Students want learning “on demand”

An interesting article from The Wall Street Journey which looks at a recent study of over 20,000 university students across the globe. The study shows that students want more flexibility in how they learn, and more time to complete their skills over time. Are Universities ready to change to meet  student’s needs, or will the appetite for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) increase as they cater for an “on demand” style of learning?

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Read the full article here:

The End of College As We Know It And Students Feel Fine – At Work – WSJ.

Fees and higher education: does social class make a difference?

An interesting article from The Conversation, written by Andrew Norton, Program Director – Higher Education, at Grattan Institute. The article looks at statistics to show that it is most often the lower ranking ATAR students (which doesn’t necessarily have a skew to lower socio-economic background) that attend university, which have the highest non-completion rate, and may have been better served by being informed about other options such as vocational training or entering the workforce. It goes on to argue that fee deregulation may not have such a big impact on lower socio-ecomonic students. Take a read below – do you agree?

Students

In contemporary Australia, post-school education is necessary for most well-paid jobs. And so who gets access to education is important. University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis echoed many people’s concerns when he asked whether university fee deregulation will deter potential students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. However, if we look at the evidence, we see this isn’t necessarily the case.

Is university for everyone?

Important as this issue is, another question needs answering first: is higher education everyone’s best option? While on average people with higher education qualifications are better off than others, some students never complete the courses they start, and not all graduates get good jobs. Even free university courses can cost too much, if students could have used their time more effectively.

Once students are enrolled, low socioeconomic status does not in itself add significantly to non-completion risks or poor financial returns after graduation. But low socioeconomic background students are over-represented among school leavers applying with lower ATARs, and lower-ATAR university students are in turn over-represented among those who don’t complete their courses.

For students entering a bachelor degree with an ATAR under 60, six-year completion chances are around 50%, compared to nearly 90% for students in the 95-plus ATAR group. All the published completions data includes people who are still enrolled, but for lower-ATAR students the final non-completion rate is estimated to be around 40%. It isn’t social progress to leave someone with a student debt but no degree, if with better advice they would have made a different educational decision.

In contemporary Australia, post-school education is necessary for most well-paid jobs. And so who gets access to education is important. University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis echoed many people’s concerns when he asked whether university fee deregulation will deter potential students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. However, if we look at the evidence, we see this isn’t necessarily the case.Is university for everyone? Important as this issue is, another question needs answering first: is higher education everyone’s best option? While on average people with higher education qualifications are better off than others, some students never complete the courses they start, and not all graduates get good jobs. Even free university courses can cost too much, if students could have used their time more effectively.Once students are enrolled, low socioeconomic status does not in itself add significantly to non-completion risks or poor financial returns after graduation. But low socioeconomic background students are over-represented among school leavers applying with lower ATARs, and lower-ATAR university students are in turn over-represented among those who don’t complete their courses.For students entering a bachelor degree with an ATAR under 60, six-year completion chances are around 50%, compared to nearly 90% for students in the 95-plus ATAR group. All the published completions data includes people who are still enrolled, but for lower-ATAR students the final non-completion rate is estimated to be around 40%. It isn’t social progress to leave someone with a student debt but no degree, if with better advice they would have made a different educational decision.

Continue reading the full article here: Fees and higher education: does social class make a difference?.

Why higher education needs to be more like BMW than Ford

29 April 2014

The article below published in the Sydney Morning Herald raises an interesting perspective on our current standard of higher education.

Photo: AFR

Photo: AFR

Are we scrambling to build more university places and turn students into mass a production line, or should we instead be focusing on limiting places and courses on offer, and making them more exclusive with a better quality output?

One only needs to look at the plethora of courses and campuses on offer to students, to see that you can obtain a degree in just about any chosen field at todays universities – many of which were once offered via TAFE and other educational colleges. So, is the graduating student at the completion of a university degree better equipped to enter the workforce, or are they simply further in debt and competing with 30 other qualified candidates for the same job?

Is the shine of a university degree starting to diminish?

Read the full article here

Why higher education needs to be more like BMW than Ford.