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What you must do to ensure you're earning PhD of the right quality | Commentary - Standard Digital

It is now a notorious truism that there are good and bad PhDs in Kenya, insist Peter Lewa, The Standard.

PhD graduands before receiving blessings during the 34th Graduation Ceremony of Moi University.
Photo: Peter Ochieng, StandardIn the face of this reality, Kenyans pursuing doctoral studies need to be quite circumspect as be able to spot when they are reclining to a bad PhD.

It all starts with the learner and their choice. So, how is a learner to tell - in good time - that they are about to get a good or bad PhD? Before delving into the answers, it is important to lay down the ground rule. And this is that a PhD process is an intricate scientific investigation of phenomena that requires thorough preparation and adherence to established standards and measures of quality. It engenders rigour and vigour and students are expected to prepare thoroughly. 

The first thing a PhD student ought to do is find out if their university has what it takes to produce quality graduates at PhD or any other level. This points to the issue of quality of education on offer. With the world shrinking into a village with help of technology, the quality of education one obtains matters a lot in a highly competitive environment. To make a quality judgement about a degree, you have to scrutinise the entire quality assurance process in the value chain and how a given university enforces set standards in every important aspect. You must invest your time in this investigation...

These are common challenges in the higher education sector in all countries in today’s globalised world.

The challenges may sometimes lead to hurried and poor preparation of students because of the wish to graduate as many students as possible. The Doctoral students must be in the forefront in demanding quality preparation. Students must demand active involvement. They must have a voice.?

Source: Standard Digital

Lifelong learning Practice owner reflects on her PhD journey | Practitioner stories - Optometry Today

Optometrist and independent practice owner of Edwards & Walker Opticians, Pretty Basra, talks to OT about her interest in children’s vision, her PhD and balancing work, study and family life.

Photo: Pretty BasraWhen did you decide to embark on a PhD and why?  
It has been a lifelong dream for me since I was very young – I wanted to be an expert in eyes. It was also largely driven by my father, who used to tell me how much he would like to see his children do well in their education. My mother and father are originally from India where access to education is limited and I suppose that’s what made me fight to do it even more. 

What does your PhD focus on?
As a child I was an uncorrected myope and self-reported to a local opticians for an eye exam. 
Source: Optometry Today

Nine things to know before doing a PhD | Student - Times Higher Education (THE)

Having ‘Dr’ in front of your name is not a reason for doing a PhD. Instead consider these nine tips before embarking on a PhD, Subhas Yadav, PhD student in comparative literature at the University of Hyderabad advices. 

Photo: iStockDoing a PhD is the peak of one’s formal academic training. However, there are a number of career paths that you can follow before getting a PhD and it is not vital to have one to have a successful 

Undertaking a PhD is a time-consuming and tiring process, and there are many different opinions on the need for doing a PhD – not all of them positive. However, a PhD remains a benchmark in the arena of higher education, it decides the quality, ranking, and evolution of the academic disciplines. There are still a high number of bright aspirants for the very few competitive PhD positions available at university departments. 

Here are nine things to consider before doing a PhD.
Read more... 

Source: Times Higher Education (THE)

Great Thinkers | The Foundation for Constitutional Government

Check out this web resource below aimed at introducing the great thinkers of Western thought, with a particular emphasis on political philosophy.

Featuring biographies, introductory essays, bibliographies of the best secondary literature, as well as multimedia content on thinkers from Plato to Nietzsche, the site seeks to aid students and other interested parties in their study of the most fundamental ideas, texts, and thinkers of the tradition.

Source: The Foundation for Constitutional Government

Time we put the philosophy back into PhD | Blogs & Opinion - Daily Nation

In Summary

  • The degree can open doors, especially in academia but also in business. Thus the output of the study, or thesis, can be globally damaging or outstandingly impactful.
  • Researchers continue to call on Doctor of Philosophy students to be thinkers, not narrowly focused researchers.

  • Many experts now agree that the concept of education needs refining, argues Mr Onyango, Junior Life Scientist, writes on Stem (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). 

    Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology holds its graduation ceremony in Kakamega on December 14, 2018. PhD training is threatened by professors who quantify goals and rewards by emphasising publishing rather than scientific vigour.
    Lack of progressive education policies and irresponsive educational curriculum were among the elements that silently crippled the global financial infrastructure in 2008.
    Many experts now agree that the concept of education needs refining to ensure lives that are economically, politically and socially responsible rather than only serving industries.
    Science education experts have boldly called for more “scientific literacy” to match the demands of today’s standard-based accountability...

