A new publication from the HEA, launched today, provides a strong rationale for transforming assessment in higher education.
A Marked Improvement contends that assessment practices in many higher education institutions (HEIs) have not kept pace with changes in the context, aims and structure of higher education over recent years. They can no longer, the publication says, do justice to the outcomes we expect from a university education, and satisfy an increasingly diverse student population.
Developed by the HEA with senior colleagues in HEIs, including leading experts in the field, the publication includes an assessment review tool to support institutions in taking stock of current practice, and work towards bringing about strategic change. The tool builds on the findings of ‘Assessment Standards: A Manifesto for Change’ from the Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange (ASKe) at Oxford Brookes University. Dr Erica Morris, Academic Lead for Assessment at the HEA and one of the authors of the publication, comments:
“A Marked Improvement builds on current evidence as well as lessons learned from two decades of support for learning, teaching and assessment in UK HE provided by different organisations and initiatives."
“The publication takes as one of its starting points the view that the change with significant potential to improve student learning is a shift from assessment of learning, to assessment for learning. It is essential that assessment practice reflects the higher education sector of today: by engaging students in real-world activities and assessment of their own and other students’ learning, they are able to develop skills to understand and improve performance. They will take these with them for the rest of their lives.”
This November, the HEA will be launching a pilot scheme to help institutions transform their assessment strategy by applying the review tool contained in A Marked Improvement. We will be looking for eight higher education institutions in the UK with the vision and enthusiasm to rejuvenate and refresh their assessment policy and practice. The call for this scheme will be available on 5 November 2012 and the deadline for applications will be 28 January 2013. Further details will be available on the HEA website.
Date: 29 May 2013 - 30 May 2013
Location/venue: Thistle Brighton, King's Road, Brighton, England, BN1 2GS
The Higher Education Academy’s second annual learning and teaching Arts and Humanities conference, ‘Storyville: Exploring narratives of learning and teaching’ will take place on 29 – 30 May 2013 in Brighton.
At the heart of the Arts and Humanities disciplines sit stories – stories which create and recreate worlds, distant and present, stories which inspire and engage, stories which grow imaginations and expand what is thinkable.
Stories are everywhere, and our second annual conference seeks to explore the intersections between narrative and learning and teaching by considering:
the narratives of how we teach – our stories as educators;
the narratives of how our students learn – travelogues from the student journey;
the narratives we teach – our subjects and (inter)disciplinarity;
the narratives we teach by – pedagogies and methodologies, academic identities, research-based teaching and teaching-based research;
the narratives we teach within – policy, dominant media narratives, student expectations informed by Key Information Sets and the National Student Survey;
the narratives we (co-)create – the impact of the Arts and Humanities, the experience and memories of our students, students as partners.
Creating, telling, sharing
As stories have the power to ‘reveal meaning without committing the error of defining it’ (Hannah Arendt) we welcome papers and workshop proposals on any aspect of teaching and learning in the Arts and Humanities within the broad theme of ‘narratives of learning and teaching’. Suggested forms, ‘genres’ and themes include:
Choose your own adventure: Making students partners in learning and teaching;
Short stories (and tall tales?): Tweeting your teaching; social presence through social media;
Epic adventures: Gamifying learning and teaching;
Westerns: Living on the frontiers of learning; conflicts and change;
Cross-genre works: Negotiating disciplinary boundaries;
Experimental forms: Designing learning experiences and curricula; the use of digital technologies;
Archives, houses and museums: Telling the stories of public history;
Anthologies: Working with student diversity;
Prizes: Assessing creatively/creative assessment;
Literary devices: Using metaphors and imagery in HE.
Who should attend?
Higher education teaching staff, Programme Leaders and Faculty Deans in Archaeology, Classics, Area Studies, Art and Design, Cinematics and Photography, Dance, Drama and Music, English, History, Journalism, Languages, Linguistics, Media and Communications, Philosophical and Religious Studies. We particularly welcome early career lecturers, and Graduate Teaching Assistants.
