Postgraduate Landscape

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Reshaping the Future of Postgraduate Sector – SC12 Report.

Burlington Hotel, Birmingham. 2-3 July 2012.

In the context of uncertainties in the funding of PG education – and the certainty that Government policies will promote structural change – the Summer Conference hosted a preview of the Higher Education Commission “Inquiry into Postgraduate Education” ahead of the report in Autumn 2011. HEC members Professor Geoff Whitty and Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP reviewed the work-in-progress and chaired the ensuing vigorous Conference debate.

Funding models for PG research and PG taught programmes, including proposals for loan support, would be on the Inquiry agenda, including issues of sustainability and recruitment. Leading employers had responded critically on the international quality of the UK PhD –with concerns that doctoral training was too narrow for employment outside academia, although the positive impact of Roberts skills training had been noted. Neil Viner (EPSRC) predicted that Research Councils would strengthen requirements for employability skills through their Doctoral Training Centres. Nevertheless, the substantial contribution of the UK PhD to industry and business was supported by Dr Blackman-Woods, chair of Parliamentary discussions on the value-added by the PhD. This would be a key theme on the HEC Inquiry’s agenda, plus the essential need for input by potential employers in partnership with academia.

Professor Whitty and Dr Blackman-Woods led workshops on PG research and PG taught programmes, inviting Conference to make a direct input into the Commission’s Inquiry. Topics identified included:- evidence for the high quality of PhD research publications; the value-added given by flexible routes to the PhD (including Professional and Practice-based Doctorates); the pivotal role of taught Masters programmes in strengthening the pool of well qualified recruits for doctoral programmes; and inevitably, the need for alternative sustainable funding streams,

The Conference scene was set by Professor Mick Fuller (UKCGE Chair) reviewing the diversity of PG research provision and patterns and trends of UK PG numbers. Professor Rosemary Deem (Royal Holloway, London) called for recognition of the vital contribution of PG taught programmes to CPD in the work-place and the need to appreciate the unintended consequences on PG programme sustainability caused by restructuring the undergraduate support system.

HEFCE policy on future PG funding from 2013-14 was reviewed (Emma Creasey), with the implications for full- and part-time registrations. A case study at LSE (Louisa Green) on the reputational and ethical impact of Libyan-sourced research funding was followed by others at the University of Greenwich (Professor Alan Green) and the University of Salford (Professor Vian Ahmed) focusing on PG quality issues and strategies for enhancing completion rates. The major implications of the new QAA Code (Section B11) for research degrees, replacing the widely respected Code of Practice (2004), were clarified by Janet Bohrer (QAA) and Gill Clark (UKCGE Vice-Chair).

6 contributed presentations selected from HEIs and organisations were a welcome innovation this year – covering issues as diverse as globalisation of PG training, on-line approaches to marketing doctoral programmes, the management of PG progression and the evaluation of PG Careers. The overwhelming consensus was that more opportunities for member contributions should be scheduled at future UKCGE meetings to share the rich experience of HEIs, including their responses to the HEC Inquiry recommendations for strengthening the quality of PG training in the UK. For an extended review of SC12 please click here.

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London Met vows ‘ethical’ fee shift

9 February 2012

Non-EU postgraduates to pay same price as home students in sweeping reforms. Jack Grove reports

London Met vows 'ethical' fee shift

Credit: Alamy

Flat fees for all: ‘no ethical grounds’ for differentiation, says London Met

Domestic and international students will pay the same postgraduate fees at London Metropolitan University under new reforms.

The fee of about £8,000 a year for full-time master’s students was proposed in a draft review of postgraduate education made public last week as part of a staff consultation.

Other proposals include cutting loss-making courses, the abolition of cross-subsidy between faculties, and the introduction of cash incentives for staff who obtain lucrative consultancy work for the university.

Setting a flat fee for all students, excluding bursaries, was also important in helping to confirm London Met’s reputation for “quality affordable education”, said deputy vice-chancellor Peter McCaffery, who oversaw the review.

This academic year, fees for non-European Union students studying classroom-based subjects in the UK were £11,346 on average, roughly double the £6,184 charged to domestic and EU students.

But Professor McCaffery said there were “no longer ethical grounds for discriminating between home and international students”.

“We are proud to be pioneers in this area. The only other provider who does this is BPP University College [a for-profit provider]. We believe this is the ethical way to go.”

