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Nus Org - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 06:00

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Categories: NUS news

Fast track to FELTAG

JISC news - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 15:19
25 March 2015

Heart of Worcestershire College – 2014’s Association of Colleges Beacon Award winner for effective use of technology in further education – will tomorrow be hosting ‘Fast track to FELTAG’, an event designed to help colleges adopt a complete blended learning model and meet the FELTAG recommendations. 

The event will feature a number of expert speakers, including Paul McKean, Jisc FE and skills customer advocate. Here, he talks to Gemma Ellis about how Jisc is supporting this move towards a blended offer and how colleges can take advantage of Jisc services. 

Categories: Universities

Advances on access to university for students of all backgrounds shows that taking a wide approach to widening access pays off

Universities Scotland news - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 12:38
Figures released today by the Scottish Funding Council [Wednesday 25 March] in its ninth Learning for All report show increases in the number of students starting university from across a wide range of under-represented groups including:students living in Scotland's most deprived 20 and 40 per cent of neighbourhoods - up 10.1 per cent and 8 per cent respectively on last year (table 1).pupils from low participation schools - up 11.7 per cent on last year (table 2)students who enter university direct from college with full recognition of their Higher National qualification - up 9.2 per cent on last year (table 3)University efforts over the last year, building on what is a long-term priority of widening access within the higher education sector, have delivered further change to the profile of entrants to university with 14.0 per cent of all Scottish domiciled entrants now drawn from the most deprived 20 per cent of neighbourhoods (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, SIMD) and 30 per cent now drawn from the 40 per cent most deprived neighbourhoods.In recent years, universities have been encouraged to make the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation the focus of of their widening access programmes when it comes to targeting students and tracking progress. Universities have long argued that Scotland should take a wider approach to widening access, not least due to limitations inherent in SIMD as a measure and because using only the SIMD would mean other students not fitting this criteria, but with the potential to benefit from a higher education, would be overlooked.Commenting on the progress shown in today's figures, Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal of the University of Dundee, said:"Universities are deeply committed to widening access to as many people that have the potential to benefit as possible. We have been working for decades to support people from all backgrounds into higher education. The progress made on widening access, demonstrated in today's figures, builds on steady improvement over the last few years. We are moving in the right direction and we are making a difference to people's lives."The goal is to widen access and it is a goal that everyone is committed to within higher education, throughout all levels of education and across all parties in our parliament. We want to see that commitment extend to policymakers taking a wide and inclusive approach to widening access because the people with the potential to benefit from a higher education, the people universities are reaching out to, are individuals with diverse sets of circumstances. "SFC's report highlights the continuing attainment gap between school leavers from deprived and privileged backgrounds. We welcome action to address this and look forward to making a full contribution to the widening access commission. Universities are committed to further progress to ensure that learners from every community can realise their full potential."Read the full Universities Scotland news release Figures released today by the Scottish Funding Council [Wednesday 25 March] in its ninth Learning for All report show increases in the number of students starting university from across a wide range of under-represented groups including:students living in Scotland's most deprived 20 and 40 per cent of neighbourhoods - up 10.1 per cent and 8 per cent respectively on last year (table 1).pupils from low participation schools - up 11.7 per cent on last year (table 2)students who enter university direct from college with full recognition of their Higher National qualification - up 9.2 per cent on last year (table 3)University efforts over the last year, building on what is a long-term priority of widening access within the higher education sector, have delivered further change to the profile of entrants to university with 14.0 per cent of all Scottish domiciled entrants now drawn from the most deprived 20 per cent of neighbourhoods (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, SIMD) and 30 per cent now drawn from the 40 per cent most deprived neighbourhoods.In recent years, universities have been encouraged to make the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation the focus of of their widening access programmes when it comes to targeting students and tracking progress. Universities have long argued that Scotland should take a wider approach to widening access, not least due to limitations inherent in SIMD as a measure and because using only the SIMD would mean other students not fitting this criteria, but with the potential to benefit