Monthly Archives: June 2013


Massively Open Online Embarassment

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Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may be the way of the future, but they show every sign of disrupting my intricate bargain with humiliation. For ten years, I’ve managed to contain evidence of my incompetence to the small number of students who had the misfortune of wandering into my lecture hall. But online lectures on […]

Self-censoring away from the public sphere

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In recent weeks, Academic Matters has devoted some of its attention to the importance of academics’ participation in public debate. Two panels at the Worldviews Conference on Global Trends in Media and Higher Education today spoke to some reasons  why this kind of public engagement can be difficult for academics. The increasing precariousness of academic […]

Where have all the academics gone?

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Writing in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Lawrence Martin observes that Canada’s academic are “missing in action”. That is, almost totally silent on the critical issues facing the country- everything from the “declining state of our parliamentary democracy” to the tepid response to the Federal Government’s muzzling of federal scientists and starvation of key research institutions (for […]

Reflections on the CSSHE Annual Conference: Good, but more policy, please?

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This past week, Academic Matters was fortunate to attend the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. As a magazine dedicated to higher education issues, we were particularly interested to attend the sessions of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE), held between June 2nd and June 6th. The sessions were […]

Harper and the “dumbing down” of Canadian society

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It’s almost like we planned it! But even though we didn’t, the micro-lecture roundtable discussion sponsored jointly by the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) and the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) provided a perfect venue for scholars in a range of fields to address some of the themes that were raised in the most recent issue […]

Conference Board of Canada announces skills and post-secondary education project

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There seems to be a recurring theme in discussions about post-secondary education policy – we talk a lot about big ideas (innovation, productivity, quality, the list goes on) but have a hard time getting consensus on what we actually mean by these terms. When it comes to the conversation about skills training and post-secondary education, […]

100 cups of coffee every minute…

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It’s an eye-catching stat, but understandable when you consider it refers to the rate of caffeine consumption at the 2013 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.   Put 7,100 academics in one place, and you’re bound to run through an impressive amount of coffee. But the big stats don’t stop there – 1,800 sessions, […]