Archive for April, 2013

Japan – Conservatism, red tape thwart international education

April 28, 2013

By Suvendrini Kakuchi, in University World News

It is bitterly ironic – Japan has the third largest economy in the world and is a leading exporter, but fails badly when it comes to international education.

“Japanese university education needs to be urgently vitalised to survive against stiff global competition,” said Dr Akito Okada, who teaches comparative and international education at the prestigious Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Universities “have stayed too long relatively unbothered by the global currents of education services seekers, due to the language barrier and traditional internal orientation of higher learning”.

Okada explained that a primary reason for slow change in Japanese tertiary education was resistance from conservative academics. He strongly advocates the development of a curriculum that prioritises students’ needs in a globalised world.

“Despite the stark reality facing Japan, another important fact that bogs the country [down] is that Japanese students, who have been reared in a narrow homogeneous society, would prefer to enrol in Japanese universities where they study in their language and do not confront the challenges of foreign cultures,” he said.

Check:
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130425122447351

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

Asian higher education revolution a long way off

April 22, 2013

By Richard Holmes, University World News

The Times Higher Education Asian University Rankings show that university quality in Asia is patchy, with some countries performing well and others unable to make a dent in the top 100. They also show that most Asian universities are not on a level yet with top Western institutions.

There is then little sign of an Asian challenge to the West in science and higher education. There is certainly a challenge from the North East of Asia, China and the Chinese diaspora, Japan and South Korea. There are signs of growth in South East and South West Asia.

But the THE rankings confirm that for the rest of Asia, a revolution in higher education is a long way off.

Check:
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130418091924237

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

First MOOCs for Denmark, European universities sign up

April 21, 2013

By Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News

Copenhagen University is to offer four initial massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Already 40,000 students have registered for four courses starting in September and up to 100,000 are expected. MOOCS are beginning to take off in higher education across Europe.

Copenhagen University is to offer four initial massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Already 40,000 students have registered for four courses starting in September and up to 100,000 are expected. MOOCS are beginning to take off in higher education across Europe.

Two other Scandinavian universities – Technical University Denmark and Helsinki – also have MOOCs plans, and for the 2013-14 academic year more than a dozen European universities have announced MOOCs or that they are developing such courses.

Out of 362 courses for the coming year on Coursera, the MOOCs consortium based in California, some 50 are offered by European institutions. École Polytechnique Federale in Switzerland is the European university most advanced along the MOOCs road.

As has happened elsewhere, Copenhagen University has been surprised by public response to its MOOCs. Rector Ralf Hemmingsen pointed out in the university’s newspaper that the 40,000 registered MOOCs students already outnumbered its 38,000 in-house students.

Check:
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130419152105627

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

EUA Annual Conference focuses on internationalization strategies and global rankings

April 19, 2013

From EUA Newsletter 8
19 April 2013

Discussions throughout the conference confirmed that internationalization is an issue which affects all elements of the university mission, which is why the development of strategic approaches has become a necessity for all European universities.

Therefore, internationalization will continue to be an integral part of EUA’s membership activities in the years to come.

To feed into the conference discussions, EUA published the results of a survey of its member universities on HE internationalization, which also gauged their expectations for EUA’s future international activities and for the European Union’s forthcoming strategy for the internationalization of higher education, which is due to be presented in the coming months.

This strategy will focus in particular on European higher education engagement beyond European borders, with global partners.

Check:
http://www.eua.be/Libraries/Publications_homepage_list/EUA_International_Survey.sflb.ashx

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

EUA publishes second rankings review report

April 19, 2013

From EUA Newsletter 8
19 April 2013

A new report entitled “Global university rankings and their impact II” was published by EUA and launched in a special session during the EUA Annual Conference, on 12 April.

Authored by Andrejs Rauhvargers, the report underlines that there have been significant new developments in the field of international rankings since EUA’s first rankings review report, in 2011.

It reveals that the number of international university rankings and other “transparency tools” continues to grow, with the arrival of new rankings and the development of new products by ranking providers.

Check:

http://www.eua.be/Libraries/Publications_homepage_list/EUA_Global_University_Rankings_and_Their_Impact_-_Report_II.sflb.ashx

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

The web trail – Using cybermetrics to build reputation

April 14, 2013

By Enrique Orduña-Malea, research fellow, University of Granada.
Excerpts from release in University World News.

Universities should make more use of information available to them through cybermetrics to grow their online presence, improve their images and attract international students.

Cybermetrics enables universities – and others – to analyse a host of data, including how international students view their websites. The social evaluation of universities is here to stay. The question is, will universities integrate this information into their evaluation and performance mechanisms, or look the other way?

One critical aspect not often talked about is that the use of ICT (information and communication technology) by universities – in addition to changing their structure, how they function or the services they offer – generates a trail that can be quantified and evaluated, which provides complementary information of indisputable value and which, given its size and global sweep, should not be overlooked in any university information system, whether it is able to be evaluated or not.