The 1st Conference of Partners of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing will be held in Brussels on 6th November 2012. The target groups of the conference are representatives from European Member States and Regions.
Participation to the event is by invitation only, but all can join in the discussions via twitter @EIP_AHA and the hashtag #eipaha12. The event will be also streamed (see conference web site). Should you wish to be invited, send your full contact details and reason for participating to the contact address below. The organiser will consider your application.
Organizer: European Commission
This handbook gives practical guidelines on how to organize effective training sessions for panel members. All steps of the training process are covered in the handbook, from the planning phase up to the necessary evaluation of the delivered trainings. It is believed that both quality assurance agencies and higher education institutions, and also the individual experts, can profit from its reading. The Handbook can be downloaded .
Handbook for the Training of Panel Members for External Quality Assurance Procedures
The trust building potential of external quality assurance (QA) procedures depends upon the quality and professionalism of the involved external experts. In an increasingly internationalized higher education area independent, highly competent and intercultural aware experts are urgently needed in order to guarantee fair decision making and to benefit higher education institutions in all types of external QA procedures. The European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher education (ECA) has acknowledged the vital role of the expert panel members ever since its inception (Code of good practice, 2004 and Guidelines for the selection of external expert panel members, 2007). After careful review of the training practices of its members agencies, ECA in 2010 launched its EU funded “E-TRAIN” project with the goal to train and to share a community of knowledgeable and internationally experienced experts in the domain of external QA in higher education. Based on the collection of international good practices ECA successfully offered pilot trainings to experts and established a „train the trainer“-programme.
The E-TRAIN project is strictly output-oriented and offers guides to good practices, a training handbook, an electronic training portal for experts, standardised expert portfolios and a European Expert Exchange Platform which provides access to a searchable database of experts.
This handbook gives practical guidelines on how to organize effective training sessions for panel members. All steps of the training process are covered in the handbook, from the planning phase up to the necessary evaluation of the delivered trainings. It is believed that both quality assurance agencies and higher education institutions, and also the individual experts, can profit from its reading.
Today all relevant higher education stakeholder groups of the European Higher Education Area acknowledge the need for well trained, professionally acting and internationally competent expert panellists. The E-TRAIN project has powerfully contributed to the establishment of such a community of experts and is clearly strengthening the European dimension in quality assurance. Based on the success of its operations ECA will – together with its partners – continue its efforts to organise regular trainings in order to assure the required capabilities and capacities of their external experts and to promote consistency of decisions in external quality assurance.
We hope you will find this handbook interesting and enjoyable. Additional information about this project is provided on our website (http://www.ecaconsortium.net). Please feel free at any time to address your questions and comments also directly to our secretariat. Rolf Heusser, Chairman of ECA The Hague, The Netherlands.
This guidance is aimed at any person who will be delivering training to members of expert panels. The term ‘panel member’ is used to refer to any person who will be carrying out a panel task, such as a review or audit or accreditation activity for a quality assurance agency (QA agency). In some agencies or countries those persons are referred to as ‘experts’, ‘reviewers’, ‘auditors’, ‘review/audit secretary’, etc. This handbook uses the term ‘panel members’ for all such people.
This handbook refers to ‘training event’: this is intended to include all kinds of training sessions whether they last 3 hours or 3 days. This handbook is not concerned with training that is primarily carried out online or remotely. It is concerned with training that is primarily delivered to participants face-to-face. A face-to-face event, however brief, has uses other than just passing on knowledge or acquisition of skills. It enables the trainer (who will usually be a staff member of a quality assurance or accreditation agency) to get to know the panel members who will be carrying out work for the agency in the future. It also helps participants who may work together in the future, to meet and get to know each other a little. This will help to build a community of practice amongst the panel members, which in turn will help them to support and learn from each other. Meeting face-to-face will give the trainer an opportunity to model the values and expectations of the quality assurance agency and encourage a professional attitude amongst panel members.
