Tag: world

Higher Education is Getting Digital

Source: WISE ed.review  http://www.wise-qatar.org/higher-education-getting-digital-eric-stoller

There has been “digital” in higher education for a very long time. From the earliest computers to the beginnings of the internet, higher education has always found ways to use technology to capitalize on the power, scale, and efficiency of digital.

When I was an undergraduate student at university, email was an emerging digital technology. It was an exciting time to be a student. Staff were able to scale their interactions with students and students were able to build digital connections with their campus communities. Email was an exciting technology that fundamentally changed how people communicated around the globe.
Fast forward to the present and we’re still talking about digital in higher education. Numerous technologies have given universities new ways to enhance teaching, learning, and the student experience.
Technologies like big data, OER, learning analytics, augmented/virtual reality, social media, machine learning, bots/messaging, next generation learning environments, blockchain and the cloud are all part of today’s higher education technology mix.
Opportunities
What are the emerging opportunities that run in parallel with all of these new technologies?
First and foremost is the ability for universities to scale the student experience to a larger, more distributed group of learners. Enhanced mobile connectivity and social media allow academics and administrators to connect with campus communities anytime anywhere in educationally relevant ways.
Additionally, as more and more learner data is collected, learner analytics can be used to create individualized pathways for student success. Knowing more about each individual student’s academic journey leads universities to create a more bespoke learner experience.
New technologies can also make a higher education credential more secure. For example, MIT’s new digital diploma uses blockchain technology to ensure the legitimacy of a degree. This brings new benefit to the institution, the student, and to any potential future employer.
Risks
With great power comes great responsibility. In our ever-connected world, the importance of data security is paramount. Universities are gathering vast amounts of data in order to make processes more efficient, scale online learning, and engage in hyper-focused recruitment. All of this data requires a lot of security and institutional commitment to data protection and utilization schemes.
The more digitally connected we become, the more vulnerable we are to manipulation. The recent use of social networks to influence political outcomes has taught us that social media are powerful tools for connectivity and learning. The university experience is no longer just about a brick-and-mortar-based learner journey. Learning how to critically navigate and analyze digital content and networks has become an absolute necessity.
Student Success
Everything that a university does with digital is eventually about student success. Any and all digital university processes will eventually benefit students. While some, like learning analytics, are more direct, there are many ways that universities can use digital to benefit students.
Benefitting All Learners
My favorite aspect of how higher education is getting digital is the fact that technology creates more overall access for learners. Online learning environments allow distributed learners the opportunity to access the best that higher education has to offer regardless of locale.
In addition, the accessibility of virtual learning environments, student information systems, library content repositories, and app-driven content is a game-changer for students with disabilities. Driven by universal design principles, universities are creating courses content that is readily accessible for all students.
Digital Capabilities
Our digital capabilities matter. Digital represents core aspects of institutional efficiency and access, enhanced critical thinking and career development. Higher education continues to get digital on a daily basis.

Interesting article about the concept of algorithmic governance

Source:  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2053951717726554?platform=hootsuite&

Whether we like it or not, algorithms are increasingly being used to nudge, bias, guide, provoke, control, manipulate and constrain human behaviour. Sometimes this is beneficial; sometimes benign; sometimes problematic (Danaher, 2016Pasquale, 2015Zarsky, 2016). To ensure that it is more the former than the latter, an algorithmic governance system ought to be designed and implemented in a way that ensures both its effectiveness and its legitimacy (Peter, 2017). That is to say, we should ensure that it is an effective means for achieving some policy goal, whilst remaining procedurally fair, open and unbiased. But how can we ensure that algorithmic governance systems are both?

