Tag Archives: University

Be More Kind⤴

from

A timely earworm for me this week as I am marking philosophy exam scripts. The lyrics are actually about our broken society, but the title of the song speaks to me as I try to decipher scrawly handwriting and make the best sense I can of the jumbled thoughts written under pressure. Education could, and should, be more kind, in my opinion.

This semester has been particularly hard, with the strike action and weather leading to lost teaching time – and the need to be lenient yet fair while marking seems all the more important. This way of assessing students doesn’t seem at all kind to me.

Articulation in action⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Further and Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville today met a former roadie who swapped life touring the world with a band to train for his dream job as an ambulance paramedic thanks to a college access course to university.

Chris Anderson, who is now studying for his BSc in Paramedic Science at Glasgow Caledonian University, was travelling and working at international music venues when he realised his true vocation.

Chris, who is 39 and originally from Bellshill, said:

“I witnessed a few injuries that happened in the large crowds that gathered for our concerts. I watched the emergency personnel that came in, taking ill or injured people out of the crowds and looking after them and work they did seemed both exciting and important. It inspired me to change direction, go to college and now I’ll be ready to apply to the ambulance service when I graduate.”

Chris was one of the students meeting Scotland’s Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP when she visited Glasgow Caledonian University to find out about the support available for more than 1,000 college students who join degree courses at the University each year.

Ms Somerville, said:

“This has been a good opportunity to see the work that Glasgow Caledonian University is taking forward to support students from a variety of backgrounds to fulfil their potential at university. Widening access is a key priority for this Government. Part of delivering this change is looking at examples of best practice to understand what works well and sharing that learning across the university sector.

“The work that Glasgow Caledonian University does to support students articulating from college is a clear demonstration of the university’s commitment to the widening access agenda. It was a privilege to meet Chris and hear his amazing story – it really brings home how important college is as a route into university and why it is imperative that we do what we can as a government and as a sector to make these opportunities more readily available.”

Paramedic Science student Chris Anderson meeting Scottish Government Higher Education minister, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP at Glasgow Caledonian University campus

Glasgow Caledonian University welcomes more than 1,000 students from 17 colleges around Scotland each year, the second largest intake in the country. As well as access to summer schools, college applicants can also use the library, gym and computing labs to help them prepare for the move to university.

The University’s Head of Outreach, Eleanor Wilson MBE, said:

“We work closely with colleges to make Glasgow Caledonian University first choice for many students. Our admissions procedures recognise applicant’s potential with measures in place to support students from the beginning. Through our student mentors and highly-skilled staff, we aim to ease transition from college to university by creating an excellent student experience.  Their prospects are very good, because we have just recorded our best-ever figures for students completing their degrees and 97% are in work or further study six months after graduation.”

Chris Anderson says the college courses he took were a perfect preparation for university. He is now going out on placement as part of his course and he’s certain he’s made the right move.

“I get to go out observing and assisting qualified paramedics as they work. I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life, but nothing compares to that feeling of riding in the ambulance on the way to help someone who is in a life-threatening situation. To be able to be there, to be equipped and trained to help-out and maybe save a life is just amazing. It’s a lot more exciting than a tour bus.”

The post Articulation in action appeared first on Engage for Education.

Minister praises introduction of access thresholds at Abertay University⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Further and Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville has said that Abertay University’s early introduction of access thresholds for students from disadvantaged backgrounds should be seen “as an example” for other institutions.

On a visit to Abertay University today to discuss their implementation of access thresholds, Ms Somerville said:

“This Government firmly believes that access thresholds have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing inequalities in higher education. There is extensive evidence that universities get the best students by taking into account the social and educational background of an applicant in its admissions process, which is why access thresholds have an important role to play.

“This is a view supported by the Commission on Widening Access, who recommended that all universities introduce access thresholds by 2019.

“So I welcome the opportunity to hear from Abertay University about how they have already implemented access thresholds, in time for the 2017 academic year. The initial findings are encouraging, with the number of entrants who received an adjusted offer doubling in 2017-18.

“This sits alongside Abertay University’s approach to take into account individual student’s level of preparedness for university and ensure the right support is available for those coming through the contextualised admissions process. The speed with which Abertay University has introduced access thresholds is to be commended and should be seen as an example that many other institutions across the country can learn from.”

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal of Abertay University, added:

“We look forward to introducing the Minister to Abertay University’s new approach to supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.  This involves making offers of admission at an ‘access threshold’, with a much lower academic requirement than previously.”

