Thursday, 13 August 2009

concerns for HE(A)

Quango man has your cash!

In a recent House of Commons report entitled Students and Universities the Higher Education Academy effectivley receive a vote of no confidence, as do the QAA!! Testing times ahead for both Quangos me thinks?

"We remain concerned that the Academy could not demonstrate what value it added for the
money supplied by the taxpayer or show that it was providing good value for money."

The Times Higher has summarised the report here. And also pulls out some very interesting bullet points, among them is this old chestnut:

Plagiarism by students is a “serious problem”, and there needs to be further investigation into why UK students appear to spend less time studying than their peers elsewhere in Europe.

So it looks like the QAA need to improve/regroup/disappear, etc, and try and reduce the fraudulent claims by some top Universities claiming for students who had left courses early. The Guardian also report on how they intend to keep closer tabs on the QAA to try and abate these poor management practices by public funded Universities.

And while were at revamping the entire education sector, 800 Quangos (like the Academy, JISC, Becta, fDf, LSC, etc, etc) are all in for severe pruning if the Tories get in next, or indeed when the recession bites harder after the next election.

I'll get me coat :O/ ....... Time for a holiday :oD

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Research based eportfolios. Or are they?

Following a link from Twitterfall lead me to the 2009 award pages for the Warwickshire University research based eportfolios. Congrats to all winners, and to Warwickshire Uni for promoting the importance of eportfolios for research.

I was looking forward to some rich threaded engaging accounts of the trials and tribulations of conducting PHd level research. But all I saw was a series of personal static type websites? Now, I'm not claiming that there has been a lot of effort involved in these "eportfolios" but they seemed very, erm, well, clinical? In most apsects they could be construed as a glorified CV, which I spose most people would call an eportfolio? I guess I was looking forward to some rambling narratives peppered with snippets videos and podcasts, gradually unfolding over time - with some rich reflective prose + comments from others. but alas. Then again if you think about how important research is to swelling the coffers of UK Univerisites Ltd, it's a clever marketing exercise in itself?

This also re-opens the debate about just what is an eportfolio ( again), which was swilling around the net a week or so ago - neatly summarised in a couple of blog posts and by Stepehen Downes who has been discussing the International Development of ePortfolio Model created by Helen Barrett (seee image above) and a related Spanish blog post expanding upon the model. It's all pointing to personal learning spaces, or is that personal learning environments? Who knows, and indeed who cares? Can we all just move on a little? Or does someone want to restart the debate about dropping the "e" from elearning.... again :O(