The guidance for planning a training event given below should be helpful whatever the length of the training, whoever the participants are, and whatever the objectives of the training are. The general principles outlined below will still apply. The guidance is divided into 5 sections: deciding on the overall aim of training; deciding on content, session aims and learning outcomes; looking at the needs of participants; delivering the training; ensuring that the training is effective. A stage-by-stage summary of the main stages of the guidance may be found in the checklist in
Annex 1: Stage by stage checklist of main points for training.
In each section of the guidance the trainer will be encouraged to ask some simple questions. It is important that the trainer knows the answers to these questions so that the training prepared is appropriate, relevant and effective.
There is also a list of publications and websites in Annex 2: References which you might find useful if you need more information or ideas. MORE...
6. How to ensure that training has been effective
The trainer needs to ask him/herself the questions: “How do I plan the training so that it helps participants to retain the material? How do I get feedback on the training and whether it has helped participants in their panel work?”
We know that much of the knowledge and skills learned on a training event is lost very quickly unless it is put into use straightaway on a day-to-day basis. We noted in section 4.1. Knowing your participants
• Make sure the design of training matches the needs that you and your organisation have identified. In this way you should be able to ensure that there will be opportunities for participants to use the knowledge and skills acquired on the training event, even though these might be some time in the future
that, for many of our participants, there may be a significant gap between training and carrying out panel work. If training is to be effective it has to be retained long enough to be taken into the workplace or real-life situation – in our case, into the panel situation. We can maximise the chances of this in various ways:
• Make sure that anyone from your organisation who will be working with your panel members also knows what the training has included, and is prepared to coach panel members when they carry out panel work to help them to put skills and knowledge into practice. It is very useful if members of your organisation can attend at least one training event
• Make sure that the training includes practical examples which reflect the actual work of the panel member. These can be descriptions of the work, case studies, or practice activities such as mock meetings. Introducing activities into the training which encourage ‘doing’, rather than just ‘listening’ or ‘speaking’, also encourages retention of the material
• If you have the time during the training event try to encourage participants to discover the principles involved in panel work for themselves. We tend to remember the knowledge that we have discovered for ourselves better than things we are simply told. You could use case-studies for problem-based learning activities, or give small groups open-ended questions or problems to discuss. Remember to share the solutions that individuals or groups discover with the whole group after the exercise
• Give participants an aide-mémoire of the process that they will be using as a panel member. This could take the form of a guide to procedure (just bullet-points or headlines) which you could refer to during the training. It can then be used by participants during their panel work to ‘jog their memory’ of the main points that they learned on training
• When you design hand-outs or other training materials for the participants think about how the participant will use them after the training and try to ensure that they will still be comprehensible and useful even after the training has finished. If the training is changed after you deliver it for the first time you will need to remember to update those who have already had the training. If it is possible, it might be a good idea to put the training materials on a part of your organisation’s website dedicated to panel members. Then you will be able to update training materials easily.
• Encourage action planning on the part of participants. It was noted above (in section 3.4.2. Reflection, summary of the day, action planning) that it is a good idea to allow time in the training event for participants to reflect on their learning and put together some action points to be started when they return home. These action points will give a trigger for the participant to keep thinking about the training event, and to carry on with their learning after the training until they have a chance to carry out some panel work. It is also useful if the new panel member is given the opportunity to reflect after the first panel work, and see whether there are any new action points to consider (see section 6.3 Continued engagement with participants
• Encourage follow-up between participants, and if you have the time, with yourself. This could be through email, online, get-togethers, support groups, etc. This will help to build up a community of panel members who can support each other (see section 6.3 Continued engagement with participants).
• If you can, use past participants as mentors. Once a panel member has been trained and has carried out some panel activity he/she may be prepared to mentor new panel members. The mentoring relationship may have many forms so you will want to put in writing what the mentor is expected to do. It may simply involve being available should the new panel member wish to email with a question. Or it could include meeting and discussing the new panel member’s work.
