Is it safe to pee on the street?

The University of Otago plans to install 60 CCTV cameras in North Dunedin at a cost of 1.27 million trumpeted across the NZ media on Friday May 12th. The ODT headline, ‘Cameras to keep our students safe‘ creates the clear impression that Otago students are not safe, yet nothing I could find in the ODT article,… Read More »

Naysayer rising

Never before have so many people been so well educated. Two of my grandparents left school without qualifications. Neither of my parents attended university. My siblings and I all had the benefit of a tertiary education. This is a common and familiar pattern especially in western democracies. But what are we learning? One of the strong… Read More »

ACODE70 in Orange

Until ACODE70, I had never heard of Orange much less thought that I might visit it. Orange is around 3.5 hours from Sydney by car, over the Blue Mountains and part-way between Bathurst and Dubbo. By train or bus it takes longer to get there but you see more of the scenery which, especially around the Blue Mountains,… Read More »

From across the ditch

It’s been great this week to have Dr Danny Liu from Macquarie University visit us here at Otago. On Monday, Danny gave a talk, to a packed seminar room, on three projects he’s been involved with at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney: The Moodle Engagement Analytics Plugin (MEAP), the Student Relationship Engagement System (SRES)… Read More »

Women and academic promotion

As anyone, anywhere, who has ever applied for an academic promotion will tell you, promotion applications are onerous. Evidence is gathered, documents are written, forms are filled, boxes are ticked, support is sought and a hefty wad of material is signed off and dispatched with fingers crossed and a sigh of relief. Then, you wait.… Read More »

Life and death

Sir Ken Robinson once famously said in a TED talk, “university professors… look upon their body as a form of transport for their heads…it’s a way of getting their head to meetings.” Underlying some of the best humour is often a certain truth. Much of academic life involves thinking, writing, reading, arguing and abstracting away… Read More »

Straw men, academic artisans and instruments of torture

If the title of this post sounds like the title of a Bruegel painting that is because sometimes I feel like I am living inside a Bruegel painting. Reading a comment posted in response to an article in the Times Higher Education caused this unpleasant feeling to repeat on me, even while enjoying my Christmas break. The… Read More »

Artful Clover

Still in beta, a neat application of NLP to allow the artistically challenged to create 3D visualisations is at http://www.wordseye.com. Spurred on by Clover bleating about being left off the recent Ascilite post I entered the following text: The yellow goat is on the table. A newspaper is on the shiny grass 3 foot in front… Read More »

Ascilite 2015

With a moving Welcome to Country, Jonghwi Park’s call to action in her keynote and some good solid sessions on the first day, Ascilite 2015 was off to a great start. I loved Jonghwi’s talk, ICT-enabled Quality Lifelong Learning for All, which not only issued a call to action but also lit the path to making a contribution to the… Read More »