It's New Year's Eve and this is my final blog post of the year. It is also the 87th post for 2020, which is my lowest annual total since 2007. While 2020 has been a momentious year, you-know-what has curtailed much activity and stiffled ideas for things to write about.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Monday, December 28, 2020
Over Christmas I was reading the "Covid-19 Lives Lost" series in The Irish Times. It is dedicated to "Those who have died in Ireland and among the diaspora led full and cherished lives. This series is designed to tell the stories behind the numbers". There are 68 people listed to date and it makes for very sad reading - each death of course affects 68 families. There were some couples who died within days of each other, at least three priests, two died just short of their 100th birthdays, and there was one from 1959 - the same year I was born. What struck me most was that so many of the stories were about people born in the 1920s and 1930s. They lived very long lives, but were cut down in the end by a cruel virus.
While not a scientific study, I decided to note the year of birth for each of the 68 people listed. The year of birth varies, but sadly they all have on thing in common: 2020 as the year of death. The chart below illustrates the cruel nature of the virus. Nine of the deaths occured in those born in 1937, while eight occured in those born in 1926, 1931, and 1935. Let's hope that the new vaccines will stop these deaths so that our parents and grandparents can live out the rest of their lives in comfort.
Friday, December 25, 2020
It's Christmas Day and I want to wish all my friends and family a very Happy Christmas!
What a year it has been, and it is not over yet! I wonder what 2021 has in store for us? Our Christmas tree this year is from Ballingate grown in a neighbouring farm to my Mum and Dad. It's one of the nicest I have ever got. Later I am off to the in-laws for a small family dinner that hopefully will be safe for us all. I miss not being at choir this year, so I'll have to burst into song later on.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
|Today I completed Tusla's "Introduction to Children First" e-Learning programme, and I'm happy to report that I passed the assessment and I am now certified as having completed the course. It is the first e-Learning course that I have completed for several years.
I have had to complete this course as part of a new volunteer role that I am taking up in the New Year. The role does not involve any contact with children and I will be working from home, but nevertheless it is compulsory training for all volunteers. I have five more courses to complete before I can get started.
While I was a little reluctant to have to complete this programme since I will not be involved with children, the "Introduction to Children First" course was quite interesting and covered much material that I did not know about. It was about 1.5 hours long and featured a lot of video - it was well made, and deals well with this difficult subject matter.
The programme is free, though you will have to register to take it. Tusla emails you a certificate once you have completed the (very easy) assessments. It's definitely worth taking for anyone that will be involved with children in any capacity. The programme is available here.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
It was sad for all football fans to hear the news of the death of Paulo Rossi this week at the young age of 64 from lung cancer. I watched nearly every game of the 1982 World Cup and remember his hat-trick against Brazil like it was yesterday. A World Cup winner is a rare commodity, and Rossi was definitely a zero to hero icon.
Unlike my other football heros such as Alan Kelly, Pelé, George Best, Maradona, and Messi - I did actually get to see him play in the flesh on the night of the 5th of February 1985 in Dalymount Park. The World Champions were in town to play Ireland and I had a ticket for the match. Unfortunately, the FAI only issued tickets for one section of the ground, and 40,000 fans showed up. I remember the massive queues at the turnstiles, and virtually no stewarding at the match. My ticket told me to go to the North Circular Gate, but there were hundreds of non-ticket holders there as well - the Gardaí opened the gate and we all spilled in. It was very crowded inside, but despite the mayhem - I got to see all the action.
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
Every month, Google sends me performance data for www.eugeneoloughlin.com. For the month of November, there was a very modest 868 "Total clicks" (how many times a user clicked though to my blog). It also tells me which pages are the most popular - the top three (with dates published) are:
- Using Google Translate to Beat Plagiarism Detection Software (11th February, 2013)
- How To... Calculate Pooled Variance in Excel 2013 (11th May, 2015)
- Word Mixing to Defeat Plagiarism (15th June, 2017)
The had 195, 178, and 57 clicks respectively for the month of November. I'm surprised that a nearly eight-year old post is the number one, but this has been the case ever since I posted it - it is consistently one of the top viewed posts. It has had 17,717 views in total since first posted. The third highest post, also about plagiarism, shows that this is a popular topic.
