Posts Tagged ‘JISC’
Notes from the 22nd JISC Learning & teaching Practice Experts Group Meeting, 23 March 2011, Maple House, Birmingham.
SLiDA project – how are institutions creating and enabling opportunities that promote the development of effective learning in a digital age?
Rhona Sharpe and Greg Benfield (Oxford Brookes)
SLiDA stands for ‘supporting learners in a digital age’ – a project which explored which ways of supporting learners need or benefit from an institutional approach. Maintains awareness of the tensions emerging from previous studies – for example the skills gap between staff and students.
Output was web-based case studies co-created by 9 institutions (eg Edinburgh, London Met, Wolverhampton – institutions committed into developing digital literacies) with the project team.
The synthesis report expands on five key initiatives across institutions
- preparing students for learning in a digital age (e.g. CoLab at Uni of Surrey)
- enabling learners to use their own devices (Birkenhead)
- Reconfiguring spaces for social learning
- Listening to learners (e.g. University of Surrey; Student Voice representatives at Uni of Glamorgan)
- strategic emphasis on course design for ‘blended’ learning
The project inadvertently found out how institutions were implementing their strategies including: student-led policy-making – students as researchers and scopers; seed funding for many different projects.
Sticker activity followed- place stickers on several activities undertaken by some of the institutions with JISC funding, described on posters around the meeting room: green=already doing it and evaluating it; yellow=planning it; red=not doing it – then brief presentations from project teams on the colour spread.
- Greg on learning spaces – half are green, and the rest are more yellow than red.
- Megan (Wolverhampton) – Strategic emphasis on course design (digital literacy) more reds; course redesigns mostly yellow.
- London Met – listening to learner voices – engaging students and supporting digital literacy – a quarter green, quarter red, half yellow
- Abingdon – digital literacies. Universal introduction and embedding development – yellow, then red, then green.
Break-out – I sat with the reconfiguring spaces for social learning group
- Edinburgh’s huge investment in space – recognition of advanced digital technologies and simple ones e.g. tables as whiteboard surfaces.
- IT suites hide students behind monitors – fixed learning spaces are a problem for social activity; but when flexible spaces are open, they become individual rather than social, because one group’s activity can disturb others.
- eventedness: the coming together at the same time is special
- will there be a new effort to use technologies to replace rather than enrich?
- James Clay – for every lap top trolley (charging point) they have, they need three; flip-up laptop desks (showed picture); tried a star approach (all facing in). Changing rooms involves an internal charge there – no institution-wide bookable pool
- Little territories within institutions designed in isolation. For example, if you go to your Scolarest coffee shop, you need to be drinking coffee if you want to use it as a learning space.
- Front presentation spaces; experience;
- The idea of contact time constrains the idea of ‘flexibility’ (but to what extent is a social learning space also a flexible learning space?)
- Working out what digital literacy means in a given handout.
- How do you involve large numbers of stakeholders?
- SMT needs to buy in to produce a college-wide digital literacy induction; makes a big impact on retention; should not be optional.
- (Is it that ‘stakeholders’ need some prior knowledge before they can make apposite contributions? Or is it down to the interpretative skills of the planners and policy-makers.)
- New Feb 11 briefing paper on transforming curriculum design
- Watch out for a new JISC-wide call for projects on digital literacy in staff and students
- There’s a London digital literacy workshop on 26th May – open to all
Ruth Drysdale & Paul Bailey – how is technology supporting life long learning and workforce development?
13 projects on the Life Long Learning & Workforce Development Programme.
Technology is supporting credit framewrks and AP(E)L, mentoring, eportfolios, and engaging with employers.
Negotiated frameworks for validation and accreditation – Uni Glouc co-creating curricula with employers – piloted with 6 institutions.
Uni Westminster example of using institutional systems v. 3rd party tools to move from placement visits to online mentoring.
ePortfolio-based pedagogies. University of Hull student showcases. But institutional systems are still not fitting so well with students’ lifelong learning continuum.
