«Young adults today read more than ever»

«Young adults today read more than ever»

Av Forskerforum

Publisert 15. februar 2023 kl. 14:11

News in brief, February edition.

The impact of new technology

Jon Olav Sørhaug (pictured) is a literacy researcher at the University of Agder. He doesn’t necessarily agree with media professor Espen Ytreberg that today’s students are poor readers:

‘I think that young adults today read more than ever. They encounter texts the whole time, via many different media platforms, and are very good at decoding texts. The problem is they lack the ability to concentrate on long, demanding texts, so having to read traditional textbooks at university comes as a shock.’

Do you have to fight for their attention?

‘Yes, and I think it’s reasonable to ask them to put away their phones in lectures – but also in the library. For good comprehension, they have to practise reading complex texts without constant interruptions from digital technology.’

Should academia fear or embrace AI?

‘Robots are going to change a lot of things in education. They can help to explain concepts but also help students to cheat. We need to rethink how we use exams to assess the students’ competence.’

– Jeg tror unge voksne leser mer enn noen gang
Read the full interview in Norwegian:
– Jeg tror unge voksne leser mer enn noen gang

Taking back control

Twitter is popular with academics as a simple way to discuss research and build networks, yet the commotion surrounding it in recent months has led many to reconsider this platform. The obvious alternative is Mastodon, which has similar functionality to Twitter but allows whoever owns the servers to decide who can open an account and what rules will apply. As these so-called instances are run by volunteers, however, security may be at risk. Should institutions thus take more responsibility for shaping the public debate about research and education by operating their own instances on Mastodon?

Leiden University in the Netherlands is one of the institutions already using Mastodon, while still maintaining a presence on Twitter. Researcher Vincent Traag says:

‘Today external companies facilitate the debate, but also decide the rules. By having our own server and guidelines, we can help shape the debate and also be involved on our own terms, and I think that benefits the whole debate.’

Changes facing the Research Council of Norway

Ola Borten Moe, Minister of Research and Higher Education, wants the percentage of applications approved by the Research Council to increase from today’s 5 to 10 percent to 25 percent. Now the Research Council has proposed how this can be achieved.

The Ministry of Education and Research has recently proposed to reduce the number of Research Council board members from 11 to 6 and to replace its statutes with operating and financial instructions. The deadline for comments on these proposals is 17 February. 84 employees will also receive a severance package due to budget cuts.

New University and University Colleges Act

The University and University Colleges Act was amended in May 2021, but when the Labour Party and Centre Party came to power, they consulted the original official report behind the proposals and enabled new amendments to be made.

These include reducing the number of temporary contracts in the sector and finding a solution to exams always requiring two examiners. Another important issue for the Centre Party is who should decide that a campus can be closed down. According to the Ministry of Education and Research, the proposed amendments will be announced before the summer.

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