09 octobre 2012

EUA Doctoral Week looks at internationalisation, funding and quality of doctoral education

LogoMore than 260 participants from 51 countries gathered last week (23-27 September 2012) for EUA Doctoral Week at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. During three connected events, Doctoral Week examined three major EUA policy areas through the perspective of doctoral education: internationalisation, funding and quality management.
The first event was the concluding workshop of the CODOC project that has been looking at trends in doctoral education in Latin America, Southern Africa, East Asia and Europe. The second, the EUA Council for Doctoral Education’s (EUA-CDE) Annual Meeting, focused on the issue of funding. The last event was part of the Accountable Research Environments for Doctoral Education (ARDE) project on how to manage quality in doctoral education. At the CODOC workshop, the main conclusions of the final report of the project (published during the event) were outlined, mainly describing the convergences in doctoral education that the project has identified between the regions.
All regions have experienced an impressive growth in doctoral education with graduations growing 100% in many countries over the last decade. This growth is remarkably uniform across the regions. It has been driven by an increasingly common language surrounding the role of knowledge in society and the need for human resources with research training to meet local and global challenges. The need to increase capacity in doctoral education has in turn driven a common interest for global collaborations with an explicit aim to build research capacity.
Speakers from a range of countries including the Philippines, Brazil, South Africa and the Netherlands gave examples of how these issues influenced agendas for doctoral education. The EUA-CDE Annual Meeting – the 5th since the Council’s foundation in 2008 – opened a discussion on the funding of doctoral education. It covered a wide range of topics, ranging from cross-border funding to the full costing of doctoral education, and the use of Structural Funds. The meeting also promoted dialogue between stakeholders at the European level and included representatives from European Commission funding schemes.
Discussions confirmed the large investments that European universities have been undertaking to improve doctoral education and its management, whilst highlighting the challenges they face in relation to maintaining sustainable funding that enables durable change. The meeting also included extensive dialogue on university-industry collaborations with discussion on funding-related aspects as well as a session dedicated to the EUA DOC-CAREERS II project.
The final day of Doctoral Week was dedicated to the issue of quality management in doctoral education, building on the outcomes of the ARDE project, which has gathered evidence on this topic since its launch in 2010. Themes such as indicators, supervision, career support and evaluations were discussed intensively among the participants as well as with representatives from the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), national funding councils, research assessments and doctoral candidates. The discussions revealed that universities – albeit on different levels – are implementing quality management systems, but at the same time are subject to very different and often uncoordinated evaluations by external funders, research evaluations and national quality assurance agencies. The presentations from EUA Doctoral Week are available here.
The CODOC report: ‘Cooperation on doctoral education between Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe’ can be downloaded here. The project is co-funded by the Erasmus Mundus Programme of the European Commission; the ARDE project is supported by funding from the Lifelong Learning Programme.

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Investing in Higher Education: from rhetoric to reality for part-time and mature students

The Universities Association for Lifelong LearningInvesting in Higher Education: from rhetoric to reality for part-time and mature students.
Conference to be held at Friends House, 173—177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ, on Wednesday 28th November 2012, 10.00am - 4.00pm

The aim of this conference is to explore the impact of recent changes in government policies on students, institutions and employers. Will the benefits be worth the investment? To what extent is the student voice incorporated into strategic development? The day will provide an opportunity to hear about the latest research relating to part-time and mature students in higher education, with further perspectives given by individual institutions, employers and students.
Programme

10.00am Arrival, registration and coffee
10.30am Welcome and introduction to the day: Pauline McManus, University of Warwick
10.35am Never too late to learn: Debbie McVitty, NUS & Katy Morris, Million+
11.15am Expanding and improving part-time higher education: Deborah Beck, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
12.00pm The student experience: contributions from a panel of students
12.30pm Lunch
1.15pm An employer perspective: John Sidney, Sellafield
1.45pm UUK’s study of part-time students: Fiona Waye, Universities UK
2.15pm When is a door not a door?:An institutional perspective on new funding arrangements for part-time students: Liz Marr, Open University
2.45pm Tea
3.15pm Panel discussion
4.00pm Depart
Fee (inclusive of lunch and refreshments): UALL members £80.00 Non UALL members £100.
The Universities Association for Lifelong LearningUALL 2012 AGM And Seminar, London: 29 November - Programme
The UALL 2012 AGM and Seminar is taking place at the Russell Hotel, Russell Square, London on Thursday, 29th November.  The title of the seminar is on Part-time Higher Education: Access in the new fees regime.  The keynote speakers are Professor Les Ebdon in his new role as Director of the Office for Fair Access and Professor Claire Callender, Professor of Higher Education Policy at Birkbeck, University of London. The programme for the day can be found here.
To register, please complete the booking form.