Employer interaction – Uni of Nottingham incorporating open standard data feeds from learning systems into an employer portal (ACT – mention to Computing, Social Work, Ed Studies).
Breakout looking at the LLL&WD projects.
CCLIP – Liverpool – portal to disseminate cultural learning opportunities
Courses, events, etc. Partners: Tate and Philharmonic theatres; small and medium arts bodies.
Wanted a simple system; no duplicate data entry – used XCRI common standard (UCAS for example has a statement of intent to become XCRI compatible) to capture as much as possible from the partners’ existing information systems. A lot of diversity. Tate Liverpool’s IT is controlled by Tate London, making it hard to roll in new standards. Other organisations were smaller and more nimble, or could enter the data manually.
Each institution needs structures in place to use the portal – what goes in it, what doesn’t.
Searchable by organisation or by field (e.g. Chinese music, exhibitions). Links to host organisation’s booking system; always branded with host org’s branding; always renders a google map. Possible to set up alerts. Possible to use search data as business intelligence.
Questions – does activity convert to bookings? Early days – they need to know that because they are going to have to start charging.
Q – where does Liverpool end? Are online opportunities advertised there? They are currently discussing just that.
ePPSME – ePortfolio based pedagogies with Small to Medium Enterprises
Students did a ten week course exclusively on a portfolio tool. 20 credits.
Patchwork text methodology(?).
First units very much structured activities and content – templated as scaffolding. Units two and three began to use more of the ePortfolio function eg web conferencing (very much valued).
Managing access after the end of the course. Accounts are closed, so the end process for students is to export the ePortfolio.
Exporting was a bit tricky – collaborative work gets fragmented into individual contributions. Is the conversation of lasting importance, or is it ephemeral?
UWIC – workplace learning for Welsh students
Web conferencing, video conferencing and ePortfolios.
Adobe Connect web meeting has helped dental students because it affords close camera work (couldn’t this be achieved in a lecture setting?).
Experience Through Work module – reflective report and log. Challenges – thinking reflectively and evidencing that. ePortfolio deployed, with frequent formative feedback from tutors.
Virtual classroom online – open mic approach so students could interact – question and answer sessions, and discussions. Technology enables students to meet one-another – helped socially and professionally. (Q how was this managed?).
Q Ground rules – open mic worked. (I am surprised that it did – there was no moderator, only the single tutor – not sure how large the group was – must have been very committed to each other.)
Q What is an ePortolio – immersive learning experience and/or presentation tool
Middlesex University – MUSkET – Skills and Education Planning Tool
Diversity – experiential learning, short courses, degrees.
Challenge of inconsistent terms – course, module, programme. XCRI standard was the chosen solution, with a front-end to generate standardised course description from the headings of a given faculty. Word document can become standardised information model.
Algorithm can perform semantic comparisons between programmes. Bus Info Sys, Bus Info Tech, Bus Inf Mgmt – are they similar or different? Can help students to transfer, can help with business intelligence, can help employer-institution collaboration through shared terms – help to identify pathways. Helps fit courses with other courses through AP(E)L. Get an AP(E)L claim and compare to course requirements.
Looking for institutions to try these outs. They are setting up events to demonstrate the tools. Apr 7th at Middlesex – presentations from MU Institute of Workbased Learning.
Bradford – work-based learning project – benefits realisation project
Reflecting on national e-learning benchmarking pathfinder programme, took similar approach, applied to workbased learning, came up with a WBL maturity toolkit based on self-assessment, but possibility to work in CAMEL cohorts.
