A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education – HEPI

Source: Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) http://www.hepi.ac.uk/2017/09/25/connected-curriculum-higher-education/

A recent international conference at University College London (UCL) explored international perspectives on creating a more ‘connected’ higher education sector. More than 300 delegates from 18 countries shared research and practices relating to breaking down the divisions, including those between research and student education, between students, researchers and professionals, and between students and local and wider communities.

Why this renewed emphasis on building such bridges?

As I argued at the conference, higher education already makes a tremendous impact for good across the world. As Universities UK claims, the sector drives productivity and growth, attracts talent from across the globe, and equips people with skills to succeed. The extraordinary range of high quality research carried out by the sector changes the world, and universities can transform people’s lives. But recent political events in the UK, in the US and beyond have shone a critical light on the gap between the languages, practices and even values of higher education and those of the societies in which they are situated. It’s time to look again at what we are doing, at how we’re articulating our multiple missions and, especially, how we are engaging in authentic partnerships with local and wider communities with respect to both research and education.

Introducing a Connected Curriculum

My work on Connected Curriculum offers a practical set of steps for changing the ways in which we design and enhance university curricula. Drawing on philosophical roots, my newly published open access book, A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education, proposes a fresh way of framing what we do. At its core, it emphasises the need for students to learn through research and critical enquiry, engaging actively with complex global challenges, but the framing introduces six key dimensions to support this goal. The book incorporates a series of vignettes of practice from institutions around the world, which illustrate a range of ways in which the underpinning principles can be put into practice.

In the book I argue that we need to create much stronger connections between students and researchers. How can students, at all levels of the curriculum, really benefit from studying in an environment where research takes place, and where researchers really are pushing on the edges of what we think we know? Practical steps adopted by a number of departments at UCL have included a ‘Meet The Researcher’ induction activity, in which students in small groups investigate the work of one of the department’s researchers, meet them to discuss it, then produce an ‘output’ (whether online or face to face) that communicates aspects of that body of work to a lay audience. This has proved extremely popular with both researchers and students, and offers just one way of beginning to break down the research-education gap.

A connected ‘throughline’

The Connected Curriculum framework emphasises the importance of creating a connected ‘throughline’, which anchors the narrative of the degree programme while empowering students to steadily build their skills and confidence and equipping them to make useful links across disciplines.  This throughline can also act as a locus for challenging students to make and articulate connections between their academic learning and learning needed for the workplace.  It can also explicitly challenge students to make connections across disciplines. An example of this is seen in UCL’s innovative Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BASc) degree, in which students study across disciplines and are challenged in core modules to make explicit connections between them.

Key to the Connected Curriculum framework is changing the characteristics of student assessments, so that some assessment tasks at each level of study require students to produce ‘outputs’ for a specified, real world audience. Ideally, this includes opportunities for working in partnership with audiences drawn from wider societal groups – for example, local charities, high schools, online interest groups, policy makers, employers’ groups – to investigate a topic of mutual interest, for shared benefit. A radical proposal in the book is to move away from so much reliance on a modular system and towards programme-level Showcase Portfolios, which are curated by students and show the best of what they have done on the whole degree, including the work that is designed explicitly to be outward-facing.

At UCL we’re drawing on the Connected Curriculum framework, with its underpinning philosophy of empowering students to engage with the edge of knowledge, as a key part of our Education Strategy. The international conference in June showed that there is huge interest globally in re-framing what the sector is doing, within and across disciplines. We live in challenging times, but they are full of possibilities for universities to make even more of a difference.

German Scientists Resign from Elsevier Journals’ Editorial Boards | The Scientist Magazine®

 

These researchers join around 200 research institutions that have cut ties with the publishing giant to support the ongoing push for open access and favorable pricing.

Source: German Scientists Resign from Elsevier Journals’ Editorial Boards | The Scientist Magazine®

Eight German researchers have announced their resignation from the editorial and advisory boards of a handful of Elsevier’s journals since last Thursday (October 12) to show support for German research institutions as they attempt to establish a new, nationwide licensing agreement with the Dutch publishing giant.