from a higher education, would be overlooked.Commenting on the progress shown in today's figures, Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal of the University of Dundee, said:"Universities are deeply committed to widening access to as many people that have the potential to benefit as possible. We have been working for decades to support people from all backgrounds into higher education. The progress made on widening access, demonstrated in today's figures, builds on steady improvement over the last few years. We are moving in the right direction and we are making a difference to people's lives."The goal is to widen access and it is a goal that everyone is committed to within higher education, throughout all levels of education and across all parties in our parliament. We want to see that commitment extend to policymakers taking a wide and inclusive approach to widening access because the people with the potential to benefit from a higher education, the people universities are reaching out to, are individuals with diverse sets of circumstances. "SFC's report highlights the continuing attainment gap between school leavers from deprived and privileged backgrounds. We welcome action to address this and look forward to making a full contribution to the widening access commission. Universities are committed to further progress to ensure that learners from every community can realise their full potential."Extra places ring-fenced for accessThis year's data captures the beginning of the impact of new additional university places that were ring-fenced by the Scottish Government for students starting university in 2013/14 from the most deprived 40 per cent of neighbourhoods (SIMD40). The extra places were given to seven higher education institutions to enable them to make offers to a greater number of underrepresented students without increasing the pressure on places available to all students.Today's figures show the first year of this initiative has been successful. The group of seven higher education institutions which received additional widening access places increased the number of entrants from the poorest 20 per cent of neighbourhoods by 22 per cent in one year. Overall, the increase in entrants from the poorest 40 per cent of neighbourhoods increased by 19 per cent, meaning that very close to half of the additional places went to students from neighbourhoods affected by the worst levels of deprivation (table 1).Commenting on the additional places, Professor Downes said:"The extra places recognised that widening access at university level is more challenging when the competition for places is fierce because of high demand. With a 22 per cent increase in entrants from the poorest neighbourhoods to these institutions, the data show it has been successful and has helped many universities deliver a higher rate of progress this year than might otherwise have been possible. "We're right at the start of this new approach and we'd expect it to keep delivering in the years to come especially as the places were awarded mid-year and universities didn't have much time to get to promote the new places to the right audience or link-up to their partnerships with schools. More people could benefit from the idea behind the extra places if the criteria were widened beyond a narrow measure of deprivation to include other aspects of underrepresentation."Despite continued progress, universities are not complacent about the need to do more to open up opportunities to students from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible. The new ring-fenced access places, introduced in 2013, were given to institutions mid-way through the admissions process which meant there was limited time to raise awareness and encourage people to apply. The initiative has been rolled on for subsequent years and this will allow universities to make better connections between the additional places and their outreach programmes and links with schools. RetentionThe data show the boost to widening access is matched by further increases in university retention rates with another year-on-year improvement to 91.3 per cent of full-time Scottish domiciled undergraduate students. The statistics also show good progress in improving in the retention rates of students from the poorest 20 per cent and 40 per cent of neighbourhoods according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD20 and SIMD40). The retention rate for students from SIMD20 neighbourhoods now sits at 87.3 per cent, up from 85.5 per cent last year and 84 per cent four years ago. Performance Indicators also publishedThe Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) also released performance indicators today showing access and retention figures for universities across the UK. This set of data also show Scotland's higher education institutions making progress on measures of access and retention although differences in the methodological approach taken by the Scottish Funding Council and HESA, with the SFC primarily focusing on the progress amongst Scottish-domiciled students at Scottish higher education institutions, mean the data do not necessarily correspond across the datasets. The HESA performance indicators can be found here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/pisNOTESThe SFC's ninth Learning for All report can be found here: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/communications/Statisticalpublications/2015/SFCST062015.aspx The data in the tables below is taken from that available in the SFC report and in additional tables made available online by the SFC.Data tables are available in the PDF version of this Universities Scotland news release here. 
Categories: Universities