7 areas of focus, with criteria to gather evidence to self-assess maturity of each (see website):
- institutional readiness
- faculty/school/dept readiness
- Programme design
- Programme delivery and assessment
- Partnership engagement
- Learner experience
- Effective use of techs
To use the toolkit, go through the following steps
- Plan – identify priority areas
- Hold a methodology workshop
- Identify evidence
- Collect evidence
- Levelling workshop – dialogue about evidence
- Analysis and reporting – generate ideas for change
- Change/actions workshop – develop action plans
Will help institutions which have a strategy for workbased learning but need to go about implementing it in an evidence-based, structured way. Helps to benchmark existing workbased learning, with wider sector engagement, and with change management. Westminster, UWIC, and a Scottish institution
Pineapple APEL Open University of Plymouth
Nobody recording any information about students entering courses based on an APEL claim. Lack of coherence about APEL approaches across institutions, and about evidencing APEL.
Pineapple as a result. Institutions do not have a single APEL process – there is a policy but there are many exemptions. Students cannot produce APEL six months before enrolment, because only when they have begun a course might they realise that they have already covered that particular aspect of their programme.
Pineapple is designed for students, admission staff and others with a responsibility for APEL. Flexibility is a requirement (N.b. it is ages since I have heard anybody say that flexibility isn’t a requirement.)
Pineapple is a simple form to evidence APEL has taken place, who has carried it out, comply with regs and keep external examiners happy.
There’s a demo version on that link.
ePortfolion implementation study (ePI) – large-scale involvement
Gordon Joyes and Angela Smallwood – Uni of Nottingham
Technologies for eportfolios now are interoperable – allow looking outwards as well as reflectively inwards.
Politics and economics today make powerful case for eportfolio processes and products: planning capturing storing reflecting synthesising sharing discussing giving receiving responding to feedback. Economic situation pushes us into a retrograde direction of monolithic technologies and environments which we can afford to maintain, as opposed to a multitude of interoperable web services.
Nobody uses the whole of a system at once; everybody starts somewhere with their own purpose. There is a multiplicity of purpose.
In eportfolio work there’s a lot of talk about top-down v. bottom up – evangelical concept v. real need.
Noticed that everybody seemed to reinvent the wheel, no matter how much reusable stuff they had access to. This prompted an investigation into threshold concepts. Threshold concepts – passing through a conceptial gateway which opens up previously inaccessible ways of thinking about something (Meyer and Land 2003).
Activity: what are the threshold concepts with regards to ePortfolio implementation? You need to grasp the threshold concepts in order to grasp the guidance provided – implementation shouldn’t be a game of chance. ePI arose from the need to investigate how the successful implementations (e.g. Birmingham City) had come about.
- misconception that there is a shared understanding of an eportfolio. There is no shared definition.
- misconception one eportfolio is a solution all can share
- misconception a single induction is all that is needed
- technical support offered without pedagogic support
- misconception that students are ‘digital natives’
- misconception that students understand educational terminology like ‘feedback’
- misconception that institutional provision is enough (without consideration of what students are doing before or after)
- misconception that eportfolio is not disruptive
Many more on the slides.
Several institutions. No large-scale evaluation activity. 2004-6 first wave of implementation found that VLEs were poor portfolio tools – hence Pebblepad developed at Wolv; hardly anybody using VLE tools any more. 2007-11 second wave – carrying forward; 2009-11 – integration of portfolio tool with VLE e.g. Mahara and Moodle – looking for extra-curricular, intra-institutional use.
Developing a narrative around the key milestones. Birmingham City implemented Mahara using the successful model they had used with Moodle. Invested 20k in developing Mahara. In two years it gained nearly full use across faculties.
From peach sheet choose one concept and discuss
Concept – purpose is aligned to context to maximise benefits
PG orthodontic students. One team – three different programmes – all around assessing and supervising clinical cases – so used for external examiners as well as supervision and assessment. Entirely work-based learners.
Multiple purposes – formative and summative assessment. Students have been asked for feedback, but the design is very much the course teams. Students had asked for a way to exchange out of email. But the purpose is clear – students need to use the portfolio to be assessed and gain their qualification
What is revealed about the processes? Historicity – decisions depend on previous decisions. Designed earning activities? Culture – key roles of individuals. Communities – advocates and champions. Subject and ownership. Tensions – diversity of purposes and stakeholders.