    But that has also put the spotlight on the advanced research degree. Researchers continue to call on Doctor of Philosophy students to be thinkers, not narrowly focused researchers. 
    Read more...  

    Source: Daily Nation

    A Revised Gen Ed Debuts | Harvard Magazine

    After a years-long redesign, a reformed version of the College’s program in General Education launches this fall, inform Nina Pasquini, Staff Writer at The Harvard Crimson.

    Professors Douglas Melton and Michael Sandel prepare to launch their new Gen Ed course, open to students from across the University, at Klarman Hall.
    Photo: Lee Hopkins The new Gen Ed intends to focus on “urgent problems and pressing questions”—to equip students for life outside of the classroom more explicitly than departmental classes might. The new program features a total of eight requirements:
    • one departmental course from each of the three Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) divisions: arts and humanities; social sciences; science and engineering;
    • one quantitative reasoning with data requirement; and
    • one Gen Ed course—all of them either new or refreshed—from each of four different categories: Aesthetics & Culture; Ethics & Civics; Histories, Societies, Individuals; and Science & Technology in Society.
    The latter courses significantly distinguish the new Gen Ed from its predecessor: they are intended to have a unique pedagogy—prioritizing experiential, hands-on learning with real-world applications—and the content is intended to be interdisciplinary and case-study-based.  

    During the 2019-2020 academic year, about six dozen new Gen Ed courses will roll out...

    With today’s official start of the semester, the fall’s Gen Ed courses will also debut, and the years and months of preparation—both for the relaunched program and for these new classes—will finally transform into teaching and learning.

    Source: Harvard Magazine

    Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop to celebrate 10th anniversary | The Bookseller

    Notting Hill indie Lutyens & Rubinstein Bookshop will celebrate its 10th anniversary this 

    The London bookshop, founded in October 2009 by literary agents Sarah Lutyens and Felicity Rubinstein, will mark the milestone from 12th October 2019 to September 2020 in a year of celebrations. 

    Shop manager Claire Harris, who has been in position since the shop opened, told The Bookseller she is looking forward to the anniversary. She said: "It's a big year and we've got lots planned with book groups and authors. We've had a very good summer and are now looking forward to our 10th birthday."

    The Kensington Park Road shop is planning a host of events and activities for the anniversary year, including a limited-edition tote bag and a prize for the Book of the Decade voted for by customers. Events planned for September include Francesca Segal in conversation with Clemmie Hooper and Hugo Williams in conversation with Adam Phillips. 

    In October, Casey Cep will discuss Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee with Helen Macdonald. A bookshop party will take place on Saturday 12th October...

    Reflecting on ten years in bookselling, Lutyens said: “Ten years ago, the dominant bookselling model was pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap, and independent bookshops looked like an endangered species. We believed there was room for a different kind of experience; a beautifully designed shop with a careful selection of books sold by passionate, well-informed staff. And we’re delighted that our hunch paid off.”

    Source: The Bookseller

    City Stacks Books & Coffee Will Close This Weekend | Open and Shut Cases - Westword

    City Stacks will close on August 31 after a five-year run in LoDo, inform Danielle Krolewicz, likes a good cup of coffee, a good book and a good deal — not necessarily in that order.

    City Stacks opened in 2015 as a cozy retail shop and cafe.
    Photo: Mark AntonationA five-year lease at 1743 Wazee Street is coming to an end, and so is the business that occupies the spot. On August 2, City Stacks Books & Coffee posted this message on its website and Facebook page:
    To all our friends and valued customers: after five years, we've made the difficult decision to close the store on August 31.

    Until then, all books and sidelines are 50% off.

    If you have gift cards or balances on your frequent buyer account, please take this opportunity to use them as we cannot provide cash payments for the existing balance.

    Thank you for your support.
    In December 2015, City Stacks opened in an area of LoDo that lacked retail options. Co-founders Kevin Gillies and his son, Benjamin Gillies, teamed up with Kevin's wife, Nancy Banks, and Benjamin's longtime partner, Emily Scholl, to open the store. In August 2016, Benjamin, an avid book lover and seller, passed away after suffering from a long illness, but the trio continued to run the business...