“It’s a symbolic gesture—obviously, scientists could be replaced on editorial boards,” says Wolfgang Marquardt, an engineer and the chairman of the Jülich Research Center in Germany. Marquardt is stepping down from the editorial boards of three Elsevier journals—Computers and Chemical EngineeringCurrent Opinion in Chemical Engineering, and Chemical Engineering Science. “I think it’s important to show that the science community is not happy with the way the negotiations went.”

Others who have stepped down include Marino Zerial of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Jörg Raisch at the Technical University of Berlin, and Anton Möslang of the Karhlsrule Institute of Technology.

This is the latest development in the ongoing fight for favorable pricing and open access by the DEAL project, an alliance of German institutions led by the German Rectors’ Conference. DEAL is pushing for publishers to adopt a “publish and read model,” where one combined fee would include access to all of Elsevier’s journals and “golden open access,” which would allow all papers with German first authors to be freely accessible to readers around the world.

According to Horst Hippler, the president of the German Rectors’ Conference and the spokesperson for DEAL, more scientists are expected to resign from their positions on the editorial boards of Elsevier journals.

“Elsevier respects the decisions of the editors to consider stepping down if an agreement with [German Rectors’ Conference] isn’t reached,” Harald Boersma, Elsevier’s corporate relations director, writes in an email to The Scientist. “We remain dedicated to achieving a successful outcome of these negotiations. This requires constructive dialogue and collaboration.”

…Continue at TheScientist: http://mobile.the-scientist.com/article/50671/german-scientists-resign-from-elsevier-journals-editorial-boards/#.We3dLw6ONjs.twitter

How Artificial Intelligence Can Change Higher Education | Smithsonian

Sebastian Thrun, winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for education takes is redefining the modern classroom

Source: How Artificial Intelligence Can Change Higher Education | People & Places | Smithsonian

(…) Now, most MOOCs consist essentially of lectures posted on the Internet—“very boring and uninspirational,” Thrun says. He compares the situation to the dawn of any medium, such as film. “The first full feature movies were recordings of the physical play, end to end. They hadn’t even realized you could make gaps and cut the movie afterwards.” Udacity is rewriting the script: Rather than a talking head, there’s Thrun’s hand, writing on a whiteboard (“The hand came along by accident,” he says, “but people loved it”); rather than a quiz a week later, the lesson is peppered with on-the-spot problem-solving. What sets Udacity apart from traditional educational institutions—and from its online predecessors—is this emphasis on identifying and solving problems. “I firmly believe that learning occurs when people think and work,” Thrun says. Udacity’s website says, “It’s not about grades. It’s about mastery.” One satisfied student wrote that Udacity had defined the difference between putting a university course online and creating an online university course.

Read more at Smithsoinanmag

5 Strategies to Thwart Cyberattacks in Higher Education

Source: http://www.centerdigitaled.com/higher-ed/5-Strategies-to-Thwart-Cyberattacks-in-Higher-Education.html   (Center for Digital Education & Converge)

Of all the IT challenges in higher education, cybersecurity is at the top of the list. As cyberattacks become more sophisticated and targeted, phishing emails are more difficult to detect. End users are increasingly clicking on phishing links and discarding warnings designed to help protect them. The risks of providing credentials to nefarious hackers can be catastrophic for the individual and for your enterprise. While corporate cyberattacks have been in the headlines, academic institutions possess a treasure trove of important data, identities, sensitive financial information, Social Security numbers and private research.

Today, there are many defensive software and hardware tools available to thwart cyberattacks, but equally important are having strategies to create effective communications, information and awareness. These strategies can cost little — or are free — but can yield impressive dividends and create a proactive first line of defense. End users can become confident in protecting themselves and their data from aggressive phishing, spamming, and ransomware attacks.

While end users are beginning to recognize the dangers of cyberattacks, many do not fully understand security risk, how to protect themselves from data theft, and how to spot phishing attacks. To protect your institution, it’s important to change your campus cybersecurity culture to ensure people are safe, informed, and secure. Having an effective communications and awareness program is an important first step. How do you start?