A course perspective. Stakeholders can be internal and external (e.g. employers). Stakeholders are sometimes only connected by eportfolio use – they don’t always communicate. OR they can all agree to view eportfolios from the learner’s POV – make that the common view
Qu – a proportion of institutional teaching and learning processes have drifted into Web 2.0.
April 5th/6th cloudworks event.
C-Link – information search tool AI Unit at Uni Bradford, National Media Museum in Bradford – Peter Hartley, Peter Cowling, Stephen Remde
Students don’t make the most of their information searches. Google, Wikipedia – don’t cultivate skills and critical analysis. How do you interrogate Google search results?
C-Link maps relationships between 2 concepts. Maps get dumped into C-Map and then you can play with it.
Wikipedia is not yet respectable – BBC – “Academics to ’embrace Wikipedia’ – Imperial.
Advantages – discovers unknown links. Visualisation helps with conceptualisation.
Trialled it – students found it easier to use than conventional search. You can search A against A (search for concepts around A) and A against B.
“Michael Porter” and Dubai to discover why some management ideas crop up in the Middle East.
(You need to refine your questions before you search.)
Searches an archived version of Wikipedia; links concepts on the map to their wikipedia entry.
The visualisation is absolutely gorgeous.
Conformity and conformity – you get some of the surrounding concepts like Asch and Groupthink.
If you search from social constructionism to social constructivism you can see that the former comes from sociology and the latter from learning theory.
HEFCE’s review of JISC has been published – by JISC – as a commentable document. I thought that Fred Garnett (of the Institute of Education among other organisations) described the value of JISC very well:
“All funders want ‘high-impact’ but in an age of disruptive technological change and global uncertainty this is difficult to identify. … JISC wants to make a difference but will need an ecology of projects to enable it to do so. It might better learn from the ‘Fail Fast’ principles of Silicon Valley, than the accountants of the City of London. Educational leaders do not ‘get’ what JISC does, so I am not sure what is meant by sector leadership. What JISC does do is to provide project-based developments which allow the *next* generation of educationalists to emerge with an understanding of learning, and the attendant processes and technology that can deepen that. This issue is how to mainstream their learning for the benefit of the sector. … JISC represents sector-wide CPD on learning in the 21st Century. JISC funding should remain top-sliced, it is one of its glories and a source resilience. It should have clearer governance structures, but these should be both dialogical and adaptive enabling better links with institutions.”
The ‘Effective Assessment in a Digital Age‘ guide is a product of JISC’s E-Learning Programme.
Received by email:
“Most of us have had formal or informal feedback throughout our lives. The way in
which we have been assessed very likely has had a fundamental effect on our learning and career progression. Assessment is one of the most important parts of learning and teaching and whether institutions get this right or wrong has a huge impact on students’ lives and careers.
JISC’s new guide, Effective Assessment in a Digital Age, demonstrates how
technology can significantly improve the experience of assessment and feedback. As
many higher education institutions are reviewing their assessment strategies, JISC
is looking at the transformative effects of technology that increase learner
autonomy, enhances the quality of the assessment experience and improves teaching
“Why do we still insist that students, who mostly use technologies such as
laptops and mobile phones when researching their assignments, sit down with pen and paper and write long essays when they are assessed?” asks Ros Smith, the author
of the guide. “This one size fits all view of assessment still dominates.
Perhaps instead we should be thinking much more creatively and be inspired by what technology can do. There are huge benefits to be gained, for example, in giving students choice over assignment formats, allowing them either to write a 5000 word essay on a topic or to put together a video or audio piece that explores different points of view. Students disadvantaged by traditional written assessments will clearly benefit from this approach but everyone gains if the use of different media prompts deeper thought around the topic.”