Alastair Sim: Life as an academic

Universities Scotland news - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:52
This piece originally appeared in The Scotsman on Wednesday 25 March 2015 titled 'Academic work more than satisfactory'. I was surprised to read the results of a YouGov poll last month that found more people across Britain wanted to be a university academic than a TV presenter, interior designer or Hollywood star. The role of academic was the third most popular out of 31 occupations. It was beaten only by author and librarian, which led the report to suggest it was the thought of a "quiet intellectual life" that appealed to people. Quiet is probably one of the last words that academics in our universities today would use to describe their job. Whether working in an academic, professional or support role university staff face the same high expectations, pressures and demanding schedule as most other professions. Universities - and so their staff - face a demanding set of expectations from students (fee-paying or not), from businesses, their communities, government, charity and other investors. It's not an easy role. Scotland's higher education sector already has it right on democratic approach to management/union relations, writes Alastair SimI was surprised to read the results of a YouGov poll last month that found more people across Britain wanted to be a university academic than a TV presenter, interior designer or Hollywood star. The role of academic was the third most popular out of 31 occupations. It was beaten only by author and librarian, which led the report to suggest it was the thought of a "quiet intellectual life" that appealed to people. Quiet is probably one of the last words that academics in our universities today would use to describe their job. Whether working in an academic, professional or support role university staff face the same high expectations, pressures and demanding schedule as most other professions. Universities - and so their staff - face a demanding set of expectations from students (fee-paying or not), from businesses, their communities, government, charity and other investors. It's not an easy role.This being the case, it's probably more surprising that satisfaction levels are so high among university employees. More than 80 per cent of staff polled last year said their job was a source of satisfaction and close to three-quarters said they found it rewarding. There has been a lot of focus in recent months on the fair work agenda in Scotland with the creation of a Cabinet secretary for fair work, skills and training and the publication of the Working Together report on workplace relations. Higher education institutions are well-placed when it comes to this agenda, if not ahead of many sections of our economy, and that is probably no small contributing factor to high levels of staff satisfaction.Many of the recommendations in Jim Mather's Working Together review are already standard practice within the sector. He wanted an increase in workplace democracy with worker membership on boards. This is the case for every university as academic and non-academic staff sit on the governing body, elected by their peers. The second most powerful body within a university is that of the academic board or senate which regulates teaching and research matters. This gives the academic community a strong, democratic voice.The report also called for greater value to be placed on partnership between management and unions. Again, this is well-established with joint negotiating committees between university management and unions representing 27 per cent of university staff. Working Together also favoured industry-wide collective bargaining. Every UK university is involved in annual collective pay bargaining which last year saw staff awarded a 2 per cent rise.We are confident that close to 100 per cent of staff working across the university sector, covered by collective pay arrangements and working a 35-hour week, is at or above the living wage. The sector has taken action, such as in 2014-15, to "bottom-weight" the pay deal so that the hourly rate equivalent for someone on the lowest pay spine point and working 35 hours a week came into line with the living wage. We are also considering what further, sustainable, action we might be able to take. A commitment has already been made that the new rate of living wage for 2015-16, announced last November, will be part of the discussions for the 2015-16 pay settlement. Flexible contracts are in use where this makes sense for the employer and employee. Student shifts at ad hoc university events or guest lecturers from business and industry coming to share their practical experience as part of the teaching programme would be examples of where these kind of contracts serve a purpose. But no university in Scotland makes use of exploitative contracts which keep people "on call" for speculative work or apply exclusivity clauses so staff are unable to take employment elsewhere. University management has also agreed on joint work with the unions to define the appropriate use of flexible contracts. Scotland's 19 higher education institutions employ close to 40,000 people. Inevitably within a workforce of that scale there are issues of contention and dissatisfaction. For a sector that exists to encourage freedom of thought and critical thinking it is no surprise that staff take different views to that of management on some issues. However, we have the mechanisms to address those issues and discuss our disagreements constructively with staff in an open and robust form whether that's in the joint negotiating committees with unions, at senate meetings or at the very highest level in the governing body. Working as an academic is a popular and challenging choice of career. Let's work together to keep improving its satisfaction.Alastair Sim, Director, Universities Scotland This piece originally appeared in The Scotsman on Wednesday 25 March 2015 titled 'Academic work more than satisfactory'.  
Categories: Universities

Where are we on the open access roadmap?

JISC news - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 14:33
26 March 2015

Today Research Councils UK (RCUK) released a review of the implementation of their open access (OA) policy just 16 months after its introduction. 

