07 octobre 2012

Low quality, social Darwinism drive study-abroad fever

http://enews.ksu.edu.sa/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/UWN.jpgBy Qiang Zha. With respect to Chinese higher education, two phenomena have been widely discussed recently. One is that the age of Chinese students who choose to study abroad is becoming younger. Most Chinese students went abroad to study in graduate programmes in the 1980s, then in undergraduate programmes from the late 1990s, but now a rising proportion of study-abroad students are in high schools.
It is estimated that high-school students now account for half or even more of Chinese students who choose to study abroad. Understandably, these high-school students make this choice so that their access and transition to Western universities will be easier and smoother. The other notable phenomenon is the growing call to improve and assure the quality of higher education in China, evident in the emphasis laid in such milestone policy documents as the National Outline for Medium and Long Term Educational Reform and Development (2010-2020) – or the "2020 Blueprint" – and most recently a national working conference on higher education quality control and assurance, held from 22-23 March in Beijing.
A discussion of these two phenomena together may shed some light on why more Chinese students are choosing to study abroad, even though access to higher education in China has been hugely expanded in recent years.
Deterioration of higher education quality
While the world has been stunned by China’s efficiency in moving to mass higher education on a short timeline, why are Chinese students increasingly drawn to studying abroad? Access to universities and colleges in China is much broader than a decade ago. In 2011, among participants in the national higher education entrance examination or gaokao (mostly new high-school leavers), some 78% on average across the country had the chance to go to a university or college. Yet an increasing proportion of Chinese high-school students now choose Western universities instead.
Overall, Chinese higher education enrolment grew at an annual rate of 17% between 1998 and 2010, while the volume of Chinese students studying abroad increased by over 25% annually in the same time span. The number of Chinese students studying in the United States increased by 80% from 1999-2009. In 2011 the number of Chinese students who went to study abroad hit a record 339,700. This figure is expected to rise to between 550,000 and 600,000 by 2014. This group is also getting younger. In the past five years, the number of Chinese students attending private high schools in the US grew by over 100 times, from 65 in 2006 to 6,725 in 2011.
If this tendency continues, it may threaten student supply in Chinese higher education in the long run, combined with China’s demographic change – a projected reduction of 40 million in the 18-22 age group in the population over the next decade. Since 2008, the population of gaokao entrants has shrunk by 1.4 million, for which these two factors are cited as being directly responsible.
As a more immediate consequence, Chinese students are now estimated to contribute more than US$15 billion a year to the economies of their host countries – with US$4.6 billion going to the US alone – equivalent to almost a half of China’s total higher education appropriations in 2008. The fact that more and more Chinese households are becoming well-off could be a factor behind the trend, yet this single factor wouldn’t be sufficient to explain the reasons behind ever growing study-abroad fever among Chinese students and parents. Indeed, there are few cases like China, where the domestic higher education supply and the study-abroad volume are growing dramatically, side by side. In the rapid massification process, Chinese higher education suffered a serious decline in quality. This might be another fundamental reason responsible for the rising study-abroad fever.
Ever since the huge expansion of Chinese higher education enrolment started in 1999, concerns over and criticism of deteriorating quality in teaching and learning have been heard. After 2005, the enrolment expansion was slowed considerably, while attention and resources were gradually shifted to addressing problems associated with quality and equity.
This process was fuelled by the famous question raised by influential scientist Qian Xuesen (or Hsue-Shen Tsien): why have Chinese universities failed to engender innovative minds?
Thus, with respect to higher education, the 2020 Blueprint, officially unveiled in July 2010, placed a focus on improving and assuring quality, aiming to nurture creativity among Chinese students and create a batch of ‘world-class’ universities. The working conference on higher education quality explicitly announced a policy of stabilising enrolment in Chinese universities – with future increases targeted at vocational education programmes, professional graduate programmes and private institutions – while pressing for immediate actions to address higher education quality issues.
Focus on higher education quality
Just before the working conference, the Chinese government unveiled two other important policy documents signalling concrete efforts and more resources to be brought in for this endeavour. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 19:09 - - Permalien [#]


