Online education, economics

The Difference Between Online and For-Profit | Getting Your Degree | Military.com
It is far too common for people to erroneously use the terms ‘for-profit’, ‘distance learning’ and ‘online’ as synonyms — these are distinct and very different concepts. Why do people continually use the terms interchangeably? Ironically, it could simply be a case of needing more education on the subject of education.

txttools – txt messaging for education, healthcare and business
Some txtfacts: 2.5 times as many people use txt rather than email worldwide; 3 billion users worldwide; 98% of the UK population have a mobile phone capable of txt messaging

Econophysics
Econophysics is an interdisciplinary research field, applying theories and methods originally developed by physicists in order to solve problems in economics, usually those including uncertainty or stochastic processes and nonlinear dynamics.

Digital HE, therapy, university systems

Universities must rethink their approach to student digital literacy
The emphasis should be on building digital communication skills so that students can share and develop their ideas and aspirations online, says Dr Abhay Adhikari

World Mental Health Day: A Cognitive Therapy Toolbox
Cognitive therapy has provided me a toolbox of useful techniques that work for nearly any mental or emotional jam I find myself in. I don’t journal much anymore, or talk to empty chairs, or write letters and burn them, but I pull out these sturdy cognitive tools again and again.

University of Venus
The University of Venus is a collaborative venture bringing together the voices of GenX women in higher education from around the globe.

AACRAO: American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Homepage
AACRAO is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional association of more than 11,000 higher education admissions and registration professionals who represent more than 2,600 institutions and agencies in the United States and in over 40 countries around the world. The mission of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers is to serve and advance higher education by providing leadership in academic and enrollment services.

Uncertainty breeds opinions and initiatives which then add to the uncertainty
These are interesting times in many parts of the world. Uncertainty has become a feature of higher education in more than the usual ways, and, as we have found recently in the U.K., uncertainty breeds a multitude of opinions and initiatives which then add to the uncertainty in a seemingly endless feedback loop.

Student enrolment service branded unfit for purpose

Looks like the university’s own academic staff are happy to slag off their admin systems to the press, if I’ve read that right.

HE admin, education

AUA Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice
You are a professional with a rewarding career, and the PG Cert in Professional Practice appeals to managers and administrators right across the spectrum of UK higher education. It is validated by the Open University. If you wish to extend your understanding of the sector in which you work, as well as increase your professional abilities and career prospects, then this PG Cert is ideal for you. You’ll enjoy a highly flexible programme allowing you to balance professional development with the rigour of academic enquiry. You will also be allocated a Mentor to help you along every step of the way. The programme leads ultimately to a level 7 postgraduate professional qualification.

The quest for knowledge is good in itself and helps the country thrive – Will Hutton
A culture of scholarship, the role of the teacher as teacher and the quest to know for the sake of knowing are to be replaced by a culture of consumer utility in which student choice and business need are kings. This is to be forced on universities by creating a new artificial market for student places and by research funding to be allocated less by what is intellectually compelling than what is commercially, and quickly, exploitable.”

From scroll to screen

The Mechanic Muse — From Scroll to Screen
The codex also came with a fringe benefit: It created a very different reading experience. With a codex, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly, nonlinearly. You could flip back and forth between two pages and even study them both at once. You could cross-check passages and compare them and bookmark them. You could skim if you were bored, and jump back to reread your favorite parts. It was the paper equivalent of random-access memory, and it must have been almost supernaturally empowering. With a scroll you could only trudge through texts the long way, linearly.

Over the next few centuries the codex rendered the scroll all but obsolete.

Moving goalposts?

Universities in rethink over tuition fees
In a white paper published this summer, ministers told universities that they could bid for 20,000 full-time undergraduate places next year if they charged less than £7,500. Vince Cable, the business secretary, has said the figure of 20,000 will increase in the future.

E-Learning to save the day?

How Big Can E-Learning Get? At Southern New Hampshire U., Very Big
Academe is abuzz with talk of “disruptive innovation”—the idea, described by Harvard’s Clayton M. Christensen, that the prestige-chasing, tuition-raising business model of higher education is broken, and that something new and cheaper, rooted in online learning, promises to displace it.

Records management ‘humour’

Who knew there was such a thing?

Records Management Humor
Top 10 reasons to not get organized
1. Hunting for important documents adds excitement to a boring schedule.
2. Stacking papers on your desk protects it from ultraviolet radiation.
3. Being as confused as everyone else helps you fit in.
4. Moving piles of paper keeps you in shape.
5. If you understood what you were doing, you would be terrified.
6. Confusion brings out the best in you.
7. Organization kills creativity.
8. Shuffling papers prevents dust from piling up.
9. Your coworkers will never find what they’re seeking.
10. Clutter magnifies your importance.

