HE and all that
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   Saturday, July 26, 2003  
I feel wound down, this means that the lecturing season must definitely be over. How do I know I'm wound down, well its easy, I am not talking to myself, a habit born of stress, its worries my kids, but their mum my wife has come to realise its a harmless pass-time. As the stress increases with the academic year do I talk to myself more? No, I talk less! that’s because more people are in the conversation, bugger, am I nuts, no not yet, but the day may well be coming. I comfort myself with certain knowledge that I am far from the worst case, there are those who by the end of the year cannot differentiate dreams from reality, bury themselves in obscure beliefs with accompanying artefacts that you either trip over or bump your head on in the staff room from Feng Shui to gargoyles, horse shoes (dozens of those), lecturers who refuse to speak unless they switch on a personal recorder (because by the evening they will have forgotten everything) and of course those weird and bizarre rashes and ailments that seem to erupt among some of the more seriously walking wounded among us. I have lost count of how many staff get promoted only to go down with depression, must be a tenuous connection there somewhere.
   posted by James at 9:38 AM

   Wednesday, July 23, 2003  
The end of summer term actually represents if anything an insecure time for lectures and teachers, because unlike all the others it does actually give you time to recover, though be it short given the continuing erosion of the recess by old PMT and her SMT . Insecure because you have time to speculate and think, yes its risky really. I have been thinking about the final outcome of all this dumming down and compromising, I mean how can we measure the final result of it, if any? I came across a statistic recently; in the last 100 years 54% of all patents came from Britain, 25% from thre US and 5% from Japan, this is surely in some way a measure of the success of an education system, I wonder what the next 100 years will bring?
   posted by James at 3:33 PM

   Wednesday, July 16, 2003  
Plagiarism, actually I couldn’t spell that so had to copy it from a web page, ouch!!!! So universities like Essex are finding 25% increase this year. Special software is available that can check student scripts for similarities or scan the net for a likely sources, why is this happening? What’s going on? Who’s to blame? Among the popular emerging views is that its related to the high increase of foreign students on courses who quit frankly see education as more of a detective game, or that with top up fees students have to work so hard that they have little time for study. But I thought students always worked in their spare time, behind bars, in shops, flipping burgers, the proceeds of which as I recall were spent on booze and birds, I have no problem with that. And anyway what about that valiant band of graduates who gained their degrees from the OU, students in full time employment, usually with families and mortgages who bare the full cost of courses. For me it’s the result of the inevitable here, if we are going to reduce the standards in order to gain more entrants to universities so that the government figures look good, then isn’t it obvious that many students will not be able to cope with the demand, or am I just a cynical old git who belongs to some time prior to the Jurassic-cretaceous boundary, some how I am beginning to hope so.
   posted by James at 12:33 PM

   Sunday, July 13, 2003  
New plans for old

Hello lecturers everywhere and please accept my apologies for such a protracted absence, but please do not tell my parents after all I am over 18 even though I may not act it, and according to the press will likely have been able to vote for a two whole years by now if new proposals get through!!!!! Have you read that one yet? Well part of my long period of quite has been due to lesson plans and schemes of work, but surely we all have those? Yes of course, but not in the format that the college would like. Format, surely teaching is an individual thing, like the lesson plan itself, well yes but old PMT of the SMT does not, ever has or will ever teach and neither have her dogs of war, so of course there has to be a format. The problem has been that the format is now in its third incarnation in a year and when I say that, I do not mean its been an evolutionary process, each one has been like a creature from a completely different galaxy, I was going to say universe but thought that would be over the top.
   posted by James at 11:03 AM

   Saturday, July 12, 2003  
Well it should be the end of term now but we seem to have been initiated at very short notice; no notice into an extra week of work in the form of staff workshops, that we run, so what do we learn? never mind it will come me I am sure, chin up everyone almost at the wire to.
   posted by James at 9:19 AM

   Friday, February 21, 2003  
Hi There, been away for some time ,but stay tuned for more hot news from the inside track on FE HE and all that.
   posted by James at 7:41 AM

   Wednesday, November 13, 2002  
More goodies from the inside. So the government want the masses to attend university, fine very commendable, but who is going to pay for it, well we can withdraw student funding and students can: old news, come on. Well for a start all full time; 15 hours per week that is. Courses are free now to school leavers, so they can complete their course and go on to university, where they can go for student loans etc. But now there are so many doing this that the long term repayment prospects of those loans is looking very dim, given that the chances of employment in growth industries, like new technologies i.e. computing is dropping like a lead balloon; surely not, well check www.jobstats.com. How is the government going to get the tax payers money back? I know stop so many students going to university, but we want as many students as possible to go to university, well actually that’s another department. So the solution, reduce the content of courses offered by colleges that would normally get students to university i.e. take out level 3 maths, for a technology course worth its salt, that’s a prerequisite, should work a treat given the failure of schools to deliver a realistic maths education, which is why we are surrounded by key skills. So students will have to take further courses before they can get to university. Net result very few go on to take that extra maths, so do not make it to uni. So students with any actual potential become councillors for the rest who probably end up flipping hamburgers. Now do stay tuned, I shall be having words about this with a higher authority and will deliver their response word for word.
   posted by James at 4:12 PM

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A blog for HE lecturers of all ages, experience, race and gender to let you know not only that the truth is out there, but more importantly, you are not alone!