Immigration crackdown: over 10,000 student visas revoked

http://resources.theage.com.au/theage/media-common-1.0/images/feedback-button.gifBy Benjamin Preiss. THE Immigration Department cancelled more than 10,000 student visas in the past financial year, with many students failing to fulfil course requirements.
The department revoked 2219 student visas in 2011/12 for failure to meet course progress or attendance benchmarks.
Two visas were cancelled on character grounds and 15 visas withdrawn for providing wrong information or bogus documents. A department spokesman said student visas were also cancelled if the holders falsely claimed to be students.
The department cancelled 3107 visas for non-genuine students, breaches of visa conditions and voluntary requests for cancellation. The department is currently compiling figures for the previous financial year. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:26 - - Permalien [#]

Universities woo foreign students with lucrative courses

The Japan Daily PressBy . When you think of education from a global perspective, most students prefer going to the United States, UK and Australia to complete their graduation. Japan probably doesn’t figure in many students’ lists mainly because of the preconceived notions of language and cultural barriers. However Japanese universities are keeping a tenacious hold on the global student market by offer courses in English and opening localized offices in different countries.
Recruitment and liaison offices are sprouting up in various countries, for example, the University of Tokyo recently inaugurated an office in India, and the Doshisha University, a private university in Kyoto, have their presence in Britain, South Korea and Vietnam, among other countries. State-of-the-art technology, pop culture, manga and anime; basically everything Japan is being used to pull in the foreign students.
Last year in December more than 100 potential recruits attended a promotion held by Tohoku University’s local office at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Endeavors like this resulted in 1,432 foreign students enrolling at Tohoku University as of May. Some universities are opting for partnership with local firms who have foreign offices, for example in April 2011 Meiji University opened an office in China leveraging its ties with JTB Corp., the nation’s largest travel agency. According to the education ministry, Japan boasts of excellent research facilities for students; however foreign students account for only 3.1% of the country’s total undergraduate and master’s degree students.

Posté par pcassuto à 17:23 - - Permalien [#]

L'université Sud Toulon Var et la Main à la pâte créent un centre d'enseignement

Le GREP RH, site des relations Ecoles-EntreprisesL'université Sud Toulon Var (USTV) et la fondation la Main à la pâte vont signer une convention de partenariat pour la mise en place du premier "centre pilote" en région PACA.
Ce partenariat, qui sera signé le 10 octobre prochain dans le cadre de la Fête de la science, a pour objectif de développer et diffuser une "approche différente de la science" dans les écoles. Les étudiants de l'université, formés par La Main à la pâte, interviendront dans les classes du secondaire du Var, afin d’appuyer la démarche pédagogique engagée par les enseignants.
Des "centres pilotes" pour démocratiser l'apprentissage des sciences
Les centres pilotes sont un dispositif initié en 2000 par la fondation de coopération scientifique la Main à la pâte, présidée par l’Académicien Pierre Léna. Ces centres doivent permettre, à travers notamment la participation d'universitaires, de favoriser un partage d'expérience, la diffusion de ressources et l'accompagnement de professeurs du secondaire.

GREP HR Relazioni sito Scuole-business Università Sud Toulon Var (USTV) e la Mano fondazione la pasta firmerà un accordo di partnership per la creazione del primo "centro pilota" nella regione PACA. Più...

Posté par pcassuto à 17:09 - - Permalien [#]
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Projets du réseau des Observatoires

Suite à la réunion du 21 septembre, le conseil d’administration de Résosup a rédigé un communiqué concernant l’élection du nouveau bureau, la nouvelle organisation du réseau et certains projets pour l’année universitaire 2012/2013.
Télécharger le Communiqué du CA du 4-10-2012. Un billet reprenant une partie du contenu du communiqué est en ligne sur le blog "Histoires d’universités".
Communiqué du CA du 4-10-2012