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08 octobre 2012

La formation parmi les priorités des entreprises d’Ile-de-France

http://www.vocatis.fr/squelettes/images/auto_vers_formguide.jpgL'enquête Conjoncture* 2011-2012, menée par Opcalia laisse apparaître que 80 % des entreprises ont confiance dans leur avenir. Cette confiance s'est traduite en 2011 par une progression des embauches et un tassement des licenciements, les intentions d'embauche pour 2012 étant toutefois inférieures à 2011. Dans ce contexte, la formation bénéficie d'une image toujours positive et constitue une priorité de plus en plus affirmée.
77% des sondés jugent la formation prioritaire, contre 72% en 2010 et 51% en 2009. Elle est majoritairement jugée efficace par les 80% d'entreprises qui ont formé des salariés en 2011, le plus souvent par des prestataires extérieurs (83%).
En 2011, tout comme en 2010, le recrutement est toujours pénalisé par la pénurie de profils adaptés: 36% des entreprises ont rencontré des difficultés de recrutement et la pénurie de bons profils est la première raison avancée (82%).
Budgets de formation en hausse
Dans ce contexte, on constate une hausse des budgets de formation en 2011 et dans la perspective de 2012, puisque 26% des entreprises ont davantage investi en formation en 2011 et 16% l'envisagent pour 2012, cela au profit des formations techniques en priorité; les cadres représentent 25% des intentions de formations.
L'enquête met en lumière que les entreprises (30%) planifient un peu plus leurs actions de formations que les années précédentes et qu'elles font confiance à un OPCA et à des professionnels de la formation pour leur mise en place: 83% (74% en 2010) s'appuient sur leur OPCA et 75% (70% en 2010) sur des professionnels dans le choix et le financement de ces formations; les experts comptables sont souvent sollicités de façon privilégiée par 10% des entreprises, principalement les moins de 50 salariés. Il est à noter qu'en 2012, 13% des entreprises pensent augmenter leur recours aux organismes de formation extérieurs.
Les contrats de professionnalisation bien connus
Concernant les dispositifs, l'enquête met en évidence que les contrats de professionnalisation et les CTP (Contrat de transition professionnelle) /CRP (Convention de reclassement personnalisé) bénéficient d'une notoriété accrue, alors que les DIF (Droit Individuel à la formation), DIF portable et POE (Préparation Opérationnelle à l'Emploi) sont encore mal connus:
- L'alternance bénéficie d'une dynamique positive : les contrats de professionnalisation et d'apprentissage sont de façon stable connus par 94% des entreprises et appréciés par ceux qui les ont pratiqués, plus de 91% de ces derniers en ayant tiré un bilan positif, en particulier sur l'apprentissage. Les contrats de professionnalisation plus particulièrement s'inscrivent de plus en plus dans la politique emploi des entreprises: 49% y ont eu recours en 2011 (42% en 2010), en particulier les entreprises de plus de 50 salariés;
- Les CTP/CRP (CSP-Contrats de Sécurisation Professionnelle) sont mieux connus des entreprises qui y ont aussi plus recours. En effet, 62% d'entre elles connaissent leurs obligations d'information concernant ces dispositifs et 16% y ont eu recours (14% en 2010);
- Le DIF enregistre une pénétration encore faible: 31% des entreprises déclarent une consommation régulière du DIF et 19% de celles qui l'ont utilisé rencontrent des difficultés de mise en œuvre, notamment en raison de problèmes de financement et de maîtrise du dispositif; 57% des entreprises informent leurs salariés sur le DIF;
- Le DIF portable est connu par 76% des personnes interrogées et 16% de celles qui ont été confrontées à des demandes ont été accompagnées dans 39% des cas par leur OPCA;
- La POE est connue d'une minorité et peu ancrée dans les pratiques, puisque 25% la connaissent et seulement 5% y ont déjà eu recours; 5% de celles qui n'y ont pas eu recours en ont l'intention, sachant qu'Internet et Pôle Emploi constituent les premiers vecteurs d'information de ce dispositif.
*Enquête réalisée auprès de 244 entreprises de la région Ile-de-France du 15 septembre au 21 octobre 2011 avec le cabinet Majors Consultants.
http://www.vocatis.fr/squelettes/images/auto_vers_formguide.jpgThe survey trends 2011-2012, conducted by Opcalia reveals that 80% of companies have confidence in their future. This confidence was reflected in 2011 by an increase in hiring and a slowdown in layoffs, hiring intentions for 2012 was however lower than 2011. In this context, training has a positive image and is always a priority of becoming more assertive. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 14:51 - - Permalien [#]

