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  • Institutional values and the student experience

    Annie Gosling and Owen Gower – Who cares what the institutional structures of a university are, provided that the best student educational opportunities are preserved? Well, it may be that bureaucratic and financial structures are not isolable from the intellectual development of students. Will students have a different (worse?) educational experience if their university is privately run, or if they get a degree in two years rather than three, or if the delivery of their degree is out-sourced to further […]

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  • Why contradiction is (and always will be) higher education’s great strength

    By Martin Hughes – Higher education (HE) is full of contradiction. Contradiction conjures up images of uncertainty. And that makes me hopeful for the future. Universities thrive on exploration and multiple perspectives. Every institution is rife with healthy argument. The pursuit of learning often conflicts with the pursuit of a better career. In short, one person’s potion is another’s poison. No single purpose for HE can be defined. Yet this is precisely why I am optimistic. Far from a lack […]

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  • A worried parent writes from the UK

    By Stefan Stern – ‘Plumbing college.’ This was my wife’s not entirely satirical answer to the question about where she hoped our children might end up studying. Plumbing college clearly has a lot to recommend it. You learn useful and relevant skills there. You become eminently employable. And you probably don’t find yourself having £30,000 of tuition fees to pay back when you finally complete the course. But all this talk of fees and employability takes us down an avenue […]

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  • The international student and the challenge for universities

    The international student and the challenge for universities

    By Professor Glyn Davis – ‘The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.’ — Rabindranath Tagore The great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore writes powerfully on the excitement and pain of ‘the journey home’. Tagore’s journey home, takes in many distant shores and worlds towards an understanding of his best potential self. For more than three million international students, the challenges of the journey are experienced every day. Living in an unfamiliar culture. Missing the […]

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  • Building a fairer system in Australia

    Building a fairer system in Australia

    By Denise Bradley – Recent changes to higher education in Australia are the most significant in twenty years and are shaped by a vision for higher education as an agent of social transformation. The initiatives to increase participation from under-represented groups start from a basic assumption that: ‘Social inclusion must be a core responsibility for all institutions in receipt of public funding, irrespective of history and circumstances.’ 1 But will they advance this aim? Implementing change Universities are now responsible for […]

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  • From connectivity to next-generation learning

    From connectivity to next-generation learning

    By Chun-ming Leung – We can apply elements of network theory to identify increasing connectivity as a driving force behind recent developments in higher education. This will also help us to understand the different characteristics of next-generation learning. Connectivity and Learning We define the connectivity of a network as a measure of the extent to which its components are linked to one another, and of the ease with which the individual components can interact with each other. Since learning generally […]

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  • The students of tomorrow

    The students of tomorrow

    By Rikiichi Koizumi – The growth of ICT such as the Internet has been accelerating the globalisation of societies in recent years. In cyberspace, there are no national, temporal or geographical borders. ‘Digital natives’, who were born at a time when the Internet was commonplace, live in two different societies: the ‘real society’ and the ‘virtual society’. Living in such an environment is perfectly normal and natural for them. However, for ‘digital immigrants’ like those of my generation, this two-tiered […]

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  • How Open Data, data literacy and Linked Data will revolutionise higher education

    By Derek McAuley, Hanif Rahemtulla, James Goulding and Catherine Souch – ‘Open Data’ refers to the philosophical and methodological approach to democratising data, enabling individuals, communities and organisations to access and create value through the reuse of non-sensitive, publicly available information. This data is typically available online at no cost to citizen groups, non-governmental-organisations (NGOs) and businesses. Some view this as the logical conclusion to Freedom of Information (FoI) Acts in various countries—if citizens can ask for the data, why […]

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  • The future of university rankings

    By Phil Baty – Let us be frank. University rankings are crude. They simply cannot capture—let alone accurately measure—many of the things that matter most in higher education: how a great lecturer can transform the lives of their students for example, or how much free enquiry enhances our society. They can never be objective, because their indicators and methodologies are based on the subjective judgment of the compilers. At their worst, university rankings can impose uniformity on a sector that […]

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