This Week I Learned: Higher Education Edition

This week’s centrepiece is an analysis (free registration required) with the sobering title, “Graduate data reveal England’s lost and indebted generation“. Two staistics say it all: “The latest class is earning 12% less than their pre-crash counterparts at the same stage in their careers. They also owe about 60% more in student debt.” While you’re there, check out the attached chart (under “Degrees of disappointment”, left-hand column).


On the subject of education, here is a good profile of Sebastian Thrun, online educator, AI researcher, and self-driving car pioneer. At least one commentator has highlighted Thrun’s disappointment with the high drop-out rates in his online courses; I think this needs to be seen in perspective. Whilst I might sign up to 10 MOOC classes and only finish 1, unlike traditional university, the other 9 would cost me nothing. I also think that this fits the argument made by a book I recently read — online education will reward the especially conscientious and face-to-face instructors will still be important as motivators.


Meanwhile, guess which US profession added more jobs between 2001 and 2011: library assistants or software programmers?  The answer might surprise you.


And lastly, one species that definitely became rarer over the last few years: Wikipedia editors. The number of active editors of the English-language Wikipedia is down circa 40% from its 2007 peak!

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