Rencontres inter-régionales des Carif-Oref - Forte mobilisation du réseau

carif oref Midi-PyrénéesLes Rencontres inter-régionales des Carif-Oref se sont déroulées à Toulouse, les 27 et 28 septembre derniers: forte mobilisation du réseau des Carif-Oref de métropole et d'Outre-mer, avec la participation de 150 personnes.
Martin Malvy, Président du Conseil régional et Thierry Repentin, Ministre délégué à la Formation professionnelle et à l'apprentissage, à travers des vidéos, ont fait l'honneur de participer à ces journées dont le thème central était "La prospective en perspective - L'emploi, les métiers et la qualification à l'horizon 2013/2017".

Janine Loïdi, Présidente du CarifOref Midi-Pyrénées et Conseillère régionale, par ses interventions dans les tables-rondes et ateliers, a accompagné l'ensemble de ces rencontres. Les Carif-Oref ont pu échanger sur les travaux de prospective conduits par leur réseau, depuis l'anticipation des besoins d'emplois, métiers et formations à la Gpec/Gpect (Gestion prévisionnelle des emplois et des compétences/territoriale), jusqu'à l'information métier grand public. Vincent Merle, Président du réseau des Carif-Oref, a souligné l'importance du travail en réseau de ces structures, conforté par la création, en décembre 2011, de l'Association des Carif-Oref. Ces derniers se sont accordés à lancer un travail en réseau sur un thème exclusif de prospective territoriale, sur les métiers de la santé et du médico-social. CarifOref Midi-Pyrénées, 19 rue Carmin 31670 Labège. Tél: 05 62 24 05 99. Télécharger Note documentaire "La prospective en perspective".
Note documentaire "La prospective en perspective" «L’actualité du futur» - Journées du Réseau des Carif–Oref - 27 et 28 septembre 2012 à Toulouse

Ce dossier d’actualité du futur propose, d’une part, des références de documents d’analyse de la démarche prospective elle-même, d’autre part, des repérages de travaux, dans le cadre mondial/européen, national, régional, pour tenter d’approcher les réflexions en cours et les objectifs de la prospective. (Ne sont pas répertoriés les travaux spécifiques par branches professionnelles ou par secteurs d’activité). Il offre également une sélection de sites Web sur cette thématique.
Sommaire

Analyse – Méthodologie p. 4
Mondial – Europe p. 6
National p. 7
Régional p. 10
Liens utiles p. 11
Bibliographie complémentaire p. 13
Annexe : Une future instance de prospective p. 14
L’avenir n’est plus ce qu’il était…
Quand il est urgent, c’est déjà trop tard…
Ne remets pas à demain, ce que tu peux faire après-demain…
Mais à quoi bon remettre à demain ce qu'on peut faire avec ses pieds*….

* Où l’on se rend compte que Paul Valéry, Talleyrand, Maurice Roche ou autre Alphonse Allais étaient déjà au
coeur du sujet…
Mais de quoi parle-t-on ?