The post Minister praises introduction of access thresholds at Abertay University appeared first on Engage for Education.

The Last Lecture by @TeacherToolkit⤴

from

This blog is a philosophical article. It is based on all the teaching and support staff in schools who are leaving their current positions at school (this term). It is also inspired by the story of Randy Pausch and his ‘Last Lecture’. Context: As I contemplate moving schools, I look to Pausch’s Last Lecture as … Okumaya devam et

How can we tackle inequality in English education? with @TheRSAOrg⤴

from

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about ‘raising aspiration and equal-access’ and that the UK education system fails students, from non-selective state schools, entering top universities. The Fellowship: In this blog, I introduce myself to you as Ross Morrison McGill FRSA and offer you an invitation to come to meet with me; but more … Continue reading

Raising aspirations and equal-access by @TeacherToolkit⤴

from

“The UK education system faces a range of inter-related challenges: students from non-selective state schools are under-represented at top universities; with schools increasingly accountable for progression to higher education.” (Source) Context: This week, I’ve been touched by two stories I’ve heard from my own students. Both heart-wrenching; real and poignant. But, what is moving about … Continue reading

Who worries or cares about what you’ve written?⤴

from @ ICT-Echo


I pose this question partly because I've returned to blogging, after spending 20 months only tweeting. The other part is an awareness of the quality of writing that is posted online and offline by students, academics and colleagues.

Where do I start? Julie Andrew's would suggest at the very beginning.

When I started blogging I strongly believed (and still do) that you need an audience. See my first posting: I think you're crazy just like me. But what should the audience care about when reading a posting? Should they be judging the author by the quality of their writing or the standard of written English. As the author should I worry about what readers think of me as they read my rantings? Well if I want to raise my profile and esteem then I have to worry about finding, keeping and influencing my audience. And to that end I need to self-edit my work. I definitely need to spellcheck it. And I seriously need to proof-read it.

So why doesn't everyone take care with their online writing. I appreciate it when reading student essays and assignments when they have bothered to take time with their writing. As I often say, "Nobody teaches you to read bad writing; so learning to read and assess poorly written essays takes some time to master." When I struggle to make sense of a 10 line sentence or translate the phonetic spelling I'm wondering who this student is and what they were thinking when they wrote the essay. I wonder if it was in the early hours of the morning or if they have done any reading. And I wonder why I have to read this bad writing.

But let me stop picking on my students they are learners after all and are on a journey to improve their writing. Let me turn my attention to my colleges: those who one might assume know better. The academics have been through University and have submitted numerous essays. They have written articles and reports and authored books. They have developed their skills in written communications. But these skills have been crafted in the analogue world: pre-digital. These colleagues are now being let loose on the web.

Because digital is easy to edit and amend they seem to have reduced their care in the work they post to the wide world. They give little thought to what the audience will think because if anyone comments on an error it can be removed in a moment  from the offending page on the web. But it only matters if there's an audience.

This audience has two options: prejudice or protest. With prejudice you can judge the author as poor and assume future work as being unworthy. We do this with music, film, television and books. Obviously this will tarnish the author's esteem and ultimately their reputation. With protest you can spend time engaging with the author to alert them to the error of their ways. But why should we care about the quality of the work when the author hasn't; why should we be the editor?

So to my colleagues I say: "take care of what you write and learn the rules (guidelines) for writing online." Then I won't think less of you than I already do ;)

Who worries or cares about what you’ve written?⤴

from @ ICT-Echo


I pose this question partly because I've returned to blogging, after spending 20 months only tweeting. The other part is an awareness of the quality of writing that is posted online and offline by students, academics and colleagues.

Where do I start? Julie Andrew's would suggest at the very beginning.

When I started blogging I strongly believed (and still do) that you need an audience. See my first posting: I think you're crazy just like me. But what should the audience care about when reading a posting? Should they be judging the author by the quality of their writing or the standard of written English. As the author should I worry about what readers think of me as they read my rantings? Well if I want to raise my profile and esteem then I have to worry about finding, keeping and influencing my audience. And to that end I need to self-edit my work. I definitely need to spellcheck it. And I seriously need to proof-read it.

So why doesn't everyone take care with their online writing. I appreciate it when reading student essays and assignments when they have bothered to take time with their writing. As I often say, "Nobody teaches you to read bad writing; so learning to read and assess poorly written essays takes some time to master." When I struggle to make sense of a 10 line sentence or translate the phonetic spelling I'm wondering who this student is and what they were thinking when they wrote the essay. I wonder if it was in the early hours of the morning or if they have done any reading. And I wonder why I have to read this bad writing.

