I usually start and / or finish the day by having a look through my web Reader (an allegiance to Bloglines). The power of Push technology means the news comes to me. I’d never keep up if I had to go searching for the information that plops in there on a regular basis.
Here’s what Ninth Level had in store for me today –
- A PhD diary from a student in Galway. This caught my eye from the statement “Originally the reason for starting my PhD was mainly due to a personal interest in my subject. Now, nearly three years on, my PhD has become a job”. From a purely selfish point of view I need to hear things like this. It make me feel that the slow death of the enthusiastic buzz that comes with under-taking large scale research into a topic you love is all part of the normal process of PhD study and I shouldn’t beat myself up about it. The buzz comes and goes and comes back again in another form…. !
- “Degrading the academic vocation” has some startling ideas. One is the “outsourcing of grading to companies who employ graders in Singapore, India and Malaysia”. One wonders about the quality-control not to mention the bond that arises for the lecturer-student relationship in setting, marking and feeding back on assessments. Outsourcing in the world of IT is part of the syllabus on a Business Information Systems course that I lecture on. The lesson from this field is that organisations should do what they do best, then outsource the rest as long as it is not of prime strategic importance. Is grading of prime academic importance? I would like to think that yes it is.
- I could comment on the pension top-ups for senior staff in some public universities but I’m choosing not to – for obvious reasons.
- The long haul degree – more discouraging PhD news. The New York Times says it can take 9 years to obtain a degree in the Humanities, and then newly crowned doctors can spend another 9 years obtaining a full time career position, and even then might not get one. In the USA, “about half who enter a humanities doctoral program drop out along the way. The average student receiving a Ph.D. today is 35 years old, $23,000 in debt and facing a historically bad job market”. My Phd isn’t in the field of Humanities, but for the sake of my confidence, I had to stop reading this particular article at this juncture.
- The annual Sunday Times University Ranking for Ireland has been published. Seeing as my computer insists on crashing every time (I’ve tried twice!) I try to access it… maybe that’s telling me not to bother.
- How Are Professors Like Cats? Let Me Count the Ways – “Like cats, professors tend to be highly intelligent, deeply self-actualized, and fiercely independent. They need to be stroked occasionally, but only on their own terms and in their own good time”. And so what. Surely being intelligent is a good thing, as is independence and a sense of self-actualisation. The author wonders why administrators complain about having to “herd” their feline lecturing staff, instead of simply letting the lecturers get on with their jobs. I enjoyed this one and this little story that was linked from it.
A good friend turned 40 recently and decided to be philosophical about it and adopt the “life begins at 40…” idea. Is she right? Or does it all matter in the slightest, and you’re only as old as you feel? Are you a digital native and clicking buttons before you could hold a pen? Or are you a digital migrant that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age? Or does it matter a jot?
Here’s something I found on Brazen Careerist. Being who I am I figured I’d give it a shot.
Do you have your own web page? (1 point) Assuming this blog counts that’s 1 point.
Have you made a web page for someone else? (2 points) Actually I have, 3 points.
Do you IM your friends? (1 point) Indeed I do, 4 points
Do you text your friends? (2 points) Uh oh, what’s the difference between texting and IM? I’ll give myself another point, 5 points.
Do you watch videos on YouTube? (1 point) A wonderful means of distraction, education and amusement, 6 points
Do you remix video files from the Internet? (2 points) Nope, this one I don’t do (yet), 6 points
Have you paid for and downloaded music from the Internet? (1 point) Yup, 7 points
Do you know where to download free (illegal) music from the Internet? (2 points) if it wasn’t for my internet-sussed students I’d probably be answering no to this one, 9 points
Do you blog for professional reasons? (1 point) er, um, 9.5 points
Do you blog as a way to keep an online diary? (2 points) 11.5 points
Have you visited MySpace at least five times? (1 point) yes, 12.5 points
Do you communicate with friends on Facebook? (2 points) keeps me sane, 14.5 points
Do you use email to communicate with your parents? (1 point) nope, my folks took 10 years to master the vcr, emailing is just too much when there’s a telephone handy.14.5 points
Did you text to communicate with your parents? (2 points) see last comment, 14.5 points
Do you take photos with your phone? (1 point) I stopped about 2 years ago when the phone software corrupted and swallowed all the pics I had on it, 14.5 points
Do you share your photos from your phone with your friends? (2 points) see last comment, 14.5 points
0-1 point – Baby Boomer
2-6 points – Generation Jones
6- 12 points – Generation X
12 or over – Generation Y
So, I’m a Generation Y. Excuse while I go Google that to see what exactly it is I am……