RCUK’s OA policy prefers researchers to use a gold OA model, asking for payment of an article processing charges (APC) at or soon after the point of acceptance. 

Neil Jacobs, head of scholarly communications support, and part of the review panel comments:

“Jisc welcomes this review. As it comes at an early stage in the implementation of the OA policy there is currently only a limited amount of evidence, but it’s clear that Jisc is doing the right things to enable the sector to meet changing requirements. 

The RCUK OA policy implies a huge change to the workflows associated with the journal supply chain and it will take time for universities, publishers, and others to embed them. The review tells us there are clear signs that this adaption is taking place, but also clear signs that considerable administrative burden remains on universities.

Nevertheless, I believe the answer is not for the Research Councils to turn away from universities as partners in the implementation of the policy, but to engage with them to get the infrastructure and workflows in place to make them work.”

As well as administrative burden the policy has caused to universities the review also mentions the impact on them of the absolute costs of paying APCs (the costs incurred when publishing an article). It states “further transparency on what is being paid in APCs by institutions to publishers will be crucial in helping to change behaviours and ease the transition towards open access”.

At Jisc we have been supporting this process through a standard data template, and many universities are now sharing data on their APC payments openly. Once this information is gathered together we will be able to provide reports on these payments across education and research, giving a level of transparency never previously seen in this market.

Other Jisc work that supports implementation of this policy includes:

  • Guide for publishers - to inform publishers about steps they can take to reduce the admin burden that features so strongly in the RCUK report.
  • Jisc Monitor  - which is helping universities to keep track of publications, compliance with OA policies, and expenditure on APCs, allowing funders to see the impact of these policies and adapt them as needed
  • RIOXX  - which provides the metadata for repositories required by RCUK
  • CASRAI pilot - working groups, including one focused on a fuller metadata profile to meet a wider range of funder reporting requirements
  • ORCID – an author identifier, specifically recommended by the report which allows a researcher, funder or university to search and find research outputs for an individual, helping them to meet the requirements
  • Total cost of ownership – Jisc is negotiating offset deals with many publishers to reduce the risk that costs to universities and funders rise massively as they pay both subscriptions and APCs during a transition period.

The report highlights that RCUK's open access policy is being implemented alongside the Research Excellence Framework OA policy, which states that articles should be deposited into a repository at the point of acceptance by a journal.

This dual establishment of policies has created both challenges and opportunities, the different approaches seeming to require researchers to establish multiple workflows.  What they have in common, however, is that they demonstrate the importance of the point at which an article is accepted for publication by a journal – both policies encourage that this is now properly managed with universities.

However, the review did find that there is some confusion around these polices and what is required; Jisc is undertaking work to standardise the language used by research funders, universities and publishers in describing their OA policies.  

We see this review as a positive step on the road to an OA world and looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders, including the new higher education institution practitioner group recommended by the report.  

Categories: Universities

Advice to institutions on potential phone hacking threat

JISC news - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 15:56
23 March 2015

We’ve been notified by the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) that at least one institution has been the victim of a type of 'phone hacking', whereby fraudsters make use of weaknesses in internet-connected phone systems to take control of them, and then make large numbers of outgoing calls to premium-rate phone numbers, in which the fraudsters have a financial stake.

There’s the potential for universities to lose a large amount of money (maybe in the hundreds of thousands) in a very short space of time if it is not discovered promptly. You can read more information about how this works in this New York Times article.

UCISA have sent out a communication asking universities to be extra vigilant over the next few days in case universities are targeted next.

They advise that it may also be worth looking back through phone logs for unusual (and expensive) activity and ask that universities also consider how they might combat this fraud if it was to occur overnight, or on the weekends.

At Jisc we offer a telephony purchasing service that enables customers to purchase a range of telephony services from pre-qualified suppliers for use over the Janet network. We essentially act as a broker, meaning that contracts are between customer and supplier.

We have contacted suppliers on the telephony purchasing service to inform them of this activity to make sure they are aware of the issue and are able to provide support.

Our advice for universities would be to ensure that any software on telephone services is up to date as this helps to reduce the security risk.

