There is a current vacancy in Intelligent Systems at the University of the West of Scotland – the application deadline is the coming Friday, 25th October 2013.
More details can be found here.
Some points to note: An interest in games is desirable. The university runs a Skillset and BCS accredited course ‘Computer Games Technology’ which focuses on the programming side of game development – with four years of C++, maths and physics all being key parts of the degree programme. While teaching onto the CGT course is not necessarily part of the post, the course does include a Game AI class, so getting an appointee with an interest in games would definitely be positive from the viewpoint of the CGT course. CGT is also a member of the PlayStation First scheme, which means that we have access to PlayStation hardware and developer networks.
While the job title is ‘lecturer’, as per most modern academic appointments research record will likely be an important deciding factor. For those used to the North American system, the title ‘Lecturer’ in the UK is roughly the equivalent of an Assistant Professor.
It was the OpenSim Community Conference at the weekend – which included streams on Education and Research. Although I was only able to attend a couple of sessions in-world (including my own!), the conference was also live streamed, and a video archive of the talks and presentations is now available.
ALT, the Association for Learning and Teaching have a great programme set up for their meeting in Glasgow next week – meanwhile I’ll be speaking in Dundee on the same day at the Learning Through Gaming event at Dundee College. Gah.
The new breed of MOOCs are now coming in for increasing scrutiny as the stakes are being raised higher – with some education systems in the US in particular hoping to replace expensive campus based teaching with lower cost online teaching. This seems a bit hasty, as the limited evidence so far would suggest that for many learners an online only option might not be ideal .
But my biggest issue with the new MOOCs is that they really aren’t MOOCs at all…
Following on from a heated debate online yesterday I thought I would post about why promoting careers in computer science/programming/science to under-represented groups is necessary and worthwhile. As it happens, this also comes as Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastly-Upon-Tyne, has called for greater gender equality in the games industry (as detailed here).
Expect a graph and lots of footnotes…
I’m not sure how many dangerous ideas there will be (some?), but the Festival of Dangerous Ideas will be taking place around Scotland in June.
From the Festival web-site:
The Festival of Dangerous Ideas aims to re-establish the importance of dangerous ideas as agents of change in education – to shift the axis of what is possible!
It is for everyone who is passionate about education including college, university, school staff and students as well as those engaged in education throughout the creative communities.
Update: Within about an hour of posting this I saw the news that Michael Gove has backed down on a major part of his proposed teaching reforms, the rapid introduction of the EBacc. Opposition from the deputy prime minister and Ofqual, and realisation that some of his reforms might break EU rules appear to have caused this. I guess I should add these to the Gove vs the World list below. ~ Daniel, 7/2/2013
Update: Gove’s U-turn is perhaps not all it seems. He is still pushing for quite aggressive and sweeping reforms. See “Gove vs The Exams Regulator” below. ~ Daniel, 8/2/2013
One of my Twitter contacts said this of Michael Gove: “He is spot on with his reforms. More teaching, less examining, listening to employers.”
To be honest, Gove really doesn’t appear to be much of a listener to me – to give him credit, the recent announcement of the inclusion of Computer Science in the EBacc shows that he is capable of listening. I suspect that lobbying by the high-tech industry – including personal pleas from Google’s chairman – made this possible. There is perhaps a small part of Gove that recognises that however much he worships the past, that the future is digital and perhaps Britain ought to be ready for it.
But this ‘listening’ to what people are saying to him doesn’t appear to come naturally to Gove. At least not when the people doing the saying aren’t leaders of the world’s biggest multinationals. And when people have the temerity to disagree with Gove, he frequently turns to insults and outrageous attacks to dismiss them. (And it seems that his advisors might be helping him out here, in ways that they perhaps shouldn’t)
There is a lot I would like to say in this post, but rather than try and ‘finish’ this post before I publish it, I’ll publish now and update over time…
Gove vs. The World – round one starts below…
Not going to comment terribly much on these stories, but I think these make an interesting collection… you are welcome to draw your own conclusions. After returning my focus to game based learning, another more political post for a change.
Having lost the public grount to the big US Universities on free online education, as Coursera, Udacity and EdX have gained massive numbers of users over the last 12 months, while OpenLearn has been largely ignored by the press over the same period – despite some re-branding and development on the web site. From a brief glance, one of the key changes to OpenLearn is the degree to which it now promotes the non-free OU courses, though that is only to be expected.
But now the OU is leading the first UK based open-learning consortium to try to regain ground lost to the American giants, with FutureLearn. The universities forming the initial grouping of the consortium are The Open University along with Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St. Andrews and Warwick. Overall, a slightly surprising collection of Universities, drawn from three different UK university groupings – perhaps highlighting the somewhat artificial nature of the groupings that do exist.
FutureLearn has been launched, but no details yet on what courses will be run, and nothing much to go on yet as to how it’ll differ in practice from any of the existing options. More choice is obviously going to be good for learners, but we are still waiting to see how universities will actually make these consortia financially sustainable in the long term.
Computer Games & Instruction, edited by Tobias & Fletcher is currently on sale over at Information Age. There is in there a chapter that I wrote with Jon Richter, on multi-user games for learning – but this is just one of the chapters in a great book with some fantastic contributions. I mentioned it before when it was released, and previously posted the list of contents.
My favourite chapter has to be Chris Dede’s, where he discusses developing a cohesive research program – advice you don’t often see in print. The editors’ key contribution is a large literature review. Perhaps broader than deeper, it nevertheless is certain to mention some works worthy of greater study. Raplh Chatham’s chapter on game-informed training in the US military has a great deal of detail and is also a very rewarding read. Lots of other great chapters besides, covering the question of fun in serious games, the role of gender, instructional support, and so on. Even if I wasn’t one of the chapter authors, I’d be recommending it…