Les membres du conseil d’administration de Résosup se sont réunis vendredi 21 septembre 2012 et ont élu un nouveau bureau. Loïc Gojard prend le relais de Marc Boudier à la Présidence de Résosup. Nous tenons à remercier Marc Boudier (ancien Président) et Marc Dalaut (ancien Secrétaire) pour tout le travail accompli depuis la création de Résosup. Marc Boudier, élu au conseil d’administration, poursuit son action au sein de Résosup, notamment en participant activement au passage de témoin.
Caroline Calmus et Céline Monicolle continuent d’assurer respectivement leur fonction de Vice-Présidente et Trésorière. Muriel Savarit remplace Marc Dalaut au poste de secrétaire de Résosup.
Les activités de Résosup s’organisent maintenant en 5 pôles. Des référents ont la charge d’animer, coordonner, dynamiser, initier différents projets au sein de leur pôle. Ce sont les personnes à contacter pour tout nouveau projet, nouvelle proposition ou demande d’informations. Pour cela, envoyer un mail à contact@resosup.fr.
- Pôle « Échanges de pratique – formation »: Pierre-Yves Steunou et Muriel Savarit
- Pôle « Relations institutionnelles »: Loïc Gojard, Caroline Calmus et Marc Boudier
- Pôle « Groupes de travail, ateliers thématiques »: Stéphane Bertolino
- Pôle « Communication »: Dominique Le Jacques
- Pôle « Aide à l’organisation des journées nationales des observatoires »: Marc Boudier
Résosup prépare une contribution pour les assises nationales de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche de façon à exposer le point de vue de ses membres, tous professionnels des observatoires. A la fin du mois de novembre 2012, Résosup organise la première journée d’accueil des nouveaux arrivants dans les observatoires en 2012. Tout au long de l’année universitaire 2012/2013, 4 groupes de travail exploreront les thématiques suivantes de façon à faire des propositions à l’ensemble du réseau:
- les conditions de vie d’apprentissage des étudiants,
- le suivi des docteurs et des doctorants,
- le suivi des étudiants, notamment des sortants de licence sans diplôme
- les relations entre observatoires régionaux, de PRES et d’établissement.
L’année universitaire se terminera par les neuvièmes journées nationales des observatoires de l’enseignement supérieur. Elles se dérouleront du 5 au 7 juin et seront organisées par l’Université de Rouen avec le soutien de Résosup.
Pour connaître l’actualité de Résosup, un site internet: www.resosup.fr. Pour nous contacter, une adresse mail: contact@resosup.fr. Composition du conseil d’administration de Résosup élu par l’Assemblée générale du 6 juin 2012: Loïc Gojard (Président), ORES, PRES Centre Val de Loire Université, Caroline Calmus (Vice-Présidente), OSIPE, Université de Reims, Céline Monicolle (Trésorier), ORESIPE, Université de Strasbourg, Muriel Savarit (Secrétaire), ORPEA, Université de Bordeaux, Stéphane Bertolino, OFIVE, Université Lille 3, Cosima Bluntz, SOFIP, Université Paris 5, Marc Boudier, OFIP, Université Toulouse 1 - Capitole, Danielle Carré, OFIP, Université Toulouse 1 - Capitole, Dominique Le Jacques, Pôle enquêtes, Université d’Angers, Nina Lendrin, OFEIP, Université Grenoble 1, Gérard Martin, Observatoire, Université de Savoie, Pierre-Yves Steunou, BAIP, Université du Maine, Eva Walker, OVE, Université Toulouse 3. Pour le conseil d’administration de Résosup, Loïc Gojard, Président.
Blog Educpros de Pierre Dubois. http://blog.educpros.fr/pierredubois/files/2012/01/duboismanifnovembre-copie.jpgLe billet reprenant une partie du contenu du communiqué sur le blog "Histoires d’universités"
Le communiqué de presse du Réseau des Observatoires de l’enseignement supérieur (Résosup). Loïc Gojard, responsable de l’Observatoire Régional de l’Enseignement Supérieur, PRES Centre Val de Loire, a pris le relais de Marc Boudier à la Présidence du Résosup.
Nouvelle organisation en cinq pôles
: “échanges de pratiques, relations institutionnelles, groupes de travail, ateliers thématiques, communication, aide à l’organisation des journées nationales des observatoires”. Quatre groupes de travail: “tout au long de l’année universitaire 2012/2013, ils exploreront les thématiques suivantes de façon à faire des propositions à l’ensemble du réseau: conditions de vie d’apprentissage des étudiants, suivi des docteurs et des doctorants, suivi des étudiants, notamment des sortants de licence sans diplôme, relations entre observatoires régionaux, de PRES et d’établissement”.
Résosup organise chaque année les Journées nationales des Observatoires. Les prochaines auront lieu à Rouen du 5 au 7 juin 2013. 150 photos des Journées de Strasbourg en 2010 (l’une d’entre elles ci-dessous). Chronique sur les Journées de Toulouse en 2011.
Assises nationales
. “Résosup prépare une contribution pour les assises de façon à exposer le point de vue de ses membres, tous professionnels des observatoires”. Je la publierai sur ce blog.
Bon vent au nouveau Conseil d’administration et à tous les responsables des Observatoires. Je suis persuadé qu’ils auront cœur de publier davantage de Cahiers du réseau, et accentueront le rythme de publication des Résosup info.
Voir aussi Mesurer pour classer - indicateurs d'insertion et classement des universités, L'évolution des enjeux de suivi de l'insertion professionnelle pour l'enseignement supérieur, L'Observatoire Régional des Formations Supérieures, 2e enquête sur l'insertion professionnelle des diplômés des universités, Le palmarès des universités fait polémique, Palmarès des universités selon Résosup, De l’observation à l’action: information, orientation, pilotage, Communiqué de presse du RESOSUP sur l'insertion, 5e Journées nationales des observatoires de l'enseignement supérieur, Marseille, 18, 19, 20 MARS 2009.
Following the meeting of September 21, the board issued a statement Résosup concerning the election of new officers, the new network organization and some projects for the academic year 2012/2013.
Download the Press Board of 4-10-2012.
A ticket repeating some of the content of the press release is posted on the blog "Stories of universities". More...

