Category Archives: Universities today

I came upon a student in distress


 

One afternoon last fall, I went to the washroom in the McLennan Library. Unexpectedly, I heard sobbing coming from one of the stalls. I bent over to look for the shoes that would indicate which stall the sobbing was coming from. I saw the shoes; I also saw a bum in jeans. Someone was sitting on the floor of the stall sobbing uncontrollably. I knocked on the door and asked, “Do you need help?” No response other than more sobbing. I knocked again. This time I said, “My name is Carolyn Samuel. I work down the hall at Teaching and Learning Services (TLS). Can you open the door?” There was no vocal reply, but I heard the latch click. Gently, I pushed the door open. She was a student. She sat sobbing and didn’t even look up when I opened the door. I asked if I could put my hand on her shoulder. She nodded. I was hoping the human touch would provide her with some comfort in what was clearly a time of despair. “Can you tell me your name? Your first name only.” She did. With some coaxing, we went together to my office. She continued to sob. I asked only a few questions. She was an undergraduate student from Toronto. It was her first semester. She felt she was falling behind. She agreed to walk with me to the Office of the Dean of Students. On the way, she stopped suddenly. Still sobbing, she blurted, “I can’t go! I have to be in class now or I’ll fall behind even more!” She was in no condition to go to class. With a little more coaxing, we made it to the Brown Building, where I left her in the hands of the staff at the Office of the Dean of Students.

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you found a student in distress on campus? If you’ve never thought about it, you probably should. Continue reading I came upon a student in distress

Publishing’s Wild West Watchdog


When we hear academic integrity, we often think about the student code of conduct which contains policies on plagiarism and cheating. These polices provide explicit boundaries to help guide students towards learning ethical behaviour practises. The polices also empower instructors with clear definitions to help them teach students the nuances of academic writing, research, and ethical work. However, when students cross the boundaries, these policies become the foundation of disciplinary action. But what about professors and researchers? Their research and publishing is not always confined to an institution and is more commonly found in the global ether of academic publishing where journals and publishers set the boundaries. Who monitors their publishing and research and what happens when they cross the line? Enter Dr. Ivan Oranksy, vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today and co-founder of Retraction Watch, an online blog. Oransky visited McGill as part of the Academic Integrity Day on Feb. 3. His talk, [Retractions, Post-Publication Peer Review, and Fraud: Scientific Publishing’s Wild West] attracted over 150 profs, graduate students, and staff from four Montreal universities. Continue reading Publishing’s Wild West Watchdog

Reddit Ask Me Anything for McGill’s MOOC on Natural Disasters


What causes natural disasters? Can you avoid them?

To kick off the third run of their Natural Disasters MOOC on edX, Professors John Stix and John Gyakum will be hosting their first Reddit AMA!

AMA mean “Ask Me Anything” so questions about the strange weather we are experiencing, the current ‘Super El Nino’, the chances of another ice storm, the professors’ research, and more, are all fair game.

As of 12:30PM today (Tuesday, Jan 19th) the link will be live on the TLS website on our Natural Disasters MOOC page.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Reflections on the Sustainability Learning Community


There’s a lot of buzz around McGill these days about sustainability. We have an office dedicated to it, hundreds of community-based projects funded by the Sustainability Projects Fund, a major program in Sustainability, Science and Society and numerous courses that focus on various aspects of social, environmental and economic sustainability. Continue reading Reflections on the Sustainability Learning Community

The Body Matters – BODY101x – McGill’s 3rd MOOC has begun


McGill has just released its third MOOC, The Body Matters (BODY101x) on the edX platform. This course is 10 weeks long and focuses on benefits of physical activity, how to prevent injuries as well as what to do when an injury occurs. Dr. Ian Shrier is the primary instructor (@ianshrier) along with many other guests who are all experts in their field. Over 23,000 students have enrolled from over 180 countries. Have a look at a more detailed description of this MOOC along with the intro video: Continue reading The Body Matters – BODY101x – McGill’s 3rd MOOC has begun

My farmer, my teacher


Earlier this fall I spent an afternoon in my farmers’ field digging up carrots. Yes, I am part of community supported agriculture (CSA) – this particular group is led by a couple whose farm is in the outskirts of Montreal. Every week, I enjoy deliveries of fresh, local, organic and DELICIOUS vegetables. However, this Sunday was different. Instead of bringing my canvas bags to the neighborhood drop-off point to pick up my veggies, I headed across the bridge to where the vegetables are actually grown. Continue reading My farmer, my teacher

The value of a liberal arts education


Postmodernism debunked- “As debunkers, they contribute to a cultural climate that has little tolerance for finding or making meaning”! It’s not enough to simply be critical. Achieving consensus is just as important in my opinion. Here is a good article describing what we lose when we teach our students to equate intelligence with criticism. Some of my colleagues think a year of Liberal Arts should be mandatory for every student! I don’t think this is a bad idea!

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/10/young-minds-in-critical-condition/