Abstract:  We are living in an algorithmic age where mathematics and computer science are coming together in powerful new ways to influence, shape and guide our behaviour and the governance of our societies. As these algorithmic governance structures proliferate, it is vital that we ensure their effectiveness and legitimacy. That is, we need to ensure that they are an effective means for achieving a legitimate policy goal that are also procedurally fair, open and unbiased. But how can we ensure that algorithmic governance structures are both? This article shares the results of a collective intelligence workshop that addressed exactly this question. The workshop brought together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to consider (a) barriers to legitimate and effective algorithmic governance and (b) the research methods needed to address the nature and impact of specific barriers. An interactive management workshop technique was used to harness the collective intelligence of this multidisciplinary group. This method enabled participants to produce a framework and research agenda for those who are concerned about algorithmic governance. We outline this research agenda below, providing a detailed map of key research themes, questions and methods that our workshop felt ought to be pursued. This builds upon existing work on research agendas for critical algorithm studies in a unique way through the method of collective intelligence.

Get the full paper at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2053951717726554?platform=hootsuite&

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.

Poverty will continue to significantly hinder further grad rate increases

Source: educationdive.com http://www.educationdive.com/news/poverty-will-continue-to-significantly-hinder-further-grad-rate-increases/508035/

Poverty remains a significant hurdle to achievement for many students, and while those struggles have gained more attention in recent years, they are still far from being solved. California, for example, has over 200,000 students considered homeless under federal standards, and that population has risen 20% since 2014.

Families facing poverty are unlikely to have the same resources — like books, broadband internet and access to some extracurricular services or activities — that enable success among students from more affluent families or communities. And many may have home situations that combine several households in a single dwelling or parents who are incarcerated, which isn’t conducive to concentration or learning. Add on the likelihood of food insecurity and the situation then demands that the effects of hunger on student engagement be taken into consideration.

To address these issues, schools can start by reaching out to the local community for food drives and assistance with volunteer programming. But administrators must also engage lawmakers to drive home the needs that they’re seeing in their schools and make the case for additional supports.

(...continue at source)

The GUNI network and the Responsible Research and Innovation

The GUNI Network (Global University Network for Innovation) is working hard on bringing universities together with the rest of the stakeholders involved on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.  As stated in their website, “The Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi) is an international network created in 1999 and supported by the UNESCO, the United Nations University (UNU) and the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP), which hosts its secretariat and presidency.”

Among their many activities, last September conference brought together universities, governments, cities and public and social agencies from different countries.  Knowledge, ideas, experiences and expectations around the challenges involved with the SDGs where shared and discussed.  Obviously, this is the way to go: making sure that the Sustainable Development Goals are not only a mere declaration but are translated into concrete actions, by the actors involved, in every part of the world and with the implication of the Higher Education institutions.

More than 200 HE institutions are already members of GUNI.  Of course, the stronger the network gets, the more effectively will it fulfill its goals, so I would suggest every university to join and work actively in its projects.  Actions are needed and we are already late.

Growing demand for higher education puts affirmative action in the spotlight — World Education Blog

By Michaela Martin and Alexandra Waldhorn, IIEP-UNESCO and Taya Louise Owens, GEM Report UNESCO Affirmative action in higher education is a controversial topic for many. On the one hand, some believe strongly that it is the route to equitable access in tertiary education; others believe it can amount to unfair discrimination. The latest policy paper, […]

via Growing demand for higher education puts affirmative action in the spotlight — World Education Blog

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

UNESCO – Affordability is key to inclusive HE expansion

UNESCO has called on governments never to allow student loan repayments to rise above 15% of their monthly incomes so that further expansion of higher education does not leave the disadvantaged behind.

It is one of six measures recommended to policy-makers to address equality and affordability of access.

  • Keep an eye on the target: Make sure those who need help the most are getting it;
  • Put it in law: Guarantee equity and affordability in regulatory frameworks;
  • Step up monitoring: Establish national agencies to ensure equal opportunities;
  • Vary admissions criteria: Use different admissions criteria to respond to different individuals’ needs;
  • Provide varied student aid: Establish an agency to coordinate different forms of student aid, such as loans and grants;
  • Limit student loan repayments to less than 15% of their annual income.

more @University World News