This weeks meme has been change. Monday and Tuesday, we helped organise the Network of Trainers in Europe International On-line conference on Innovation in Training Practice. And today we have been working with the Create support programme in hosting a one day on-line conference, entitled Institutional Pragmatics, for the Jisc Institutional Innovation programme.
What does Institutional Pragmatics mean? The theme of the day was how can projects produce sustainable change at an institutional level and wider. What are the drivers of change and what are the barriers? How can these barriers be overcome. Who are the people who are important in a change process. Doe change occur from the top down or the bottom up or does it involve both.
The morning break out session heard presentations by different projects of their work. I was particularly impressed with the Erewhon and STEEPLE projects, both, if my memory serves be right, based in Oxford. Erewhon is an investigation into the deployment of existing university computing resources to mobile platforms, coupled with the implementation of relevant location based services and access to the Oxford VLE. The vision for the Steeple project is to streamline enterprise level podcasting and support a viable community around scalable, enterprise-level solutions, in the areas of automated video/audio capture, processing and delivery. But these are only two of more than 50 projects being funded by the UK Jisc. Details of all the projects, including the project blogs and access to outputs, can be found on the Support, Synthesis and Benefits Realisation (don’t be put off by the name!) web site.
The afternoon was largely given over to exploring issues around change. I was particularly interested in the question of whether we should be seeking to change thinking or practice. Whilst there obviously is a link between them, and thinking is important, for me it is changing practice which determines the way we teach and learn. It was also encouraging to note the importance given to engagement with students as both drivers but also as agents of change.
Our main role in the conference was to broadcast an internet radio programme, Sounds of the Bazaar, linking the different sessions, held on the Elluminate platform. Although the programmes were mainly music and chat, we made a number of interviews, which we are publishing here as podcasts.
They are well worth listening too. Two of the interviews, with Leo Care from the WeCAMP project and Mike Neary from the Learning Landscapes project, are both concerned with linking the physical design of university buildings to infrastructures for technology enhanced learning and about how design can promote learning networks. Wecamp has developed a Web-based interactive campus visualisation modelling platform to effect participation and collaboration. A major benefit, they say, is the ability to visualize scenarios being considered, aiding the communication with senior management and informing the decision making process. The e-modelling platform is designed to enable the University of Sheffield (UoS) to acquire and preserve over time its own organizational memory and knowledge in effective planning and uses of future learning spaces.Learning Landscapes is a research project looking at the ways in which academics work with colleagues in Estates to develop and manage innovation in the design of teaching and learning spaces in Higher Education.
The third interview was with James Wisdom about a consultancy report he has produced for SEDA in the UK on the Higher Education Framework proposals, unveiled by UK Business Minister, Peter Mandelson last week. These proposals may have far reaching consequences for the future of higher education in the UK, and in the thinking, for universities elsewhere. Thanks to all of them for agreeing to come on the Sounds of the Bazaar programme.
Music Playlist of the show:
MOOC providers in 2016
According to Class Central a quarter of the new MOOC users in 2016 came from regional MOOC providers such as XuetangX (China) and Miríada X (Latin America).
They list the top five MOOC providers by registered users:
XuetangX burst onto this list making it the only non-English MOOC platform in top five.
In 2016, 2,600+ new courses (vs. 1800 last year) were announced, taking the total number of courses to 6,850 from over 700 universities.
Jobs in cyber security
In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.
Number students outside EU falls in UK
Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.
Despite a large increase in the number of students enrolling from China, a cohort that has grown by 12,500 since 2011-12, enrolments by students from India fell by 13,150 over the same period.
Other notable changes include an increase in students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a fall in students from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
According to the Guardian, research conducted with more than 6,300 authors of journal articles, peer reviewers and journal editors revealed that over two-thirds of researchers who have never peer reviewed a paper would like to. Of that group (drawn from the full range of subject areas) more than 60% said they would like the option to attend a workshop or formal training on peer reviewing. At the same time, over two-thirds of journal editors told the researchers that it is difficult to find reviewers