15 décembre 2012

Why is no one defending teaching at our universities?

http://bathknightblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/telegraph-logo.jpgYour undergraduate experience depends upon the quality of teaching staff - yet universities continue to put research first, argues Gervas Huxley.
 Much as we wish it weren’t so, Christmas shopping really boils down to one simple rule – the more you spend, the more you end up with under your tree.
The same does not seem to apply to our university system. Students are typically taught in tutorials of 15 or more students these days, whilst their parents (if they went to university) studied in classes less than half this size and of course paid no fee.
How can this be fair? For all the talk about market forces and value for money supposedly reshaping our university system, it doesn’t take an Economics lecturer to see there’s something amiss. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:58 - - Permalien [#]

Open University launches British Mooc platform to rival US providers

Click here for THE homepageBy Chris Parr. A UK-based platform for massive open online courses (Moocs) to rival established providers in the US has been launched by The Open University.
Futurelearn will carry courses from 12 UK institutions (see list), which will be available to students across the world free of charge.
It will follow in the footsteps of US providers including Coursera, edX and Udacity, which offer around 230 Moocs from around 40 mostly US-based institutions to more than 3 million students.
The new platform will operate as an independent company, majority owned by The Open University, although details of other investors have yet to be confirmed.
Simon Nelson, a key player in the development of BBC's online offerings, including the iPlayer, has been recruited to head up the new company. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:53 - - Permalien [#]

Report highlights huge growth in overseas student numbers

Click here for THE homepageInternational students make up 12 per cent of the total student population at UK universities, a sharp rise from 8 per cent eight years earlier.
That is one of the findings in a Universities UK report, Patterns and trends in UK higher education, published yesterday.
Paul O'Prey, vice-chancellor of Roehampton University and chair of UUK's Longer Term Strategy Network, says in his foreword to the report: "Since 2001 the number of students gaining a first degree has risen by 17 per cent, while the number achieving a postgraduate qualification has risen by 27 per cent. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:44 - - Permalien [#]

Be here now, or else: lamentable effects of student 'presenteeism'

Click here for THE homepageForcing undergraduates to attend class retards their capacity to develop as mature, independent learners, warns Bruce Macfarlane.
Academics frequently complain that their freedom is being infringed by the scrutiny imposed on them by developments such as teaching observations, research assessments and annual appraisals. But we rarely reflect on the increasing surveillance to which students are also subject and the effect this has on their academic freedom.
There was a time when being a university student meant "reading" for a degree. Attending lectures and seminars was a matter of choice, and skipping classes barely raised an eyebrow. Now, attendance policies and class registers are the order of the day. Some lecturers even use draconian measures such as excluding students who are not punctual.
But the surveillance culture goes much deeper than that. There are an array of assessment-related proxies aimed at getting students to attend, including oral presentations, short tests and quizzes, cunningly scheduled for the beginning of classes including lectures, smaller group tutorials and seminars. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:42 - - Permalien [#]

It should be the making of us

Click here for THE homepageRejecting dire warnings that increasing competition in higher education will end in disaster, Paul Ramsden argues that the opposite could be true, but only if the sector is allowed to take charge of its own destiny.
A series of doom-laden stories, rich in self-serving hyperbole, have haunted the discourse of higher education since the Browne report. The latest terror to grip the sector is that this year's downturn in undergraduate numbers is the result of students being deterred in their droves by higher fees. That this panic is without foundation means nothing to the media and an assortment of senior academics. Let's be generous and say that they must have forgotten the lessons of basic statistics. They happily mistake correlation for causation and predict a trend towards the end of the university as we know it - from a single year's full data and very preliminary figures for 2014 admissions. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:40 - - Permalien [#]