If hacking or unusual activity takes place we advise universities to contact our computer security incident response team (CSIRT) helpline, 0300 999 2340, where our experts would be able to offer them advice.

Categories: Universities

Getting the student voice in global climate negotations

Nus Org - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 15:51

As we approach the crucial UN climate negotiations in Paris, we need to make the student voice too powerful to ignore.

Categories: NUS news

Crystal Lameman calls for an end to fossil fuel extraction at #SSS15

Nus Org - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 12:04

In her opening keynote at the Student Sustainability Summit, tar sands activist Crystal Lameman spoke on her experiences of opposing fossil fuel companies.

Categories: NUS news

Jisc invests in collaborative projects to improve research data management

JISC news - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 11:09
24 March 2015

Researchers from across the country are set to benefit from the development of new services which look to overcome the biggest challenges facing the research community, through our research data spring

Research data spring is an initiative to create innovative partnerships between researchers, librarians, publishers and developers to develop new solutions to common research problems. Such problems include data being difficult to find and therefore re-use, and different data management systems being poorly integrated, making it difficult for researchers to work with one another.

Rachel Bruce, deputy chief innovation officer at Jisc, said:

“While the new Research Councils UK policies and the Horizon 2020 data pilot are laying the foundations for research data management (RDM) to be part and parcel of what researchers do, there is still a need to make access and re-use of data as painless and as rewarding as possible. By inviting those working in the sector to contribute their ideas we hope to foster innovative partnerships.

Our aim is to develop new solutions and protocols that will make it much easier for everyone to find, share and retrieve research data across different subject areas and disciplines.”

When the project launched 70 ideas for solutions were submitted. 44 were shortlisted for further consideration at a workshop in late February. Following discussions and collaborative development work, some projects merged leaving 27 pitches. Subsequently, 17 strong ideas were selected for funding by a panel of judges.

The projects include: 

  • Developing RDM tools for small and specialist intitutions
    A consortium comprising Arkivum, CREST, the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), Leeds Trinity University and the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) which aims to develop a package of RDM tools and services for small and specialist institutions. For example, UCA is looking to work with EPrints to implement an open source approach to research data management in the visual arts which would benefit the researchers that are working with large, complex, multimedia data and datasets. This means that visual arts data, which is currently managed extemporarily, will be automatically preserved, curated and made available.
     
  • Unlocking theses data
    The University of East London has been awarded funding for a proposal to unlock UK theses data. The organisation’s idea is to introduce students to persistent identifiers and the new data sharing standards. There are several benefits to this, including universities being able to raise the profile of their doctoral research and researchers having easy access to a wealth of data from PhD theses. The project has prompted significant interest from other institutions, including St Andrews University and the London School of Economics who have volunteered to pilot the project.
     
  • Data vault for archiving
    The University of Edinburgh and the University of Manchester have received funding to develop a data vault that will ensure active data, data which is currently being used, can be fully archived, so it is not lost and is pushed out for other projects. This will mean researchers are able to empty their active storage (cloud, external drives etc) while properly archiving the data, so that it can be made accessible and will be physically usable in the long term.

Over the next three months the successful project teams will work on their ideas, bringing news of their progress to another workshop in summer, when they will decide the next steps and pitch for further funding. 

Following this, more funding will be released for selected projects enabling continued development of prototypes ready for a final showcase event in summer 2016.

To find out which projects have been selected for funding, and for updates on progress between now and next year’s showcase, please visit the research data management blog and research data spring project page on our website.

Categories: Universities

#RegAFriend

Nus Org - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 00:00

Get just one friend to register to vote so you can all have a say. And be heard.

Categories: NUS news

NUS Wales takes MPs Questions to Cardiff Central

Nus Org - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 15:00

This week on MPs Questions, Cardiff Central's MP Jenny Willott, Lib Dems, and PPCs Jo Stevens, Labour, Richard Hopkin, Conservatives, and Chris Von Ruhland, Greens, Anthony Raybould, UKIP, and Martin Pollard, Plaid Cymru, today address general election issues on Twitter.

Categories: NUS news

Hidden costs of university are crippling students

Nus Org - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 10:20

NUS Journalist Emma Jacobs looks at the damaging effect of hidden costs students face when they reach higher education.