Cybermetrics is the discipline responsible for the measurement and evaluation of data that relates to the construction, impact and use of information resources, structures and technologies (created, distributed and consumed by different physical or institutional users) on the internet, mainly through quantitative social science methods.

The application of these techniques to studying universities has enabled, among other things, the identification of a digital divide between the US and Europe, the detection of the influence of linguistic and cultural patterns in institutional relationships, and the verification of a growth in academic web visibility in Asia.

Check:

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=2013041011431275

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

Universities in crackdown on ‘cut and paste culture’

April 10, 2013

Extracts from The Telegraph published in University World News

The number of students caught cheating in university essays has more than halved following a major crackdown in the UK on the ‘cut and paste culture’, it emerged last week, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.

New figures show that 8% of work submitted by undergraduates in 2005 was made up of a significant amount of plagiarized content. But by 2012, the proportion of essays and dissertations in which more than three-quarters of words were copied from a book or thesis had more than halved, to just 3%.

Universities launched a major drive a decade ago to prevent students cheating by attempting to pass off other academics’ work as their own.

Institutions combined to form the Plagiarism Advisory Service and were given free access to ‘Turnitin’ cheating software, which scans students’ work and compares it to a database featuring hundreds of millions of academic articles, journals and books.

Check:

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130405143845897

Full report on The Telegraph site:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9969091/Universities-in-crackdown-on-cut-and-paste-culture.html

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

The Changing PhD – Turning out millions of doctorates

April 7, 2013

By Geoff Maslen, University World News.

As more and more universities around the world graduate ever-increasing numbers of students with PhDs, governments are beginning to ask if it is time to slow the production line. A new study notes that China is the world leader in producing PhDs, having outnumbered the United States on a per year basis for the first time in 2008.

By then, the Asian giant had awarded more than 240,000 doctorates over only the previous 30 years after its PhD programmes were stopped during the Cultural Revolution. These did not restart until 1978 when a mere 18 students were undertaking doctorates – but since then PhD enrolment has expanded by 24% a year.

But according to the study’s author, Dr Les Rymer, the number of qualified professors needed to supervise China’s doctoral programmes has not kept pace, raising fears that quantity is not being matched by quality.

Rymer says each qualified Chinese professor has to supervise 5.77 doctorate candidates, much higher than the average ratio internationally.

Moreover, as University World News reported last October, unemployment in China among new postgraduates has been rising for the past seven years and was higher than for undergraduates in the three years to 2012. This is one reason why China is putting emphasis on growing the number of professional PhDs and on moving research to industry.

The global picture (extracts)

According to Rymer, one issue stimulating debate about PhD education is the view that, at least in some disciplines, universities are producing too many PhD graduates.

He says in part this stems from a recognition that many PhD graduates are unable to find academic positions and that a high proportion of those who do may find themselves working in casual or part-time appointment:

“The adage that a research student is someone who forgoes current income in order to forgo future income can have an element of truth, at least in some disciplines.”

Yet across the globe, universities continue to generate increasing numbers of PhDs.

The study (extracts)

In a 60-page paper published by Australia’s Group of Eight research-intensive universities, Rymer describes the rise of the PhD in universities across the globe, the reasons why nations want more and more PhDs, the increasing diversity among doctoral students, funding constraints facing universities and efforts to improve the quality of research training.

He notes that questions have been raised about the number of PhDs a country produces, or their quality, or the relevance of the training students receive given the employment opportunities on offer.

There is also questioning of whether the intention to increase the number of PhD graduates will be at the expense of their quality and whether the rewards of having a PhD compensate for the costs of acquiring one.

Check:

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130403121244660

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20121025111620913

http://www.go8.edu.au/university-staff/go8-policy-_and_-analysis/2013/the-changing-phd

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013

Taking a global view of the student experience

April 1, 2013

By Camille B. Kandiko, research fellow at King’s College, London, in University World News.

Internationalization of higher education has different meanings in different parts of the world. More attention needs to be paid to this diversity in order to foster greater understanding and inclusion inside and outside the classroom.

The ‘student experience’ exists in a global context, and there is a need to critically examine its different meanings across national and regional environments.

There are forces that are reshaping the student experience, with particular reference to the pressures of globalization. Taking a global view, is the student experience becoming more homogenized or more diversified over time?

Over half of all international students study in five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia; and over half of all internationally mobile students are from Asia.

What can students expect from emerging patterns of provision worldwide? And what do institutional decision-makers need to know to meet changing international student demand within national circumstances of retrenchment or expansion in competition with virtual, private, public and for-profit rivals at home and abroad?

Check:
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130328120529307

Povl Tiedemann
April 2013