February 12th, 2010
This is quite an interesting tool developed by a team from Bradford university with JISC funding, although the learning and teaching implications may still be a bit obscure. It searches Wikipedia for related terms and then creates a concept map showing how they are linked. It isn’t a recommendation for students to use wikipedia, before everyone shouts at once, it just shows ways in which students could be given some starting points for thinking about topics. The example given is for students to search from ‘bread’ to ‘cheese’ but you can quickly think of more useful examples such as “politics” to “indonesia” or “quantum theory” to “nuclear energy”.
Haven’t tested it as you have to install MS Silverlight on your computer – surely an accessibility issue – but would be interested to see what people think.
November 27th, 2009
QAA podcast: ‘Studying at university is not a simple financial transaction…it is a process of education’
In which, Wes and Graeme attempt to stem the tide of consumerism…
To accompany their recent paper (“Rethinking the values of higher education – consumption, partnership, community?), Wes Streeting, President, and Graeme Wise, Political Officer of the NUS have produced a podcast. They explain the ways in which they think that student partnership will be vital to the future of HE – mentioning communities of practice as a model – and defending diversity and experimentation in student experience.
Nice moment where the host imagines VCs listening the the podcast and asking Wes and Graeme where the VCs should start with implementing their ideas…..(answer: read the paper)
November 20th, 2009
The QAA has just published a report from the NUS entitled “Rethinking the values of higher education – consumption, partnership, community?”.
“The character of higher education in Britain is rapidly changing. There are worries over the ‘value for money’ that students get for the fees they now pay, about possible ‘mis-selling’ of university courses. Underlying it all, we believe, is the trend towards market approaches in the way higher education is organised. One of the most important symptoms of this is the increasingly prevalent notion of the student ‘as consumer’.
This notion is situated within a much wider process of change in public services. The aim of a ‘students as consumers’ model is to bring these principles to the higher education environment. It invites students to navigate higher education as a market. QAA has invited the National Union of Students to pursue an exploration of this issue and we want to do so explicitly from the student perspective.”
The report proposes some extreme caricatures of student consumers and uses these to argue for a system ofÂ ‘co-production’ and the sharing of power between students and universities.
March 26th, 2009
This is the title of a paper from a project based at the University of Melbourne, supported by Microsoft, Cisco and Intel, which aims to review ways of assessing these core skills:
Creativity and innovation
The project is looking for contributors and supporters – find out more from this project release document.
December 5th, 2008
From the Researchers’ Weekly bulletin, a ‘policy brief’ from a think tank called the Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal. This report looks at alternative ways of comparing national higher education systems and suggests that the criteria of “Inclusiveness, Access, Effectiveness, Attractiveness, Age Range and Responsiveness” would be give the best information about a country’s ability to prepare its citizens for the knowledge-based economy than some of the ‘league table’ approaches . The study looks at national figures but the criteria themselves are interesting in terms of goal-setting.
The introduction to the report says “….the system must be capable (and not simply at a rhetorical level) of empowering and equipping the largest possible number of individuals with the fullest set of tools she or he will need to become well-rounded participants in our social democracy and fully-functioning economic units in that society. It must also stand out â€“ as many systems do today â€“ as a centre of worldleading, independent research, capable of preserving, developing and perhaps even expanding our valuable cultural and scientific legacy for generations to come. But seeking excellence in research should never be allowed to become an excuse for underperformance in the educational tasks.” Who’d argue with that?
December 2nd, 2008
From the executive summary: â€œSocial network sites, online games, video-sharing sites, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now fixtures of youth culture. They have so permeated young lives that it is hard to believe that less than a decade ago these technologies barely existed. Todayâ€™s youth may be coming of age and struggling for autonomy and identity as did their predecessors, but they are doing so amid new worlds for communication, friendship, play, and self-expression. We include here the findings of three years of research on kidsâ€™ informal learning with digital media â€¦ The book is an online version of our forthcoming book with MIT Press and incorporates the insights from 800 youth and young adults and over 5000 hours of online observations.â€Â This large research project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, looks at ‘the digital generation’ with breadth and depth. See the full report here
from the MMU researchers’ weekly bulletin
November 13th, 2008
A report commissioned by DIUS on the future of teaching and the student experience is now available. It chimes well with many of the discussions which have been happening around MMUÂ and should be a good read for anyone interested in the next few years of HE teaching. The summary indicates the challenge being laid out to HE institutions:
“Universities and colleges should be prepared to contemplate remodelling their curricula, perhaps radically, and building a more flexible workforce. Government and agencies should be ready to introduce funding models and quality systems that will realise a vision of higher education as an engaged partnership between students and providers.I”.
Another report, on On-line Innovation in Higher Education, looks at how ICT should be used over the next decade and concludes that we need better ICT infrastructure and more open access materials.
All nine of the reports in the series are available on the DIUS website. together with a link to a blog where comments can be made.
July 6th, 2008
This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has an article about High Point University in North Carolina, which believes that students should be ‘wowed’. This includes free live music in the canteen, a free ice cream truck, free weekly car washes, a hot tub, birthday cards for each student……
The article makes no mention of learning and teaching, but the university website says that “In a recently completed study, the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching concluded that often, at the research institutions, “undergraduates are seriously neglected,” in part because they are often taught by graduate students. By contrast, at High Point, you will be taught by career teachers who care about students.” Maybe that’s an important aspect of the ‘wow’ factor?
You can see the original article from the Chronicle of Higher Education here (this may be temporary)
(via Eddie Higgins and the Association of Law Teachers newsletter)
June 16th, 2008
The HEA and QAA, with HEFCE support, have just published a report entitled ‘Quality enhancement and
assurance â€“ a changing picture?‘ The report aims to paint a picture of “about â€˜enhancementâ€™ is perceived and defined, what its relationship to quality assurance might be, and how it might be changing.”
With institutional auditÂ coming our way in Autumn 2009, this report provides a good snapshot of thinking on quality enhancement which should help us to ensure that we are thinking along the right lines.