Even more interesting is that over the same period, the "Total Impressions" (how many times a user saw a link to my site) is 54,900 impressions. Of these, 4,639 (8.5%) are for the number one post about Google Translate.
What does this tell me? It's stating the obvious that there are a lot of people out there looking to find out how to cheat. None of my posts offers a service to cheaters - they were simply comments at the time after I had been involved in cheating/plagiarism issues at work. It also tells me that if you want to attract traffic to your site, plagiarism as a topic will sell!
In contrast to above, my recent "Retiring Today" post attracted just one click (thanks Dad!) and four impressions over the same month. I should note that all my posts are automatically re-posted to LinkedIn where my retirement post got 3,501 views!
Tuesday, December 08, 2020
Today a viewer of one of my YouTube videos sent me the following message: "Thanks for the arabics substitles". While this is gratifying, I have no idea how Arabic subtitles were shown - I can only guess that viewer's own language settings are in Arabic and that YouTube detected this and provided the subtitles by translating my spoken word (reveal - I can't speak Arabic!).
This is a fantastic piece of technology. It has been around for a while and is getting better all the time. My spoken word in English is automatically translated into other languages - I'm assuming that it is first transcipted into English so that the text can then be translated into any language supported by Google.
Just to check, I turned on sub-titles on one of my videos - my language settings are that English is used. I was surprised to see how accurate YouTube is - despite my Irish accent, there were very few errors in translation. I did not have to do anything when I created the video, and a transcript of my voice is also auto generated. This is brilliant for non-English speaking or for viewers with hearing disabilities.
What will they think of next!
Monday, November 30, 2020
This day last month was my last official working day at the National College of Ireland - I can't believe how fast the time has flown, and how easily I am fitting into retirement. Of course, all my plans for travel have had to be postponed for another day, and the Lockdown has reduced options for things to do.
The best part of retirement so far is that I can now visit my parents Joe and Phil during the week as well as at the weekend. I have been stopped several times by the very polite Gardaí on the road to Carnew in Co Wicklow asking me the purpose of my journey. I usually have some dinner for my parents on the passenger seat to show them, and they let me continue. We have plenty of chat and we have not yet exhausted all topics.
Have I missed my work at NCI? Yes. I do miss teaching, but I am 100% satisfied at my decision to retire. I am so glad that I am not stuck at my computer working from home all day long - this must be hard for everyone. While I feel that on-line classes are here to stay, there's nothing like the classroom experience on a good teaching day.
At first, in the days after my retirement day there were so many on-line messages congratulating me on my retirement - I was overwhelmed! There were over 800 "Reactions" and 100 comments to NCI's lovely message on LinkedIn. I loved getting messages from past students and from people I had worked with in the past. This has now all dried up - the party is definitely over!
As posted elsewhere on this blog, I have been making some new YouTube videos to keep me busy. And plans for a series of videos on R Programming are well advanced - I hope to start releasing these videos in mid-January. I have also done a small piece of work for another third-level College, which I found really satisfying - it was good to feel useful again.
So far - retirement is good!
Monday, November 23, 2020
National College of Ireland has just advertised for FIVE permanent positions for Lecturers in Computing - see NCI Vacancies here. The areas of specialty sought are: "data science, cybersecurity, financial technologies, computing, business computing, cloud computing, (and) artificial intelligence". If you are an aspiring Lecturer, NCI is a great place to work and you should consider applying. Please read the "Qualifications & Experience Required" - there are a lot. The salary is quite low starting off, and it will take a few years to rise up the salary scales. You won't be doing this job to get rich.
One thing that does strike me about the job advertisement is that I would not be qualified to apply! I do not have a "PhD in Computing, Informatics, Computer Science, Data Science, Cybersecurity, Financial Technologies, Business Computing/technologies or related areas". Nor do I have an "Established track record of research achievement as evidenced by scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals". I have absolutely no "Evidence of research funding". It's sobering to think that I would not have qualified to apply for my old job.
Nevertheless, applicants should not be put off by this. It's rare that a candidate ticks all the boxes on any job description. Passion and commitment to education are the primary characteristics needed. Good luck to all who apply!