It is no good encouraging your participants to retain what they have learned on the programme if what you have delivered is not relevant to the learning outcomes, or has not been delivered in a way that helps them to learn. So you need to find out how effective the training has been and, if it has not worked as well as you wanted, to change some aspects of it. This is the process of evaluation and it is a very important part of the overall training cycle (see the diagram in Annex 7: The training cycle).
There are different options for carrying out evaluation and gathering feedback.
• Spot checks during the training: you can find out how participants are doing on the training event by asking questions now and again. This method is probably most helpful during a longer training event where participants have time to settle down and start learning, and where the learning outcomes are build upon each other sequentially. You could ask general questions like ‘What have you learned so far?’ or more detailed ones about the content of the programme, like ‘Can you explain the three main sections of the Qualifications Framework?’. Participants could write down their answers quickly so that you could gather them in for analysis. Simply observing the participants will also give you an idea of whether they are understanding what is going on and are finding the training material intelligible.
• Give out a ‘Reactionnaire’ straight after the training has finished. As the name implies this kind of evaluation instrument gathers the participants’ reaction to the training. It can be short or detailed, and ask a few questions or many. You could use this kind of questionnaire to ask participants whether the aims of the training have been met. To do that you would need to make sure that you had set the aims of the training, and then decide what questions you would ask the participants to try to establish whether your aims have been met. An example is given in Annex 8: Example of a training ‘Reactionnaire’.
• Evaluation of key learning outcomes: this is a more sophisticated kind of evaluation questionnaire. It can ask all the questions in a Reactionnaire, but it concentrates on asking the participants whether they think they have been able to meet the learning outcomes of the training. This kind of evaluation demands (a) that you have set learning outcomes; and (b) that the participants know what they are.
• Group discussion: if you have some time after the training event has ended and some of your participants can stay around for an hour you could run a group discussion on how the training went. You could ask the same questions as in the Reactionnaire or learning outcome questionnaire, but having the group of people in the room means that you can drill down into their responses and get more information about why aspects of the training worked well, and why some did not. Or you could focus on the aspects of the training that you personally were less confident about. Remember though that the opinions expressed by the small group may not be completely representative of the whole group of participants.
• Delayed questionnaire: it can be very useful to give participants a questionnaire some time after the training (and ideally after they have carried out some panel work) to ask whether the training was appropriate for their panel task and whether they have been able to put the training to use. This can be in addition to a Reactionnaire and/or Evaluation of learning outcomes, depending on how much time and money you can spend on evaluation. It might make more sense to invest in detailed evaluation at the start of a training cycle, so that you can be sure that the training is meeting its aims, and then perhaps reduce evaluation, or use different evaluation instruments, later on.
• Pre-training questionnaire: the delayed questionnaire could be combined with a pre-training questionnaire which asks the participants for their perception of how well prepared they are for panel work. They can then be asked the same questions after training and/or after their first panel work to see whether they feel more confident and better prepared for their work. If they do not, then something is not working and you need to think again about the learning outcomes of the training.
These kinds of questionnaires are designed to help with your own developmental needs and with the development of the training event. They will provide useful information for you but may not be sophisticated enough for other purposes, such as demonstrating a business case, or applying for funding. If you need sophisticated or statistical information you may need to consult a professional who can devise evaluation methods for you.
If you are tempted to think that evaluation is a waste of time, remember that it will actually save you time and effort in the future. If you have chosen your learning outcomes carefully, and delivered training effectively, this means that you will produce panel members who know the process, adhere to that process, behave professionally and produce reports on time. If this is not happening the training is a waste of time and money, and your life will be harder not easier. So you need to find out whether your training is working, and if it is not, why not.
6.3. Continued engagement with participants
In the last section we noted that giving participants the opportunity to keep in contact after the training was one of the ways you could increase retention of the training material and encourage participants to put the training into action when they carry out panel work. In this way participants can continue to ask questions about panel work and increase their knowledge of the processes that they will be working in. They can also swap ideas for dealing with difficult situations. They can mentor or buddy one another to develop good practice in panel activities. In this way they will build up a community of panel members who will help to improve not only their own performances but also increase the consistency with which panel activities are carried out.