Ces quelques brèves de comptoir qui traversent le temps nous rappellent, si besoin était, le caractère « indiscipliné » de cette démarche de prospective, selon l’adjectif employé par Hugues de Jouvenel. L’anticipation évite d’être continuellement acculé à gérer les urgences, mais ne suffit pas devant l’accélération des changements. La prévision privilégie une approche sectorielle, quantifiable, en adhérant au principe de continuité. La prospective, elle, vise une approche globale, allie le qualitatif au quantitatif, en prenant en compte les ruptures.
La prospective n’est pas prévision: elle ne nous prédit pas l’avenir, ne nous le dévoile pas comme si c’était déjà fait. Elle est construction: elle nous invite à bâtir quelque chose dont on serait l’acteur. L’avenir n’est pas prédéterminé, il est ouvert à plusieurs futurs possibles. Si la prospective construit les scénarios de l’avenir, elle analyse aussi les comportements passés et prévisibles. Elle nous plonge ou nous projette en quelque sorte dans l’archéologie du futur!
Cette thématique est de plus en plus d’actualité. La Gazette du Midi (10-16 septembre 2012 – n° 8329) aborde récemment la question en donnant la parole à Philippe Durance, professeur associé au Cnam et chercheur au Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de recherche en sciences de l’action:
« L’intérêt de la prospective réside dans la construction collective d’un ensemble de possibilités de manière à faire un choix le plus éclairé possible. Il ne sert à rien de vouloir faire de la prospective seul, on parlerait alors de prédiction ou de futurologie... Il existe une très forte relation entre la prospective et l’innovation… Des commissions Prospective sont mises en place par certains pôles de compétitivité…
Au sein des territoires, ce travail doit être confié aux élus, à ceux qui auront à prendre les décisions. Une des difficultés de la prospective est qu’il s’agit à la fois d’une attitude et d’une méthode. Le but de la prospective est bien d’aller dans le normatif, de faire des choix, de mettre en oeuvre des plans d’action ».
CARIF oref Midi-Pyrenees The inter-regional meetings CARIF-OREF took place in Toulouse on 27 and 28 September last: strong mobilization of network CARIF-OREF metropolitan and overseas, with the participation of 150 people.
Martin Malvy, President of the Regional Council and Thierry Repentin, Minister for Training and learning through videos, have the honor to participate in this event whose theme was "looking perspective - employment, occupations and qualifications on the horizon 2013/2017."
More...

Posté par pcassuto à 00:14 - - Permalien [#]
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07 octobre 2012

EAEA´s recommendations on active ageing well-received

European Association for Education of AdultsParticipation in adult learning declines with age. EAEA´s recommendations and policy paper advise adult education providers, governments, EU, companies and social partners to take action.
EAEA president Sue Waddington introduced EAEA´s Recommendations and Policy Paper on Active Ageing through Adult Learning in the European Parliament on 27 September. EAEA and Austrian MEP Heinz K. Becker (EPP) organised a Policy Debate in the framework of European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. In addition to MEP Becker, the debaters included Slovakian MEP Katarína Neveďalová (S&D) and Head of the Adult Education Unit Tapio Säävälä from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education and Culture. Jane Watts from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), Georg Müllner (E.N.T.E.R - Network) and Davide di Pietro (Lunaria) represented the civil society among the debaters.
Ageing population has potential
In the coming decades the number of over 60-year-olds will increase from 5 percent to 12 percent of the population. In 60 years one third of the European population will be outside the working life.
- This has serious implications to Europe and EU´s member states, stated Tapio Säävälä from the Commission. This being said, Säävälä underlined that an ageing population is not only a threat: it has great possibilities for the society as a whole.
- One of the key questions is how to keep up the skills in a Europe where people live and work longer, he said.
EAEA tackles the issue
The value of lifelong learning for older people has been identified in research and international policy frameworks. In its Recommendations and Policy Paper EAEA identifies several key areas that must be addressed in order to create an efficient adult education service for older people. The recommendations include securing access to high quality learning for older persons by clear information on learning of older persons. Also the digital gap should be bridged by targeting elders within ICT strategies and policies. Several speakers and participants welcomed EAEA´s recommendations and policy paper.
- We support EAEA´s policy paper and recommendations, MEP Becker said.
NIACE's own research bears EAEA´s recommendations completely.
- We will distribute these documents in the national level in the United Kingdom, announced Jane Watts from NIACE.
Raising awareness to the top of the agenda
MEP Becker found awareness raising on the benefits of learning later in life one of the top priorities.
- Awareness raising is number one and needs nothing but doing. Benefits of learning, including the intergenerational aspect and health aspect have to be promoted. If we put effort to awareness raising on benefits of learning later in life, we will soon meet other aspects as well, Becker said. Awareness should be raised among the political decision makers as well.
- We try to support adult education and learning in older age to our best knowledge. However, we need the civil society actors to tell us what to do, explained MEP Katarína Neveďalová, the Shadow Rappourteur of the Erasmus for all.
More information:

Posté par pcassuto à 23:00 - - Permalien [#]


From education to working life

Publication coverFrom education to working life - The labour market outcomes of vocational education and training
We know much about the effectiveness of education in general, but less about how the various types of education play out in the labour market. If we compare a graduate of vocational education with a graduate of general education, which of them is more likely to get a good job on graduation? Which of them is more likely to get a stable job, or get a job quickly? Will their wages rise in step, or does one fall behind?
In this new report, Cedefop looks at labour market outcomes for young people in Europe and across countries. Using data from the EU Labour Force Survey (2009), it examines how the various levels and orientations of education affect employment prospects, the transition to work, job quality and wages. The findings of the report should be placed within a larger picture, taking into account the structural changes in EU labour markets and how they are expected to affect the demand for occupations in different sectors. Download From education to working life.

Posté par pcassuto à 22:56 - - Permalien [#]

Experiences with Link and Match in Higher Education. Results of Tracer Studies Worldwide - EXLIMA

EXLIMA ConferenceInternational Conference - "Experiences with Link and Match in Higher Education. Results of Tracer Studies Worldwide." (EXLIMA)
The conference Experiences with Link and Match in Higher Education. Results of Tracer Studies Worldwide (EXLIMA) takes place from 22 to 23 October 2012 in Denpasar/Bali (Indonesia). EXLIMA is organised by the Career Centre of the University of Indonesia in co-operation with the International Centre of Higher Education Research of the University of Kassel (Germany).
A maximum of 300 participants – mainly researchers and scholars dealing with tracer studies –  are accepted.
EXLIMA is organized with the friendly assistance of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The relationships between higher education and the world of work is one of the current key issues of higher education policy and practice. There is a common belief that the expansion of student enrolment contributes to economic growth and societal well-being. However, concerns are widespread that graduates might face problems of getting employed, of finding appropriate employment and of taking over professional assignments for which their study turns out be relevant. Terms such as “mismatch” and “over-education” express such concerns.

Studies on graduate employment and work, often called “tracer studies”, have spread worldwide in recent years in order to collect in-depth information on the relationships between study at higher education institutions and the professional situation of graduates.
An account of the approaches and the findings of tracer studies can help both to understand the potentials of these studies and to analyse our worldwide state of knowledge about the ways higher education may contribute more successfully to the subsequent career of graduates.
The international conference envisaged aims at serving the exchange of information on tracer studies both methodologically and with regard to content:
(a) to deepen the understanding of the links between curricula, learning, competences as well as graduate employment and work,
(b) to discuss how tracer studies have to be designed and implemented in order to elicit the most valuable results.
Therefore, the organizers of the conference call for contributions which combine a strong research approach with empirical work on data from tracer studies, especially on the following research questions in three areas:
A. Link and Match: The Relationships between Study, Graduate Employment and Work

1. NEETS, Freeters and Generation Precaire: Graduates’ under- and unemployment – similarities and differences around the world; who and how many are they?
2. Causes and consequences of over-education and mismatch
3. The relationships between curricula, competences and work tasks
4. Professional success: What does really matter –  study programs, motivations, mobility, personal characteristics?
5. Changing job requirements and employers' expectations: causes and developments
6. How to measure graduates professional success? Applications of success indicators
7. Transition to the labor market: individual, institutional or structural factors of success and failure (duration of job search and search methods)
8. Striving for excellence or serving the society? Diversity of higher education: the relevance of degree levels, types of higher education institutions, field of study and institutions
9. Effects of student-centered learning for learning outcomes/competencies and work
10. Effects of different modes of practice-oriented study programs on learning outcomes/competencies and work
11. The extent of practical training in higher education programs and the relevance for employability and professional work
12. The extent of temporary international mobility during study and the relevance for employability and professional work
13. Equity regarding the transition to employment and professional success – the relevance of gender, social class, minorities, etc.
14. Other topics – open for additional contributions
B. Methodology of Tracer Studies