(…continue at source)

 

Poland: Experts call for radical changes in higher education

Source: Experts call for radical changes in higher education – University World News

‘Suboptimal’ is the key word used as a panel of European experts of the Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility describe the present state of higher education in Poland.
The Peer Review of Poland’s Higher Education and Science Systemreport, prepared by the panel, has been a point of departure in the process of drafting a new law regulating the sector of science and higher education in Poland.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the report’s recommendations has not been included in the proposed new law, announced last Tuesday in Krakow.
The report was prepared at the request of Jaroslaw Gowin, deputy prime minister and minister of science and higher education.
The experts diagnosed several key challenges facing Polish higher education:

  • Underfunding (not a surprise);
  • Fragmentation of the higher education system (too many small, narrow specialised institutions);
  • Lack of diversity of institutional missions;
  • System of quality assurance and evaluation of higher education and research insufficiently aligned with international standards; and
  • The fact that a large part of Poland’s research, development and innovation capacity is outside of universities.

In order to enhance the diversification and profiling of higher education institutions, the panel of experts proposed to strengthen a group of research-intensive universities and clearly distinguish them from a robust and dynamic vocational higher education sector.  (…)

How can colleges amend unsustainable business models? | Education Dive

A new report recommends drastic transformations to remain competitive.

It surveys higher education stakeholders about the future of the industry, with many agreeing that the current business model may be “unsustainable.”

The consensus reflects the reality of dwindling public support, rising tuition rates and reduced public funding — at the same time schools must figure out how to balance technological advancement with traditional values to stay relevant.

Source: How can colleges amend unsustainable business models? | Education Dive

European University Association – Erasmus+ mid-term review: EUA’s recommendations

The EUA published its 10 recommendations for enhancing Erasmus+

1. Continue to simplify rules, requirements and processes for application, management and reporting, in order to decrease the administrative burden.
2. Enhance paper-free and online processes and tools, data compatibility and userfriendliness.
3. Improve funding and funding efficiency.
4. Increase the number of grants under some of the actions in order to achieve reasonable success rates.
5. Maintain and further enhance the European dimension of all actions, as this is the key added value of the programme.

Read more @eua’s site

Universities must find a way to challenge populism

Higher education needs a new focus based on democratic and global citizenship, according to Fernando Reimers, professor of international education at Harvard University, who eruditely and passionately defended the values of freedom and equality against the rise of populism, in a keynote speech at the co-hosted WISE – World Innovation Summit for Education – and Santander forum in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday.

The forum, with the theme “’Imagining the Future of Education”, sought to address how education systems can transform themselves to anticipate the future, what tools and innovations will be the real change-makers, and the role that higher education should play in shaping the future.

“We are faced with a challenge to liberalism by populists who are challenging the ideas of freedom, equality, human rights, representative democracy and globalisation… and most fascism starts with populism,” Reimers reminded the 800 delegates gathered from all over the world.

 

…continue @ University World News

Post al blog de la RCDP: “Més problemes per a les universitats: ara no són administracions públiques”

Tenim les universitats públiques operant sota condicions de funcionament de mera supervivència; això es deu a diferents motius que s’arrosseguen de fa anys, i que sintetitzant excessivament es reduïen, fins ara, a dos. El primer, ben conegut i enquistat, no és altre que la manca de finançament adequat; el segon, encara més antic i més crònic que l’anterior, és l’inadequat funcionament intern de la institució i els millorables lligams amb l’exterior. Doncs bé, ara ens han afegit un tercer problema no menor, de caire jurídic, amb l’entrada en vigor de les noves lleis bàsiques administratives, la Llei 39/2015, del procediment administratiu comú de les administracions públiques i la 40/2015, del règim jurídic del sector públic. El gran canvi que introdueixen pel que fa a les universitats és que han estat explícitament excloses de la condició d’administracions públiques. Quan parlo de la universitat havia utilitzat en alguna ocasió la metàfora del cotxe, explicant que no només anem justos de combustible –el finançament–, sinó que la mecànica és molt vella i s’ha de revisar de dalt a baix –el sistema de govern. Ara, la nova legislació administrativa ens vol fer creure que, a més, no tenim vehicle.

(llegir més al blog RCDP)