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Thread: University or College Study:

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    Default University or College Study:

    I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread about study at University or College where one can offer advice or ask questions on how to study, how to get the best out of University, dealing with projects or dissertations, the place of God and prayer in secular study, statistic, Medical studies and so on. I just offer a sample here to see what might be done and in this case its about how to persuade and of course that is something one often wants to do in meetings and essays:

    Modes of Persuasion
    Here are eight suggested modes of persuasion where you can use just one or more than one but they will be of no value unless you know what your main premises are with clarity. You may find some of these ideas really useful in coursework or exams and of course in life generally we are more or less continually engaged in persuasion.

    1. Mimic the mannerisms if the ones being persuaded.

    2. Framing or leading people to think about an issues or opinions in a way that is advantageous to you - instead of saying inheritance tax say its death tax if you oppose it etc.

    3. Less is more - don’t give too many reasons in favour as it can harden opinion against you. There is good evidence that working hard on just two reasons to support your arguments is optimal

    4. Grind them down – nagging, ask questions, request evidence so keep at it but with reason not brute force but also learn when to stop.

    5. The medium is the means, always consider what to use in you argument; slides, written, spoken etc

    6. Style over substance - don’t hesitate or stumble or give them time to think

    7. Get them angry and feel a sense of injustice so justifying your ideas

    8. Resistance is not futile – move toward a target bit by bit

    Now you know these you can use them and also of course you can be aware of them being used by others. There are some things you should not do:

    don't assume you are bound to be right,
    don’t insult or denigrate,
    don’t accuse of unethical motives,
    don’t say they lack knowledge,
    don’t say they are uneducated, don’t call them names,
    don’t say they are lying etc.

    Strategies like these will almost always look as if you are attacking the person not the arguments so we must always act with integrity and honesty, get you facts and premises right and stick to it but at the same time be ready to listen and possibly concede you may be wrong in whole or in part or simple that you agree to differ - if you cannot act like that then you cannot expect any one to reciprocate can you?.
    Last edited by Hawkeye; 12th January 2011 at 13:48.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    Some thoughts on learning and Teaching

    Curiosity
    John Ruskin - curiosity is a gift, a capacity for pleasure in knowing, which if you destroy, you make yourselves cold and dull.
    Jacob Bronowski - it is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to hero-worship what is known but to question it.

    What makes a Good Teacher?
    Lily Tomlin - I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework
    Edward Bulwer-Lytton said - the best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes and inspires the listener with the wish teach himself.

    Tapping into Potential
    Miguel de Cervantes - love not what you are but what you may become.
    Gustavus F. Swift - don't let the best you have done do so far be the standard for the rest of your life.
    Woodrow Wilson - I not only use all the brains I have but all I can borrow.

    Imagination
    Albert Einstein - knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the whole world.
    George Bernard Shaw - some men see things as they are and say, 'why'? I dream of things that never were and say, "why not."
    Charles Kettering
    - our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.

    Reflections on Education
    Peter Brougham - education makes the people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible to enslave.
    William Butler Yeats - education is not the filling of a pale but the lighting of a fire.
    Sydney Harris - the whole purpose of education is to try to turn mirrors into windows.
    James Garfield - next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom or justice can be permanently maintained.

    The Power of the Mind
    Victor Hugo - a stand can be made against the invasion of an army; no stand can be made against the invasion of an idea.
    Kahlil Gilbran - knowledge and understanding are life's faithful companions who will never be untrue to you. For knowledge is your crown and understanding your staff; and when they are with you, you can possess no greater treasures.
    Frank Herbert - the beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.
    Buddha - with our thoughts we make the world.

    Failure isn't Permanent
    Elbert Hubbard - there is no failure except in not trying.
    George Bernard Shaw - when I was a young man I observed that 9 out of 10 things I did were failures. I didn't want to be a failure, so I did 10 times more work.
    Marva Collins - if you never make a mistake, you can't make anything.

    A Successful Career
    Katherine Whitehorn - the best career advice to the young is: find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for it.
    Julia Morgan - never turn down a job because you think it's too small; you don't know where it could lead.
    Bill Gates - flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger-flipping. They called it opportunity.

