Sep 16 2011

Unusual TCD Staff Member

Category: Humour,Third LevelTeknovis @ 4:10 pm

Some Friday afternoon humour regarding an unusual staff member in TCDTrinity ‘expels’ barbarian teacher.

Have a good weekend!

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Sep 06 2011

Irish University Rankings

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 2:11 pm

There are new university rankings published this week, and it is bad news for all of the Irish universities. See Most Irish universities fall further in world ranking for details of the Irish situation, and QS World University Rankings 2011/2012, now with fees information for the complete rankings. As an aside, I think the DCU satisfaction at improving four places is seriously over optimistic!

Additionally, as one UCD researcher whom I know said:

I wonder will Des Fitzgerald’s salary be reduced in line with UCDs falling performance.

Personally, I think it is unlikely :| (The background to this comment is in The top 100 best-paid in education.)

Maybe the solution from an Irish point-of-view is to create a good university and a bad university, in the style of the banking solution. Actually, maybe not when it is considered how well the Government have managed that!

So in summary, Irish universities are delivering poor service at exceptionally high costs. Welcome to the knowledge economy – Irish style!

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Sep 02 2011

Mike on Maths

Category: Second Level,Third LevelTeknovis @ 1:37 pm

Mike Scott, Head of School of Computing in DCU, has spoken out on the falling standard of students, and the perceived difficulty of certain subjects such as maths, in The Tech-Sounding Math-Free Degree!.

I completely agree with all of the opinions expressed, although I would question the following:

Meanwhile in DCU we will continue to insist that graduates emerging from our computing degree courses will have strong technical skills. This is why employers consistently indicate a preference for our graduates.

From the employer’s side of the table, I would definitely question the calibre of some of the recent graduates. Indeed, this is not a problem that is constrained to DCU, but it is equally applicable to all of the Irish universities.

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May 31 2011

Cloud Computing Courses in CIT

Category: Cloud Computing,Fourth Level,Third LevelTeknovis @ 5:17 pm

I heard a review of the papers on the radio this morning that referenced this article: ‘Cloud’ postgrad course a world first. In summary, CIT is to run some third and fourth level taught courses focusing specifically on Cloud Computing. For more details see Cloud Computing @ Cork Institute of Technology.

I think this is a really great idea for two reasons:

  • They are great courses from a publicity point-of-view! This should help to attract good calibre students and partners.
  • The subjects look very relevant (although the critical aspect is the execution). I think that these subjects could be offered as part of many different courses, but the common branding of the course title certainly helps!

I bet the other institutions are regretting that they did not think of this first! To me, the key issue should be that all courses are sufficiently fresh and up-to-date to allow successful students to go into any area that is currently in demand!

The unfortunate thing for CIT was that the homepage of its website contained no mention of these courses at the time :| It does now – see CIT partners with EMC to deliver world’s first degree in Cloud Computing :o

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May 30 2011

Marketo to Setup in Dublin

Category: Business,Cloud Computing,Third LevelTeknovis @ 10:33 am

I just read that Marketo is to setup in Dublin, and in the process create 125 new jobs. See Silicon Valley cloud player Marketo creates 125 jobs in Dublin. It is great news, although from what I have read I do not think that it is really a true cloud computing player.

The other thing that concerned me was the following motivation in coming to Dublin:

Phil Fernandez, president and CEO of Marketo, explained the company selected Ireland because it needed a European hub with a large talent pool of skilled people.

I really hope that Marketo does not experience the same problems as many other companies here are experiencing (for example, see Demonware boss warns of skills gap in Irish computer science courses in the media this morning).

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May 29 2011

Technology Vacancies in Ireland

Category: Business,Third LevelTeknovis @ 8:10 am

I read a very interesting article about technology vacancies in Ireland. See While chips down in many sectors, IT struggles to fill jobs.

The technology industry has, according to some of its leading figures and industry groups, several thousand of jobs lying open. The sector has also created about 1,250 jobs since the start of the year, according to IDA Ireland. These are “smart economy” jobs, available from the big multinationals, established indigenous technology companies and hot new tech start-ups.

For some reason, this serious issue is ignored – I suspect because the public has wanted to hear about new job creation schemes from a new Government, new initiatives and new vision. But to my mind, new vision means looking at the underlying reasons why jobs are not being taken up by the existing population, many of them graduates obviously qualified to do so, and why companies also cannot easily get the employees they need from outside.

However, it also indicates the education system may not be producing graduates of the calibre or skillsets that companies here need. Google, for one, has said so. This is a serious education issue requiring deep examination.

My experiences fully support the arguments made here! Indeed, unless something is done to change things I think Ireland will not have any hope of being a knowledge economy!

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May 12 2011

How WIT Spends the Taxpayers’ Money

Category: Fourth Level,Third LevelTeknovis @ 1:52 pm

There is another interesting insight into how the taxpayers’ money is spent by third level institutions. (I previously wrote about this in How DERI Spends the Taxpayers’ Money.) This time it involves WIT (home of TSSG), and you can read about it in College president defends €100,000 spent on taxis.

In fairness, it probably sounds worse than it actually is! I recall meeting five UL academics at an event in Dublin. They travelled between Limerick and Dublin by limousine, because it was cheaper than buying five return train tickets!

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Mar 30 2011

DCU Degrees – Try Before You Buy

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 6:01 pm

DCU has launched a programme allowing students to try a university style degree over a two week period during the summer holidays. For more details see ‘Dragon’ kicks off DCU’s Summer Scholars Programme.

I think that this is an absolutely brilliant idea, especially if it helps to reduce the number of first year drop-outs!

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Mar 01 2011

Merging Irish Universities

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 5:51 pm

I read an interesting article today that was making the case against merging the Irish Universities. I had been in favour of this, but based upon the numbers presented I think that I need to rethink!

The article is The claim that we have too many universities is simply wrong, but note that it is written by a former president of DCU.

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Feb 01 2011

The Future of Third Level Education in Ireland

Category: Third LevelTeknovis @ 6:06 pm

There is an interesting, if not somewhat unpalatable, opinion piece in The Irish Times today about the future of third level education in Ireland: Learning from the global phenomenon of “universities in crises”.

In summary, there are three options presented for the ongoing funding of the Irish universities:

  • Increased private sector funding.
  • Increased student fees.
  • Reduced costs.

I am strongly in favour of the the first and last options, and I think that the idea of student fees should be avoided. As part of reducing costs, I think that the reality of merging some of the universities needs to be considered. (This has to happen in a real sense, and not just in name.)

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