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Posts from the ‘Teaching’ Category

Are lecture hours an appropriate measure of teaching quality?

17 May 2012

Derek Thomson

An interesting day in the sphere following HEPI’s contention that the ‘failure’ of universities to increase contact lecturing hours in response to the introduction of student fees is, somehow, a failure to offer teaching quality.

It is so disappointing to see this attitude from a think tank that, at one time at least, had a Dearing connection.  It is now widely known that lecturing is the lowest common form of teaching.  Indeed, the fact that universities have not increased lecture hours in the face of fees should be commended as it implies that they actually care about teaching quality.

I suppose, now, the acid test will come.  It seems that new customers about to enter the sector do associate teaching quality with lecture hours, even if this is a horrible mistake.  With the advent of KIS data as a marketing tool next year, I suspect that lectures will be increased, even though it is one of the least effective ways of education.  It delivers content cheaply, but that’s it.

Anyway, here is an interesting article on this in today’s Telegraph, in which their education correspondent shows no understanding of education theory and simply regurgitates HEPI’s press release.  The comments are interesting too: those by students and academics are clearly differentiated.

The Russell Group have issued a great response, which gets to the root of the misconception.

Engaged students

3 March 2012

Derek Thomson

Design Management Masters students, working hard…

An opportunity for a funded PhD

29 February 2012

Derek Thomson

An opportunity exists for UK or EU nationals to compete for a funded PhD Scholarship in the School of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University. 

If you are at all interested in studying issues of stakeholder engagement, value, and/or the quantification of intangibles in a construction or built environment context, then please get in touch as soon as possible:

This is a growing field and opportunities to make fundamental contributions abound!

The point of coursework

5 February 2012

Derek Thomson

A well designed coursework exercise should act as a framework to stimulate and direct the student’s independent study.  It should reward them for discovering things and forming connections not laid out to them by their tutor.  Indeed, at higher levels of study the student is fully expected to counter the tutor’s position.

Yet, having just wrapped up the latest batch of coursework marking, it’s thoroughly disappointing to see students fail to have the confidence to tell themselves things they did not already know; to question what was presented in the class and extend or challenge it.  This has always been somewhat of a challenge in the modern era of the strategic (or, worse, surface) learner, but it seems particularly prominent in the work I’m seeing at the moment.  Time to reconsider how tasks are set, I think.


Social obsolescence in action

24 January 2012

Derek Thomson

Detroit metal destroying Detroit metal

This trailer for a Sundance documentary is a perfect example of the ultimate consequence of the social obsolescence of buildings.  With the failure of industry and with the building artefacts of that industry (let alone the land they sit on) havingabsolutely no monetary value to their owners (and, indeed, with their owners now absent in many cases), is this semi-organised metal theft or the death-throws of an industrialised nation?  Nothing drives the point home quite like this.

Source: The New York Times