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René Descartes

René Descartes was a French philosopher and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces. One of the most notable intellectual figures of the Dutch Golden Age, Descartes is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern philosophy. Many elements of Descartes' philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differed from the schools on two major points: first, he rejected the splitting of corporeal substance into matter and form. In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God's act of creation. Refusing to accept the authority of previous philosophers, Descartes set his views apart from the philosophers who preceded him. In the opening section of the Passions of the Soul, an early modern treatise on emotions, Descartes goes so far as to assert that he will write on this topic "as if no one had written on these matters before".

His best known philosophical statement is "I think, therefore I am", found in Discourse on the Method and Principles of Philosophy. Descartes laid the foundation for 17th-century continental rationalism advocated by Spinoza and Leibniz, was opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke and Hume. Leibniz and Descartes were all well-versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, Descartes and Leibniz contributed to science as well. Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes' influence in mathematics is apparent, he is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry—used in the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution. René Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine, France, on 31 March 1596, his mother, Jeanne Brochard, died soon after giving birth to him, so he was not expected to survive.

Descartes' father, was a member of the Parlement of Brittany at Rennes. René lived with his great-uncle. Although the Descartes family was Roman Catholic, the Poitou region was controlled by the Protestant Huguenots. In 1607, late because of his fragile health, he entered the Jesuit Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand at La Flèche, where he was introduced to mathematics and physics, including Galileo's work. After graduation in 1614, he studied for two years at the University of Poitiers, earning a Baccalauréat and Licence in canon and civil law in 1616, in accordance with his father's wishes that he should become a lawyer. From there he moved to Paris. In Discourse on the Method, Descartes recalls, I abandoned the study of letters. Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world, I spent the rest of my youth traveling, visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks, gathering various experiences, testing myself in the situations which fortune offered me, at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it.

Given his ambition to become a professional military officer, in 1618, Descartes joined, as a mercenary, the Protestant Dutch States Army in Breda under the command of Maurice of Nassau, undertook a formal study of military engineering, as established by Simon Stevin. Descartes, received much encouragement in Breda to advance his knowledge of mathematics. In this way, he became acquainted with Isaac Beeckman, the principal of a Dordrecht school, for whom he wrote the Compendium of Music. Together they worked on free fall, conic section, fluid statics. Both believed that it was necessary to create a method that linked mathematics and physics. While in the service of the Catholic Duke Maximilian of Bavaria since 1619, Descartes was present at the Battle of the White Mountain near Prague, in November 1620. According to Adrien Baillet, on the night of 10–11 November 1619, while stationed in Neuburg an der Donau, Descartes shut himself in a room with an "oven" to escape the cold. While within, he had three dreams and believed that a divine spirit revealed to him a new philosophy.

However, it is that what Descartes considered to be his second dream was an episode of exploding head syndrome. Upon exiting, he had formulated analytical geometry and the idea of applying the mathematical method to philosophy, he concluded from these visions that the pursuit of science would prove to be, for him, the pursuit of true wisdom and a central part of his life's work. Descartes saw clearly that all truths were linked with one another, so that finding a fundamental truth and proceeding with logic would open the way to all science. Descartes discovered this basic truth quite soon: his famous "I think, therefore I am". In 1620 Descartes left the army, he visited Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto visited various countries before returning to France, during the next few years spent

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of prior learning, prior learning assessment, or prior learning assessment and recognition, describes a process used by regulatory bodies, adult learning centres, career development practitioners, military organizations, human resources professionals, training institutions and universities around the world to evaluate skills and knowledge acquired outside the classroom for the purpose of recognizing competence against a given set of standards, competencies, or learning outcomes. RPL is practiced in many countries for a variety of purposes, for example an individual's standing in a profession, trades qualifications, academic achievement, performance management and succession planning. Methods of assessing prior learning are varied and include: evaluation of prior experience gained through volunteer work, previous paid or unpaid employment, or observation of actual workplace behavior; the essential element of RPL is that it is an assessment of evidence provided by an individual to support their claim for competence against a given set of standards or learning outcomes.

