White men in 50s with no online education experience most likely to teach MOOCs

White men in 50s with no online education experience most likely to teach MOOCs

October 28, 2015
The average instructor of a massive open online course (MOOC) is most likely to be a white male in his 50s with two decades of experience in academia but none in online education, according to a recent study from Indiana University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The survey took place in the spring and summer of 2014 and looked at 707 instructors who taught online courses through edX and Coursera. Out of a total of 162 respondents, 64% said they were male, and 74% said they were white. About two-thirds of the respondents, or 67%, said the MOOC was the first time they had taught an online course.

Retrieved from: http://academica.ca/top-ten/white-men-50s-no-online-education-experience-most-likely-teach-moocs


World Cafe Method

Drawing on seven integrated design principles, the World Café methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue.

World Café can be modified to meet a wide variety of needs. Specifics of context, numbers, purpose, location, and other circumstances are factored into each event’s unique invitation, design, and question choice, but the following five components comprise the basic model.

Retrieved from http://www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/world-cafe-method/

Podcast: Are moral and political issues a burden to architecture?

Podcast: Are moral and political issues a burden to architecture?
26 October 2015

At the RA’s Architecture and Freedom season, Patrik Schumacher considers the various parameters for architectural practice today.

The RA’s Architecture and Freedom season continues until 23 November, featuring talks from Reinier de Graaf and a panel including AR Editor Christine Murray.

Retrieved from: http://www.architectural-review.com/home/podcasts/podcast-are-moral-and-political-issues-a-burden-to-architecture/8691048.article?WT.tsrc=email&WT.mc_id=Newsletter247

NVIT opens new $1.8 M trades training building

NVIT opens new $1.8 M trades training building

October 27, 2015
The Nicole Valley Institute of Technology has opened a new $1.8 M trades training building with support from BC. The new 670-square metre facility is funded through BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, a data-driven initiative designed to align provincial funding and programs with in-demand occupations. The program will invest up to $185 M in the province and will fund new trades training facilities at Camosun College and Okanagan College as well. “The foundation of a strong, growing economy is a skilled workforce,” said Premier Christy Clark at the NVIT centre’s opening. “The new trades training building at NVIT will set up Aboriginal and other British Columbian students for success in good-paying, in-demand jobs they can depend on.”

Retrieved from: http://academica.ca/top-ten/nvit-opens-new-18-m-trades-training-building

Bell curves in law school create shame in many, false sense of merit in others

Bell curves in law school create shame in many, false sense of merit in others

October 26, 2015
The use of the Bell Curve when grading exams destroys the intellectual and socioeconomic diversity of Canada’s law schools, argues a new article published in the Canadian Bar Association’s National. While the author admits that a strong body of research supports the use of the Bell Curve, he argues that the curve also “exacts immense psychological stress; it erodes dignity and diminishes self-worth for the majority.” He adds that success on exams using the Bell Curve does not necessarily translate into workplace ability, and for this reason, the Bell Curve can often create “a false sense of merit. So there is a culture of competition, arrogance, shame and suspicion pervading the law.”

Retrieved from : http://academica.ca/top-ten/bell-curves-law-school-create-shame-many-false-sense-merit-others

uSask, Beijing Institute of Technology partner to award new research grant

uSask, Beijing Institute of Technology partner to award new research grant

October 21, 2015
The University of Saskatchewan and the Beijing Institute of Technology have awarded the inaugural International Flagship Partnership Research Grant (IFPRG) to support an international collaboration that aims to remove contaminants from the environment. “This is a perfect example of how this partnership can strengthen connections between our institutions and advance our respective areas of expertise,” said Diane Martz, Director of International Research and Partnerships at uSask. “It is a recognition that the issues we examine are not local, but now more than ever before our research has global application.” uSask and BIT have each contributed $50 K to fund the annual competition for the next three years.