Boom times and golden goals

Click here for THE homepageBy Elizabeth Gibney. All eyes are on Brazil's academy and its rising research output, generous funding and willingness to team up internationally in a bid to become a major player. Adnei Melges de Andrade is a busy man. As vice-rector for international relations at the University of São Paulo, his office is increasingly the first port of call for visiting ambassadors, ministers and even prime ministers and presidents. His institution, widely seen as Brazil's top university, sometimes receives as many as five delegations a day. "In 2010 we had 88 delegations; in 2011 it was 142," says de Andrade. "This year we had 105 by June, and I think there will be many more."
With higher education budgets in Europe and the US being cut, it is perhaps not surprising that politicians and vice-chancellors across the world are interested in the Latin American giant and its growing spending power. According to one report, The State of Science 2011, produced by the Network of Ibero-American and Inter-American Science and Technology Indicators (RICYT), Brazil invested $24.9 billion (£15.6 billion) in research and development in 2010. Although cuts to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation budget last year may dent this figure slightly, it will still be from a base three times bigger than in 2002. Adjusting for the purchasing power of each currency, Brazil now spends more on R&D than Canada or Italy. The boom in spending has seen a commensurate rise in scientific output. The number of papers by Brazilian authors in the Thomson Reuters Science Citation Index doubled between 1997 and 2007, making the country the 13th-largest producer of science in the world. Approximately three-quarters of researchers in the country work in academia, and a trip to some of Brazil's top institutions reveals ample proof of the fruits of this investment.The University of São Paulo is the top-ranked Latin American institution in the 2012-13 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, at 158, and it is the oldest university in Brazil. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:37 - - Permalien [#]

Report highlights access benefit for children of graduates

Click here for THE homepageBy John Morgan. State school students in England with university-educated parents are five times more likely to reach higher education than those from "disadvantaged backgrounds", and are also more likely to go to an elite institution.That is the finding of new research by academics at the Institute of Education, University of London, demonstrating the part played by family background in determining which state-educated pupils go on to university.
The findings have emerged from an analysis of university entry data for four English-speaking countries - England, Canada, Australia and the United States. The research was conducted by John Jerrim, lecturer in economics and social science, and Anna Vignoles, visiting professor in the Institute's department of quantitative social science. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:24 - - Permalien [#]

UK higher education should be a business that knows no borders

The Guardian homeUniversities are a knowledge industry that imposes borders on movement and transfer at its own peril, says Abhinay Muthoo.
Imagine that you run one of the nation's most successful export industries. You produce one of the world's most sought-after cars. Designed by the world's best engineers, these models are so hot that you can't possibly keep up with demand. Even though you can offer the car to only carefully screened, potential buyers, you can live with that limitation. It only adds cachet. Business thrives.
Then the government changes the laws to make entering the showroom harder to do. Your customers will require more scrutiny before they are allowed to walk in to make their purchases. The same goes for your design engineers. Your most promising customers are put off. They decide they will try one of your competitor's excellent new models. The world-class engineers, uncertain over whether they can come to work and whether they will be allowed to remain, are recruited by more welcoming competitors elsewhere. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:21 - - Permalien [#]

Top UK universities launch free online courses

The Guardian homeBy . Elite institutions will team up with the Open University to offer free internet courses through FutureLearn, a new company that will rival US programmes Coursera and edX. Eleven top UK universities are joining the Open University to launch free internet courses, in a bid to catch up with the elite US institutions that have led the way online.
King's College London, along with the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick have partnered with FutureLearn, a company set up by the Open University that will offer free, non-credit bearing courses to internet-users around the world.
The courses are modelled on the US phenomenon 'massive open online courses' (Moocs), which have attracted millions of users across the globe, and are especially popular in emerging economies – a key market place for UK universities.
FutureLearn will promote UK institutions to international students, said Prof Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of the Open University. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:18 - - Permalien [#]

The Library as a Free Enterprise

HomeBy Barbara Fister. Mita Williams, of the University of Windsor, recently posted her slides from an amazing talk that she gave last month. Anyone who follows me on Twitter might have noticed my ALL CAPS enthusiasm for what she had to say. It was a wide-ranging talk, but it projected the kind of future we can have if we pay attention to what’s going on and keep hold of one important idea: the future of the academic library is free.
Free as in freedom.  Free as in access to ideas without gatekeepers or tolls. Free as in enabling the creation of new things, of bringing the community to the world instead of the other way around. Free as in... well, libraries. She points to our increasing dependence on corporations for both proprietary content and for access platforms. Library software providers are dwindling in number, being bought and sold like pork bellies by private equity firms, and in spite of all that market fermentation, the catalog still sucks. If academic libraries pooled their funds, instead of each being a customer individually negotiating with a limited number of vendors, we could do so much more. We have let the idea of libraries as nodes in a world of idea-sharing lapse in the face of license agreements and defining our hyper-local value propositions. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 23:13 - - Permalien [#]