In addition, educational researchers since the 1990s have increasingly argued that
assessment should be used to support learning rather than just test and certify
achievement. This has shifted the emphasis from the teacher to the learner, as David
Nicol, Professor of Higher Education at the University of Strathclyde, explains:
“We tend to think of feedback as something a teacher provides, but if students are
to become independent lifelong learners, they have to become better at judging their
own work. If you really want to improve learning, get students to give one another
feedback. Giving feedback is cognitively more demanding than receiving feedback.
That way, you can accelerate learning.”
Technology provides ways of enabling students to monitor the standards of their own
work. The technology can be designed for the purpose (such as on-screen assessment
delivery systems or originality checking software) or adopted from a pool of widely
available generic and often open source software and familiar hardware (such as
digital cameras or handheld devices). Sarah Davies, JISC e-Learning Programme
Manager, says: “Technologies such as voting systems, online discussion forums,
wikis and blogs allow practitioners to monitor levels of understanding and thus make
better use of face-to-face contact time. Delivery of feedback through digital audio
and video, or screen-capture software, may also save
time and improve learners’ engagement with feedback.”
Effective Assessment in a Digital Age outlines some of the key benefits:
• better dialogue and communication that can overcome distance and time constraints
• immediate and learner-led assessment through interactive online tests and tools
in the hand (such as voting devices and internet connected mobile phones)
• authenticity through online simulations and video technologies and risk-free
rehearsal of real-world skills in professional and vocational education
• fast and easy processing and transferring of data
• improved thinking and ownership through peer assessment, collection of evidence
and reflection on achievements in e-portfolios;
• making visible skills and learning processes that were previously difficult to
• a personal quality to feedback, even in large-group contexts.
For accessible Word and PDF versions of Effective Assessment in a Digital Age and
full versions of the publication’s case studies visit: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/digiassess
For details of online resources associated with this publication, visit:
For information about the JISC e-Learning programme, visit:
Received by email:
Emerging findings from Researchers of Tomorrow study
Emerging findings from the first annual report of a major three-year study into the information seeking behaviour of Generation Y doctoral students show that there are striking similarities between students born between 1982 and 1994 and older age groups.
Researchers of Tomorrow was commissioned by JISC and the British Library to establish a benchmark for research behaviour, against which future generations can be measured – and also to provide guidance for librarians, information specialists and policy makers on how best to meet the research needs of Generation Y scholars.
Download the report at <http://www.researchersoftomorrow.net>
The first annual report of this longitudinal study has just been completed and includes evidence-gathering from three groups of doctoral students in the UK, including: a cohort of 60 Generation Y doctoral students from 36 universities; responses to a national context-setting survey returned by over 2,000 Generation Y scholars and responses to the same national context-setting survey returned by 3,000 older doctoral students.
Generation Y students and older students concur on a number of areas:
– Open access and open source – like students of other ages, Generation Y researchers express a desire for an all-embracing, seamless accessible research information network in which restrictions to access do not restrain them. However, the annual report demonstrates that most Generation Y students do not have a clear understanding of what open access means and this negatively impacts their use of open access resources, so this is an area to be followed up in the next year.
– Networked research environment – both Generation Y and older students express exasperation regarding restricted access to research resources due to the limitations of institutional licenses. This is born from a sophisticated knowledge of the networked information environment and students regularly speak favourably about sector-wide shared services and resource sharing.
The research indicates, however, potentially interesting and important divergences between Generation Y and older doctoral students; for example, where students turn for help, advice and support and attitudes to their research environment.
– Supervisor and librarian support – Generation Y scholars are more likely to turn to their supervisors for research resource recommendations than older doctoral students. Also, 33% of Generation Y students say they have never used library staff for their support in finding difficult to source material.
– Using library collections and services – Library collections are used heavily by students in their own institutions, but only 36% of Generation Y students have used inter-library loan services compared to 25% of older students, with 42% of arts and humanities students using these services regularly compared to 13% among science students.