    Gillies says he and City Stacks were proud to have been a part of the lasting memory for many local families shopping for children's books.

    "We started out in a low-key fashion, and of course we don't feel too much like celebrating because we're closing a store, but we're opening a new chapter," says Gillies. "There are always things in the future; that's to be determined. I have another business as a consultant, and my wife is an author. We always keep ourselves busy. We got into it for a reason, and we had a good run."
    Read more... 

    Source: Westword  

    Spencertown festival speaks volumes to the allure of books | Berkshire Eagle

    Every summer for the past 14 years, the Spencertown Academy Arts Center has been transformed into a mecca of new and gently used books by Haven Orecchio, Reporter at The Berkshire Eagle

    The annual Festival of Books at the Spencertown Academy Arts Center in Spencertown, N.Y., not only offers books for sale, but includes children's programming, as well as lectures and readings by local and nationally known authors.
    Photo: STEPHANIE ZOLLSHAN - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE Beginning in July, nearly 100 volunteers comb through stacks of thousands of donated books in preparation for the annual Festival of Books, a three-day, open-to-the-public event held over Labor Day weekend.

    "We must have 15,000 books or more," the fair's co-chair, Jill Kalotay, said Saturday, while dozens of people browsed for books. "People just get hooked."

    About 2,000 visitors descend on the fair each year, with the event raising more than $25,000 toward operating expenses for the Spencertown Academy, an arts center in a former schoolhouse.

    The festival includes the sale of books, children's programming, as well as lectures and readings by local and nationally known authors...

    On Saturday, volunteers worked to restock the shelves every 15 minutes.

    "I head straight to the rare and unusual books," said Lydia Davis, a writer from East Nassau, N.Y. 

    Source: Berkshire Eagle

    The Best Science Fiction Books For Gamers In 2019 | Games - Forbes

    This story was written in collaboration with Forbes Finds. Forbes Finds covers products and experiences we think you’ll love. Featured products are independently selected and linked to for your convenience. If you buy something using a link on this page, Forbes may receive a small share of that sale.
    This year you might have your schedule jam packed with a ton of video games you need to play, but if you want a break from staring at a screen, there are a number of great sci-fi books you should be checking out by Paul Tassi, Senior Contributor.

    Photo: Velocity WeaponAll of these are new, out just this past year, and all fantastic reads that may tie into many aspects of current video games. We have military sci-fi, we have one Assassin’s Creed-like entry. There’s a lot to choose from here, from unknown authors to some of the best in the genre.

    Source: Forbes

    The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019 | Books - TIME

    From 'The Testaments' to 'The Water Dancer,' here are the biggest books arriving this season by Annabel Gutterman, Time.

    Saying goodbye to summer — and with it, some of the hottest books of the season — is never easy. But the most anticipated books of the fall offer some comfort, returning to beloved stories and characters from years past. This season, look forward to highly anticipated sequels to Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale, André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name and Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner Olive Kitteridge. And there are plenty of brand new stories coming this fall, too, including revealing celebrity memoirs, newsworthy nonfiction and novels from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Salman Rushdie and more. Here, the 42 most anticipated books of fall 2019. 

    Source: TIME

    Low-Cost Options for Adults Learning Music | Arts & Entertainment - TheJambar.com

    While music is an integral part of the human experience, there are many adults who never learned to play music in their youth by Jambar Contributor.

    Adults, especially college students, are often burdened by limited funds. They may not know where to start learning music without spending a lot of money, but there are several low-cost opportunities.  

    Randall Goldberg, professor and director of the Dana School of Music, provided a few options for 
    people who are new to music. 

    Goldberg said people should begin with their voice by joining a choir or other vocal ensemble with a low audition threshold...  

    Cicilia Yudha, associate professor of piano, teaches a class called Keyboard Musicianship for Non-Music Majors that any student can take for one credit. In this class, students learn the fundamentals of how to read music and play the keyboard in a low-pressure environment.

    “The students in the past have been students who are majoring in biology, math and criminal justice — they do something completely different,” Yudha said. “The piano becomes a way for them to kind of release stress and challenge a different part of their brains.”

    Source: TheJambar.com

    What is machine learning, and what does it mean for music? | Tech - MusicRadar

    As the name implies, machine learning is a form of AI whereby a computer algorithm analyses and stores data over time, then uses this data to make decisions and predict future outcomes by Future Music.