    A Lifetime of Learning

    Henry Ford - anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.
    Will Durant - education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance.
    Chinese proverb - learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.
    [/B]Words to Ponder[/B]
    Mark Twain - keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson - what is success? Laugh often and much. To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children. To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty. To find the best in others. To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or redeemed social condition. To know even one life breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.[/SIZE]

    Note. All these quotations have been selected from a small book called “enduring words for the teacher" ISBN 1741249457

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    Piaget, a champion of logical thinking and its development, came to believe that the meaning systems that people adopt, usually unconsciously, are as important or perhaps more important than logic in shaping their thinking and consequent actions. It follows, that becoming self-aware of how you see and organises your world and generate meaning from your experiences allows you to access and assess your mindset and hence make changes. Dweck and others suggest that becoming self-aware challenges the following four widely held beliefs.

    Students who are seen to have high ability relish a challenge - such students are often the most worried about failure and their abilities, often collapsing when difficulties confront them. For example, they run into a learning difficulty and because they don’t find it easy they retreat and start using avoidance tactics.

    School Success Energises students - success in itself does little it seems to help a student cope with setbacks and often it has quite the opposite effect. For example, students might have success on one course and begin to automatically think it will always be like that so when they move on to a later course and their work is criticised they are unable to face up to it or treat it as a challenge because it touches a tender spot on the ego or self-belief and this can lead to the failure fear syndrome “I never try unless I know I can succeed”.

    Praise, particularly praising intelligence is hugely encouraging - this is a belief we almost all share because we want to encourage students (or anyone) and hence promote other desirable qualities, however continuous praise and encouragement in the end may lead to fear of failure, self-doubt and a poor ability to cope with setbacks. For example, one might do a good piece of work and get deserved praise for it, nothing wrong with that one might say but unfortunately it can create fear of failure because now others have an expectation about your work and sadly all too often this can lead to work avoidance strategies because you want to get praise but might not. It is not that praise itself is a bad thing, far from it, but we rarely praise people for the effort as if the success cost nothing. Jennifer Crocker concludes that, “The pursuit of self-esteem produces a toxic and addictive search for approval and external validation.”

    Belief that students’ confidence in their intelligence is the key to success – this sounds logical, if you are smart you can deal with any challenge, take it in your stride. However, many of the most confident individuals do not want their intelligence too stringently tested and when it is their high confidence levels all too often evaporate. For example, when their decisions are critically challenged they don’t see that as helpful but almost as a personal affront so their confidence is quickly shaken when confronted by difficulty.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    In learning, there are two main aspects. The first is a choice related to commitment to learning and if you are genuinely committed to learning you will find it spills over into many other aspect of your life; most of which will enhance it. Secondly, commitment is demonstrated by putting in real effort because learning will not always be easy or comfortable; this does not mean you work all the time, 24/7, but does mean you work steadily pacing yourself and allowing time for reflection. In summary, you as student must:

    Accept responsibility for learning by knowing what you have to do and doing it.
    Be aware that both success and failure hinge on making choices.
    Learn what it means to read for your learning.
    Learn the subject basics otherwise there is nothing to build on and progress will not be possible.
    Be aware of your habits in learning and constantly evaluate their effectiveness and make changes.
    Have an armoury of learning strategies because there is always more than one way to learn.
    Admit failures and then find out the reason without resorting to the blame game and plan a way to recover
    Appreciate that not everything is easy so be motivated and committed towards effort and struggle.
    Appreciate that confidence comes from seeking challenges not avoiding them.
    Appreciate that confidence comes from persistence in the face of obstacles and not giving up.
    Understand that learning take times and it cannot be rushed as it moves from the simple to the complex.
    Understand that rushing, looking for short cuts leads to superficial learning.
    Understand that trying to learn by cramming because you have left things too late is impossible.
    Understand that taking breaks from direct learning is essential to allow your brain to reflect and sort things out.
    Plan your learning and when it gets tough for whatever reason, plan your way through difficulties.
    Appreciate that learning is really about problem solving.
    Don’t be afraid of doubt, doubt can be creative because it drives you to find the answer.
    Know and feel that self-esteem comes more from effort than success.
    Know that teachers and other elements are learning resources, but only YOU can do the learning.
    Be aware of the benefits and contentment that follows getting learning tasks completed
    Learn to negotiate with your tutors and others in order to deal with difficulties and obstacles.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    Persistence in Learning

    Sir Ronald Pitts Crick, (died last year) was an ophthalmologist who devoted much of his professional life to the study of glaucoma; he refused to believe that nothing could be done and we know now that it is a leading cause of preventable blindness. He said “nothing in the world can take the place of persistence; talent will not, genius will not, education will not. Persistence and determination are absolutely omnipotent if you want to get results”.

    I wonder how you feel about this, that you have to work and work hard to get results. I could had added to the above 'prayer will not get you results' and by that I mean if you don't do the work no amount of prayer will make up for it for that would mean God would be honouring someone who takes him for granted, just calls in when he needs something

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    There are ONLY (as far as I know) 5 ways strategies that you can use to solve any problem. If you can think of others let us hear from you.