The most obvious way that you can facilitate this activity is providing an online facility, like a ‚chat room’, or by enabling participants to keep in email contact with each other. Unless you have made this a condition of the training, you should make sure that all participants are happy about having personal details such as email addresses circulated to everyone else. You should also make it clear what the rules for communication are, and whether anyone will moderate the chat room or emails.
If you have the resources, offering refresher training, annual meetings, or workshops are very good ways of keeping your community of panel members together and will give you opportunities to update them on any changes to the panel processes. Of course, providing these activities is expensive and panel members may not have the time to attend, so you might choose to do this updating using a website. Another alternative is to set aside a small amount of time before a panel activity (that is, a review, accreditation event, etc.) to update and refresh panel members’ knowledge before they start a new piece of panel work.
You can also encourage new panel members to reflect on their first panel event and draw up any action points that they feel they should address. If you have the resources, it would be good for a member of your agency to go through the action points with the new panel member to ensure that they can be dealt with successfully – perhaps with a mentor, or through using information on your website.
If a member of your agency is present with the panel team in its panel work, then you might be able to give a new panel member immediate feedback on their first panel activity. If you do this, then ideally you should have some criteria against which to give feedback. Some examples might be: was written work completed before the deadline? was the panel member punctual at the panel event? did the panel member contribute to panel discussions constructively and knowledgeably? did the panel member behave in a professional way with meetings with the institution? Work out what you want your panel member to do, and how you want them to behave. Then draw up your feedback criteria to match.
In order to be most effective training should not end when the last participant leaves the training room. If you can encourage panel members to stay in contact with you and with each other you will help to produce a community of panel members who will not only be interested in keeping their knowledge up to date, but also help to improve panel processes, and provide a source of support for you and for each other.
The Handbook can be downloaded .
“Responsibility sits with the government to ensure that our highly respected public university system is funded to deliver on the expectations of the community and industry,” said National President Jeannie Rea. The Ernst & Young report, released today, concludes: “The current Australian university model – a broad-based teaching and research institution, with a large base of assets and back office – will prove unviable in all but a few cases”.
Rea notes that the report identifies the main drivers of change which will inevitably bring about this transformation of the sector as:
- The democratisation of knowledge as a consequence of massive expansion of on-line resources;
- The contestability of markets and funding as a direct consequences of declining public investment and the adoption of market design policies to fund and regulate higher education;
- Digital technologies changing the way courses are delivered;
- Global mobility of students and staff; and
- Integration with industry to differentiate programs (through work integrated learning) and to support and fund applied research.
“The NTEU agrees that some of these drivers, namely increasing mobility and the impact of technology, the democratisation of knowledge as well closer links with industry, are inevitable and indeed are already having a profound impact on the way that universities deliver their teaching, research and community service obligations,” Rea says.
“The one driver, however, which is not inevitable in Australia is increasing the contestability of markets. While it might be true that universities face ‘an environment where every dollar of government funding is contestable’, it will be government policy choices that determine how much of that funding is allocated to higher education and our public universities.
“We do, however, agree with the report’s finding that a failure to increase public investment in our universities means that the current model of higher education is becoming unsustainable.”
The NTEU argues that it is now up to the federal government to decide whether it wants a higher education system comprised of a handful of elite research intensive universities concentrated in Australia’s capital cities or to maintain the current system where 38 public universities deliver a broad range of education, research and community service to students and communities who as little a twenty years ago were denied these opportunities.
“There has been a failure of the government to increase public investment to cover the real costs of higher education and to regulate the provision to only those institutions capable of delivering the highest quality of education and research. As Ernst & Young predicts, Australia could end up with a sector comprised of a handful of elite ‘status quo’ universities and ‘niche’ dominators and ‘transformers’ all touting for customers (students),” she said.
“It is the government’s responsibility to make this choice clear to all those involved in higher education as well as the Australian public. If, however, universities are to remain independent educational and research institutions and form a critical part of Australia’s social infrastructure, then they require additional public investment.