Charles Hutchings, JISC’s market research manager, said, “What is striking about these interim results is the current overlap between the behaviours of these young researchers and their older counterparts. While JISC will use these studies to provide guidance for librarians, information specialists and policy makers across the UK on how best to meet researchers’ needs, we should also be aware that these behaviours are changing all the time with the advent of new digital tools for research.”
Dr Joanna Newman, the British Library’s head of higher education, said, “The first annual report of this three-year study provides an overview of the Generation Y research environment. These emerging findings will ensure that the Researchers of Tomorrow study will focus on critical areas such as the role of supervisors, use of the academic library network, effective research support, open access and the main work base for doctoral students.”
Dr Newman concluded, “Consultation is at the heart of how the Library and JISC engage with their researchers. We know that research behaviours are evolving and changing and it is through studies like ‘Researchers of Tomorrow’ that we will start to understand in depth the future needs and requirements of Generation Y students.”
Find out more and read the report at <http://www.researchersoftomorrow.net>
Explore JISC’s support for researchers at <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/campaigns/res3.aspx>
(JISC is an advisory committee to the funding councils. It looks after the ICT infrastructure of the post-compulsory education sector. It is also the funding body for a lot of project work e.g. digital preservation, repositories, interoperability, and research into technology-enhanced learning and teaching. It places an emphasis on innovation and dissemination.)
JISC publishes funding roadmap for 2009/2010
UK education is to benefit from over £7 million in grants and funding
opportunities, as JISC launches its investment plan for the academic year
Over the next nine months JISC will be investing in a range of projects across
universities and colleges to support innovation in research, teaching and
learning to aid the management of institutions. Projects will range from 12
months to three years in duration.
Among the areas JISC will be funding are:
• Cloud computing for research
• Learning and teaching innovation grants
• Business modelling and sustainability for online content and
collections to develop best practice
• A ‘digipedia’ prototype to bring together resources, standards,
policies, case studies, best practise and expertise on the digital
• Shared best practice for university researchers working with
business and community groups
• Access and identity management
Alice Colban, head of finance at JISC says, “We fund projects across England,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland through grant funding opportunities to
universities and colleges.
“In 2008/09 JISC funded over 300 projects across 24 programmes and during
this academic year JISC will invest over £7 million to advance the innovative
use of digital technologies in UK colleges and universities. Grants vary from
£20,000 to over £1 million, which are allocated through a bidding process.”
Sarah Sherman, Bloomsbury Learning Environment Service Manager for the
Bloomsbury Colleges explains the difference that being part of a JISC project
made for her consortium, “The projects we have been involved with enabled
people to take a simple step forward in trying something new with
“With JISC funding we were able to employ a full time project officer to work
with all six colleges encouraging collaboration across the entire consortium.
The shared funding meant that the benefits of the project were felt by a
wider number of people than would have been possible if a single institution
was funded,” she added.
The Millon+ group report ‘From Inputs to Impact: A Study of the Impact of
Jisc Funding on Universities’, states that even relatively modest awards of
£30,000 can have a ‘profound impact’ and that 44 per cent of the universities
in the study have had unanticipated benefits from JISC funding.
View the funding roadmaps at:
Access the JISC guide to bidding:
Sign up to JISC Announce to receive funding calls. Email
firstname.lastname@example.org with your first name, last name and include ‘join jisc-
announce’ in the subject heading.
Read the Million+ report at:
Press Release from the JISC Collections Archive (note the brief but helpful – not to mention accessible – textual synopses of the posted videos):
From Gorbachev to global warming: education experts choose images for JISC
Education experts have taken the first steps towards building a JISC
Collections archive containing over 500 hours of film and 56,000 photos
documenting modern history.
An expert panel consisting of e-learning advisors, librarians, academics and
image specialists, who collectively represent over a hundred years of
experience of working with digital images in education, have chosen 11
collections from ten suppliers to form an archive for students and academics
which will be available from next July.