    Five Basic Strategies - learning is a kind of problem solving activity with only 5 basic strategies possible. In learning and wanting to learn it helps if you like solving problems and will work at them as hard as you can avoiding the temptation to give up and always on the lookout for a new route to a solution:

    Trial and Error – that is one guesses at ways forward and often this is how we start a learning process.

    Top Down – we start learning by a process akin to simplification by breaking down the learning into small sections.

    Generic – this simply means when we look at some new learning we ask if we have any similar learning to draw upon to help us understand new things.

    Viewpoints – when in difficulty it is often a useful strategy to try to see the problem in another way and that often breaks down mind barriers we have to understanding.

    Relationships – often one bit of learning is related to other elements and so we get in difficulty because we cannot or will not look for links between elements of learning

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    I thought I might post two notes on the idea of 'Mindset', that is in simple terms how you think and as a consequence how you act. I will begin with the negative end, those with a fixed mindset. Now it is obvious that when you read this you are honest with yourself, no one if you ask them will say they have a fixed mindset or that they are not open minded but if you do that you may well delude yourself. When I first came across these idea a few years ago I was firmly convinced I was the most open minded person you could find but I soon found out by thinking the idea through that I was far from that. So be honest, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

    Characteristics of Fixed Mindset People:
    Demanding - on their tutors and student colleagues believing that knowledge is something given or passed on to them rather like getting something without effort in a supermarket and when things go wrong this leads to a destructive blaming others attitude.

    Seek implicitly constant praise and approval - and when they do that others will often give it to them all the time whether it’s deserved or not. This might sound wonderful; to get what looks like constant encouragement but it can and almost certainly will become an intolerable burden because you are constantly under pressure to perform (otherwise you will not get praise) and that can lead to total fear of failure and that is a toxic state of mind. You will notice that praise of this kind almost never is for the effort, time, persistence and preparation it’s only for the achievement as if it cost you nothing.

    Hard Workers - Tell you repeatedly that they work hard, they try hard but often they mean a very superficial kind of work. For example, when challenged they will often say something like “I have read the notes” "I was at every class" as if these alone would be enough to assure high quality learning. That is they expect everything to be instant, easy, without any struggle and such an outlook is manifestly absurd.

    Knowledge without Application - Rarely ever ask about application, it will not occur to them that one only really has knowledge if you know how to apply it and that means striving and struggling because such knowledge never comes easily to anyone. For example, if you ask such people "what is mean by induction in logic" they will rush to Wikepedia, get a definition and think the work is done, but if you then give them a scenario and as was the thinking inductive or deductive they cannot answer - that is they do now know because they have not put effort into using the concept.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    are you a teacher or student?

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamran View Post
    are you a teacher or student?
    I have been a teacher/lecturer for most of mt career.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    Here is my second post on Mindset and again be honest with yourself when you look through them. The fact seems to be that most of us are not naturally in this group and we have to work hard to get into and stay there.

    Growth Mindset People:

    What is Effort - Students often ask what it means to put in dedicated, persistent effort; a little illustration will help. Suppose you were asked to find out what is meant in research by the ideas of induction and deduction. Now, are you the kind of person who will rush to Wikipedia and copy definitions and say “job done”. Dedicated learners will want to know not only what the definitions are but what it means to be deductive or inductive so they will look for example or samples, they might consider Sherlock Holmes and ask what would these two ways of thinking mean to him as far as clues where concerned; in short they will struggle with these ideas until they know them, longing to get to a point where they are open to new insights on these two ideas. One might also say they will do this hard work on their own, they will not give up easily and ask someone; they will want to get as far as they can on their own.

    Take Personal and Active Responsibility some students believe that knowledge is passed on from tutor to students in some magical or simple (spoon feeding) way that requires no effort from them. This fallacy is summed up in the old academic joke “the subject matter goes from the teacher’s notes to the students’ notes without passing through the brain of either”. Teachers can pass on knowledge using notes and examples but no one can rationally believe that therefore learning has taken place. Learning cannot be done if we remove individual responsibility, active involvement and choices from the process because to do so would undermine the values of any successful education: personal discipline, independence of thought, worthwhile learning effort and simple curiosity. The choice is yours.

    Motivated to succeed through effort to improve one’s own intelligence and ready to accept ideas and learn from just about anyone or anything, not setting arbitrary limits on where or who learning comes from. They KNOW that they can improve by their own efforts so they look for critical feedback on work (not just reassurance that it is right) because they want always to get better; regarding failure or setbacks as a challenge, a means to improve, a reason to plan not as a sign that they lack intelligence.