But let me stop picking on my students they are learners after all and are on a journey to improve their writing. Let me turn my attention to my colleges: those who one might assume know better. The academics have been through University and have submitted numerous essays. They have written articles and reports and authored books. They have developed their skills in written communications. But these skills have been crafted in the analogue world: pre-digital. These colleagues are now being let loose on the web.

Because digital is easy to edit and amend they seem to have reduced their care in the work they post to the wide world. They give little thought to what the audience will think because if anyone comments on an error it can be removed in a moment  from the offending page on the web. But it only matters if there's an audience.

This audience has two options: prejudice or protest. With prejudice you can judge the author as poor and assume future work as being unworthy. We do this with music, film, television and books. Obviously this will tarnish the author's esteem and ultimately their reputation. With protest you can spend time engaging with the author to alert them to the error of their ways. But why should we care about the quality of the work when the author hasn't; why should we be the editor?

So to my colleagues I say: "take care of what you write and learn the rules (guidelines) for writing online." Then I won't think less of you than I already do ;)

Whither GP1?⤴

from

It seems a long time ago since I started this blog. My concerns at that stage seem so distant. Life has indeed moved on. It is over a year now since Tim (aka GP2) left school and Standard Grades, Highers, SQA, Curriculum for Excellence, Leaps, are now of no more than passing academic interest. Time for a round up.

So, Chris/GP1/Ginger left that fine academic institution that is Ross High School three years ago with a respectable assortment of Highers, Advanced Highers and various other SQA offerings. I can’t really say, hand on heart, that he ever quite got studying but hey, he did what he needed. We suggested he took a year out to figure out what he really wanted to do before moving on to more studying but he didn’t want to, so onwards it was. I think perhaps he couldn’t visualise the alternatives to the school-college route – it was a sort of comfort blanket that didn’t require too much thinking. LEAPS summer school (he didn’t really get that, either) was followed by Sport Science at Heriot Watt University.

Oh dear. Oh Heriot Watt – do you have no student support system that flags up when things are not going as they should? It was obvious to us by Christmas that things were not going well. By Easter we were seriously worried. He simply didn’t manage the transition from a very structured, highly timetabled final year at school to the unstructured environment of self study that was his first year at University. The course and department didn’t help; it turned out that his was the last intake into a course that was being discontinued. He had seven timetabled hours a week and, in the entire first year, the only set work he appeared to have consisted of one essay and one group presentation. His tutor went on maternity leave in his first few weeks and wasn’t replaced, at least not by anyone who made contact. Of course, I realise we were getting only one side of the story and it may have been edited highlights, but he really didn’t appear to know where to turn. He quite simply didn’t cope and made the entirely correct decision to leave in the summer term. Better to drop out of university than to drop out of life.

The past two years have been a bit of a mish mash of many things, all good. For most of the first year after the demoralising HW experience he taught swimming and racketball (not together) at locations all over the Lothians. The racketball was a programme run by Scottish Squash with money from the cashback scheme which puts confiscated proceeds from crime back into the community. At one of his dodgier venues he had two policemen to help out each week, just making sure things didn’t get out of control. He also volunteered as a classroom assistant at our local primary for a day or two a week and was accepted onto the East Lothian supply list for classroom assistants. This led on to a job at the primary for a full school year: it was great to see him come home each day with a smile on his face. Afternoons and weekends he spent teaching swimming. And partying – that boy is a party animal. And as well as all that he has now spent two successful summers teaching sport at Summer Camps in the States.

So where now? Two years working in a variety of environments have restored some self confidence and two summers in America have broadened his horizons. He realised himself that he needs some form of further training or qualifications to move on. We looked together at a number of options from being a paramedic to teaching and then I arranged a meeting for him with Jackie Cameron, a life coach I met through this blog. I hoped that someone from outside would help him sort out what he really wanted to do rather better than his parents could. He came back from Jackie having decided that he would give university and Sport Science another go and so here we are again. He is off to Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in a couple of weeks to do Applied Sport and Exercise Science, a less academic course than Heriot Watt and Stirling, a city based rather than campus university, and further from home than Heriot Watt. He is on a warning that he has to pass his exams! No pressure then. But this time he is 20 going on 21 rather than 17. He was selected by interview and likes the look of the department and course. He can see opportunities for moving on afterwards, for example into physiotherapy or teaching. And we have our fingers firmly crossed that this time he will be happy.

After all, that’s what we all want as parents, isn’t it? We want them to be happy.