    Photo: FutureDeep learning is the next evolution of this: instead of requiring human ‘supervision’, algorithms can autonomously use ‘neural networks’ analogous to the human brain. Put simply, lines of computer code can now, to some extent, be programmed to learn for themselves, then use those learnings to perform complex operations on a scale that far surpasses human abilities.  

    Considered the single biggest advancement in software development over the past few years, this technology is possible thanks to revolutionary advancements in computing power and data storage, and is now an integral part of day-to-day life, like how Siri or Alexa intelligently store data to predict future actions. Ever wondered why Facebook’s ‘People You May Know’ and those pesky suggested ads on social media are always so accurate? Spooky, huh? That’s before we even mention face recognition software, email spam filtering, image classification, fraud detection… 

    Yep, machine learning algorithms are everywhere, and the field of music is no exception. For us everyday music listeners here in 2019, streaming services’ algorithms drive those lists of suggestions that help you hunt down new songs and artists you’d never normally discover. Last year, Google’s Magenta research division developed the open-source NSynth Super, a synthesiser powered by their NSynth algorithm designed to create entirely new sounds by learning the acoustic qualities of existing ones...

    How can musicians harness this technology while retaining creativity?
    There are a couple of different research camps. One from the world of musicology, focused on algorithmic musical composition. In this space you have Amper Music, who have a product that can create generative music examples for your content, like your YouTube video or ad. Others focus on applications like auto-accompaniment. So some groups are trying to automate creativity, and others are trying to enhance it.

    Source: MusicRadar

    Five Easy Ways To Engage In Lifelong Learning | YEC - Forbes

    Engaging in lifelong learning isn't difficult, but it does take dedication by John Turner, Founder of SeedProd.

    Photo: GettyThe only way to grow as a person is to continue learning. 

    So, learning shouldn’t stop when you finish high school or graduate college — it should be a part of your everyday life. At the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is self-actualization, which is defined as “a desire to become everything one is capable of becoming.” This can be achieved by learning. 

    Whether you want to master subjects that will help you grow your business or career, or you just enjoy learning about topics that interest you, it’s important to make room in your life to study. That can be difficult, especially when life is so busy these days.

    Don’t worry, though; instead, check out these five easy ways to engage in lifelong learning.

    Source: Forbes

    HKBU's e-learning tech to help visually impaired students | Digital Transformation - OpenGov Asia

    Students with print disabilities often face extra challenges in the process of pursuing their education. Fortunately, information technology has gradually improved this situation, explains Alita Sharon, writer at OpenGov Asia.

    Photo: OpenGov AsiaThe Hong Kong Blind Union (HKBU) launched the Jockey Club E-Learning For All (ELFA) Project. The project aims to minimise the learning gap between students with reading impairment and typical students by making the best use of e-learning in their academic pursuit.

    In 2017, HKBU cooperated with the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and conducted a two-year longitudinal study about the effectiveness of e-learning.
    Recently, the research findings were disseminated. The President of HKBU said that persons with visual impairment will be able to broaden their learning horizon and stay close to the ever-changing society via assistive technology...
    Students have expressed that e-learning facilitated them to search for academic literature and produce suitable learning materials. It also helps them keep pace teachers during lessons.
    E-learning was also an essential tool in helping students to complete their degrees. Even after graduation, one student still uses the service under the ELFA Project and produced e-books for job-related purpose.Read more... 
    Source: OpenGov Asia

    Virtual learning oversight: ‘Riding a donkey into the space age’ | Education - NonDoc

    Earlier this month, I met with three administrators at the Oklahoma State Department of Education  who have been wrestling with accountability issues for virtual and blended schools, especially for-profit charters like Epic Charter Schools, notes Dr. John Thompson, award-winning historian.

    Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister conducts an interview with KFOR on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019.
    Photo: Tres SavageAs spokesperson Steffie Corcoran told me, devising oversight systems for these schools is complex because “there is a physical world and a virtual world.”

    The OSDE has earned a reputation for professionalism, but changes in education models are outpacing legislation and policy. In terms of monitoring a rapidly emerging landscape of online instruction, Deputy Superintendent Monty Guthrie said, “We’re riding a donkey into the space age.”...