Thursday, November 19, 2020
I have been donating blood to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service since I was about 18 years old, but for the last several years I had been doing so at the Blood Platelet Clinic in St James' Hospital. Platelet donation is very different from whole blood donation - it can be done much more frequently. However, earlier this year I was retired from the Platelet Panel due to several consecutive low platelet count levels. So, after 155 donations, today was my first day back at the whole blood clinic in Stillorgan. Lots of Covid-19 restrictions of course, but nevertheless a pleasant experience.
If you can, give blood.
Friday, November 13, 2020
Things to do during retirement? Make videos!
Today I posted four new statistics videos to YouTube - I have never done this in one single day before. These are about using SPSS for non-parametric tests (Mann-Whitney, Wilcoxon Signed Rank, and Kruskal-Wallis), and one for how to determine if a data set is normal or not. While I used to cover these exact same tests in class, I never made the effort to make videos about how to do them in SPSS.
I have now posted 11 new videos in the past two weeks. They will take a while to attract new views, but as of today they have received almost 1,000 views between them already. I'm not expecting too much, but they do fill some gaps in what I used to cover in class.
I think that's it for now for Statistics videos, hopefully viewers will dine them useful.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Friday, November 06, 2020
I never really concentrated on Effect Size while teaching statistics at the National College of Ireland - I just showed a formula for calculating it for a two-sample test, didn't really explain it that well, and moved on. I should have placed more emphasis on it, but now I have posted videos for one-sample, two-samples, and ANOVA tests.
When you find a significant difference in Statistics, another way of putting it is that you have found an "effect". But statistical tests do not tell you if this is a small, medium, or large effect. I have concluded this short series of four videos on Effect Size with the final two about ANOVA tests - this is an easy test to do and is worth following up when conducting the ANOVA test.
Tuesday, November 03, 2020
Following on from yesterday's publication of a video showing how to calculate Effect Size for a one-sample test, today I have added a new video showing how to calculate Effect Size for a two-sample test.
When you find a difference (in other words, an "effect") with a statistics test, it is often important to know how meaningful that difference or effect is. For example, if you were conducting a test to see if a drug had an effect on the treatment of a disease, you would like to find a meaningful difference rather than a trivial one.
This series of "How To By Hand" videos are being made at home with my GoPro Hero 7. I am using it like a document reader and it gives good quality, but is awkward to set up. I have to use my old SCUBA diving lead weights to anchor the GoPro stand on my desk. Once recorded, I use the GoPro Quik App to transfer it to my computer for upload to YouTube. As usual, I do not edit the videos - if I make a mistake, I simply start over.
Here is today's video:
Monday, November 02, 2020
On my first "working" day of retirement I have made a new statistics video - it is over six months since I last published a video on YouTube. This is one of a few statistics videos that I wanted to do to plug a few gaps in the series that I have already produced. Statistics videos are now my most popular, so I'm hoping that this one will prove popular too.
Cohen's d measures effect size. This tells us how meaningful a difference is when we find a significant difference as a result of a statistics test. Usually we report a difference as p < 0.05, but this does not tell us if the difference is small, medium, or large - so it is important to calculate the effect size.
Here's how it's done for a one sample z test (it can also be used for a one sample t test):
Sunday, November 01, 2020
Image source: Wikipedia.
Friday, October 30, 2020
|Today is my last day as an employee at the National College of Ireland - I am officially retiring! I have been planning this ever since my wife Roma retired just over two years ago. It is early retirement (I am 61 years of age), but I have long desired to go early. My timing in the middle of lockdown during a Pandemic is of course perfect, but nevertheless I decided to go ahead.
Last week, while visiting the College for the first time since early March, I cleared out my office. I decided to be tough and only take home what I really wanted. There was lots of paper for shredding, but I was also surprised to generate half a bag of rubbish. I decided to keep just a few books and leave the rest. I thought it might be a bit emotional doing this task, but I found it easy to do. I have fond memories of my office - I was one of the lucky ones in NCI to have an office to myself. I will very much miss students and colleagues dropping by for a chat.
Emptying my office.
Goodbye to Room 3.21 and NCI!
While visiting the College I met with a colleague (HGV), who posted a photo (with my agreement) on LinkedIn, not thinking it would attract much attention.
I was overwhelmed with the response! At the time of writing there are 425 Reactions and over 100 Comments. I got messages of good wishes from current and former colleagues, and loads from former students. Messages from former students who have found success are most satisfying - it is always great to hear from them.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, numbers and statistics have become part of our lives. We have got used to numbers in a way we never thought possible - nothing right now will make us happier than seeing numbers going down. We should all be able to interpret and understand what the numbers mean.