Criminal records checks

The new coalition government are to press pause on the rollout of the new CRB/ISA arrangements (and then scrap it altogether?)
The vetting scheme for nine million people working with children and vulnerable adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is to be halted. Home Secretary Theresa May is to announce that registration, due to begin next month, is to be put on hold. There will be a review of the entire vetting and barring scheme, with a “scaling back” likely to follow.

It was just a large undertaking, with 11 million people on it eventually, “one in four of the adult population”. Mad. And are we very confident that its replacement will be any better, any less DailyMailesque? We’ll see, I suppose.

Digital HE

Scholars Compile Academic Book From Twitter and Blogs
Two academics put out an online call for material. In one week, they had a book’s worth. Hacking the Academy, an edited volume about academe in the digital age, was compiled from blog posts and Twitter messages posted during a single week. The project was organized by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, of George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, as an experiment meant to challenge the conventional university-press system.

HE funding, productivity

Letter from BIS to Vice Chancellors and Principals with more info on the £6 billion of savings, £836 million from their department
One of this country’s greatest assets is the strength of our university and college system … We are all going to have to do more with less and stop doing some of the things we currently do.

Also, what the hell’s going on with Vince Cable’s signature?

AJ Jacobs: My colossal task burden
The stereo is silent. The TV black. The room dark. I am focused on nothing but a glowing computer screen. I’m doing this because I have a problem focusing. My brain is all over the place. Unless I’m doing at least two things at once, I feel like I’m wasting my time. Phone and email. Watching TV, checking Facebook and reading the news online. Texting and peeing.

Meetings, sketchbooks, stress

The experience must be finished to enjoy the fruits of the effort
Disorganized meetings with no well defined goals inhibit positive communication and lead the participants to wonder if the organizers of the meeting really know what they are doing.

Pretty obvious really, but useful prompts nonetheless.

David Cameron has banned the use of mobiles and Blackberries in his meetings. The BBC asks what would happen if our workplace did the same.

Certainly, fiddling with your phone in a meeting doesn’t look good, but perhaps what people are doing on them is only what other people are doing on their laptops. They get to look all keen as mustard and productive and whatnot, typing away notes (or looking like they are), so why are we mobile phone users not equally given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to be working appropriately too? (I think in my case it would be fair to assume I’m tweeting and not working, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT.)

Some photos of Irina Vinnik’s wonderful sketchbook. This is how you’re supposed to fill a moleskine.

I’m very jealous. The doodles I make in meetings never come out as good as this. I need to go to longer, more dull meetings, I guess? I’m compelled to dig out my old moleskines and bring them to work next week.

Stressed staff can’t get no satisfaction
People working in higher education are “dissatisfied with their jobs and careers” and are “stressed at work”, according to new research. … Staff were asked questions about job satisfaction, well-being, work-life balance, stress at work, control at work and working conditions using a Work-related Quality of Life (WrQoL) scale devised by Darren Van Laar, a Portsmouth psychologist.

Student satisfaction

Online Evaluations Show Same Results, Lower Response Rate
Students give the same responses on paper as on online course evaluations but are less likely to respond to online surveys, according to a recent study. … The only meaningful difference between student ratings completed online and on paper was that students who took online surveys gave their professors higher ratings for using educational technology to promote learning.

Presentations, HE funding

A wonderful gallery of Keynote and Powerpoint presentations.

Note & Point

Whoever gets in next week will give us all a tough time.

New ways to fund universities are essential now
What is clear is that unless other sources of funding are sought creatively, the next government will have the unenviable task of dividing the cake between taxpayers, universities and graduates in ways that may not leave any of these groups truly satisfied.

Search for it

BBC – dot.Maggie: Getting organised the Google way
Not surprisingly, when it comes to technological solutions, Mr Merrill errs on the side of Google. For example, he tells me that “search is the oxygen of today’s world”. By that, he means that there is no need to remember everything because we can search for it. Take email. Forget trying to purge old messages and reach the holy grail of an empty inbox. It’s a waste of time, energy and effort, says Mr Merrill, and only causes us more angst.

HE VR

A cautionary tale of virtual universities, griefers and ‘the authorities’.

Woodbury U. Banned From Second Life, Again
Woodbury University’s virtual campus in Second Life was torn down yesterday by Linden Lab, the company that operates the virtual world, and the accounts of several students and professors were blocked. The tale involves virtual superheroes, accusations of vandalism, and conflicting ideas of what a campus should look like in a virtual world.

Integrating Twitter

Any opportunities here for HEIs to improve (prospective?) student engagement?

Twitter Blog: It’s Alive!
Last month we previewed an incredibly simple set of web tools which enable partner websites to easily integrate Twitter functionality into their site experience called @anywhere. The idea is that web users will be able to engage with existing Twitter features from all of their favorite sites. Today, we’re happy to announce this service is live and ready for anyone who wants to build a little Twitter into their online experience.