The report also outlines how the proposals will further a “transformation in the university’s postgraduate portfolio”, which will help it to expand provision by 30 per cent over the next three years.

It does not outline which courses will be cut, but “media, digital technology, fashion, forensics, creative industries, healthcare, security, welfare and financial services” are highlighted as potential areas of growth.

Loss-making clusters of courses should also be closed, added Professor McCaffery, while research should generally be self-supporting.

“Historically, surpluses have been generated by our business school,” he said. “Faculties should be self-sustaining. We also do not believe there should be cross-subsidy of research – that should be self-sustaining, too.”

However, Cliff Snaith, branch secretary of the University and College Union, said this policy would set London Met on the path to becoming a teaching-only university. “Moving to a total cost model, in which research must pay for itself entirely…would rule out most research done in the country,” he said.

He also raised concerns over proposals to introduce different contracts for new appointees, who would focus on one of four areas: teaching, research, enterprise, or teaching-and-research.

“There is no reason to introduce new contracts,” Dr Snaith said.

“It could be a subtle way of moving us to teaching-only contracts. And if you really are to re-energise postgraduate provision, then cutting vast swathes of academics is not the way to start.”

jack.grove@tsleducation.com.

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LSE Politics&PolicyLSE Politics&Policy @LSEpoliticsblog

How visible are UK universities in social media terms? Many are just getting started fb.me/PMtV9gbe

Recent research by Horst Joepen from Searchmetrics derives a ‘social media visibility’ score for 20 Russell Group universities, looking across their presence on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Google+ and other media. The LSE Impact blog team have now charted these scores against the sizes of the universities involved. The results suggest that larger universities are having most difficulty in getting their social media presence off the ground, while LSE, Cambridge and Oxford are well ahead in this field.

This article first appeared on the LSE Impact of Social Science blog on 3 February.

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TimesHigherEducation (@timeshighered)
21/07/2011 08:39
Postgraduates ‘priced out of the market’ by sharp fee increaseshttp://t.co/TLAchsk

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TimesHigherEducation (@timeshighered)
19/07/2011 15:40
Re-engage: Mary Stuart’s decree for visionless sector http://t.co/xxFWWpP #getMaryStuartonTwitter

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NLGS-BW1-small.bmp

The New London Graduate School

AHRC Studentships in Arts and Humanities 2011/12

The New London Graduate School brings together Arts and Humanities research strengths at the universities of East London, Greenwich, London Metropolitan, London South Bank and Middlesex. We are pleased to announce 10 Arts and Humanities Research Council awards available from October 2011.

They are part of a series of 28 awards that the consortium has received to support students in masters and doctoral programmes in the Arts and Humanities across the period 2011-12 to 2013-14.

The New London Graduate School welcomes PhD proposals in the area of Cultural Studies. Further information on the research strengths for each university in the area of Cultural Studies can be obtained by clicking on the relevant link in the first section below.

The New London Graduate School is also offering MA/MSc studentships in the areas listed below. Please click on the relevant link for further information on the relevant programme offered in each partner university for each AHRC subject area.

The AHRC awards for 2011-12 are available in the following subject areas:

How to apply:

You should apply in the first instance to the New London Graduate School on the relevant application form:

Candidates for a PhD should normally have completed the requirements for an appropriate Masters-level qualification prior to commencement of doctoral study.

Other criteria for eligibility to hold an AHRC award can be found in the Guide to Student Funding 2011. Applicants should check this carefully to ensure they are eligible to hold an AHRC award.

Applications will be reviewed by subject specialists and a shortlist of applicants will be invited for interview in the week commencing 5th September 2011. Details of the interview schedule will be included here once they are known.

The successful applicants will then need to apply for admittance to the relevant university hosting their award through the normal route.

For general enquires about any of these programmes email the relevant institutional contact:

For program specific enquiries please email the relevant contact where they are shown on the institutional page reached by clicking through on the link above.

Applications must reach the New London Graduate School no later than 5.00pm on Friday 29th July 2011. Applications will only be accepted electronically and must be emailed to NLGS@uel.ac.uk.

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Going to Harvard from your own bedroom

By Merlin John ­

Click to play

Imperial College in London is making its lectures available online

“In the online world you don’t need to fill buildings or lecture theatres with people and you don’t need to be trapped into a lecture timetable,” says Peter Scott, director of the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute.

The Open University, the UK’s open access university, which allows people to study from home in their own time, has been an international pioneer of degree courses online.