Carlo Rovelli writes in yesterday's Guardian newspaper: "Statistical illiteracy isn't a niche problem. During a pandemic, it can be fatal" and that "Insufficient understanding of statistics is widespread". Most of us trust our Government to use data in the fairest and wisest way possible. Others use numbers to spread fake news and concoct conspiracy theories. However, as Rovelli says: "Our extensive statistical illiteracy is today particularly dangerous".
Most people understand as least some basic probability. For example, tossing a coin will be 50/50 for heads/tails. No matter how often you toss a coin, you cannot be certain whether the result will be heads or tails. But you know what the probability is.
Numbers don't lie, but statistics involves uncertainty. In my classes we often conducted statistical tests at a 95% confidence level, sometimes 99%. In relation to Covid-19 - if a vaccine was effective for 95% of people in Ireland, that would mean that it would be ineffective for around 50,000 people (1% approx of our population). This has obvious ethical implications. Would you take the chance and get vaccinated with 99% accuracy? How about 99.9%, which would mean that a vaccine would not work for about 5,000 people, or even 99.99% and 500 people losing out? You can see why vaccine trials are so important. No vaccine will be 100% effective. This means that you cannot be 100% certain that you will get infected with the virus, but also that you cannot be 100% certain that you will be safe. So for example, if you reduce your number of contacts, you will reduce the probability of getting the virus, but not by 100%.
Knowing and understanding statistics and probability will help stop the spread of the virus, but remember, not by 100%.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Today is the United Nations World Statistics Day, and the theme this year is about "Connecting the world with data we can trust". UN Secretary-General António Guterres tells us that "the United Nations marks its seventy-fifth anniversary and the world deploys data to face a common challenge, let us use World Statistics Day to spotlight the role of statistics in advancing sustainable development for all".
As a Lecturer who has been teaching Statistics for the past seven years, I think it is fantastic that statistics get recognition like this. We now know more than ever how important data has become - Statistics is the Science of Data and is an increasingly important skill to have. In the video below, various experts tell us that "Statistics can save lives", "Data is a force for good", "Good data is essential to keep us safe", and that we "need data for a better world".
The writer H.G. Wells (1866-1946), once prophetically said that "Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write”. He was right!
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Over the years since I first started my YouTube Channel in 2006, I have received many comments on videos from viewers. These are mostly positive, though there are some negative comments too. Rarely are the comments more than a line or two - mostly just saying "thanks". I also know very little about my viewers. YouTube Analytics gives me lots of general demographic data such as what country viewers are from, their age, and gender - but nothing on individuals.
Recently, I received much more detailed feedback from a viewer that struck me as both kind and informative. I'll not name the viewer here, but based on the viewer's name she is most likely to be from the USA. She is a single mother with a disabled child who works full-time and is also a part time student studying for a BA degree. She is using her studies, and my videos which she really likes, to compete for jobs that she would not otherwise be qualified for. She is clearly a dedicated learner and I wish her well in her future. Hearing her story and getting feedback like this certainly motivates me to continue my YouTube work.
At the National College of Ireland, our Mission is "To Change Lives Through Education". I have seen this happen over and over in my time at NCI.
My kind viewer is just one of 23,014,049 viewers and 51,300 subscribers - the 23M and 50K landmarks were both passed recently. I have plans for a new series of videos, and will possibly retire some of the older videos that are no longer valid or useful. I would certainly like to grow the number of views and continue to hope that my videos will contribute in some small way to changing lives through education.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
|In yesterday's budget it was announced that third-level students in Ireland are to be given a payment of €250 each in the coming academic year to compensate for moving to on-line learning. This does not sound like a lot of money, but in total it will amount to a whopping €50 million. Students who already pay the €3,000 student registration fee will get €250 of this back - this does not sound like a lot of money any more.
Nevertheless, it will be a welcome refund for all. Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris is quoted as saying "For students, this year has been like no other. The majority of college will be online for this semester and we will provide financial assistance through a €50 million fund". I don't know how much assistance €250 will buy, perhaps some equipment like headphones, mics, or a down payment on a new laptop. Many students will already have a lot of the equipment they need. They should not need to buy any extra software as it should be provided by their College.
