University Education: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


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As well as my slides I've uploaded the course notes here (complete with Netscape screenshots):

And the exam paper I sat (May 2011) can be found on the MMU website:

I've been in a position to employ graduates for quite a few years now and have noticed a steady decline in the quality of them. Ben's talk actually opened my eyes as to why.

The content of the talk was well considered, and well constructed.

However I think he suffered from something he's going to suffer from for the next few year, his age. People seemed to have no objection to walking in during his presentation, making jokes, and then walking out. I don't give a flying fig if you happen to work for one of the largest companies on the internet, that just showed you to be rude. Just because *you've* never heard of the speaker, just because they're just left university, doesn't mean what they have to say isn't as, if not more important that what you do. His talk, his time, your rudeness.

Rant aside, his talk could have been improved with the use of a microphone and a better command of audience attention. Not asking for the mic and not heckling the interlopers are things that will come with confidence. I hope that Ben takes his crusade for better education further and gains this.

Dude, this comment comes with lots of love.

The fact you stood up and spoke was awesome. Its good to see new people try.

The topic itself was a bit :/

I think your presentation was not aimed at the right audience and I felt like you were saying stuff that employers / and employees already knew.

I would have liked to see the more *personal experience* and ask the audience as a community how we can demand more from the academia world.

I know this topic is very personal to me and to all graduates as afterwards we are left with this * is that it?* feeling.

Regardless of topic, the talk lacked a little passion and emotion. People like Jez and Lorna are really good talkers because they inject passion and emotion into their speech. Eg: Lorna talking to 100 people also sounds like Lorna talking to just you. As a delegate that is important. It makes it easier to pay attention and be as annoyed or as passionate about the topic being talked about.

When you talk about rubix cubes, you have passion and a eagerness to show people - if you can insert that into your talk it will improve vastly.

Really suggest you look up the conference speaking 101 talks by Stefan or Lorna to improve on your speaking techniques.

So proud that you stood up and spoke though. Sorry if im being mean.


Not a bad presentation but I think the talk suffered from a lack of direction at times. The talk seemed to jump between what employers should be looking for/be wary of, what potential students should consider and complaining about one specific course.

Given the attendees to PHPNW11 I think more focus on the potential pitfalls for employers and possibly some examples of questions/tests they could perform to help weed out poor applicants would have improved the talk greatly.

All that said, the talk was far from the worst I've seen and there were still some interesting points made.