The university, with more than 263,000 students in 23 countries, has become a record breaker on the iTunes U service, which provides a digital library of materials for university students and staff.

Instead of music or movies, Apple’s iTunes U provides a download service for lectures and resources from universities around the world.

Top universities from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard in the US to Oxford and Cambridge in the UK have been making their materials available, with no charge to the user.

There have been 31 million downloads of OU materials, more than any other university, representing roughly 10% of all iTunes U downloads. Nearly 90% of these users are from outside the UK.

In this online era, the OU student is also getting younger. A quarter of students are aged under-25 and only 10% are aged 50 or over. That change can only be accelerated as the cost of going to university increases in many countries.

The prospect of learning from Harvard from your own bedroom is getting closer.

Grassroots collegesBut it’s not the elite universities where the idea of online study is going to make its biggest impact, suggests Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s US-based vice-president of worldwide education.

Harvard v Yale Harvard v Yale: Both universities have put free course materials online to be used by anyone

“When talking to folks in places like Dubai and China I thought that the questions and the admiration would be for institutions like Harvard and Stanford.

“However, the actual part of the US education system that is most envied, that other institutions are trying to replicate, is the community college system in the US, founded on a belief that a degree and opportunity are rights for all citizens. And we have got to enable the population of students attending higher education to scale up.

“One of the things about the community college system in the US – Miami Dade College for example – is that it is very connected to employment and the workforce.

“So community colleges typically tune their degrees and their options to the jobs and opportunities of the industries that are in those communities. And that connection between employability and education is what is driving a lot of this change.”

Mr Salcito also points to African villagers using the most up-to-date expertise on irrigation from MIT as an example of the consequences of universities opening up their courses and materials.

“What I am most excited about is that the privilege of going to higher education is not something that is connected to the wealthy or to the smartest or most well-equipped students for the future. It is becoming a wider social imperative.”

‘Self-service degrees’But will the arrival of online degrees change the way that people study at university?

Lord Jim Knight, former education minister in England, has had a long interest in educational technology.

Continue reading the main story

ONLINE DEGREES

  • More than 66% of higher education institutions in the US offer online or part-online courses
  • The University of Liverpool in the UK has more than 5,000 online students studying in 175 countries
  • Open Yale offers a series of free online courses which can be followed by home learners, but without any exams or qualifications
  • An open source project, OER Commons, includes free material from universities including Harvard and University of California, Berkeley
  • Medical students at the University of Leeds have their text books delivered as smartphone applications

The type of “self-service” degrees available through the internet are one model, he says, but there are other options that could emerge, such as part-online and part-campus.

“Some people tell me we should be looking at perhaps more of an American model, where you do the first year or two of your degree from home at a community college – in the UK that could be a further education college or even at school – and you only go to finish off when you really need access to the research, your senior lecturer, your director of studies face to face.

“Until that point you can do it at distance, having peer-to-peer learning and using some of the things we are used to, like social networking, for exchanges of ideas and papers,” says Lord Knight.

“Why would you go along to a university and hear someone who may or may not be the best in their field when you can go on to iTunes U and hear a lecture by the very best?

“That development of choice and access to quality, and people being digital natives, will, I think, transform things. Whether universities are yet ready to make those changes is another question.”

Consumer powerAt the Open University, Peter Scott says they are trying to develop services that give students exactly what they want, from face-to-face learning to the fully online experience.

Open University Pocket-sized university: Open University courses on a mobile phone

“We can produce brilliant televisual material and get it to you on YouTube, on iTunes U or even on the web. We don’t need the one-to-many model.

“Conventional universities are forced into this one-to-many, someone lecturing to a timetable, because they have buildings to fill… Our materials are designed for you to work with remotely.”

While the OU delivers to its students on a range of media, the greatest excitement is being stirred by its performance on iTunes U.

High-quality podcasts and video materials are now the norm, but the number of multimedia books will soon rise to 430. Open one of these on an iPad and you can click on pictures and links to move seamlessly to videos and podcasts.

“If there’s music or audio it just plays,” says Mr Scott. “I’m so excited, the potential is really great.”

Mr Scott agrees that universities can now market their courses globally online, and arrange for support and accreditation locally if required – franchise heaven for institutions.

So does this make “Harvard in your bedroom” more likely?