Image source: knowyourmeme.com
Thursday, October 01, 2020
With most Colleges and Universities returning to class this week there are understandable worries about how incoming new students will perform. In the 19th September edition of The Guardian newspaper, Anna Fazackerley writes about fears that UK universities predict record student dropout rate. She worries about students having “lost the discipline of learning” due to long months without classes and exams. She quotes a source saying that "the university experience won’t be as good because so much has to be different, from how they are taught to how they socialise”.
There's no doubt that going to College this year is going to be a lot different than what would have normally been expected. But my sense of it is that students will adapt and create a unique "university experience" like no other. After all, today's incoming students are "Digital Natives". While almost all colleges are rushing to switch to on-line teaching, Fazackerley quotes a university advisor who says that while incoming students may be “digital natives”, they are "not used to online learning".
I beg to differ!
I have been teaching on-line classes for the past two years, and I know that many students prefer on-line learning for lots of reasons: work/life balance, convenience, less travel to College, recorded classes, and many more. Lots of courses are already delivered on-line for many years. Incoming students in their late teens/early twenties have been learning on-line for almost all of their lives. They have been using the likes of YouTube to learn everything from how to take out a contact lens, to cooking chocolate brownies. I also know from comments in my own YouTube Channel that many students look to "How To..." videos to learn everything from how to perform a statistics test, to how to draw a pie chart in Excel. To say that young people are "not used to online learning" is way off the mark.
My message to incoming students is that they should grasp the opportunity to be the first generation to attend College fully on-line, and to create opportunities for connecting and socialising like never before. You are already experts at on-line learning, and I predict that in four years time when you graduate, that you and your fellow students will be much sought after by employers as you will have had to overcome challenges that no other graduates will have had to do before.
Seize this opportunity!
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Most people will be aware that the city of Melbourne in Australia has endured one of the world's strictest lockdowns, but the data so far is showing that this drastic action has yielded fantastic results. In a stark lesson for those people who protest against lockdowns and face-mask wearing, the evidence is that Melbourne's early lockdown intervention serves as another lesson for people living in Dublin as to what a new (albeit moderate) lockdown will mean for us, and why early intervention is necessary.
Check out the chart below...
The upsurge in cases in June looks small, this was due partly to the sharing of a cigarette lighter between security guards at a hotel where international travellers were being quarantined (see: The Irish Times article "The strange tale of the cigarette lighter that spread coronavirus around a city"). However, the spread of the virus quickly got out of control, and the authorities introduced a lockdown in early July. You can see that this had little effect at first as cases still climbed, but since August they have dramatically declined. Could this happen in Dublin, a city/county about one quarter the size of Melbourne?
In my opinion, the government has no option but to renew restrictions in Dublin. This is shitty for everyone, not just for the protestors, people who deny there is a problem, or those whose personal freedom is being denied by a piece of cloth on their face. We don't want a curve with a higher peak than Melbourne's above, and the consequent higher number of deaths that will follow.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
One thing that the Covid-19 Pandemic has done is to introduce the science of data to many more people than ever before. We listen out for numbers every day and worry when they increase. Expressions such as "flattening the curve" and terms such as the "R number" are now part of our vocabulary, Today I heard a new term - the Gompertz Curve!
The Gompertz Curve is a type of mathematical model for a time series analysis, and is named after Benjamin Gompertz (1779–1865) who was a British mathematician. According to Wikipedia, the Gompertz Curve is a "sigmoid function which describes growth as being slowest at the start and end of a given time period". Here's a curve for the daily cumulative number of deaths from Covid-19 in Ireland since the first case was diagnosed on March 1st to today:
This is a familiar chart for those of us who are following Covid-19 data closely. The curve follows the classic Gompertz shape and the number of deaths per day has thankfully slowed. But for how long?
A similar chart drawn for cumulative cases over the same period is a little bit different:
Monday, September 14, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
"The quality of our third-level education will be maintained and, in some cases, enhanced" via @gregfoley2002
The always insightful DCU Lecturer Greg Foley get my 100% agreement with his letter "Lecture Notes" in The Irish Times yesterday. In his letter, he points out that while students will be "missing out by having so little on-campus time", that the there are "advantages of techniques like screencasting", and that the quality of education will be "enhanced". Let's all hope that this is true!