“If we are not careful, the Ernst and Young report will be read like a Back to the Future script for the pre-Dawkins era. This is not the way forward to the exciting opportunities enabled by digital technology and global mobility.”
Media enquiries: Carmel Shute, NTEU Media Officer: 0412 569 356 email@example.com.
Media comment: Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President: 0434 609 531 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference is linked to the project “Rebuilding Academia. The Transformations of Central-East European Universities since 1989″, and the main themes of the conference are linked to the impact of various international and European processes on higher education in Central and Eastern Europe (including Germany), with a special focus on the Bologna Process. Papers will be expected on these four core themes:
- Sociology of Bologna Process actors (experts, academics, etc.)
- Analysis of international transfers of knowledge, tools, technical indicators, etc.
- Direct and/or indirect impact of the Bologna Process on its academic “users” (students, academics, HEI technical staff)
- Global effects of the Bologna Process on the CEE academic space (uniformisation vs. heterogeneity; consolidation of symbolic hierarchies, new power relations etc.).
Deadline for sending in abstracts: 15 December 2012
For abstract/paper guidelines and more information about the conference theme, you can download the call for papers here.
The overarching question for the project is: What are the changing roles and scope of universities in emerging global knowledge economies and regions? The core themes are focused around three work packages, and the PhD projects have the following assigned broad topics, but the applicants are expected to write a project proposal based within the framework of the theme.
Work package 1, ‘Concepts and theories’
- PhD project: ASEM meetings and HE ‘policy travel’ from Europe to Asia (Bristol University, UK, supervised by professor R. Dale)
- PhD project: Internationalisation of higher education in centres and peripheries (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, supervised by professor P. Zgaga)
- PhD project: Conjunction of Chinese and Western educational traditions in the design and teaching of Sino-Danish Centre courses (Copenhagen Campus, Aarhus University, Denmark, supervised by professor S. Wright)
- PhD project: Academic values between globalisation and globalism (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, supervised by professor P. Zgaga)
- PhD project: Models of doctoral education (Copenhagen Campus, Aarhus University, Denmark, supervised by professor S. Wright)
- PhD project: Mapping the field of higher education industries, and choosing case studies (Bristol University, UK, supervised by professor S. Robertson)
- PhD project: Audit culture and the Industries of ranking (Copenhagen Campus, Aarhus University, Denmark, supervised by professor S. Wright)
- PhD project: Think Tanks and Academic Entrepreneurs in the Production of Knowledge (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, supervised by professor J.-L. Derouet and reader R. Normand)
- Post-doctoral project: New landscapes of publishing and knowledge dissemination (Bristol University, UK, supervised by professor S. Robertson)
- Post-doctoral project: Academic entrepreneurialism, civil society and democracy (Copenhagen Campus, Aarhus University, Denmark, supervised by professor S. Wright)
- PhD project: Impact of governance changes on the educational categories and internal life of universities (University of Porto, Portugal, supervised by professor A. M. Magalhães)
- PhD project: Alternative forms of university ownership, finance and organisation (Roehampton University, UK, supervised by professor R. Boden)
- PhD project: Governance through Autonomy – A context-rich comparative study (University of Porto, Portugal, supervised by professor A. M. Magalhães)
- PhD project: Management and gender (Roehampton University, UK, supervised by professor R. Boden)
Application deadline Sunday 3 February 2013 at 17:00 CET
More information about the PhD and post-doc positions, application procedures and requirements here (pdf) and on the project website.
We include apps related to various available large scale statistics, rankings, and other information about higher education. Excluded this time are apps that are specifically targeted towards students and instructors, such as various learning and time management apps.
World Bank EdStats DataFinder
Overview and usefulness: The app allows you to sort the data according to country, topic and indicators, in addition to the option to create advanced queries. The countries can be viewed in terms of alphabetical order, regions, and economic development. It is possible to customize the reports based on selected indicators and createvisualisations, in addition to saving these for later viewing. The app is free, and the amount of data available is massive. The statistics cover 2,000 indicators for more than 200 countries.
