Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Parents 'buy essays' for students

From BBC News:

Parents are paying hundreds of pounds for degree-course essays for their children studying at university, claims an essay-writing service.

BBC NEWS | Education | Parents 'buy essays' for students

Noooo!  That's so bad!!  The quote later on in this where it says "The students will talk about the essay they want and then they put their parents on the phone to give the credit card details"... well... grief!  What on earth is anyone learning when people do that sort of thing?!

Some articles make me turn into a ranty grumpy old woman.  This is one of them.  I sense a day of chuntering about slipping standards, lack of morals and parental weakness coming on.

I may be some time...  :o)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Flickr in 'has humans involved behind the scenes' shocker!

Flickr was down earlier... and the following appeared:

Since when did error messages get funny?! Could... gasp... there be people behind the programming?!! Nooooo! It's almost as if they've realised that speaking in Geek-ish isn't going to get them anywhere with their average punter.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The old new

Dork talk | Technology | The Guardian:
"But let the rise of social networking alert you to the possibility that, even in the futuristic world of the net, the next big thing might just be a return to a made-over old thing."

Lovely quote from Stephen Fry's 'Dork Talk'. He's right too. Isn't it so often the way that the next big thing isn't really the next or big either. It's the same old same old wearing this year's fashions. After all, social networking is just the same networking we've been doing for centuries... just wearing electronic clothing this time out. Next time out? Who knows? When was the last time something really was 'new'? Isn't most stuff just responding to the basic needs of human beings? Is anything truly innovative? Or is it all a continuum of evolution where you can't quite pick out 'new' from 'old' as they're really all the same?

Life is one long tweak of all past lives. But it sure is fun finding those different ways of tweaking!

Friday, January 11, 2008

1973: First Open University degrees awarded

1973: First Open University degrees awarded:

"Dr Perry said: 'The qualities of our students are often very different, in the first place they are adult, experienced in life and jobs, not just straight out of school. They have achieved their degree by the most difficult method of getting a degree yet devised by the wit of man.

'Therefore they have qualities of determination and staying power that are quite unusual and I think will come to be recognised by industry as very important qualities for employers.'"

Just noticed the above on the BBC's website - it's been 35 years since the first OU degrees were awarded... and the above quote still holds strong. Good feeling to have been part of that ongoing struggle and pride in what's been achieved. It's another of those 'wish I could bottle it and share it with others' sorta feelings, and an outcome that can't be quantified when weighing up who should or shouldn't get funding in HE in the UK...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Second degree cut survives vote

BBC NEWS | Education | Second degree cut survives vote:

"The government has survived a vote trying to block its plans to cut funding from students taking a second undergraduate degree.

A Tory motion in the House of Commons opposing the withdrawal of funding was defeated by a majority of 53.

But a number of prominent Labour MPs also spoke against the plan and called on the government to re-consider."

Hmmmm... chances of this not ultimately happening? Not looking good...

Wonder if I'd have started a second undergrad degree if the funding issue hadn't existed? Honestly? I probably would although it's less certain especially since I had to ask my employer for sponsorship initially and even asking for a few hundred pounds several years ago seemed like a big ask at the time. Maybe I would have been part sponsored, part-self-funded... but it's not as easy as it once was. Would I have found an interest in elearning if I hadn't started that second degree? Doubt it. Would I have started my Masters if I hadn't been able to take that second degree? Very very doubtful. Would I have been able to do a second Masters degree? Not a chance...

It may not affect me now as I'm out virtually of the system, but this sort of policy decision has far reaching consequences that extend way beyond 'give everyone a fair go first time round' and negates the aspects of education which can't be quantified by a simple test of 'have they got a first undergrad degree or not'. Why is it so hard to grasp that education does not have a single, quantifiable, across-the-board benefit? That lifelong learning should be lifeline and the doors shouldn't slam shut because one arbitrary measure no longer applies.

I despair.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mexico boy tries to stick at home

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Mexico boy tries to stick at home: "Mexico boy tries to stick at home

"A Mexican boy glued his hand to his bed because he did not want to go back to school after the Christmas break."

Online learning... that's where it's at. Glue yourself to the bed? Here's your laptop and a wireless connection! Pah to skiving!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Happy New Year!!

New Year's Resolutions:  None

Hopes for the coming year:  Learn stuff, enjoy life, think about new things, move forwards... be happy.  Carry on feeding my curiosity.  The normal woolly bits an' bobs really!

Goals for the year:  Finish my MA and take a big chunk out of my MEd.

Other stuff:  Ermmm... untangle some of life's little challenges which have cropped up of late.

Gratuitous pleasure!

Four months ago I got my second degree and a postgrad certificate into the bargain... and today my certificates arrived.  Cue daft Cheshire Cat style grinning and tingly pleasure every time I think about them and all they represent.

If only you could bottle moments like these and share them with the students you're working with and say 'this is coming... hang in there... you'll love the moment where it all comes together'.  I have the Ready Brek glow of happiness.  I wonder if anyone else can see it?  You know what?  I don't care!!!  I'm going to bask in it for a while longer and the rest of the world can wait for a minute or two!
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