In a blog post expanding on his letter: Going online and the student experience, Greg asks about what the student "experience" is and writes that for many students, "the on-campus experience is not all it’s cracked up to be". He uses the word "elitist" to describe those who say that a lack of on-campus experience somehow stunts student learning.
I have written elsewhere in this blog that I feel that an education revolution is taking place and that third-level in particular could change forever. Foley writes that for "many disciplines..... the lecture is not an effective way of teaching". Certainly, I and many of many colleagues, have found that teaching on-line is a different experience than in a physical classroom. The Lecture is dead, long live on-line teaching!
Please note: Views expressed in this blog post are entirely my own personal views, and not those of NCI or any other academic institution.
Tuesday, September 08, 2020
First - a confession. I spent a huge amount of my College time in first and second year in Trinity in the Junior Common Room playing pool and table football. If I had used this time on study instead, perhaps I would have got through these years and avoided the endless repeats I subjected myself to.
Thursday, September 03, 2020
So, between Covid-19 and Google - we are entering into a new era of education. We have unprecedented abilities to change and improve the way we teach and learn. As Dawn Lerman and Falguni Sen wrote in the Times Higher Education (THE) website last April, "Could the coronavirus force positive change in higher education?". They argue that we "need to build on the speed and enthusiasm with which academics have embraced online teaching" though doing this in colleges where "only a handful of faculty previously taught online is no small task". This was easily accepted because back in March/April we all thought it was a temporary measure of just a few weeks - and we didn't really have a choice.
Now we are all faced with at least a semester being delivered online, and possibly a full academic year - colleges/universities everywhere are boosting their online teaching skills with staff development programmes and training in the use of tools like Adobe Connect and Microsoft Teams. As Lerman and Sen write, converting a course for online delivery is "time-consuming work", and my own experience confirms this. Incoming students will have high expectations of Technology Enhanced Learning and the abilities of their lecturers to deliver.
I disagree with Lerman and Sen's claim that "Academics are notoriously slow to change" just because we "teach the same courses year after year". I believe we have changed and adapted to the new environments. Nobody expects us to change from classroom to online delivery perfectly overnight. A brilliant lecturer in a theatre may struggle with virtual classrooms, while others may thrive online.
Thankfully, new and younger academics entering a career as a lecturer will be far more technology efficient than academics of my generation. I predict that they will all have to deliver at least some of their lectures/classes online, and that on-line teaching ability will be just as important as lecturing, carrying out research, and publishing papers. Get ready for this!
Wednesday, September 02, 2020
Google: “In our own hiring, we will now treat these new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles”
Higher Education is about to be disrupted again! While the Covid-19 pandemic has moved millions of third-level students online and classrooms remain empty, Google (with a perfect sense of timing) is launching a series of "career certificates" that they claim can be completed in six months. They further claim that these certificates are equal to a four-year degree programmes during their own hiring process (they do not claim that this will be the case for other companies). Google already has an IT Support Professional Certificate, and plan to create new certifications in areas such as Data Analyst, Project Manager, and UX Designer. At the moment their website (Grow With Google) seems to indicate that this is for the USA only (you need a Zip Code to register interest, EirCodes don't work) - but surely if this is successful, it will spread worldwide faster than a virus. I'd certainly like to see it available to Irish people - we need these skills in our economy. The courses will not be free, but Google is making some scholarships and subsidies available
So - how can a six-month programme be the "equivalent" of a four-year degree? Clearly the extra-curricular activities associated with studying for a degree such as sports, travel, and partying are not part of Google's career certificates. To me, a nineteen-year old school-leaver with a career certificate gained after six months is not as qualified as a 22-year old with a four year degree. Students learn more than just the core skills in a subject area, and they also build on their skills as they move up through the years. Nevertheless, four years seems a long time compared to six months!
Some Colleges, such as our own National College of Ireland, have had some success with compressing a degree into two years. Examples of such programmes are the two-year part-time BA (Honours) in HRM Strategy and Practice and the BA (Honours) in Business Management. This is more attractive to people in a hurry, and who are prepared to commit to fast-track study.
Google is definitely shaking things up and universities/colleges better watch out and get ready to react.