Posté par pcassuto à 16:52 - - Permalien [#]
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Les universités occidentales perdent du terrain face à leurs rivales asiatiques

Les universités occidentales dominent toujours le monde du savoir, mais elles perdent du terrain face à leurs rivales asiatiques. C'est l'une des principales informations du dernier classement du Times Higher Education, publié jeudi 4 octobre.
Certes, parmi les 200 meilleurs établissements du monde, les occidentaux continuent de se tailler la part du lion. Dans l'élite universitaire mondiale, telle que définie par l'hebdomadaire britannique à partir de treize critères censés dresser un portrait fidèle (enseignement, recherche, ouverture internationale…), les Etats-Unis placent 76 universités, s'arrogeant la première place, le Royaume-Uni 31, les Pays-Bas 12, l'Allemagne 11. La France n'est que le 7e pays. Alors qu'elle comptait cinq établissements dans le top 200 en 2011, elle en a sept cette année: l'Ecole normale supérieure de Paris (59e), Ecole polytechnique (62e), les universités parisiennes Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (81e), Paris-Sud (92e) et Paris-Diderot (166e), Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon (170e), Université Joseph-Fourier de Grenoble (180e). Il n'y a guère lieu de s'en réjouir plus que de mesure : c'est la première fois que les deux nouveaux venus (Paris-Sud et Joseph-Fourier) acceptent de répondre au questionnaire du THE.
Si la domination occidentale n'est donc pas remise en cause, elle s'affaiblit cependant. Ainsi, la prédominance américaine "masque un déclin d'ensemble alarmant", prévient le THE: "51 institutions américaines dégringolent". Certaines font même une belle glissade. C'est le cas de Stony Brook University qui perd quarante-huit places en un an (162e), du Dartmouth College (-34, 124e) ou de la University of Iowa (-28, 169e)… La plupart des établissements britanniques perdent également du terrain. Les pays du sud de l'Europe chutent: l'Espagne perd son unique représentant dans le top 200. Les meilleures universités d'Italie, du Portugal ou de Grèce qui faisaient déjà partie du 2e classement du THE (200e à 400e), dévissent.
Parmi les occidentaux, seuls les Pays-Bas et l'Allemagne tirent leur épingle du jeu: leurs établissements progressent presque tous. Mais, souligne le THE, "ce classement donne une nouvelle preuve solide du glissement de puissance qui se produit de l'Occident vers l'Asie dans l'enseignement supérieur et la recherche". Les établissements asiatiques affichent de belles performances. "L'investissement massif de la Chine dans la constitution d'universités de niveau mondial est récompensé", ajoute l'hebdomadaire: les deux universités chinoises du top 200 progressent: l'université de Pékin gagne trois places (49e) et Tsinghua, à Pékin également, dix-neuf places (52e). La National University of Singapore passe du 40e au 29e rang et la Nannyang Technological University, également à Singapour, du 169e au 86e rang. La Corée du Sud et Hong Kong se montrent également très dynamiques. Article entier...

