Thursday, February 19, 2009

Increase in UCAS Applications for 2009 Entry

Overall UCAS applications are up this year by 8%, with increases in mature applicants (I wonder why that could be?).

The Times Higher has an article on this story, and shows some of the winners and losers - Birmingham City University has seen its applications rise by over 35%!

I guess the question is, what are they doing to achieve this? And more importantly for them, how will they meet student expectations if this translates into a big increase in student numbers?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Guardian University Challenge

I meant to post this a while ago, and was reminded to while reading a page at JISC. The Guardian in January published a supplement on challenges facing universities.

There are some really interesting articles on:
  • the rise of the cyberstudent - how students use web2.0 tools to help with their learning, and in doing so change the learning paradigm we are used to, or indeed are expecting them to abide with.
  • a review of the latest ICT tools - and how these might be used in teaching, and how there may be a rise in plagiarism (as if googling the answer to an assignment wasn't enough)
  • open content - discussion of a pilot project to make educational content more open (let's face it MIT have being doing for ages, and they don't seem to worry about letting the world see their learning material)
Well worth a read.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Postgraduate Awards

The Guardian (yes I know it's my favourite source) has produced tables of information on postgraduate awards in the UK, as part of an extensive set of articles and webpages on postgrad study.

It would have been nice if they had covered all of our sign of Mechanical Engineering for example.

Full details at postgraduate master tables.

Recession and the Impact on Universities

So what effect will the recession ( are we allowed to call it that yet?) have on Universities, and specifically on a Faculty like ours?

Data suggests that there has been an increase in overall applications to University for 2009-10 entry - potential students possibly realising that higher education can lead to higher earnings over a lifetime, and also recognising that 3-4 years in University may be long enough for the jobs market to get moving again.

There's a long article in the Guardian about this.

In addition to undergraduate demand, there has been an increase in demand for postgraduate awards - again from The Guardian

But what could we do as a Faculty? Here's a few suggestions:
  • market our undergraduate and postgraduate provision to those in work on a part time basis as a way of upskilling
  • provide postgraduate awards for those professionals who are likely to lose their jobs, and need to upskill and use a period of redundancy effectively
  • look at how we can offer incentives to enter awards - again at postgraduate level, Durham and Teeside offer incentives for existing undergraduate students to take their awards (between £2000 and £2400)
  • work with employers to identify the training and education that they need to ensure their survival in the current economic climate.