Categories: NUS news

Refusing people treatment will seclude and isolate

Nus Org - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 10:00

David Cameron recently announced that he wants to take Employment Support Allowance (ESA) benefits away from people suffering from obesity and alcohol or drug related problems, if they refuse to have treatment. He noted that he wanted to incentivise people to get treatment and lead a fulfilling life through work, explores NUS Journalist James McCrory.

Categories: NUS news

Scotland's universities welcome appointment of Chair to Widening Access Commission

Universities Scotland news - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 13:17
Universities Scotland has today, Tuesday 17 March, warmly welcomed the announcement of Dame Ruth Silver's appointment to Chair the Scottish Government's Commission on Widening Access.Scotland's universities are committed to widening access to university for every single child with the desire and ability, no matter what their background, and are supportive of the establishment of a Widening Access Commission which will take a holistic perspective on how to enhance young peoples' attainments and opportunities. Every one of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions is committed to promoting wide access to higher education and will support the work of the Commission, contributing in shared responsibility to raising the educational attainment of all of Scotland's school pupils and in closing the attainment gap that is already evident between Scotland's wealthiest and poorest children as young as five years of age. Welcoming today's announcement Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland said: "We fully support Dame Ruth and the work of the Commission to address the issue of narrowing the attainment gap. We look forward to working with her and all the members of the Widening Access Commission in our shared ambition to ensure that every learner has the opportunity to benefit from a university education and realise their full potential." "Dame Ruth's extensive personal and professional experience will bring a wealth of understanding and knowledge to the appointment, in recognising that access to university is a shared challenge and there is a role for schools, colleges and, local authorities to play in this as well as universities. We are all united in our determination to raise attainment, and we hope that the membership of that Commission will reflect the breadth of contributions to widening access. Every level in Scotland's education sector has a shared responsibility and commitment if we are to make a significant difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged of society." Universities Scotland has today, Tuesday 17 March, warmly welcomed the announcement of Dame Ruth Silver's appointment to Chair the Scottish Government's Commission on Widening Access.Scotland's universities are committed to widening access to university for every single child with the desire and ability, no matter what their background, and are supportive of the establishment of a Widening Access Commission which will take a holistic perspective on how to enhance young peoples' attainments and opportunities. Every one of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions is committed to promoting wide access to higher education and will support the work of the Commission, contributing in shared responsibility to raising the educational attainment of all of Scotland's school pupils and in closing the attainment gap that is already evident between Scotland's wealthiest and poorest children as young as five years of age. Welcoming today's announcement Professor Pete Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland said: "We fully support Dame Ruth and the work of the Commission to address the issue of narrowing the attainment gap. We look forward to working with her and all the members of the Widening Access Commission in our shared ambition to ensure that every learner has the opportunity to benefit from a university education and realise their full potential." "Dame Ruth's extensive personal and professional experience will bring a wealth of understanding and knowledge to the appointment, in recognising that access to university is a shared challenge and there is a role for schools, colleges and, local authorities to play in this as well as universities. We are all united in our determination to raise attainment, and we hope that the membership of that Commission will reflect the breadth of contributions to widening access. Every level in Scotland's education sector has a shared responsibility and commitment if we are to make a significant difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged of society." NotesThe proportion of undergraduate university entrants from SIMD20 increased in 2012-13 from 12.8% to 13.3%, and the proportion from SIMD40 increased from 28.6% to 29%.What are universities doing to raise attainment? All Scotland's higher education institutions are working hard to promote wide access to university-level education, in a life-cycle approach which extends from the earliest years to the third age. See Access All Areas. Examples include:Interventions in the pre-school and primary years Interventions in the pre-school and primary years