Proofreaders for students' essays
A university is providing students with lists of recommended proof-readers because their written English is so poor, it has emerged. Bradford University gives lists of those who can help correct grammatical and spelling errors in essays and improve students' marks. But last night, one critic called the practice 'spoon-feeding gone mad' and said it could amount to cheating. The university's School of Management, which offers MBAs and other degrees, has on its website a list of approved freelance proofreaders students can use to check essays and assignments. They charge about £5 per 1,000 words.
The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Apr 7)
Business school to offer practical study option
Students seeking the highest qualifications in finance at Oxford University will be able to combine academic studies with preparation for a professional credential. In a new educational partnership, Oxford's Saïd Business School will teach 70 per cent of the internationally recognised Chartered Financial Analyst programme as part of its masters in financial economics. The CFA programme sets an international standard for developing the skills of financial analysts, portfolio managers and investment advisers. The curriculum and exams are identical worldwide and candidates take about four years to complete the programme and be awarded the CFA charter.
Mature students bid to get cheaper bus travel
Council chiefs have agreed to investigate providing cheaper bus passes for mature students following an 18-month campaign. Edinburgh's 25,000 mature students aged over 25 are barred from receiving concessionary travel on Lothian Buses. The bus operator claims the Executive must decide if it wants to subsidise older students, but the Executive has insisted the decision is commercial. Student leaders have now persuaded the council to investigate the possibility of subsidising a scheme for mature students. However, this could cost £1.7 million and council sources have indicated it would be too expensive.
College wins advertising award
Edge Hill College, which will become a university later this year, has been recognised for its innovative advertising campaigns in a national competition. The college won a silver award for best television advert at this year's Heist Awards celebrating excellence in marketing for further and higher education. The Lancashire institution has used the marketing campaign to boost student application numbers, which have shown a 9 per cent increase in performing arts, sport, English, teaching and health in the past year.
The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Apr 7)
The fish that walked out of water
Fossils of a species of fish in the act of adapting to life on land have been found by scientists, shedding new light on one of the most momentous events in evolution. The well-preserved remains of creatures with a crocodile-like head and flattened body neatly fill a gap between fish and the first creatures to walk on land. Previous fossils representing this milestone have essentially been fish with a few land characteristics, or slightly fishy land vertebrates. The newly found fossils show an animal that sits between the two. Ted Daeschler of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia said: "The find is a dream come true."
The Daily Telegraph, Nature, The Times, The Independent
Evidence of 9,000-year-old dentistry found in Pakistan
Dentistry could be a surprise contender for the world's oldest profession after scientists found several decayed 9,000-year-old teeth that had been drilled by a highly-skilled practitioner. Excavations of neolithic graves in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan yielded a total of 11 drilled teeth. Anthropologists, led by Roberto Macchiarelli of Poitiers University also recreated a flint-tipped bow drill that they believe may have been used in the operations.
The Scotsman, Nature, The Times
What women look for in a man
The old adage that women look for wealth in a man appears to be under threat after research on Wednesday showed women are starting to put physical attractiveness above solvency. The shift is occurring because women have been freed from the constraints that previously dictated how they chose a mate as they increasingly control their own finances, the study says. "We are seeing that women who have control over their finances are less concerned with the fiscal status of their potential mates and look more as to how attractive they may be," said one of the authors, Fhionna Moore from St Andrews University.
The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph, New Scientist