    There is no switch in your brain for this so that today you are fixed mindset and tomorrow your are a growth mindset person, motivated person; to get in and stay in a growth mind set means constant disciplined motivation toward effort and reminding yourself that you are responsible for your own learning and it’s the personal effort and practice and the real pleasure that often goes with them that matters and that is what invariably gets you there in the end.

    Confidence - in the growth mindset one is confident about ones work not because of past successes or praise but because you have put in real learning effort, you have in fact done your best. No one can ask more and no one can give more. One needs to be careful here not to use this as a kind of mantra that becomes an excuse when success eludes you. Doing ones best means working hard and if you get stuck you look for ways out; new strategies, new plans, new viewpoints, reflect on what has got you to that point, seek comments and so on until you get to a conclusion.

    In growth mindset it is understood that knowledge is a starting point not an end in itself because it can be applied to get answers to problems and in so doing add to your knowledge base. This perhaps is better understood if you consider that just repeating what others have said, no matter how eminent they are, is a simple task that requires almost no effort and brings little learning growth.

    Rewards - The growth mindset brings its own rewards, you will not often get a prize for it but you will know that your efforts and struggles are more likely to lead to success and it is also true that growth mindset persons are more relaxed and satisfied (but not self-satisfied) with who they are, ever ready to learn from anyone who has something to say be it a top class professor to the local garbage collector, from the Beano to the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    Key Pointers in Learning.
    Here are some key pointers in learning but underpinning all these is a single principle: personal choices, conditioned by your mindset and self-awareness. You can act responsibly and choose to put in committed effort and learn thoroughly evidenced by setting aside time, knowing about due dates and deadlines, reading the notes, doing the exercises, reading books, steadily working on the assessments, asking questions, feeling you are part of a learning community and so on and that will inevitably bring success.

    Alternatively, implicitly or explicitly act irresponsibly with no real commitment choosing not to learn evidenced by not setting aside time, ignoring notes and tests, waiting until the deadline is near before doing anything, trying to copy examples, guessing answers, using ideas in answers that you do not understand, skimming through notes and examples, wanting things always to be easy, finding excuses for not working or not understanding, blaming the resources or never knowing the deadlines and this will inevitably bring failure and disappointment.

    Associated with the notion of choice are two further aspects. The first is a choice related to commitment to learning and if you are genuinely committed to learning you will find it spills over into many other aspect of your life; most of which will enhance it. Secondly, commitment is demonstrated by putting in real effort because learning will not always be easy or comfortable; this does not mean you work all the time, 24/7, but does mean you work steadily pacing yourself and allowing time for reflection. In summary, you as student must:

    Accept responsibility for learning by knowing what you have to do and doing it.
    Be aware that both success and failure hinge on making choices.
    Learn what it means to read for your learning.
    Learn the subject basics otherwise there is nothing to build on and progress will not be possible.
    Be aware of your habits in learning and constantly evaluate their effectiveness and make changes.
    Have an armoury of learning strategies because there is always more than one way to learn.
    Admit failures and then find out the reason without resorting to the blame game and plan a way to recover
    Appreciate that not everything is easy so be motivated and committed towards effort and struggle.
    Appreciate that confidence comes from seeking challenges not avoiding them.
    Appreciate that confidence comes from persistence in the face of obstacles and not giving up.
    Understand that learning take times and it cannot be rushed as it moves from the simple to the complex.
    Understand that rushing, looking for short cuts leads to superficial learning.
    Understand that trying to learn by cramming because you have left things too late is impossible.
    Understand that taking breaks from direct learning is essential to allow your brain to reflect and sort things out.
    Plan your learning and when it gets tough for whatever reason, plan your way through difficulties.
    Appreciate that learning is really about problem solving.
    Don’t be afraid of doubt, doubt can be creative because it drives you to find the answer.
    Know and feel that self-esteem comes more from effort than success.
    Know that teachers and other elements are learning resources, but only YOU can do the learning.
    Be aware of the benefits and contentment that follows getting learning tasks completed
    Learn to negotiate with your tutors and others in order to deal with difficulties and obstacles.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    I wonder do you ever think what the purpose of learning is and what the incentives to learn might be - over two post I will outline some and perhaps you might like to comment.

