Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Making the case for quality: research quality assurance in academic training programs

Successful scientific research requires an enormous investment of resources, education and effective mentoring. Scientists must be innovative, organized, flexible and patient as they conduct their research. Those entrusted to contribute to the research body of knowledge also rely on a support structure that recognizes and accepts the role of setbacks in the discovery process. In scientific research, three steps forward may rapidly result in two steps back.

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Professional skills and problem solving: the undergraduate research movement

I was recently asked to comment on “who benefits from research with students, and particularly how do undergraduates who do research benefit?” Like many of us, I have a set of answers in my pocket that I often use when I speak to colleges and universities about engaging undergraduate students in research. However, the audience for this question was not the group of like-minded peers who already believe in research as a fundamentally important thing in higher education.

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Migration cover blog

To dream or not to dream: what are the effects of immigration status and parental influence on Latino children’s access to education?

Much has been written about the potential of immigration reform to level the playing field for unauthorized children and youth in the United States. Research shows that in addition to, or perhaps ahead of, advocacy for immigration reform, including passage of the DREAM Act legislation in every state of the Union, there is a real need to work with Latino immigrant families on realizing the relationship between levels of formal schooling of immigrant children and parents.

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FEMS Microbiology Letters

MOOCs and higher education: evolution or revolution?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) burst into the public consciousness in 2012 after feverish press reports about elite US universities offering free courses, through the Internet, to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) course on Circuits and Electronics that had attracted 155,000 registrations was a typical example. Pundits proclaimed a revolution in higher education and numerous universities, fearful of being left behind, joined a rush to offer MOOCs.

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9780198748687

Exam preparation: More than just studying?

Do you know of a colleague who is extremely good at their job, yet cannot pass the professional exams required to ascend the career ladder? Or an exceptionally bright friend – who seems to fall apart during exam periods? Or do you yourself struggle when it comes to final assessments? I’m sure most of us are familiar with situations like this, as they are a very common occurrence.

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Long-term effects of slave exporting in West Africa

History matters. Historical events can sometimes have consequences that last long after the events have finished. An important part of Africa’s past is its history of slave exporting. Although Africa is not unique to the trading of slaves, the magnitude of slave exporting rose to levels not previously experienced anywhere else in the world.

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Building library collections – change and review

Libraries have been primarily identified by their collections – by those accessing the resources collected by individual libraries and for those not directly engaging imagining access. When Borges wrote “Paradise is a library, not a garden” he captured the concept of the library as a palace for the mind, connecting readers to the generations of works – from maps, manuscripts and incunabula to the new online resources of today.

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Will more (or less) high-stakes testing improve education?

Let’s take a pop quiz on the ongoing debate over high-stakes testing, an issue that is nothing less emotional than the way our schools teach our children. First questions, then answers: Does high-stakes testing improve education? Does it lead to better teaching and learning? Do countries with high-performing schools rely on it? Does it help narrow the achievement gaps among different racial and socioeconomic groups of students?

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Teaching the Hebrew Bible in the context of campus sexual violence

It is a disconcerting experience to watch Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s documentary The Hunting Ground or to read Jon Krakauer’s Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town and then walk into a classroom filled with college students. Both The Hunting Ground and Missoula take up the problem of sexual violence on college campuses.

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Adolescents and adolescence: the glass really is half-full

Recently I was invited to be the guest clinician for a school district’s new young men’s choral festival. The original composition of the festival changed over the course of planning and, long story short, I ended up with a group of 79 fourth- through ninth-grade male singers.

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Can American schools close the achievement gaps?

Currently, the United States is at war and the nation’s future can be at risk. It’s the war on student achievement gaps, one that has waged for decades and proven extremely difficult to fight and complex to understand. Is American education system losing its war on achievement gaps?

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ECt12Nen

Humanity in the digital age

How does one preserve the ephemera of the digital world? In a movement as large as the Arab Spring, with a huge digital imprint that chronicled everything from a government overthrow to the quiet boredom of waiting between events, archivists are faced with the question of how to preserve history. The Internet may seem to provide us with the curse of perfect recall, but the truth is it’s far from perfect — and perhaps there’s value in forgetting.

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Shadows of the digital age

The Bodleian recently launched a festival celebrating drawing. As part of this, the artist Tamarin Norwood retreated to our Printing Workshop, turned off her devices and learned how to set type. She proceeded, in her inky and delightful way, to compose a series of Print Tweets.

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