RPL is sometimes confused with Credit Transfer, assessments conducted in order to recognize advanced standing or for assigning academic credit. The essential difference between the two is that RPL considers evidence of competence that may be drawn from any aspect of an applicant's professional or personal life. Credit Transfer and advanced standing deal with an evaluation of academic performance as it relates to a particular field of study and whether or not advanced standing may be granted towards the gaining of additional qualifications; some academic institutions include Credit Transfer within their overall RPL umbrella, as the process still involves assessment of prior learning, regardless of how achieved. RPL is known by many names in different countries, it is APL, CCC, or APEL in the UK, RPL in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, PLAR in Canada (although different jurisdictions within Canada use RPL and RCC. France has a more sophisticated system in which assessment is known as Bilan de competences, Bilan des competences approfondi, or Validation de Acquis des Experiences.

The United Nations UNESCO organisation has a "Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications Project" to standardize terminology and definitions used in Higher Education. RPL has been the mainstay of all assessments conducted under national vocational education and training systems since the late 1980s and continues to evolve as different vocational education and training systems evolve; the concept of RPL can be traced back to the earliest guilds when master craftsmen inspected the work of apprentices in order to determine their competence against the high standards demanded of the different professions of the period. This process was continued during the Industrial Revolution when the first formal apprentice programs were established and realistic workplaces created to train young men and women in the skills and knowledge required of their trade, it was first introduced into the UK by Susan Simosko, a consultant with the National Council for Vocational Qualifications, who adapted it as the central element of all competency-based assessments.

Simosko was employed by the British government to provide support to the creation of the National Vocational Qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications systems during the late 1980s and early 1990s. She introduced and managed the Access to Assessment Initiative project which introduced the concept of Accreditation of Prior Learning as an important pathway for employed and unemployed people to gain formal recognition of their skills and knowledge against standards demanded of employers across the United Kingdom. Other countries adopted the same processes when developing their own competency-based vocational education and training systems, some aligned with the need to assess competence in line with the needs of private and public sector organizations, others as a critical element of the assessment of skills and knowledge in order to grant vocational qualifications; the National Training Board in Australia was one of the first outside of the UK to develop such a system as a framework for the transition towards the implementation of new apprentice programs and workplace training and assessment under the National Training Reform Agenda.

RPL was incorporated under the National Framework for the Recognition of Training and has since remained an important element of all competency-based assessments. In 2015 the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment released guidelines for the Recognition of Prior Learning that serve to guide and enhance the assessment of learning through RPL across contexts, contribute to organizational effectiveness, promote labour force development. Informed by stakeholders, Quality Assurance for the Recognition of Prior Learning in Canada enhances understanding of Quality Assurance issues and good practice. “The manual benefits anyone working with, or on behalf of, candidates, learners, or any individuals who seek: employment, professional licensure, trade certification, career coaching or counselling, job promotion or change, professional development, academic access, or advanced standing.” RPL is a simple and straightforward process of assessing someone's skills or knowledge, regardless of where and how these were learned.

Unlike other forms of assessment it doesn't judge someone's evidence of competence by the credentials or qualifications they have achieved, although this can form part of the

Ulmus pumila 'Ansaloni'

The Siberian Elm cultivar Ulmus pumila'Ansaloni' was raised by the Ansaloni Nurseries, Bologna, c. 1933, from a tree introduced from the Far East in 1930.'Ansaloni' is a quick-growing variety with a compact crown, holding its leaves well into autumn. See under Ulmus pumila; the tree was sold to winegrowers in the Po valley, who were still using traditional Roman cultivation methods after the Second World War, but the advent of mechanization in the 1950s brought about the tree's decline, it had been withdrawn from commerce by the 1970s. One specimen is known to remain in cultivation in North America.'Siber-Ansaloni': Ansaloni Nurseries, Italy, Catalogue, 1946–47, p. 28. Arnold Arboretum, US. Acc. no. 636-61 grown from seed in US collected from'Ansaloni'