It’s really pretty tall

Aspire, great new sculpture, is now complete

Aspire

And, 60m tall, it really is rather impressive and striking. Details are here and some news coverage too.

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The Times 2009 League Table

Is just out and can be viewed here.

Top 20 is:

1 Oxford
2 Cambridge
3 Imperial College
4 London School of Economics
5 St Andrews
6 Warwick
7 University College London
8 Durham
9 York
10 Bristol
11 King’s College London
12 Loughborough
13 Exeter
14 Leicester
15 Bath
16= Nottingham
16= Southampton
18 Edinburgh
19 Lancaster
20= Newcastle
20= Glasgow
Unlike with the Guardian last month, where several new universities came above Russell Group ones, there is an almost rigid binary line still in operation here at 53 and above.

Three lectures an hour?

Is online provision going to dictate the University timetable in future?

Nice piece in the Chronicle on this.

The story includes an interesting (worrying?!) commentary about a communications lecturer, a Mr Kehoe:

When he teaches an hourlong class, he now breaks his material up into sections so he can stop every 15 minutes or so for a three-minute break, during which he’ll show a comedy video clip from YouTube or another Web site. Those short breaks pay off, he says. “When they move back to listening to me, they’re concentrating in a way they weren’t before.” His students agree. “It made classes feel shorter,” says Adelaida Ortega, a student who graduated from York this month. ” Another of Mr. Kehoe’s recent students, Jessica McCrossan, says the class always looked forward to the “laugh break,” as students called it. “I found it not only helped break the tension and relax us, it helped to bring us closer to the professor as a person.

Or is this just pandering? Isn’t it reasonable to expect students to stay alert for nearly an hour?

New additions to iTunes U

As reported by the BBC, UCL, the OU and Trinity have joined the iTunes U stable along with a group of other non-US universities. It remains to be seen whether they will reach the top 10 with any of their offerings but one of the UCL presentations is a bit different: the University’s annual report as a series of brief podcasts.

Given the well-known challenges of making university annual reports readable and then promoting them this seems like a worthy approach. But it is still difficult to make some of the issues sound exciting.