Articles on Academics

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The open education movement seems as though it’s here to stay – but why would anyone give away their work for free? Open book image from www.shutterstock.com

Giving it away for free: sharing really is caring in the open education movement

The New York Times dubbed 2012 the year of the MOOC. And for many, the seemingly unstoppable rise of Massive Open Online Courses – courses which are offered for free by prestigious universities – is where…
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…
It’s time to move past outdated ideas about porn. hansol

Academia needs a porn journal: here’s why

The launch of a new academic journal doesn’t usually grab popular media interest. But the first journal of Porn Studies seems to have bucked the trend. For the most part, media coverage has contained more…
A Palestinian farmer and Israeli soldier clash in an olive grove. Can academics in other countries affect this situation by boycotting one side or the other? AAP/Abed Al Hashlamoun

Academics and activism: Stephen Hawking and the Israel boycott

The news that famous physicist Stephen Hawking has decided to join the academic boycott of Israel has attracted some heated commentary. Hawking pulled out of attending an Israeli conference in June, explaining…
The recent cuts to universities are only likely to make the health problem growing in the academic community worse. Stressed academic image www.shutterstock.com

Uni cuts will lead to health problems for academics

The consensus on the recent A$2.3 billion funding cuts to the tertiary sector is they will do more harm than good. Plenty of commentators foresee diminishing quality of teaching and research, possible…
What should students really expect after doing a PhD? PhD image from www.shutterstock.com

Are PhD graduates expecting too much?

When it comes to PhD graduates, it’s clear that supply now far outstrips demand. It used to be that doing a PhD almost guaranteed you an academic position but now, any guarantees are long gone. My own…
Australian universities need to trim down their bureaucracies. University image from www.shutterstock.com

Reform Australian universities by cutting their bureaucracies

Universities drive a knowledge economy, generate new ideas and teach people how to think critically. Anything other than strong investment in them will likely harm Australia. But as Australian politicians…
The Coalition looks set to only tinker around the edges of higher education policy. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Decoding Tony Abbott’s plans for universities

What should universities expect from a Coalition government if Tony Abbott wins the September election? In his address to the Universities Australia conference in Canberra, the signals were fairly reassuring…
A PhD is never easy but is there a way to make it easier? Phd graduate image from www.shutterstock.com

A PhD by publication or how I got my doctorate and kept my sanity

Doing a PhD is a difficult business. Long hours, personal stress, institutional pressure to complete on time – and all this for what? Increasingly a PhD alone does not guarantee an academic career. We…
The role of the academic has changed and more and more public intellectuals are becoming famous and engaging with the public. Celebrity image from www.shutterstock.com

The rise of the Super Profs: should we be worried about celebrity academics?

Recently, I looked at a copy of the achingly aspirational male style magazine GQ, and there was an article from its food critic on how to prepare the perfect Bronte pistachio tart. Not having a sweet tooth…
Researchers who have sometimes been waiting years for funding have been left in the lurch by government. Research image from www.shutterstock.com

Time to thaw: the human side of the research funding freeze

The Australian Research Council’s confirmation that all funding awards and rounds are currently frozen has caused major concern, if not panic, in academic circles. The Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook…
Online education might not cut it for students who want quality learning and more access to staff. Student image from www.shutterstock.com

What students want and how universities are getting it wrong

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today, Victoria University’s…
Online education may mean more stress and workload for academics, not less. Stressed academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Online education at the coalface: what academics need to know

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today, ANU’s Rod Lamberts and…
Squeezing a thesis into three minutes sounds impossible. But it’s an important skill to learn. Lecture image from www.shutterstock.com

A thesis in three minutes: making research accessible

Imagine condensing a thesis – which would normally take nine hours to read aloud – into a presentation just three minutes long. Today at the Australian and Trans-Tasman Three Minute Thesis competition…
Using technology to tackle plagiarism is important, but universities need to understand why students do it in the first place. Student image from www.shutterstock.com

Carrot or the stick? Technology and university plagiarism

Trying to control and prevent plagiarism is a problem for all universities, and nearly all universities these days use some kind of technology to combat it. But in a recent article on The Conversation…
Academics freedom and university reputations are being tested online. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Academics behaving badly? Universities and online reputations

Trying to control your reputation online is a bit like trying to clean up wee in a toddler pool. You are much more likely to get your hands dirty than achieve any kind of meaningful damage control. Many…
Despite online courses available for free, university students still want the experience of bricks and mortar campuses. University campus image from www.shutterstock.com

MOOCs will mean the death of universities? Not likely

MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are gaining a lot of attention. Some commentators believe that these free internet-delivered courses are the future of university education. Others meanwhile argue…
The pressure on academics is becoming too much, there needs to be cultural change. Stressed image from www.shutterstock.com

Cracks in the ivory tower: is academia’s culture sustainable?

The pressure is on. More and more universities and academics are working in a culture that is untenable and cracks in the ivory tower have already begun to appear. The work environment is now characterised…
Academic writing doesn’t have to be old and dusty. Wyoming_Jackrabbit

Seven secrets of stylish academic writing

Imagine that the editor of a widely-read magazine or, say, The Conversation has heard about your academic research and invited you to contribute an article. But you only know how to produce stodgy, impersonal…

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