Drawbacks: Only availabole for iOS for the time being.
THE World University Rankings 2012-2013
Overview and usefulness: An app that visualises the data from the recent Times Higher Education rankings for 2012-2013. In addition to the overall rankings, there is in-depth data per institution. The mapping tool shows the best universities in a gegraphical overview. Overall, easy access to the recent rankings and also allows for customization options.
Drawbacks: A pity the apps are separate for each year, a better option would be to have a single app where one can select various years to avoid clutter on your screen if you would like to have various years handy. In addition, the app is only available for iPhone, without a good version for iPads, or any devices operating with Android.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (UK) stats
Overview and usefulness: Basic available data of UK higher education. The data sets currently includ academic years 2008-09 & 2009-10, and it is possible to examine a number of indicators regarding students, staff and finances of higher education, also in terms of percent wise comparison to previous years to examine trends. If you need quick data on UK available, this can be useful, especially as this does not require any internet/3G connection to function.
Drawbacks: The geographic limitation is clear, as is the fact that Android version yet again is lacking.
Reader for Times Higher Education (THE)
Overview and benefits: The free reader functions are quite basic, as it includes a button to get to the table of contents, a page viewer to examine either one or two pages simultanously on an iPad. However, in addition to this, there is a useful search option to the archives, and it is possible to save whole editions of THE into your own archieve. However, some content is for fee-paying subscribers only.
Drawbacks: Overall, the added functionality c0uld be better, and in many ways the opportunities that can be offered through an app are not used. Though, in its simple version it works great. Yet again, not available for Android.
Reader for the Chronicle of Higher Education
Overview and benefits: An basic free app to read the Chronicle. In addition to the very basic viewer, the options include a quick view of the latest news, opportunities to save stories to your own library.
Drawbacks: Users have reported a number of bugs, and it seems that the app works best if one has a paid subscription to Chronicle, as it seems that the News Stand item does not load at all when tested. Oh and guess what – no Android.
In addition, a number of individual HE institutions have developed their own apps, including Harvard, Stanford, LSE, MIT and University of Texas, but also some Norwegian institutions such as University of Agder and University of Nordland, all of which can be found on the iTunes store.
Do you know of some that are useful that we have not included? Any recommendations?
The European Education, Training and Youth Forum took place on 18-19 October in Brussels. The aim of the Forum, entitled “Investing in skills for growth and jobs”, was to mobilise stakeholders and policy makers to modernise education and training systems through national and EU policies and instruments in order to enhance growth and jobs. This year’s Forum had a double focus on 1) Education and training aspects of Europe 2020 and 2) the future Erasmus for All programme.
EUCIS-LLL published a Communiqué to the Forum entitled “Civil Society has its say: EUCIS-LLL key messages for the European Education, Training and Youth Forum 2012″ to highlight its key messages on the topics discussed during the Forum. You can watch the Forum online again on http://engage.vevent.com/.
Learn more and see previous editions of the Forum.
Since 2008, the European Commission has hosted an annual Stakeholders’ Forum on EU cooperation in education and training. The purpose of the Forums is to gather a broad group of European level stakeholders and social partners to discuss European cooperation in education and training mainly on topics of a transversal nature. The Forums are organised by the European Commission with the support of the EUCIS-LLL Platform.
CIVIL SOCIETY HAS ITS SAY: EUCIS‐LLL KEY MESSAGES FOR THE EUROPEAN EDUCATION, TRAINING AND YOUTH FORUM 2012
EUCIS‐LLL collected the results of the online consultation launched prior to the European Education, Training and Youth Forum 2012 organised by the European Commission with the support of EUCIS‐LLL. The consultation was sent to more than 2000 education stakeholders, from policy makers to education and training providers. Most of their key messages correspond to the ones from civil society. According to them, education and training should be inclusive and address all types of learners at all ages and adopt a holistic approach including the validation and recognition of non‐formal education and informal learning and their quality assurance. Quality expenditures in E&T should be seen as a smart and necessary investment for the future; financial support and capacity building for civil society organisations is as well strongly recommended as they are multipliers of EU policies in E&T and can voice citizens’ concerns in a bottom‐up approach.
