FE and HE bureaucracy and data

Red tape costs FE colleges £180 million a year
Further education colleges could make “substantial” savings by cutting the costs of bureaucracy, according to the National Audit Office. The body said today that colleges spend around £180 million a year on administrating funding, qualification and assurance systems. This amounts to £150 per student.

Adventures in Student Development
A while back I explained how I set up the system, and after nearly 2 years of use I can say that it’s still working.

HESA Press release 168 – What is a Course?
HESA, working with representatives from the sector, is pleased to publish a brief report that considers the variety of interpretations and models that exist across the sector. The report analyses how the concept of a course is represented in various sector-level information systems and specifications and how the definition of course changes across the Higher Education lifecycle.

Productivity, charts, students

The Done Manifesto Lays Out 13 Ground Rules for Getting to Done
The Done Manifesto is a set of working rules based on a sense of urgency. No time for careful deliberation, move on.

Liking Rule 4 a lot:

4: Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.

Preventing Cancer – Chart Porn
The key is a bit complicated at first, but there’s lots of interesting information here.

Why ‘students as customers’ is bad for policymaking
Are students becoming more like customers? Do they consider themselves consumers? In the abstract, it is a philosophical question, except that it is so emotive in the higher education context that it is rarely approached with philosophical objectivity.

GTD, stats, fees

New GTD Setup Guide for Outlook 2010
For those of you on Outlook 2010, we just released a new Setup Guide to assist you in creating a rock-solid GTD system in Outlook. Since the 2010 version changed some ways things are done in Outlook, we created a new Guide specific to this version.

Correlation or Causation?
Need to prove something you already believe? Statistics are easy: All you need are two graphs and a leading question. Correlation may not imply causation, but it sure can help us insinuate it.

Tuition fees could bring bonanza for humanities
If the same fees apply for all subjects, humanities departments may benefit, says Jonathan Wolff – but creative arts and some social sciences may suffer.

Digital HE

HE Planning Blog: Core/Margin: Implementation
There is an element of the prisoners’ dilemma here because if the Government’s policies drive a few universities into bankruptcy that is a problem for those universities; if almost all the existing universities are bankrupted, that is a problem for the Government. Because a significant group of universities have moved, and the margin numbers have been substantially overbid, Government will be emboldened to keep pushing, and institutions above £7,500 (and below AAB) will begin to feel more threatened. We can expect to see a further wave of fee reductions next year.

What will drive the expansion of design in digital higher ed?
For a variety of reasons (that I will address in a future post), the software and content created for digital higher education has completely ignored the role of design – and it shows. However, there are a number of forces in play that may give the field of design a more central role in digital higher education.

Word in the cloud, Excel projects

“Save & Send” Word Documents to Windows Live Skydrive
Today, I want to describe how you can save Word 2010 documents directly to “the cloud” using Windows Live SkyDrive. Windows Live SkyDrive is a service of Microsoft. It provides 25GB of free online storage. Two of the greatest features it has are document sharing between yourself and other Windows Live users, and in-browser editing of the documents that you store there. Let’s open a Word document and see how this is done.

Excel as a project management tool
It goes without saying that Microsoft Project is THE program to use if you need to manage large projects. But what if you manage smaller projects? Can you do that in Excel? Sure, but life will be easier if you start with a template that is specifically designed to facilitate project management.

Personal clouds

SkyDrive – designing personal cloud storage for billions of people
SkyDrive has grown tremendously since we launched in 2007, and recently, we’ve made a number of updates to SkyDrive. But we know we have a ways to go. As we look to the future and designing a personal cloud storage service for billions of people, it’s important to reflect both on what’s going on in the industry and the problems people are having with today’s approaches to the cloud.

HE fees

Offa releases details of revised access agreements
Proposals by 25 universities and colleges to cut their tuition fees so they can bid for 20,000 cut-price undergraduate places in 2012-13 have been approved by the Office for Fair Access, but it has led to only a small fall in the sector average of £90 to £8,071. … The National Union of Students said that by switching funding from bursaries to fee waivers to “cope with the moving goal posts of funding policy”, the universities that had revised their access agreements had taken £13.8 million “out of students’ pockets”.

HE standards, email

Watchdog finds fault with Leeds Met validation
The Quality Assurance Agency has raised concerns about Leeds Metropolitan University’s validation of degrees. The watchdog said this week that it had “limited confidence” in the institution’s management of academic standards for courses delivered by partner colleges.

The price of a University drop-out 4: Time for some numbers
The data takes into account HEFCE decided partial completion premiums and the reduced funding delivered for each masters and post-graduate student (because they pay entirely for their course), and is, basically, quite complicated. The data I compiled (in slightly raw, Google doc form) was drawn from HEFCE-released data from 10/11, and is free for anyone to play with, so if you want to see how your university fares for non-completion rates, take a look. So what can we take from this? I think the most interesting discussions will be for the future, and how the whole system will dramatically change why tuition fees sky-rocket.

A “zero email” policy that makes zero sense
According to this article (also covered by the WSJ), the French IT company Atos has discovered that its employees are becoming less productive because of the increasing onslaught of email. … the CEO announced that the company will BAN EMAIL. This is a technology company with 74,000 employees. No more emails – internally, at least, as a few people outside the company still use the tool. If you work in X business, shouldn’t you make sure your employees are good at X?