Safe Surfing

A quote from the Wired Campus blog of the Chronicle on the question of whether to ban laptops in class or not: "Professors worry that as wireless networks and laptops become ubiquitous, students will direct about as much attention to the front of the room as airline passengers do to a flight attendant reviewing safety information."Read more …

Pardon my French, but…

Because of globalisation, national governments face more difficulties in collecting sufficient taxes to keep their countries going. Alain Lamassoure, a French member of the European Parliament has found the answer:"The economic value of today's globalisation lies in information through transactions in the form of international communication. Why don't we levy taxes on this value?" "A small tax on an SMS from Paris to another French city could be allocated to the French government, but taxes on emails or SMS messages from Paris to Rome could be dedicated to the EU budget. In France…Read more …

The Globally Integrated Enterprise

IBM's CEO Samuel J. Palmisano claims that the Multinational Corporation (MNC), one of the primary agents of globalisation, is taking on a new form: The Globally Integrated Enterprise. A post of the Dutch blog Sargasso pointed me to this article in this month's edition of Foreign Affairs (the article can also be downloaded from the IBM website).Although international trading enterprises were already in existence in the 17th and 18th century (e.g. the British or the Dutch East India Company), the first international corporations emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. These corporations were mainly based…Read more …

…and keep your tray table and seat in the full upright position

For my flight to the United States I took some news articles that might be of interest and on which I might post later on. Here's a list of what I thought might be worthwile:An article on the risks that Australian universities are taking by focusing so (too?) heavily on the international student market. Universities are risking their academic reputation by rushing into dubious offshore ventures and are leaving themselves financially exposed as the boom in overseas students tapers off. A report from NSW Auditor-General Bob Sendt finds universities have become too reliant…Read more …

Outsourcing Homework

The Washington Post reports on another industry that is feeling the effects of outsourcing: education, and tutoring in particular. In the US, there are millions of dollars available under the No Child Left Behind Act to firms that provide remedial tutoring. And where there's money, there's people that want to make more money. And where people want to make more money, they need to lower the costs (click picture for enlargement):When Studyloft.com, a Chicago-based tutoring company with more than 6,000 clients, advertised in Bangalore for tutors with master's degrees, more than 500 people…Read more …

The costs of free education?

Higher Education in 'Old Europe' has had some pretty bad exposure again. Examples from Germany and France show that free education can be pretty costly. The Dutch ScienceGuide has a small item on an awkward German issue. Roughly translated and summarised: Five lecturers for 3000 students in German Linguistics was not sufficient at Paderborn University. "One professor had been ill for a long time and another lectureship was discontinued" the students complained and they took matters in their own hands. They collected money and recruited a lecturer from Bielefeld. She responded: "Of course…Read more …

Publishing & Open Access

Two related issues on the US academic publishing business were widely reported upon in the media in the last 2 weeks. The first was the National Institutes of Health policy on public access to research findings. The second, the proposal of a bill by Republican Senator Cornyn (Texas) and Democratic Senator Lieberman (Connecticut) requiring public access to federally funded research.On February 3, 2005, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research. Although the NIH strongly encourages that a manuscript be made…Read more …

Multi Billion Pound Meltdown

One evening of BBC News:Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UKUniversity offer 'will cost jobs' Many universities will struggle to honour a pay offer to their staff of 12.6%, a vice-chancellor has said.Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 22:45 GMT 23:45 UK'Meltdown' threat to universities Universities will face "meltdown" unless the dispute over lecturers' pay is quickly resolved, a union leader is expected to warn.Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 22:56 GMT 23:56 UKUniversities 'worth 45 billion Pounds a year' Higher education is worth 45 billion Pounds a year to the UK economy - more than…Read more …

The 7 secrets of doctoral mediocrity

Many, many, many books have been written on how to obtain a Ph.D degree or how to write a Ph.D thesis. I'm not really into self-help books, but I heard that some books are really helpful. In the Higher Education section of The Australian, Maria Gardiner and Hugh Kearns of Flinders University share their 7 secrets of doctoral success.During the past 15 years the pair has studied why students battle with perfectionism, over-commit, self-sabotage and lose motivation and focus while writing a PhD. They offer free workshops and seminars to Flinders University PhD…Read more …

All in 1 week

In the past week, three remarkable men have passed away. The best writer of all times, one of the most innovative artists of all times and one of the most influential economists of all times.Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) passed away last Sunday (30 April).For me, his numerous books, short stories and essays are the most remarkable works I have ever read. Both his use of language and his choice of topics make that his books and stories portray a lively picture of Indonesian societies and cultures. Toer brought history to live, from the…Read more …

Cyprus

I just came back from a trip to Nicosia in Cyprus where I attended a workshop on "Policy Ideas, Discourses and Debates in the Globalisation Process" of the Joint Sessions of the European Consortium for Political Research. The preparation for the workshop and the lack of connections in Cyprus account for the absence of posts the past 2 weeks. But that was worth it. The workshop was fascinating, and so was the location.Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004. Under the terms of accession the whole island is considered to be a member…Read more …