Δυτική πανεπιστήμια εξακολουθούν να κυριαρχούν στον κόσμο της γνώσης, αλλά χάνουν έδαφος στις ασιατικές αντιπάλους. Αυτό είναι ένα από τα κύρια στοιχεία από την τελευταία κατάταξη του The Times Higher Education, που δημοσιεύθηκε την Πέμπτη, 4η Οκτωβρίου. Περισσότερα...

Posté par pcassuto à 16:30 - - Permalien [#]

Les responsables des universités déstabilisés par les mutations de l’université

Par Isabelle Rey-Lefebvre. Une communauté universitaire déstabilisée et divisée par les réformes et les nouveaux impératifs de gestion. C'est ce que révèlent quatre sociologues dans une enquête approfondie au moment même où se déroulent les Assises de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche.
Plan campus, loi sur l’autonomie, évaluation, recherche financée par appels d’offres, grand emprunt… Ces réformes, menées à marche forcée par le précédent gouvernement, ont créé « des tensions peu visibles, qui ne s’expriment pas dans la rue, entre les universitaires qui ont tiré bénéfice de ces réformes et les autres », analyse la sociologue Christine Musselin. Avec Stéphanie Chatelain-Ponroy, Stéphanie Mignot-Gérard et Samuel Sponem, elle a ausculté le moral de quelque 2 600 universitaires qui ont des responsabilités à tous les échelons: présidents, élus, directeurs de labos ou d’unité d’enseignement.
Des instances élues malmenées
La loi relative aux libertés et responsabilités des universités (dite "LRU") de 2007 sur l’autonomie a confié à leurs présidents les clefs des universités, dont la gestion du budget et la  répartition -cruciale- des moyens entre tous les services et départements. Le mode de scrutin leur assure, en outre, une très forte majorité, dans un conseil d’administration resserré, passé de 60 à 30 membres au plus.

By Isabelle Rey-Lefebvre. A university community destabilized and divided by the reforms and new management requirements. This is what sociologists reveal four in a thorough investigation at the same time take place Audience higher education and research. More...

Posté par pcassuto à 16:21 - - Permalien [#]
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Universities ordered to admit deprived students

Herald ScotlandBy Andrew Denholm. Scotland's Education Secretary Michael Russell has ordered elite universities to admit hundreds more students from the most deprived backgrounds under a £10 million initiative. For the first time, the Scottish Government is demanding that universities such as St Andrews and Edinburgh use the money to widen access – with those that fail facing fines.
No precise details of the scheme have been published, but it is understood at least 500 students from poorer backgrounds could be targeted with funding of up to £10m earmarked from the overall settlement of £1 billion. The move comes just months after The Herald revealed some universities had been recruiting tiny numbers of students from the poorest backgrounds. St Andrews University – where Prince William studied – recruited only 13 students from the most deprived backgrounds in Scotland in 2010/11. The second-lowest proportion was at Aberdeen University, with 51, followed by Edinburgh University, with 91.
The Scottish Government has already announced plans to give universities binding targets on access – with the threat of financial penalties for those that fail. Last night, universities reacted with caution to the scheme, expressing concerns over exactly how it would operate and how students would be selected. The policy appears to run counter to earlier schemes where money was concentrated on universities such as the West of Scotland that were already doing well in widening access. There is also a concern the sector was not sufficiently consulted before the announcement was made.
Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, which represents principals, said: "In principle, the provision of extra undergraduate places would be a welcome means to help universities deliver their commitment to widen access. The scale of what can be achieved needs detailed discussion with universities and we look forward to a very early discussion on practicalities."
The move was welcomed by NUS Scotland, which has campaigned for wider access to university. Robin Parker, the organisation's president, said: "In return for generous public funding, universities need to ensure the greatest public benefit and ensure that they're providing increased opportunities.
"The proposals for extra places to boost access could help to ensure we have a university system which really promotes student potential and boosts access for the most deprived."
The Scottish Government scheme emerged in an annual letter of guidance from Mr Russell to the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), which administers public money for universities. The letter says that the Government has given Scotland's universities a competitive settlement compared with universities elsewhere in the UK.
"As part of the return for the continuing high level of investment in universities, I want to see universities and the SFC strengthen the efforts they are already making on access," said Mr Russell.
"There is scope within the settlement to expand the number of students that you fund.
"I want to see that growth targeted at widening access, in increasing the ability of those universities with the highest demand to take more students from the most deprived areas in Scotland."
The letter adds that the money should be used to invest in an incentive scheme "to widen access at the most selective institutions through additional targeted places".
The letter also spelled out the sharp contrast between the funding of universities and colleges. Mr Russell said he expected the further education sector to make savings of £33m over the next two years through a raft of planned mergers that could result in hundreds of job losses. Some colleges will have to make efficiency savings of up to 6%; similar savings in the university sector are capped at 2%.
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union, which represents lecturers, said: "The letter of guidance makes clear that the squeeze on further education funding will continue, with further deep cuts in college budgets to come in the years ahead.
"Further education is already suffering due to college funding cuts, with thousands of job losses amongst staff, fewer students studying in colleges, and a narrowing of course provision right across Scotland."
He added: "Continuing to cut college funding still further in the coming years will have a devastating impact for learners of all ages."

