From scroll to screen

The Mechanic Muse — From Scroll to Screen
The codex also came with a fringe benefit: It created a very different reading experience. With a codex, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly, nonlinearly. You could flip back and forth between two pages and even study them both at once. You could cross-check passages and compare them and bookmark them. You could skim if you were bored, and jump back to reread your favorite parts. It was the paper equivalent of random-access memory, and it must have been almost supernaturally empowering. With a scroll you could only trudge through texts the long way, linearly.

Over the next few centuries the codex rendered the scroll all but obsolete.

E-Learning to save the day?

How Big Can E-Learning Get? At Southern New Hampshire U., Very Big
Academe is abuzz with talk of “disruptive innovation”—the idea, described by Harvard’s Clayton M. Christensen, that the prestige-chasing, tuition-raising business model of higher education is broken, and that something new and cheaper, rooted in online learning, promises to displace it.

Records management ‘humour’

Who knew there was such a thing?

Records Management Humor
Top 10 reasons to not get organized
1. Hunting for important documents adds excitement to a boring schedule.
2. Stacking papers on your desk protects it from ultraviolet radiation.
3. Being as confused as everyone else helps you fit in.
4. Moving piles of paper keeps you in shape.
5. If you understood what you were doing, you would be terrified.
6. Confusion brings out the best in you.
7. Organization kills creativity.
8. Shuffling papers prevents dust from piling up.
9. Your coworkers will never find what they’re seeking.
10. Clutter magnifies your importance.

Criminal records checks

The new coalition government are to press pause on the rollout of the new CRB/ISA arrangements (and then scrap it altogether?)
The vetting scheme for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is to be halted. Home Secretary Theresa May is to announce that registration, due to begin next month, is to be put on hold. There will be a review of the entire vetting and barring scheme, with a “scaling back” likely to follow.

It was just a large undertaking, with 11 million people on it eventually, “one in four of the adult population”. Mad. And are we very confident that its replacement will be any better, any less DailyMailesque? We’ll see, I suppose.

Digital HE

Scholars Compile Academic Book From Twitter and Blogs
Two academics put out an online call for material. In one week, they had a book’s worth. Hacking the Academy, an edited volume about academe in the digital age, was compiled from blog posts and Twitter messages posted during a single week. The project was organized by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, of George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, as an experiment meant to challenge the conventional university-press system.

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.

Presentations, HE funding

A wonderful gallery of Keynote and Powerpoint presentations.

Note & Point

Whoever gets in next week will give us all a tough time.

New ways to fund universities are essential now
What is clear is that unless other sources of funding are sought creatively, the next government will have the unenviable task of dividing the cake between taxpayers, universities and graduates in ways that may not leave any of these groups truly satisfied.

Search for it

BBC – dot.Maggie: Getting organised the Google way
Not surprisingly, when it comes to technological solutions, Mr Merrill errs on the side of Google. For example, he tells me that “search is the oxygen of today’s world”. By that, he means that there is no need to remember everything because we can search for it. Take e-mail. Forget trying to purge old messages and reach the holy grail of an empty inbox. It’s a waste of time, energy and effort, says Mr Merrill, and only causes us more angst.

HE VR

A cautionary tale of virtual universities, griefers and ‘the authorities’.

Woodbury U. Banned From Second Life, Again
Woodbury University’s virtual campus in Second Life was torn down yesterday by Linden Lab, the company that operates the virtual world, and the accounts of several students and professors were blocked. The tale involves virtual superheroes, accusations of vandalism, and conflicting ideas of what a campus should look like in a virtual world.

Integrating Twitter

Any opportunities here for HEIs to improve (prospective?) student engagement?

Twitter Blog: It’s Alive!
Last month we previewed an incredibly simple set of web tools which enable partner websites to easily integrate Twitter functionality into their site experience called @anywhere. The idea is that web users will be able to engage with existing Twitter features from all of their favorite sites. Today, we’re happy to announce this service is live and ready for anyone who wants to build a little Twitter into their online experience.

HE bureaucracy

I really CAN’T STAND these types of articles. PLEASE STOP YOU’RE NOT HELPING.

The irresistible rise of academic bureaucracy
Grahame Lock, a fellow in the faculty of philosophy at Oxford University, says that a managerial “hyper-bureaucracy” has taken hold in higher education. “Imagine that managers are going to assess the quality of restaurant meals but they have no sense of taste,” he says. “They have no idea – everything tastes the same to them. So what are they going to do? They will undertake evaluations such as how many minutes did it take for the soup to arrive at your table? How many words of explanation did the waiter use? And so on. Everything is evaluated quantitatively, so the obvious thing for a manager to do is to increase the amount of information gathered…”

Texting librarians

Librarians answer reference questions with text messages
For a student who doesn’t want to swing by the reference desk, there are plenty of other ways to ask a librarian a question—instant messaging, e-mail, a phone call. And now, on a growing number of campuses, students can ask questions with text messages. Oregon State University is among the institutions that have recently added “text a librarian” services. Though the university just implemented its service this month and has not advertised it much yet, librarians there say that they can already tell it will be well used.