Thursday, 26 February 2009

Learning Disability Employment Strategy - Call for Evidence

The Social Exclusion Task Force, in partnership with the Department of Health, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Office for Disability Issues, is issuing a short Call for Evidence to inform the Learning Disability Employment Strategy, which will be published in Spring this year.

Comments should be received by 11 March.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Firm sued over multiple use of individual's login

via OUT-LAW News on 5 February

The Financial Times (FT) is suing a company it accuses of using one access account for many users. The FT claims that investment group Blackstone encouraged staff to dodge the cost of multiple subscriptions to its services.

Full article

Hazel’s comment:
And you thought no-one checked? Please make sure that if a licence says &ldqou;single user” that only one named individual accesses the source. “Single site” could mean anything these days so check carefully as to the terms and conditions.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Student perceptions of the effectiveness of group and individualized feedbac...

an article by Philip Ice in First Monday

While an abundance of research exists on best practices in the face-to-face classroom, the same is not true for online learning. In this new and constantly evolving environment, researchers are just beginning to understand what constitutes effective learning strategies. One of the most well-recognised models for explaining online learning is the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI). However, despite its recent empirical validation, the CoI provides only general indicators of effectiveness, not guides to specific practices. This study looks at a common practice, providing students with feedback, and assesses whether narrowly-targeted, individualised feedback or group feedback is more effective. Through mixed methods research the authors examined student preferences and strategies by student level, finding that, while there is no one best solution, there are strategies that appear most appropriate for different learner levels. Suggestions for implementing best practices and directions for future research are also discussed.

Full text
PS. I found this scheduled for publication in September 2009. I have no idea when I should have published it!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

CILIP on Open Access (or I don't believe it)

via Tom Roper's Weblog by Tom Roper on 22 December

CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) has developed a briefing page on open access, basic but quite useful, including links to some librarianship OA titles. I'd congratulate whoever did it, if they hadn't spoilt the effect by putting it in the members only area of the site. If you're a CILIP member see it here: Open access journals
Hazel’s comment:
Since I made a concious decision some three years ago that I was not getting any benefit out of paying for my CILIP membership (no Chartered status to keep up as I never had it in the first place) I'll never know what's there. Any CILIP members reading this could post a summary in the comments (if they can be bothered, that is).

Access, widening participation and neighbourhood renewal: you can’t have one without the other

an article by John Diamond (Edge Hill University) in Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning Volume 10 Number 3


This article argues that the contemporary debate or discourse on access and widening participation has been framed in such a way that ideas of community or place or locality have been written out. Current initiatives and policies have been shaped within an individualistic or personalised perspective. One consequence of this is that the widening participation debate has been deradicalised and depoliticised. The article seeks to make a policy and practice link between the initiatives on neighbourhood renewal or neighbourhood management and the way(s) in which access programmes on widening participation projects have been ‘delocalised’ and situated within an institutional or organisational setting. At the same time a number of separate but related developments have accentuated the distance between the access, widening participation and neighbourhood renewal debates. The article suggests that these developments include the decline in the focus of community development work at a local authority level, the changing and fragmented nature of local government and administration and the increase in regional networks to promote ‘access’ linked to the university and post-sixteen sectors. The paper article argues that neither of these two agencies are able to engage appropriately with the neighbourhood regeneration process. The article concludes by suggesting that key lessons of the earlier phase of access developments in the 1980s in the UK need to be re-imagined for a new generation of practitioners and participants, and that this is necessary as we are experiencing a ‘generational shift’ in those engaged with access and return-to-learn initiatives.

One for the animals

A personal story – and an appeal.

Back in April 2006 we (Mr E and I) acquired a “new to us” dog. An 11-year-old collie cross.

In 2007 I was much struck by the likeness between Poppers and Monty, the dog of the Jen and JJ family in Adelaide, and Jen blogged about it with photos of the two dogs.

Just over a week ago I had to write and let Jen know that Monty’s “twin” had decided that enough was enough. He’d slipped on the ice once too often. Visit to the vet produced the inevitable result.

In memoriam” was Jen’s posting as a response (her blog is more of a personal journey for her than this one is for me) but what to do as a permanent memorial?

How about a donation? To Wildlife Victoria?

PS. I just tried it but the first box asks for amount in Australian dollars so I emailed and asked about Sterling payments. Just got the following reply from Steve.

Hi Hazel

If you enter an amount in Aussie dollars it will be converted from sterling when your card is charged (it will be a bit less than half the number of pounds ie $40 donation will be a bit less than 20GBP).

Otherwise for those who like using paypal (I know not everyone does) I have registered the address for taking donations and have also created a 'donate button that will allow you to enter an amount directly in sterling but not had a chance to add it to the website. It's below so if it's possible to paste into your blog go for it. (It wasn't.)

Sorry if this seems a bit chaotic - we've had to get things up and running very quickly as we normally don't receive many donations from overseas - until this week!