    Online learning is not going away, nor should it. To minimize the harm that can be done in the virtual world, we should thoughtfully build on what has worked in brick and mortar schools while ensuring meaningful oversight.

    Source: NonDoc 

    Encouragement for Online Learners | Online Education - Faculty Focus

    Prior to every course, faculty should consider how they can connect with their students, Dr. Jeremiah E. Shipp, adjunct professor in the John Wesley School of Leadership at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem, NC. recommends.
    Photo: Faculty Focus Building rapport with students must be intentional and consistent (Glazier, 2016). Merely copying and pasting the course content into a learning management system cannot be the extent of online course development.
    Our role as faculty must extend beyond grading assignments but include verbal and written encouragement, which is vital for the academic and personal development of students (Lowe, 2005). Encouragement can come in many forms such as positive feedback on assignments, emails, phone calls, and video messages.

    To encourage online learners, faculty can utilize a video technique called “Midweek Motivation,” which consists of creating short videos that can be used to help students persevere through any academic and personal challenge they may be experiencing. The video topics are unlimited, but in my experience I have shared professional challenges I have overcome and funny stories...

    Sharing stories with students can help create a bridge that often doesn’t develop automatically because of the geographical distance between the instructor and students. The level of transparency may vary among faculty, but a midweek video can open a door for fruitful conversations during virtual office hours. In addition, the lessons shared in the videos can create opportunities to mentor students as they juggle their academic and personal responsibilities. I have found that the midweek motivation videos help foster authenticity, creativity, and community in my online courses. 

    Source: Faculty Focus

    ENMU Faculty Publish Book about Mathematicians | Book - ENMU News

    Ann Varela, Mathematics Instructor at Eastern New Mexico University suggest, Eastern New Mexico University faculty members Mrs. Ann F. Varela, instructor of mathematics, and Dr. Michael F. Shaughnessy, professor of education, have published a book together about prominent mathematicians. 

    Mrs. Ann F. Varela and Dr. Michael F. Shaughnessy
    Photo: Dillon Korte
    The title of the new book, released by Nova Science Publishers, a New York-based publisher, is "The Life and Times of the World's Most Famous Mathematicians." The new book is part of a series dedicated to distinguished men and women of science, medicine and the arts. The book is also part of a book series dealing with mathematics research developments.

    The book is formatted as a unique interview style in its presentation. Dr. Shaughnessy, a curious investigator, posed questions pertaining to the lives, education, and science of mathematicians and invited Mrs. Varela to address each of these areas using her repertoire of expertise. The topics ranged between simple math to complex calculus and many mathematical topics in between. The release features pictures of the men and women who discovered the concepts as well many diagrams conveying the topics in an understandable manner. The book also deals with the personal lives of each of the famous mathematicians.

    According to Mrs. Varela, the project "was a lot of work, but I’m glad to have finally finished the book. I was also happy to see that our new library carries the book on its shelves. I think readers of our book will be really surprised to learn what became of these famous mathematicians." Dr. Shaughnessy said that he had "been curious to know where the various mathematical fields of study originated."...

    Mrs. Varela has been teaching over 25 years in secondary and higher education. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and she has been at ENMU for 20 years. Dr. Shaughnessy has been a faculty member at ENMU since 1983. He is a member of editorial boards for several major education-based journals.

    Source: ENMU News

    Corporation school in Tiruchi gets Robotics Lab | Tiruchirapalli - The Hindu

    Students would be prepared to take part in robotics competitions soon, inform Staff Reporter at The Hindu.
     Students watch as trainers demonstrate the working of robots at a school at Palakkarai in Tiruchi on Wednesday.Students of the Corporation Middle School in Palakkarai will learn robotics thanks to the efforts of Tiruchi Thillainagar Lions Club and a robotics training institute in the city.

    A facility for training was inaugurated on the school campus on Wednesday to conduct robotics classes by Systech Hardware & Networking Academy. In association with the academy, Tiruchi Thillainagar Lions Club donated robotics kits to the children...

    The classes will be conducted once a week under the leadership of Tony Reagan, Director, Systech Hardware & Networking Academy and his team. The course plan includes introduction to basic concepts, types of switches and sensors, motors and motor drivers, programming, assembling and programming of robots, sensor-based robots, computer-controlled robots, and wireless robots. 

    Source: The Hindu


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