Retrieved from: http://academica.ca/top-ten/usask-beijing-institute-technology-partner-award-new-research-grant

symbols in a Church (6)

Fruits and Plantsimage

Vine and Grapes
As an important crop in ancient Palestine, the VINE is an Old Testament symbol of abundance. Their association with the wine of THE EUCHARIST gives them a vital symbolic purpose. When seen with WHEAT, GRAPES symbolize the wine used in the Eucharist. In the New Testament, the vine symbolizes Jesus (John 15:5). A vineyard can also symbolize the Church.

Fruits bursting with seeds, POMEGRANATES are symbols of fertility and bounty. A single pomegranate may also symbolize the Church, as it has many segments and seeds within the one fruit. In classical mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. She was so beautiful that Hades, god of the underworld, took here to be his queen. When Demeter discovered this, she went to reclaim her. But Persephone had eaten four pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, which gave Hades a claim on her. She was therefore to live in the underworld for one month each year for each seed she had eaten, during which time winter would reign.

An alternative tradition names他和BRAMBLE,rather than ACACIA, as the plant within THE BURNING BUSH. With THORNS and THISTLES, brambles may symbolize earthly hardship, or desolation: “Thorns will overrun her citadels, nettles and brambles her strongholds. She will become a haunt for jackals, a home for owls”(Isaiah 34:13)

Rose image
The ROSE symbolizes purity, and THE VIRGIN MARY. St Ambrose related a legend of the rose. Before the Fall, he said, the rose had no thorns. When it developed them after the Fall, it was as a poignant reminder of the disaster that had taken place: the beauty and scent of the rose was to remind humankind of the paradise that it had lost, while the thorns were a reminder of the barrier that had been created and the suffering humankind had now to endure. Roses therefore show heavenly joy, when they are worn by angels or persons who are in heaven. Derived from the same legend, Mary is sometimes called the ‘rose without thorns’, because she was thought to have been without sin. If you look carefully at images of the Virgin Mary that also show roses growing, you should see that the stems are smooth. Mary also took the rose as an attribute since it was the flower of Venus,Roman goddess of love,and because of verse from the Song of Solomon that was thought to relate to her:‘I am a rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys(2:1).
The blood-red rose is a symbol of martyrdom, the white a symbol of purity and perfect beauty.


Taylor, R. (2007). How to read a church. Singpore: Tien Wah Press.

Photos taken by the blog’s author

Symbols in a Church (5)

imageLetters & Words

If they are not in the national language, LTEERES and WORDS carved or painted in churches are almost always in or derived from Hebrew, Latin, or Ancient Greek. Hebrew is the holy language of the Old Testament, and words such as Adonai and Amen connect the church with its Old Testament roots. Latin and Ancient Greek were the ‘civilized’languages of the world at the time of Jesus. Although in later centuries they ceased to be used by the general population, they continued to be imageused by scholars. As the Christian Church spread to different nations, Latin in particular became the medium of communication used by Churchmen. The use of Latin and Greek words in church buildings therefore shows three things: it is a link to the earliest Christians; it is a mark of intellectual understanding; and it is an expression of the communication of God’s word to all the nations.

Amen is the Hebrew word for expressing confirmation and agreement. It means ‘certainly’, or ‘truly’, and is used in the New and Old Testaments to confirm prayers, as a statement that the preceding words are true and good. The word can also be translated as ‘so be it’, or ‘let it be so’ (Numbers 5:22), as a final plea that the prayer will be heard. In a darker twist, the word can also be used to confirm curses. MOSES decreed that Amen should be used by the congregation as a response to a series of curses led by the priests (“Cursed is the man who sleeps with his mother-in-law!”, then all the people shall say “Amen!”; Deuteronomy 27:23 ).