Posté par pcassuto à 15:54 - - Permalien [#]

Online challenge to campus life

http://resources.theage.com.au/theage/media-common-1.0/images/feedback-button.gifBy Benjamin Preiss. ONLINE education is pushing some traditional campuses to the brink of extinction and universities will have to reinvent their role to preserve a bricks and mortar presence. That stark view emerged from university leaders last week at a conference in Melbourne on high-speed broadband and higher education. It heard that traditional aspects of campus life, such as packed lecture theatres, were already fading fast in some institutions.
Australian National University vice-chancellor Ian Young said institutes that wanted to retain a physical presence would need to focus increasingly on research and student residential experiences. Professor Young told the University of Melbourne conference that "high-volume education" would continue moving online and large lectures would begin to disappear.
"Why in the world would students come along and . . . sit in a passive lecture with 300 other students when they can access material online themselves," he said. "It makes no sense to me."
In his speech, Professor Young said universities that wanted to maintain a focus on their campuses would need to offer additional value in their courses. This could include an emphasis on laboratory research that was difficult to conduct via the internet. "The campus will more and more become an environment of research rather than teaching." He said universities could also promote the benefits of students living together and forming networks as part of the "residential experience" on campus.
Professor Young acknowledged the rising popularity of massive online open courses, which some world-leading universities offer for free. Millions of people have signed on through providers such as Coursera. Earlier this month the University of Melbourne became the first Australian institute to join Coursera, which has more than 1.5 million students on its books, according to the company's website. Graduates are awarded certificates of completion but cannot earn qualifications. Professor Young said it was unlikely universities such as Stanford or Harvard would offer accredited courses where graduates gain qualifications for free. "Why is a Harvard degree valuable? Because it is rare and unique and a stamp of achievement. If you have hundreds of thousands of students with those degrees you're effectively devaluing the degree."
Professor Young said the world's leading universities had the freedom simply to explore "options" with their online open courses because demand for their on-campus courses remained so high. University of New England vice-chancellor Jim Barber told the conference that the traditional campus role was in decline. Hosting online learning would become one of the primary purposes for the bricks-and-mortar campus, he said. Under his vision, students would gather in online hubs studying with classmates from worldwide in the campus of the future, replacing packed lecture theatres and crowded tutorials. UNE has already started installing these nodes.
Professor Barber told Higher Age some tasks, including medical and dental practical work, would need to remain on campus. But almost anything universities offered at campuses now could be done online, he said. The UNE website says the university is at the forefront of online learning, with more than 12,500 of its 17,000 students studying via the internet.
Professor Barber said the "vast ocean of information" available online had undermined the "broadcast teaching" model where a teacher gives lectures to a passive group of students. This traditional model ignored students' learning preferences and technology had rendered this approach obsolete. Mobile phones and digital devices had become increasingly important educational tools, he said, allowing more students to study wherever they wanted. Students who were poor, isolated or disabled would be the "big winners" of the migration to mobile devices bringing distance education within reach. "As mobile technology takes hold distance education will increasingly move from the classroom and desktop and onto mobile devices," he said. But some experts fear online education could further isolate disadvantaged students who cannot afford new technology. Sally Kift, deputy vice-chancellor of James Cook University, warned greater dependence on mobile and online technology might worsen the lot of some underprivileged students. She said universities still offered computer loan schemes because many students could not afford them.
"I think it's important to balance the rush to online and other blended-learning delivery with the fact that for some students this is not technology they've necessarily had available to them."
The best-quality learning for undergraduate students was still happening on university campuses, Professor Kift said. Social interaction between students remained a crucial part of university education. "If the online or blended delivery can capture that social aspect of learning then that's good as well. But that needs to be quite intentionally enabled. It will not happen by chance." b.preiss@theage.com.au.