1. Thematic complexity and formulation of questionnaires: What can be learned from various approaches?
2. Tracer studies and link and match: Potentials and limits of tracer studies as a feedback for higher education institutions
3. Methods to enhance the quality of tracer studies: verification and update of addresses, online surveys, response rate and representativity
4. Applications of structural equation modeling with tracer study data (and other advanced data analysis strategies)
5. Methodological challenges of comparative studies/comparability of tracer studies
6. Other methodological topics – open for additional contributions.
C. Implementation of Tracer Studies in Different Countries

Progress in implementing tracer studies (e.g. best-practice examples from different countries)
1. Africa
2. America
3. Asia and Australia
4. Europe

Posté par pcassuto à 22:40 - - Permalien [#]
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Sustainable growth in the European Union - the role of education and training

http://globaljm2012.teamwork.fr/images/header.jpgJean Monnet Conference ‘Sustainable growth in the European Union - the role of education and training’, Brussels, Belgium (13-14 November 2012)
The European Commission’s Jean Monnet Conference on the theme of 'Sustainable growth in the European Union – the role of education and training' will take place in Brussels from 13 to 14 November 2012.
The conference aims to provide input to the “ongoing debates on the need to adapt education and training systems to cope efficiently with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, as a crucial element to get the European Union out of the present crisis”. Each of the conference themes will be discussed in a dialogue between Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission, academics, Jean Monnet professors and journalists.
Registration is possible through the event website, which can be accessed with the password “npec”.

Providing education and training to cope with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century is a crucial requirement to get the EU out of the current crisis. To achieve the Europe 2020 targets, education and training systems should be able to recognise and even anticipate the demands of the labour market. The full potential of educational and training institutions must be exploited through the use of new pedagogical methods which promote open, flexible and innovative ways of learning. In order to adapt education and training systems to produce real outcomes in terms of skills, further development of the relationship between technology, education and training is a key priority, with the overarching aim of promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Posté par pcassuto à 22:25 - - Permalien [#]
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Free Textbooks for California

By Kristen Domonell. In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has passed two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.
Bills 1052 and 1053, passed last week, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, and California Community College systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.
But just how much an impact this legislation will have on students’ out-of-pocket textbook costs is impossible to predict until the texts have been created and made available, says Jason Lorgan, director of the University of California, Davis stores.
“The principles of academic freedom would still be in play,” says Lorgan. “The faculty member would still have to determine if [the material] is appropriate for their course.”
Use of the texts will not be mandatory, so it will take most instructors’ willingness to adopt the textbooks in order for any true impact to be seen. Put into perspective, assuming biology is one of the subjects chosen for a digital textbook, there may be 1,000 intro to biology classes in California, with 40 different textbooks in use in those courses, shares Lorgan. “In the existing marketplace, faculty don’t often agree on what the best content is to teach their students in their course.”
The quality of the texts, of course, will be key for getting open source doubters on board.
“We have very few faculty on our campus that are currently using open educational resources,” says Lorgan. “The number one reason faculty have given is they don’t feel the content is of comparable quality to the textbooks existing in the marketplace now. If the quality is spectacular and faculty adopt these materials in significant numbers there will be a significant affordability impact, but it’s really hard to predict until we see the materials.”
UC Davis was one of the first in the nation to test digital textbooks about seven years ago, and has been offering them as an option for hundreds of courses ever since. But despite an average 40 percent savings over the print texts, 98 percent of students at the university still choose print, shares Lorgan. For those not interested in digital textbooks, the open-source texts will be available in print for around $20, depending on length.
The state is working toward a goal of having the first free books available for the 2013-2014 school year.