e.g. Glasgow Caledonian University's Caledonian Club which works with young people and families in deprived areas of Glasgow to raise educational aspirations and to open the University to the community; University of Strathclyde's Children's University which allows children from age seven to experience further and higher education and access special lectures and conducted visits at the university and other learning activities; and Abertay University's highly interactive Tayside Space School which gives 80 primary school pupils the chance to study various aspects of space travel and exploration and raises their awareness of science and technology. Glasgow School of Art's Continuing Education department offers a wide range of courses for children aged seven to eleven years of age on Saturday mornings and afternoon as week-long courses during the summer.Interventions to promote aspiration in secondary-age children e.g. University of Edinburgh works with secondary schools and their feeder primaries to normalise structures and experiences of higher and further education for pupils who work with university staff and role model students; Edinburgh Napier University's Build a Business in a Day works with S2 pupils from ten schools across Fife, the Lothians and Borders to give an insight into entrepreneurship and teamwork in a university setting; and Entry to the Creative Industries run by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland provides opportunities and tailored support to pupils who are interesting in progressing in the performing or production arts from 37 schools in the west of Scotland with below average progression rates to higher education.Interventions to support senior phase learners to achieve qualifications for university-level study e.g. University of Aberdeen's S6@Uni programme works in partnership with schools in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to provide a broad range of opportunities for S6 pupils including courses to complement existing Advanced Highers or replace provision at the same SCQF level where no Advanced Higher is offered; Queen Margaret University's innovative Academy model is pushing the boundaries of traditional education to offer real job and education opportunities to senior school pupils in Edinburgh, East and Midlothian in partnership with the local college, local authorities and industry; and the national SCHOLAR programme of e-learning courseware offered by Heriot-Watt University incorporates interactive, engaging online materials in over 30 courses for use by students in their final year of school to help reshape their skills for the challenges of the 21st century.Interventions such as summer schools to give learners from challenged backgrounds an extra chance e.g. University of St Andrew's Sutton Trust Summer School has 130 pupils with backgrounds of socio-economic and education disadvantage participating each year with a focus to encourage them to apply for competitive courses and universities; and the University of Dundee's DUAL summer school which has been running for 21 years offers students a six-week intensive tuition programme to prove they can take a place at university and acclimatises them to the demands they will face. Similarly The University of Glasgow runs Taster Weeks in June or July every year with up to 200 S5 and S6 pupils participating, some of whom will come from schools with a low progression rate to higher education and others will live in the 40 per cent most disadvantaged areas. Links with colleges e.g. Robert Gordon University is the lead institution within the north-east articulation hub in conjunction with Aberdeen College and Banff & Buchan College and has formal agreements in place with a number of others. At the heart of the creation of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) has been the desire to bring together the four land based education institutions into one. SRUC students are identified and supported towards their future study plans earlier in their academic careers, enabling pupils to leave school with National 4s an and 5s, specialising in land based subject at the earliest opportunity. The University of Stirling's Twogether are innovative education and skills programmes in applied biological sciences and heritage and conservation that go o beyond traditional 2 +2 articulation arrangements between further education colleges and universities and are wholly integrated with student enrolled as college and university students.Promotion of ‘second chances' to learn e.g. the Open University in Scotland's Openings modules which are open to adults from all educational backgrounds as a gentle introduction to further study and allow students to earn 15 credits at SCQF level 7 for successfully completing them; the University of the Highlands and Islands offers a range of Access to courses designed to help people into university study who have been away from study for a number of years or lack the usual entry requirements; and the University of the West of Scotland's Making Experience Count programme at its Lifelong Learning Academy gives advice and guidance to students and staff on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to help them decide on further study or personal and professional development options.
Categories: Universities