Respondents of the consultation value a lifelong and a life wide learning approach. Education and Training should be inclusive and address all types of learners at all ages, including vulnerable groups and non‐traditional learners. The learning process should follow a learner‐centred approach and include flexible learning pathways. Quality will be ensured through innovative methods.
Non‐formal education and informal learning are key words in the consultation’s answers; they are essential to address learners at risk of drop‐out as well as to ensure active participation and employability. Social engagement in the community like volunteering is the best vector to develop transversal skills and active citizenship among young people in particular. The added value of nonformal education and informal learning needs to be acknowledged through validation and recognition mechanisms on EU and national levels, which will also lead to a stronger quality assurance.
Teachers and trainers should be continuously involved in LifeLong Learning to develop innovative pedagogical methods through peer learning, best practise sharing and also to be updated with the needs and practises in the labour market.
Widening the access to mobility for all learners is also considered as a vital step towards an innovative way to learn. This should happen together with a stronger monitoring of EU tools’ implementation in particular concerning recognition of experience gained abroad. Implementing a bottom‐up approach to get an evidence‐based input from grassroots level in policy making is as well one of the key recommendations of the respondents. Also, partnerships are a good solution in several areas, especially in the framework of the EU programmes “Erasmus for All” (as currently called) and the European Social Fund 2014‐2020: multi‐stakeholders cooperation between parents and/or civil society organisations with education institutions or cooperation between VET schools and businesses as well as cross‐sectorial cooperation between VET and Higher Education are among the solutions considered essential to enable innovative approaches and peer learning as well as dissemination of best practises.
Respondents also underline the necessity to build more bridges between education and work, especially for VET (Vocational Education and Training): more cooperation with employers, more work‐based learning and more career guidance is needed for the learners to be prepared to enter the labour market with the adequate skills. Once on the job market, their continuous training as well as recognition of the skills and competences they acquired is also strongly recommended.
In terms of policy, respondents underlined the requirement for consistency of EU action and a stronger political commitment from all levels. National strategies should be more strongly coordinated and supported with appropriate funding, and challenges should be mainstreamed in all policies.
Investing in education and training is said by the respondents to be smart and necessary in times of economic downturn, as it creates value for the future in terms of human capital. Investing in civil society organisations is in particular the very basis to make sure that they will play their role as multipliers and convey the messages of EU policies to the citizens while creating a stronger sense of European belonging amongst populations and at the same time voice citizens’ concerns. Respondents stress the need to avoid cutting budget lines in the ESF or the “Erasmus for All” programme as they are complementary. Also, project’s impacts should be monitored and high quality projects should be funded through simplified procedures.
Contact: Tania Berman, Communication Officer, +32 2 234 61 38, tania.berman@eucis‐lll.eu.
Note to the editor:
The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS‐LLL) gathers 31 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for secondary and higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education; networks for students, school heads, parents, HRD professionals, teachers and trainers.
The tool is based on the guidelines of the European quality assurance reference framework for VET and helps to adapt these guidelines to the situation in each country.
The tool assists VET systems and providers to:
- evaluate their approach to quality assurance;
- examine how other Member States and VET providers in Europe operate their quality assurance system;
- explore new ideas relating to the design of national, regional or institutional quality assurance systems;
- stimulate further thinking on how to introduce or develop quality assurance mechanisms.
- For VET systems: http://www.eqavet.eu/index.html
- For VET providers: http://www.eqavet.eu/index2.html
Leaflet "EQAVET Quality Cycle"
See also Using ECVET for Geographical Mobility, The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET), Partnerships for lifelong learning in Europe: Towards greater permeability, Supporting modernisation of VET systems, Mainstreaming ECVET to practitioners, Quality assurance and Transparency.