23 février 2013

US aims to engage Muslim world via higher education

Click here for THE homepageBy Phil Baty. The idea of “education diplomacy” has “really arrived” at the highest levels of American foreign policy, a US State Department official has told an international higher education conference
Meghann Curtis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, said that the bureau had always been driven by the notion that “we’d be a more stable, peaceful and prosperous world if we could all get to know one another”. But she said that the issue had recently become “incredibly important”.
Engagement with the Middle East and North Africa, and other Muslim-majority countries, was a top priority to address a “big deficit” in mutual understanding, she said in a round-table session, “The importance of academic exchange in foreign affairs” at the Association of International Education Administrators annual conference in New Orleans. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:58 - - Permalien [#]


Will the study of archaeology soon become a thing of the past?

The Guardian homeRichard III's discovery showcased UK academia, says Michael Braddick. But as student demand for certain subjects falls, should we have grave concerns for our future knowledge base?
Finding Richard III
(on the premises of Leicester social services no less) is testament to the ingenuity of archaeologists. Weaving together findings from historical analysis of texts with scientific analysis of the skeleton and the site, they have made an overwhelming case that these are the remains of the king. As a historian, I spend a lot of time trying to listen to the dead. Every now and then a curtain seems to be pulled aside and we hear them directly, and the feeling is very powerful. The way that the wounds to the skull match with one of the historical accounts of Richard's death did that for me: I was taken to Richard's final moments, as his helmet was lost and his attackers closed in, his horse gone or stuck in the mud, the moments in other words when he knew he had lost his kingdom and his life. That human connection is precious, and rare. This ingenious work has recovered an important part of our heritage and will no doubt have direct economic benefits. "The King under the Car Park", as Channel 4 had it, will no doubt stimulate our creative and heritage industries. Leicester University's archaeology department will, I hope, thrive on the publicity. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:52 - - Permalien [#]

Open University, open world

The Guardian homeSponsored feature. Managing development has never been more challenging – but the Open University's post-graduate programme provides the skills to bring about effective and efficient solutions.
Managing development has never been more challenging – but the Open University's post-graduate programme provides the skills to bring about effective and efficient solutions.
The MSc in global development management actively encourages students to draw on their own working experiences and feed their learning back into their everyday job – and gives them the tools to progress their career in the field.
Hazel Siri, a qualified nurse who is currently in Haiti as country director at non-governmental organisation Merlin, says the programme not only improved her knowledge in a range of topics including business, human rights law, urban transition and intervention – it also changed the way she thinks and works. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:50 - - Permalien [#]

David Willetts: older people should return to higher education

The Guardian homeBy Conal Urquhart. The universities minister encouraged workers at the end of their careers to study again as educational patterns change. Older people should consider going to university in order to continue working beyond the official retirement age, the minister for higher education has said.
David Willetts
encouraged workers at the end of their careers to see higher education as an option. "There is certainly a pressure for continuing to get retrained and upskilled. Higher education has an economic benefit in that if you stay up to date with knowledge and skills, you are more employable," he told reporters as he travelled with the prime minister, David Cameron, in India. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:46 - - Permalien [#]

No room at home for poorest students

The Guardian homeStudent accommodation is for 39 weeks a year. For 13 weeks students usually go home. The poorest students are likely to have parents claiming housing benefit, and often will be the first generation in their family to go to university. What happens now with the bedroom tax (Comment, 19 February)? Student loans are calculated on accommodation costs being for term-time only. Do parents have to choose between being financially penalised for keeping their child's bedroom available for the holidays or moving to a smaller place and making their child homeless for the holidays, unable to claim housing benefit for themselves as they are under 24? I know a lone parent with a disabled son due to go to university in September. Because of his disability he has to come home more often than most students. She doesn't know what to do. This type of dilemma will be replicated across the UK hitting the most vulnerable students – another factor making university less accessible for the poorest.
Fiona Kirton
Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Posté par pcassuto à 21:44 - - Permalien [#]


British MOOC Provider Expands; Prime Minister Promotes It in India

HomeAnother sign of the competition among MOOCs (massive online open courses) for the global student population: The all-British MOOC provider on Monday announced an expansion and British Prime Minister David Cameron promoted the offerings during a trip to India. Cameron said that the expansion of Futurelearn (as the MOOC provider is called) "will mean that Indian students can access some of the best teaching and learning online from their home in Mumbai or Delhi." And a statement from Simon Nelson, CEO of Futurelearn, noted the international competition. "Until now, this market has been dominated by companies based in the U.S., but with 18 U.K. partners, we are determined to provide the smartest and most engaging online learning experiences and revolutionize conventional models of education." Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:39 - - Permalien [#]

Some Groups May Not Benefit From Online Education

HomeSome of the students most often targeted in the push to use online learning to increase college access are less likely than their peers to benefit from -- and may in fact be hurt by -- digital as opposed to face-to-face instruction, new data from a long-term study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College suggest.
"Adaptability to Online Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas,"
by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars, researchers at the center, examines the performance of nearly 40,000 Washington State community college students who took both online and on-ground courses, and finds significant differences in how various subgroups performed. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:37 - - Permalien [#]

The Particle Accelerator of Learning

HomeBy Peter Stokes. “The fruit ripens slowly,” the Guru Nisargadatta Maharaj once observed, “but it drops suddenly.”
In a similar fashion, MOOCs (or massive open online courses) seem to have arrived almost out of nowhere, in quick succession – first Udacity in February of last year, followed by Coursera in April, then edX in May. Remarkable as it may seem, MOOCs as we know them today have been with us only for as long as it has taken the Earth to make one orbit around the sun.
“I like to call the last year ‘the decade of online learning,’ ” joked Anant Agarwal, president of edX, during my recent visit to the offices of his bustling startup in the Kendall Square area of Cambridge, Mass.
As accelerated as the progression of MOOCs has been from curious acronym to household name, and as much as it may seem that MOOCs themselves have fallen from the sky, in truth MOOCs have been ripening for some time. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 21:34 - - Permalien [#]

What is the business model for online education?

An und für sich. I should be clear: I believe that online education has only a very narrow ideal application (i.e., for literal shut-ins or for people stuck in Antarctica). There are more than enough classrooms and instructors to go around nearly everywhere in the US — indeed, colleges are constantly building new satellite campuses to compete with each other. The only benefit is an economic one, namely to create economies of scale. Yet every single credible piece of evidence in higher education research strongly supports the (completely intuitive) idea that high-quality education simply cannot be “scaled up.” Education is something that’s best carried out with some balance between small groups and one-on-one contact with an instructor.
Now it’s not as though most universities are following the ideal practice in any case. Large lecture classes are already essentially “distance learning.” So just from a totally cynical standpoint, one could begin to discuss whether the economic gains are likely to be enough to make up for the loss in quality of an already low-quality model (i.e., the large lecture class that remains a staple of mainstream higher ed despite the overwhelming evidence against its efficacy). Read more...

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

To Fix Its Education System, India Should Look to MOOCs

http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/worldwise-nameplate.gifBy William H. Avery. In the 20th century, the United States built a higher-education system that no nation could match in scale and quality. This system helped the country become the dominant economic power of the post-World War II era.
But that is last century’s news. Today India and China are racing to expand and enhance their own higher-education systems, with the aim of becoming economic powerhouses of the 21st century. It is a race that India has been losing, with potentially disastrous consequences for its future economic growth prospects. India needs a game-changer quickly, if it is to close the growing gap with China in higher education today and avoid an even larger gap in economic growth tomorrow. Read more...

Posté par pcassuto à 19:24 - - Permalien [#]