Jisc's research data spring

JISC news - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 17:22
17 March 2015

Research data spring is a project aiming to find new technical tools, software and service solutions to improve researchers’ workflows and the use and management of their data. In Februrary we held a sandpit workshop at Aston University, where selected ideas were explored and developed. In this podcast we hear from project lead Daniela Duca and a number of the participants.

Categories: Universities

Jisc digital resources announces change in leadership

JISC news - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 15:37
16 March 2015

Lorraine Estelle, executive director of Jisc digital resources and divisional CEO of Jisc Collections, has announced she will be leaving the charity next month to pursue new opportunities. 

Creative Commons attribution information Lorraine Estelle©JiscAll rights reserved

After 12 years at Jisc, Lorraine has decided to take up a position with Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER), an international initiative that sets the standard for the recording and reporting of online usage statistics. She has supported the organisation since its launch in 2002, and will replace outgoing project director Peter Shepherd when he retires this summer.

Lorraine will be a very hard act to follow; and that daunting task will be taken forward very ably by Keith Cole as the new executive director for Jisc digital resources. Reflecting the crucial importance within digital resources of the library consortium, Liam Earney will support Keith as director of the Jisc Collections division.

Keith, who is the current deputy director of Jisc digital resources and former director of Mimas, said:

“Our sector is undeniably going through a significant period of change. Important steps have already been taken by Jisc to widen access to digital resources to further and higher education, but there is more to be done before we can claim a fairer landscape for all.

I look forward to taking over leadership of Jisc digital resources at such an exciting time and extending the positive impact of this vital work to the whole community.”

Martyn Harrow, chief executive, Jisc, added:

“I would like to thank Lorraine for the significant time and effort she has given to Jisc over the years. Her work has been absolutely invaluable for Jisc and for our communities UK-wide. She leaves Jisc very well positioned, as Keith says, to take this important agenda further forward. I wish her all the best in her new venture.”

Categories: Universities

NUS brokers a new deal for work and tackles youth employment

Nus Org - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 09:34

Today we are launching the 'Commission for Work' report. The report is the culmination of written and oral evidence from a diverse range of 12 commissioners – Trade Union Congress to British Chamber of Commerce - brought together by NUS in the first collaborative approach to tackling youth employment issues.

Categories: NUS news

What's the best thing about being a student mother?

Nus Org - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 10:00

On Mother's Day there will be many students giving flowers and gifts, but there will be a lot of students receiving them as well. We asked students mothers to tell us about their experiences of motherhood while studying at the same time.

Categories: NUS news

Tech festival digi-proofs the future of education

JISC news - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 09:51
13 March 2015

Teachers, IT managers, librarians, lecturers and research managers from across the UK were given the chance to discuss the positive impact of technology on further and higher education and discover new tools and approaches to its use at this year’s Jisc Digital Festival.

Held in Birmingham on 9-10 March, the largest Digital Festival yet presented the best digital talent under the theme of ‘connect more’. And featured a diverse line-up of digital innovators and leading technology organisations, including internet giant Google.

During his keynote speech on day one, Simon Nelson, chief executive of the UK MOOC platform FutureLearn, announced that the platform will be making some units from its courses available openly online – without the need to register.

Carole Goble, professor in the school of computer science at the University of Manchester called for research to be reusable and shareable during her talk on day two. Carole highlighted the 'research object' work she is doing to ensure research can be created faster and is replicable.

Bob Harrison, chair of the Teaching Schools New Technology Advisory Board, called for a significant shift in the culture of the further education sector to not only survive but to thrive in this technology driven era. He said that the further education model is no longer fit for purpose.

Martyn Harrow, chief executive at Jisc, said:

“How we connect technology and education is a journey that we’ve only just started. The Digital Festival has demonstrated just how important this is to institutions and has really celebrated all the great digital developments that are happening in the sector.

We’re looking forward to continuing to develop ideas and help institutions to use the best technology in the most effective way, now and in the future. This will all help the UK retain its position as the world’s most digitally advanced education and research nation.”  

Other sessions throughout the two-day event included how to effectively use augmented reality in the classroom, how to implement BYOD (bring your own device) policies, internet safety and why open access research data is important.

Stats about the event:

  • Over 1000 delegates either in Birmingham or online, 90 speakers and 85 sessions
  • Trended nationally on Monday
  • Total #digifest15 tweets: 7204
  • 15,986,340 total appearances in timelines
  • Nearly 600 active app users
  • Top five hashtags used with #digifest15:
    1. #digitalstudent
    2. #edtech
    3. #openaccess
    4. #feltag
    5. #rdm
Categories: Universities

The cost of living crisis through the eyes of students

Nus Org - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 10:31

For many students starting university taught them not only about their subject, but also about money. Students are finding that the cost of living and studying is going up, and the loans and grants they receive simply do not cover everything, reports NUS Journalist Mariya Hussain.

Categories: NUS news

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