    Learning Incentives - are often hard to pin down and students sometimes have only vague ideas about qualifications and better job prospects and that engenders an attitude that treats learning like a visit to the supermarket; get it over with as quickly as possible or to put it another way you sign up for a course, you do the course and get a qualification then you stop learning until the next course. Here are some real possibilities but they are not automatic, one has to make positive choices towards effort to attain them:

    Investment – learning is an investment for the future and like any investment it needs a good environment in which to grow but also there is a price to pay in effort, perseverance and accepting challenges. A concomitant of this would be to act irresponsibly in a learning situation means you are wasting everyone’s time as well as throwing away an opportunity and opportunities once lost may be very hard or even impossible to retrieve.

    Private Values – a good education is to be highly prized as it not only helps you with regard to employment but it is a source of pleasure all by itself because with the right attitude one is always learning not just when one is on a course of some kind. This idea was aptly summed up by B. F. Skinner when he said "Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”

    Joy – does this sound too strong to you? That learning can be a delight, a buzz, a pleasure, an amusement, a satisfaction, a thrill, an adventure, a stimulus, a self-rewarding experience if you want it to and you are willing to pay the price in effort and perseverance. One might say here that the opposite is true that the experience of learning can be a bore, a turn off, irksome, an irritation, a waste of time, hard work but some of the negative elements might just be part of the price to pay. No one can win an Olympic Gold but just by turning up, no one can be a great pianist without the toil involved in leaning scales and practicing, no one can be a great scholar without hard study, some of which may be a real struggle. But it’s all well worth it; if you don’t think so then that is a choice you make and tacitly you therefore accept any concomitant consequences.

    Public Values – someone with reliable learning, educated, will in general be valued. One might note here that this is not just about qualifications and one only has to consider how many people in the world have a PhD or an MSc or a Microsoft Qualification or any number of other qualifications but they do not as of right get well paid jobs or command general respect where they work. The world we live in is market place and the commodity you really have is an education. This idea was perhaps expressed very well by Rousseau who said “So let us excel, never mind in what. I will be sought after, opportunities will present themselves, and my merit will do the rest”.

    Little exercise for you, look through a couple of threads (including this one) and see if you can identify whether those who post have real learning, and education?

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    If anyone has questions about University study or learning or about projects or dissertations please add them here - I cannot guarantee to answer them but nevertheless I may be able to help or maybe someone else can

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    One of the best and most fruitful but at the same time hardest type of incentive to learning is the following:

    Critical Feedback
    It might sound odd to say that feedback, which of course can be both positive and negative, is in fact an incentive. The reason it’s an incentive is that its useful information because it tells you what to do next. It might be easier to see this if we use an analogy. Think of your learning as if it was a product which you want to bring to market. Well, it’s obvious if you are to be successful with your product you need market information and some of that might be positive and some negative but if you accept it openly it all helps you to know what course of action to take so that when you launch the product it will be successful.

    One might notice how hard it might be to get negative information about your product (your learning) because there is a sense in which you really don’t want to hear that because it’s uncomfortable. But it’s obvious that to ignore it is utterly foolish because it means you might end up with a flawed product that no one wants and sadly it is a tacit choice not to want to learn. Nabokov in his lectures on Russian literature aptly summed up the inestimable value of criticism when he said “next to the right to create, the right to criticise is the richest gift that liberty of thought and speech can offer”.

    One might add hear that there is some good evidence to suggest that praise can make you selfish, more unlikely to share what you have with others and whilst this might boost your ego it does nothing for empathy and encouraging a social and learning atmosphere.

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    Default Re: University or College Study:

    Another incentive to learning, and a very important driver also is the following which is essentially about sharing and trusting other people.

    Empathy
    It seems that we are all ‘wired’ for social engagement and such engagement changes over time and it may be that our boundaries expand or sometimes become smaller. In the Enlightenment many great ideas emerged and one major strand was that we are all rational human beings, detached agents pursuing our own self-interest and typically nation states reflect that view. But this must I think be seen as one part of the picture and an empathetic view expands the picture. We can see this is families and communities and perhaps in the modern world most importantly in written communication and it is easy to see how this expands or extends our social networks and because it bring understating, expands our empathy – that is why it is such a dangerous trend in any society or community to try to close the door on communication be it in restrictions on books, or what people say, or making people see the world through some social, politically, religious or any other form of self contracted or accepted lens or the internet.

    Jeremy Rifkin said that it is a conundrum of history that a complex civilization brings more people together but they create more entropy (or you can say disorder) in the process so we need to find a way of increasing empathy but decreasing entropy. This can be done by having a law for everything and everything has a law but human nature simply cannot abide such totalitarianism. One possibility is further and more powerful and open communication facilities and so a greater sharing of information and through that resources and perhaps the creating of new institutions.

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