Posté par pcassuto à 15:50 - - Permalien [#]

Hackers Breach 53 Universities and Dump Thousands of Personal Records Online

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/gfx/blogs/bits/logo_post.pngBy Nicole Perlroth. Hackers published online Monday thousands of personal records from 53 universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, the University of Zurich and other universities around the world. The group of hackers, calling themselves Team GhostShell, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter and published some 36,000 e-mail addresses and thousands of names, usernames, passwords, addresses and phone numbers of students, faculty and staff, to the Web site Pastebin.com. In most cases the data was already publicly available, but in some instances the records included additional sensitive information such as students’ dates of birth and payroll information for university employees.
Typically, hackers seek such information because it can be used to steal identities, crack bank accounts or can be sold on the black market. Universities make ripe targets because they store vast numbers of personal records, often in decentralized servers. The records can be a gold mine because students often have pristine credit reputations and do not monitor their account activity and credit scores as vigilantly as adults. Dozens of universities have been plagued by breaches recently. Last August alone, the University of Rhode Island warned that students and faculty that their information may have been exposed. And at the University of Arizona, a student discovered a breach after a Google search exposed her personal information — and that of thousands of others at the university. Smaller computer breaches at Queens College and Marquette University were also reported.
In this case, the hackers said they were not motivated by profit but to “raise awareness towards the changes made in today’s education.” In a message accompanying the stolen data, they bemoaned changing education laws in Europe and spikes in tuition fees in the United States. But they also noted that in many cases, the servers they breached had already been compromised.
“When we got there, we found that a lot of them have malware injected,” the hackers wrote on Pastebin.
To breach servers, the hackers used a technique known as an SQL injection, in which they exploit a software vulnerability and enter commands that cause a database to dump its contents. In the case of some universities, the hackers breached multiple servers. In several cases, hackers breached student and alumni blogs– which contained things like usernames and passwords–not the university servers themselves. At Princeton, for instance, hackers breached a WordPress blog for Princeton alums based in the United Kingdom which contained several usernames and encoded passwords. IdentifyFinder, a firm that works to prevent identify theft from security breaches, analyzed the published data and said it appeared to be legitimate. The company analyzed the data and found 36,623 unique e-mail addresses and tens of thousands of student, faculty and staff names as well as thousands more usernames and passwords, some encrypted but many stored in plain text.
Aaron Titus, a spokesman for IdentityFinder, said that in analyzing the hackers’ attack methods, there was evidence that in many cases they had been inside the universities’ systems for “at least four months.”
Lisa Ann Lapin, a spokeswoman for Stanford University, said that the university discovered the breach Tuesday evening. She confirmed that two departmental Web sites belonging to the university had been accessed, but said the servers “have been secured.”
“Our information security officers consider the breaches to be minor in nature,” Ms. Lapin said. “No restricted or prohibited data was compromised, nor was any sensitive or other personal information that could lead to identity theft.”
At colleges across the country, some students set up sites that allowed students and faculty to search the leaked data for their information. For instance, at the University of Pennsylvania, Matt Parmett, a junior, created a Web site that made it possible for classmates to search the leaked data by name.

Posté par pcassuto à 15:47 - - Permalien [#]