AMR stands for the Latin words Ave Maria Regina, ‘Hail Mary, the Queen [of Heaven]’.

imageAΩ- Alpha and Omega
The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet used to indicate the beginning and the end of all things and so symbolize God, and in particular God’s infinite and eternal nature. In the Book of Revelation, St John had a vision of God making this analogy himself (‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty’; Revelation 1:8). Later, John saw Jesus adopting the description to himself (‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’; Revelation 22:13 )
The use of the alphabet’s first and last letters as a symbol of God was inherited from Judaism. In the Hebrew alphabet they are Aleph and Thaw. The Hebrew word for truth is Emeth, a word that begins and ends with these letters. The Emeth was therefore considered sacred, and to have a mystical meaning: truth was fully and infinitely in God, and there was nothing outside of him, before him, or after him, that was truth.


Taylor, R. (2007). How to read a church. Singpore: Tien Wah Press.

Photos taken by the blog’s author

Symbols of a Church (4)

Crosses & Crucifixes

The Empty Cross
The cross shown is the plain or “EMPTY”CROSS, a cross without the figure of Jesus hanging on it. The empty cross is an instrument of torture that has been defeated, from which the victim has walked away. In Christian teaching, Jesus died on the cross but he rose again, defying the cross’s power – ‘O death, where is thy sting!’ the empty cross is therefore an image of God’s power, and of hope. It is hope that shines through the story of THE CRUCIFIXION – the utter helplessness of Jesus on the cross, with the promise of his teachings and vision seeming to end in agonizing death, but in the end giving way to new life and glory.

The Cross – Anchor
The message of hope is also symbolized by the CROSS-ANCHOR – an anchor in which the upper beam forms the shape of a cross. Like the cross, the anchor was a symbol before the Christian period. Since they held ships safely in place, anchors were ancient symbols of safety, and so of hope. It may have been adopted by the early Christians as a covert symbol. In Christian terms, anchors are specifically a symbol of the hope of salvation and of eternal life, which explains why they are found on many early Christian graves.

imageCrucifixes of Jesus’s Triumph
CRUCIFIXES are crosses to which the body of Jesus is fixed, or superimposed. On some, Jesus is shown with his arms outstretched, dressed in a long, seamless tunic (a colobium or alb) and wearing a HALO and gold crown in kingly, or priestly dress. His hands may show him in the art of blessing the onlookers (with two fingers extended), or the palms may be open, in an attitude of openness and embrace (in the words of the Eucharistic prayer, used during THE EUCHARIST, ‘he opened wide his arms for us upon the cross’). This is Jesus triumphant, defeating the cross but also glorifying it. Historically, the image was most popular between the sixth and thirteenth centuries, when artists preferred not to strip Jesus of his clothes.

Crucifixes of Jesus’s Suffering image
From around the thirteenth century, CRUCIFIXES increasingly memorialized Jesus’s suffering and death. Jesus is shown with his head to one side (the convention is for the head to hang to the ‘good’right), and he is shown as having just died. He is wearing the crown of thorns, and is nailed through the palms of his hands, with a single nail piercing his crossed feet, to give a devotional pose. A cut just below the ribs shows where Jesus was speared as he hung on the cross.
The reality of crucifixion is appalling. Scourging always preceded it, following which the condemned man had to carry his won, tremendously heavy, CROSS (or at least the cross-beam) to the place of execution. The victim was stripped naked. Long nails were then driven, not through the palms of the hands, but through the wrist bones, without this arrangement, the victim’s weight would have caused the nails to simply rip through his flesh. For the same reason, nails may have been driven just below and behind each ankle, one on each side of the central beam of the cross, rather than through the middle of the feet. Many crucifixes include a small footrest with this in mind, although in reality a small central prop, shaped like a rhino horn, often acted as a seat to give the victim support. The downward pull of the body would have caused a slow suffocation, the lungs would gradually fill with fluid and victims could hang in agony for days. It was against Jewish law for a person to remain crucified over the Sabbath, and so on Friday afternoon if a victim was still alive his legs would be broken, finally killing his with the shock, before he was taken down.


Taylor, R. (2007). How to read a church. Singpore: Tien Wah Press.

Photos taken by the blog’s author