Posté par pcassuto à 22:07 - - Permalien [#]

Times Higher Education Uni Rankings Show Asia’s Big Jump

By . Although the U.S. maintains its strong position in the 2012-2013 edition of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, overall, American universities have given ground to the ascent of academic institutions from the Asia-Pacific region. This represents a universal trend among Western countries, with many marquee Western European universities finding themselves much lower — or even off the list entirely.
The California Institute of Technology maintains its grip on the top of the rankings, repeating its showing from the year before. However, Harvard University, last year’s runner up, slipped two places to number four to make room for California’s Stanford University and UK’s University of Oxford, which tied for second. At first glance, the position of U.S. institutions remains as strong as ever by retaining possession of seven of the top ten slots. Of the top 200, 76 are American universities, a gain of one over last year’s list.
Still, the relative position of those 76 tells a much more alarming story.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are the world’s most comprehensive and carefully calibrated global rankings, using 13 separate performance indicators to examine a university’s strengths against all of its core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. All data are collected, analysed and verified by global data provider Thomson Reuters.
The methodology, which is identical to the one used last year, presents a picture of a slipping grip on premier educational status by institutions in the U.S. and Western Europe, and the steady rise of schools in Asia-Pacific. The biggest impact seems to have been on institutions mostly funded by public money as many U.S. state universities, while still appearing on the list, declined from their position the year before. Those include members of the University of California system such as UC Davis, which went from 38th place last year to 44th this year. Several other state schools performed similarly, including Pennsylvania State University (from 51st to 61st), University of Massachusetts (from 64th to 72nd,) and Arizona State University, which slipped down to become one of the lowest ranked U.S. schools on the list at 148.
Still, American schools performed well compared to Canadian universities for whom this year’s edition of the rankings offered almost no good news at all. Of the nine Canadian institutions represented on the list last year, only eight returned, with Queen’s University falling off the rankings entirely. Of the remainder, only two moved up: the University of Montreal jumped 20 places from 104th to 84th and the University of Ottawa went up from 185th to 171st.
In stark contrast, the leading universities from across the Asia-Pacific region saw significant improvements.
China’s two top 200 institutions both rose, with Peking University moving from 49th to 46th and Tsinghua jumping 19 places from 71st to 52nd. Thanks to extremely strong income figures, Singapore’s two top 200 institutions saw spectacular success. The National University of Singapore moved from 40th to 29th and Nanyang Technological University rocketed up the table from 169th to 86th.
Universities in South Korea also had good showings. Not only had each of the schools on the list last year gained in standing, an additional South Korean school entered the top 200: Yonsei University at 183rd. The press release accompanying the new edition of the list took a particular note of the “spectacular” improvement by Seoul National University, which, in one year, went from 124th to 59th.
Editor of Times Higher Education rankings Phil Baty took note of the fact that the grip by American universities on the rankings seems to be loosening.
“America’s lead in global higher education and research is faltering. The US still has by far the most world-class universities of any nation, and its leading institutions remain the very best in the world – but there are signs of dangerous complacency and the start of the decline of a world-leading university sector.
“While household names MIT, Caltech and Berkeley hold on to top positions, the US as a whole has suffered serious decline – of the 71 institutions ranked in the top 200, 51 have fallen down the table.
“This comes down to money. For many years, the US has been the world’s biggest investor in tertiary education, spending more of its gross domestic product than any other developed nation on its universities — but not anymore. Latest figures from the OECD show that the US spend has dipped – from 2.8 per cent to 2.6 per cent – and South Korea has caught up.
Baty noted that while America seems to be rolling back its investment in higher education — something that is already having an impact on the rankings of its formerly well-performing public universities — countries in the Asia-Pacific region are increasing the percentage of GDP allocated towards university funding. He theorizes that this is one of the reasons behind their rapid rise up the list.
Still, money isn’t everything as proved by the Canadian example. At 2.5% of GDP, Canada spends well above the OECD average on higher education, but it is not seeing much of a return on its investment. On average, Canada’s showing was 5 slots lower than their performance last year.
Writing in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings publication in a personal capacity, Dirk Van Damme, the head of the Innovation and Measuring Progress Division at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said:  “Academic excellence is gradually shifting away from the 20th-century centres. The US and UK still dominate the absolute top, but they face a severe loss of total ranking positions in the top 200 list.”

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