Your support is hugely appreciated!

A quick update for the blog

Wildlife Victoria volunteers have already rescued hundred of animals from the fire grounds with more being saved every day. We are also doing food drops for animals we can't find or reach. Your donation will help to ensure as many animals lives as humanly possible are saved from these terrible fires. One koala in care costs around $400 per week and rehabilitation can take many months before the koala can be successfully released back to its natural habitat, so your donation will make a huge difference.

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Emergence and Institutionalisation of the European Higher Education and ...

an article by Eric Beekens in European Journal of Education Volume 43 Issue 4 (2008)

Since the European unification project started in the 1950s, rules, regulations and policies have been formulated by the European Union (and its predecessors) to facilitate the flow of products and people; those who benefited from the increasing transnational exchange urged European actors to remove remaining obstacles and further facilitate European trade and mobility. In the field of higher education and research, this transnational activity has led to the emergence of European rules, a strengthening of European institutions and the development of a European higher education and research community. In other words, it has led to the institutionalisation of the European higher education and research area (EHERA). The argument put forward in this article is that these three dimensions and the increase in transnational activity shape a dynamic process of which further integration of the EHERA is likely to be a result.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Off-topic from 12 December to 30 January

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 29 January
"To draw its picture is like a blind man touching a snowflake," said Paul Dirac of his own work. "One touch and it's gone"... more

Friday fun via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne on 30 January
Would you like to have power over the planets and their orbits? Check out this interactive tool written by Mike Asbury and Dr. DougHamilton which allows you to design a planetary system and see whether it works and whether the planets will support life.

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 24 January
Ill-fitting gowns, lavender candles, and whale songs. No wonder men struggle with the spa experience... more

On the eleventh day of Christmas... via The Adam Smith Institute Blog on 3 January
My true love sent to me: eleven pipers piping. It might refer to the eleven loyal apostles.
Pipers are becoming harder to get, because of noise at work regulations. Scotland's army pipers are only allowed to practice 25 minutes a day to protect their hearing. When the regulations were put forward a year ago, some bright spark pointed out that the crowd roar at Anfield, Old Trafford and the like often exceeds the 90p decibel limit, so presumably premier league footballers should be wearing ear muffs. Likewise orchestras playing the 1812 Overture. There were red faces all round, but the regulators gave the entertainment industries eighteen months to find a solution to their problem. Their problem? It's the regulators' problem!

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 9 January
When people posed for portraits in the 19th century, they tried to convey status, character, modernity. For photography, not much has changed... more

Couple served with legal papers via Facebook via BBC News Technology UK Edition on 16 December
An Australian lawyer has served a debtor couple with legal papers via Facebook, in what is thought to be a first.

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 11 December
Chinese art and us: we shipped our vanguard dreams abroad and have brought home a cheaper imitation art, one with the fatal taint of melamine... more

100 Years of the Roundel via Librarians' Internet Index: New This Week on 3 December
This presentation celebrates 100 years of the roundel logo, which "first appeared on [London] Underground station platforms in 1908. The bar and circle, as it became known, comprised a solid red enamel disc and horizontal blue bar." Features an illustrated history of the roundel logo, images from a roundel scavenger hunt, a roundel matching pairs games, and sections on roundels in architecture, badges, publicity, and signs. From the London Transport Museum.

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 25 November
Broccoli trees against craggy backdrop of sourdough mountains, a lonely boat tossed on a red cabbage sea. Carl Warner's edible fantasies... more

What A New Dentist Taught Me About Explanation via Common Craft - Explanations In Plain English - by leelefever on 12 December
Over my life as a dental patient, dentists have told me to pay close attention to brushing the back of my bottom front teeth. Unfortunately, this piece of professional advice had a hard time getting into my daily routine. That changed recently – I'm now much more likely to brush these teeth – and it's because a new dentist took an extra 30 seconds to explain something important – why.
I'm surprised that Lee hadn't already asked since he has, in my opinion, become one of the greatest exponents of "why?". He's also good at "what?" and "how?"

Home Office to review UK's surveillance powers

via OUT-LAW News on 18 December

The UK is not a surveillance society as some have claimed, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said. Smith conceded, though, that surveillance powers needed to be reviewed to cut back on excessive use.

Read the full article

Hazel's comment:
If there's not a problem then why a review?

Sunday, 1 February 2009

UK Commission for Employment and skills to champion Investors in People

via NDS RSS on 18 December

Responsibility for the Investors in People (IIP) standard will be passed from Government to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) placing it at the heart of business, Skills Secretary John Denham announced.

Read the full press release

Best and worst jobs

via The Perfect Substitute by Matt E. Ryan on 7 January

The Wall Street Journal had an article concerning's ranking of 200 jobs. The full list is here.

Hazel’s comment:
Mathematician is top of the list. What that says about the world, or the American world of work, I don’t know but it’s interesting!