loud hailer, broadcasting to all those – virtually – around you. …”

Student completion

  • “Why we ask institutions to count students in the way we do and how we treat ‘non-completions'” What fun. I tell you, this definition has caused so much debate across so many areas of so many universities. And all because of a few bad apples?

Student loans, university funding

  • “… The launch of the loans and grants service for students starting in September 2010 should have been at the beginning of this week. But the Student Loans Company says that this has now been postponed. A review of loan delays for students who began courses this autumn found “conspicuous failures”. The delays in payments facing tens of thousands of students, which have dragged on for months after the start of term, have now caused a knock-on effect for next year. The intended starting date of December 7 has been withdrawn – with no new date so far set to replace it. …”
  • “… Earlier this year the government asked universities to find £180m in efficiency savings by 2011. Professor Steve Smith, president of umbrella body Universities UK, said: “The university sector has provided an excellent return on the last 12 years of public investment. “However, the sector is already absorbing considerable efficiency savings and the announcement that by 2012-2013, £600 million will be cut from higher education and science and research budgets will be extremely challenging for universities.” …”
  • “… Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed in his pre-Budget report on 9 December that there will be a £600 million reduction in the higher education and science and research budgets in the two years 2011-13. The report says the savings will come from “a combination of changes to student support within existing arrangements; efficiency savings and prioritisation across universities, science and research; some switching of modes of study in higher education; and reductions in budgets that do not support student participation” …”

Deleting e-mails

Advisor: Deleting emails could make you happier
If people were just more aggressive about deleting irrelevant things and relevant things aren’t that important, they would probably be happier. Because I’m happier. So there must be something to it.

I love the idea of deleting everything. As in, *everything*. Don’t know if I’ve got the nerve though. Perhaps here’s a possible New Year’s Resolution, for when I come back after the break, all rejuvenated and enthusiastic.

Links for 2009-12-09

Links for 2009-12-06

Links for 2009-12-03

Links for 2009-12-02

  • From 2003. “The “Paperless Committee,” is an electronic meeting system that was designed to increase the efficiency of the Committee on NGOs. It allows the delegates to view the documentation in all six languages of the UN; to have continuous document updates from the Chair and the Secretariat, wireless connectivity, and electronic vote counting. In the last stage of the “Paperless Committee,” the documents were also accessible for the delegates to view via the Internet days before the Committee on NGOs started.”
  • “Many of us could do with the benefits that come with regularly practising meditation – as it can help develop qualities such as calm, focus and compassion. And perhaps nowhere are these qualities needed more than in the hustle and bustle of modern city life.”

Links for 2009-11-27

Links for 2009-11-26

  • Scandal of the students who never sat exams – Higher, Education – The Independent
    “There was widespread belief in the sector prior to 2004 that the rule was impractical and not applicable in its literal sense to higher education institutions with modular degree schemes and, in particular, to those with a strong widening participation ethos, many of whose students progress through university at an intermittent pace.”

Links for 2009-11-25

  • The Pomodoro Technique™
    “The Pomodoro Technique™ is a way to get the most out of time management. Turn time into a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do and chart continuous improvement in the way we do it.” Anything that uses lists, little boxes, ‘x’s and apostrophe markers can only be a good thing, right?
  • Testing Time-Management Strategies – WSJ.com
    “I asked a half-dozen executive coaches to help me pick the most widely used time-management systems—not just software tools or high-tech to-do lists, but behavioral-change techniques that help people get organized, clarify thinking and increase output. Then, I tried out for a week each of the three methods they mentioned most often—including one that involved a ticking plastic tomato.”  
  • 9 Ways to Visualize Proportions – A Guide | FlowingData
    “With all the visualization options out there, it can be hard to figure out what graph or chart suits your data best. This is a guide to make your decision easier for one particular type of data: proportions.” The pie, the donut, the stacked area, the stacked bar, the treemap, the voronoi, the nightingale (my new favourite) and the everything, all with links to real-world examples.

Links for 2009-11-24

Links for 2009-11-23

  • University accused of £36m student scam – Education News, Education – The Independent
    “The body which funds English universities has taken the unprecedented step of calling for the mass resignation of governors at a university accused of misusing public money. A letter seen by The Independent from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) to the chairman of governors at London Metropolitan University calls on members of the governing body and senior staff to “consider their position”.”

Links for 2009-11-20

  • Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World : JISC
    “Supported by the principal bodies and agencies in UK post-compulsory education, the Committee was set up in February 2008 to conduct an independent inquiry into the strategic and policy implications for higher education of the experience and expectations of learners in the light of their increasing use of the newest technologies.”
  • SPIEGEL Interview with Umberto Eco: ‘We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die’ – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International
    “The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.”

Grauniad’s live blog of the A-level results day

Just came across the Guardian’s Mortarboard’s A-level results live blog. “Join us for a day of trends, tears and triumphs in our special results day blog”. As well as the expected stories around standards there was this gem:

1.30pm:

The prize for most self-assured student 2009 goes to…

Ibrahim Khan, 18, who had the audacity to send us his own press release letting us know about his 8 A-levels.

The student from Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough got 6 As in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, History, Critical Thinking, and Urdu, and Bs in Arabic and Religious Studies.

The teenager has big plans for his forthcoming gap year, aiming to “get the first book of his WW3 trilogy published, do investigative journalism across the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, learn three languages, and start a business,” he informs us.

“The quality of A levels has gone down, so I decided to stand out with the quantity,” he said.

“Being from Middlesbrough, of Pakistani origin, and a Muslim, statistically three of the worst performing groups in education, I think my success shows that if you keep your aspirations high, you can achieve anything, whatever your background,” he added.

We cannot give out Khan’s email address in full, but suffice to say it includes the phrase “the best”. And who are we to disagree.

I love that idea of quantity making up for a perceived lack in quality. Read the rest here.