Tuesday, September 01, 2020
So - Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is first out of the blocks and has announced that all lectures, tutorials and practical classes will be delivered remotely for the 2020/2021 academic year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a message to students, WIT announced that "delivery will include live-streaming of lectures and other forms of remote learning platforms appropriate to individual modules or programmes". Some classes such as laboratories and workshops, or those that require special equipment, will take place on campus but be subject to "appropriate social distancing and PPE based on the physical layout of the learning spaces". A sensible and clear communication from WIT.
I applaud WIT for this move.
|Waterford IT. |
Image source: www.wit.ie.
If done correctly, delivering lectures, tutorials and practical classes on-line should result in a good learning experience for students. While there are challenges, learning on-line should see students adapting to the new environment. My sense is that our students, especially those in their late teens and early twenties, will adopt new techniques very quickly. Many have commented on the learning experience of college life being missed out on. While this is true, it is not a show stopper. Many students already commute long distances to College as they cannot afford city accommodation - these students will find life easier, and perhaps will enjoy being in their own communities a bit more rather than sitting on a bus/train for hours each day.
No doubt there will be studies carried out into the effectiveness of the switch to on-line learning in the coming years, and it will be really interesting to see what the effect is on students' health and well-being, as well as their academic performance.
Please note: Views expressed in this blog post are entirely my own personal views, and not those of NCI or any other academic institution.
Friday, August 28, 2020
The more I think about it, the more I feel that the coming academic year should be declared entirely online. No uncertainty, no doubts, no health risks, and of course - no need for physical classrooms. Students are still wondering if they'll need accommodation, or if they will have to book a B&B for their once in a month appearance in College. Others worry about the risk to their health and might not want to attend a class. If Colleges are recording classes anyway - why bother turning up?
What about the academics?
An article in last Saturday's Guardian newspaper "UK universities' promise of face-to-face teaching is risking academics' health" points out many downsides to students not returning to College, including the "financial basket cases" that UK universities and colleges are in compared to their wealthier American counterparts who can afford to ride out the Covid-19 storm. The article makes the obvious point that "online teaching involves absolutely no risk of catching Covid". Why would universities and colleges put older (60+ like me) academics at risk when there is a risk-free online alternative? For a brief few weeks in March and April colleges everywhere showed that online teaching could be done. Starting the next academic year off online and/or blended learning is fine - we have no choice. But the rest of the year is still in doubt - today, Trinity College's website states that a "decision on the second semester will be taken closer to the time".
With no sign that the virus is going away, or that a vaccine will be widely available by the end of this year - we should make the decision now to go fully online as much as possible for the entire academic year.
Please note: Views expressed in this blog post are entirely my own personal views, and not those of NCI or any other academic institution.
Monday, August 24, 2020
Check out this great video from NCI featuring my colleagues Orla O'Sullivan and Sam Cogan telling us about studying in NCI on our Springboard courses. Some programmes, like Data Analytics, are filling up fast - so if you are interested in gaining a new skill, now is the time to act. Our next Open Day (which will be on-line) is this Saturday (29th August). I will be on duty to answer your questions - so see you there!
Monday, August 17, 2020
- Around 90% of data is never accessed three months after it is first stored, according to Tech Target.
- 80% of all digital data is never accessed or used again after it is stored, according to a 2018 report by Active Archive Alliance.
- Businesses typically only analyze around 10% of the data they collect, according to search technology specialist Lucidworks.
- 90% of unstructured data is never analyzed, according to IDC.
- 90% of all sensor data collected from Internet of Things devices is never used, according to IBM
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Monday, August 10, 2020
Thursday, August 06, 2020
Thursday, July 23, 2020
|The Wicklow People - 15th July, 2020.|
Reproduced without permission.
Friday, July 10, 2020
A third level (8) degree in any discipline is all you need to qualify for the course. If you do not have a degree, there is a path for you to follow via NCI's Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) process - so don't be put off if you do not have a degree. Our next Open Evening takes place on-line on 16th July next - check the Events page at www.ncirl.ie for details. Why not join us!
Check out the following video from NCI's Marketing Department featuring Daren Malone, one of our data analytics graduates, and hear what he has to say.
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
No data collected is private. Repeat - no data collected is private.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
- Service work or volunteering
- Internship or career mentorship
- Some amount of paid work
- "Free Radical" - something creative, so that the year is not over-scheduled
Tuesday, June 09, 2020
Sunday, June 07, 2020
|Me in 1960.|