Following £2.5 million in funding from JISC and a competitive procurement
process, JISC Collections has licensed the collections for at least 25 years
as part of the Digital Images for Education initiative
The images are copyright-cleared for use in education so they can be
reproduced in course packs, virtual learning environments, e-portfolios and
other multimedia works.
The selected images bring to life our shared history from a local, UK and
international perspectives to support teaching and lifelong learning.
Film clips will be available – from Gorbachev’s accession to power in the
Soviet Union in 1985 to the financial crisis of 2009, and including powerful
raw footage of the 9/11 attacks as well as coverage of key issues such as
deforestation and global warming.
Photographs range from nineteenth-century life in the Scottish Highlands to
contemporary youth culture.
Noel Williams, professor of communication at Sheffield Hallam University,
commented: “JISC has created what is pretty much a unique resource, exciting
in its scope and potential. It touches on the interests of a wide range of
subject areas, and contains images which will be of value to both teachers
and researchers, and useful in all educational contexts – from colleges
through to the highest levels of HE.”
The collection will include materials from academic and not-for-profit
organisations such as the Royal Geographic Society and the University of
Brighton, alongside commercial agencies such as Associated Press, ITN Source
and Getty Images.
Lorraine Estelle, CEO of JISC Collections, says: “The new images purchased
as part of the Digital Images for Education initiative bring to life our
history and capture, in particular, the key events of the past 25 years –
from the death of Princess Diana to the election of Barack Obama.
“The images will complement our existing and highly popular collections –
Newsfilm Online, Film and Sound Online and the Education Image Gallery – to
provide the UK education community with a world class library of still and
moving images covering the last 150 years.”
Between now and February 2010, around a terabyte of data will be delivered
each month from the content suppliers, which converted to paper would mean
the use of 500,000 trees.
Each of the images has to be checked for quality, and extensive metadata
tagging is required to optimise searching and browsing facilities. New
features will also be built into the destination collections to ensure the
tags are helpful for both curators and users of the archive.
A salutory warning received by email from JISC:
“British universities will lose their leading international standing unless they become much more radical in their use of new technology, a JISC commissioned report says today.
British universities occupy four of the top ten world rankings and the UK is one of the top destinations for international students. But the Edgeless University, conducted by Demos on behalf JISC, suggests that a slowness to adopt new models of learning will damage this competitive edge.
The research showed that the recession has put universities under intense pressure as threats to funding combine with increasing demand. A wave of applicants is expected to hit universities this summer as record numbers of unemployed young people seek to ‘study out’ the recession.
The report says that online and social media could help universities meet these demands by reaching a greater number of students and improving the quality of research and teaching. Online and DIY learning can create ‘edgeless universities’ where information, skills and research are accessible far beyond the campus walls.
Malcolm Read OBE, Executive Secretary for JISC, which supported the research, said: ‘The UK is a leading force in the delivery of higher education and its universities and colleges have been punching well above their weight for some time.
Safeguarding this reputation means we have to fight harder to stay ahead of developments in online learning and social media, and embracing the Web 2.0 world.
‘This is a great opportunity for UK universities and colleges to open up and make learning more accessible to students who would not traditionally stay on in education. ‘Edgeless universities’ can transform the way the UK delivers, shares and uses the wealth and quality of information its institutions own.’
The report also calls for universities to acknowledge the impact of the internet by making academic research freely available online. Author of the report, Peter Bradwell, said: ‘The internet and social networks mean that universities are now just one part of the world of learning and research. This means we need their support and expertise more than ever. Just as the music industry may have found the answer to declining CD sales with Spotify, universities must embrace online knowledge sharing and stake a claim in the online market for information.’
The report makes a series of recommendations for opening up university education, including making all research accessible to the public. It says teaching should be placed on a more even footing with research in career progression and status and teaching which uses new technology rewarded.
Read the full report www.jisc.ac.uk/edge09
Read more about Demos here www.demos.co.uk“