Articles on Students

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Inadvertently, universities may be constructing courses and learning environments that encourage cheating. Cheating image from www.shutterstock.com

Universities could be encouraging students to cheat, without even knowing it

A few years ago a group of psychologists from two North American universities ran a fascinating experiment designed to see whether the quality of light in a room influenced people’s willingness to cheat…
Spelling tests aren’t teaching kids to spell. Test image from www.shutterstock.com

Why some kids can’t spell and why spelling tests won’t help

A couple of years ago, early one morning, I received an SMS advising “resadents to stay indoors because of a nearby insadent”. I was shocked by the spelling, as much as the message. Surely, I thought…
Some have suggested there’s a rise in the use of so called ‘smart drugs’ – but how much do we know about their use and effects? Brain image from www.shutterstock.com

Drugs for grades: the realities of academic doping

The use of drugs to improve academic performance goes by a number of names – “academic doping”, “cosmetic neurology”, “neuroenhancement”. A recent survey suggested that Australian university students are…
Young people are harbouring misconceptions about climate change. But what can be done about it? Thinking image www.shutterstock.com

What do young people really know about climate change?

The next generation will be the ones to feel the increasing effects of climate change. But how much do they really know about it? After all, it’s one thing to say: yes, I believe in climate change. But…
Potential changes to the ownership of student loan repayments could make reform of the system more complicated. Student loan image from www.shutterstock.com

Don’t sell off HECS: reforming student loans could bring in real savings

According to the budget papers, Australian students and former students could owe the government more than $40 billion in unpaid Higher Education Loan Program debt by 2017. Unsurprisingly, HELP, formerly…
Media studies is on offer at top-tier universities. wayneandwax

Top universities teach media studies, so why brief against it?

Media studies gets a hard time in higher education and the top universities in the UK are not making things any easier by continuing to take a contradictory stance as they advise students on what to study…
50 wpm, punctual, fast learner. Especially after a few Jager Bombs. upsuportsmouth

Your future boss knows what you did this summer: it’s online

Just over a fortnight ago, LinkedIn announced it is to make its professional network available to UK-based students aged 13 years and older; primarily as a way of enabling young people to leverage the…
Teaching skills: 5, Lab facilities: 3. This is no way to choose a university. stevedotcarter

Don’t fall into the rankings trap when assessing a university

The idea that we should audit universities is, in many respects, a good one. It can be used to keep them accountable and it can be a driver of change. University rankings – such as those offered by Times…
The cost of a degree depends on the colour of your cash. Nick in exsilio

The UK split over tuition fees is bad news for students

The different countries of the UK have very different ideas about a lot of things, and university fees are no exception. With the introduction of £9,000 tuition fees in England, Wales and Scotland both…
A longer academic year would have serious drawbacks for university students and staff. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Idle time? Why we don’t need a longer academic year

This week Coalition MP Alan Tudge wrote a piece in the Australian Financial Review calling for an end to the 26-week academic year. In his article, he said students were spending the remainder of their…
What are you paying for when you choose a private, non-government school? Private school image from www.shutterstock.com

Buyer beware: are you really purchasing a ‘better’ education?

Australian parents are increasingly choosing to spend more money on their children’s education. A report released last week showed parents who chose private education for their child were paying an average…
School music proponents like to big note the effectiveness of such programs, what what evidence of genuine benefit is there? Music image from www.shutterstock.com

Striking a chord: what can music really do for students?

School music is a big fish within the small pond of the Creative Arts curriculum. In lobbying for more space, music advocates often use an array of arguments – some backed by evidence, some not. Many argue…
Getting the mix right: we need to take a closer look at the future of science education. Science education image from www.shutterstock.com

Science in schools: can we choose a better future?

Every now and then we manufacture a crisis in Australian school science. People write reports. These recommend change, including curriculum change, and point out the ways in which current patterns of school…
Women need to play a greater role at the top of Australia’s art institutions. Man in gallery image from www.shutterstock.com

Why are so many arts organisations run by blokes?

One of my favourite paintings in the Art Gallery of New South Wales is Emanuel Phillips Fox’s Art Students. It’s particularly notable because all the Melbourne Art School students pictured are women. In…
Are students “customers”? The answer is not so simple. Piggy bank image from www.shutterstock.com

Students aren’t customers…or are they?

With the rise of mass higher learning, tight public funding and intense competition for students, universities are often encouraged to see students as “customers”. But should they? Commentators who criticise…
The traditional grading system is now obsolete. ABCDE image from www.shutterstock.com

Testing times: making the case for new school assessment

When we were growing up, my father occasionally stood each of us against the back door and marked our height on the door in pencil. He wrote our initials and the date alongside each mark. For us, it was…

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