“Hey, what’s Harvard? Is it a brand, is it a couple of people? Think about this. What do you really want? Do you really want to learn? Because I can tell you that the best place to do it is here. It isn’t in some Ivy League university. It’s right here,” says Mr Scott.

Anthony Salcito says online education will be a way of opening up more choice and getting beyond the big brand names of the most exclusive universities.

“As we open up education and technology, the tyranny of the education brand will change and evolve because of the choice that students have,” he says.

Merlin John is an educational technology writer and founder of agent4change.net.

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MA Digital Design Schema PDF

A possible generic PROGRAMME STRUCTURE  – FULL-TIME MODE

Academic Year 1 (September – December)Stage 1  PG Diploma? 60 Credits  Academic Year 1 (January – June)Stage 2 PG Certificate? 120 Credits  Academic Year 1 (July – September)Stage 3 MA  180 Credits 
A Core Course (Digital Foundations + Digital Principals)  This course would be split in two but it would not matter which order they were taken in. [All students  in each Programme take this course]Credits: 20 (10 credits awarded if Digital Foundations stage completed in December + 10 credits when Digital Principals completed in May?)These courses will introduce the students to the theory and practice of working in the digital realm through the use of advanced contemporary design technologies   Master Thesis.  credits:  60  [All students  in each Programme take this course]code:  New Code  (Cross Sessional) ContentThe Thesis is a piece of work that addresses contemporary critical positions and disciplinary innovation in design. Students, working individually, will research their subject, formulate their aims and resulting arguments, and communicate their findings through seminars and in their final Thesis (written dissertation or design research). The Thesis will demonstrate ability in structuring and organising speculative thought, drawing conclusions and producing a critical position, formalised in a written text or a design proposal. Students should be attached to this course in the previous academic year. This course is started in the previous academic year but is finally assessed in September.  
Pathway Specific Course 1Credits: 20 Pathway Specific Course 2Credits: 20 
Critical Research Methods   [All students  in each Programme take this course] Credits: 20 (10 credits awarded if stage 1 of CRM completed in December + 10 credits when Di stage 2 of CRM completed in May?)Code: DESI 1191 The course will introduce the students to: Interpreting, challenging and undertaking a level of re-thinking of the information discovered and to develop a constantly challenging position. They have to write research proposal at the beginning of this course that is a strategic project plan, which will help structure the research. 
Pathway Specific Course 3Credits: 20 (10 credits awarded if stage 1 of Course 3 completed in December + 10 credits when Di stage 2 of Course 3  completed in May?)
Elective course or work placement(s) or Industry Project  [All students  in each programme elect to do a course from any University of Greenwich MA Programmes.]Credits: 20 

 

 

A possible generic PROGRAMME STRUCTURE  – PART-TIME MODE

Academic Year 1 (September – June)Stage 1  PG Diploma? 60 Credits  Academic Year 2 (September – June)Stage 2 PG Certificate? 120 Credits  Academic Year 2 (July – September)Stage 3 MA 180 Credits 
A Core Course (Digital Principals)[January –June][All students  in each Programme take this course]Credits: 20(10 credits awarded if Digital Foundations stage completed in December  year 1+ another 10 credits when Digital Principals completed in May year 2?)(Cross Sessional)  A Core Course (Digital Foundations ) [September –December] [All students  in each Programme take this course]Credits: 2010 credits awarded if Digital Foundations stage completed in December  year 1+ another 10 credits when Digital Principals completed in May year 2?)(Cross Sessional)  
Pathway Specific Course 1 [September –December]Credits: 20 Pathway Specific Course 2 [January – June]Credits: 20   
Critical Research Methods   [All students  in each Programme take this course][September –December] Credits: 20 (10 credits awarded if stage 1 of CRM completed in December + 10 credits when CRM completed in May of year 2 ?)Code: DESI 1191 (Cross Sessional) Critical Research Methods   [All students  in each Programme take this course][January –June] Credits: 20 (10 credits awarded if stage 1 of CRM completed in Stage 1 December + 10 credits when of CRM completed in May of year 2?)Code: DESI 1191 (Cross Sessional)  
Pathway Specific Course 3 [September –June]Credits: 20   
Elective course or work placement(s) or Industry Project  [All students  in each programmes elect to do a course from any University of Greenwich MA Programmes.]Credits: 20   Master Thesis.  credits:  60  [All students  in each Programme take this course]code:  New Code  (Cross Sessional) September of Year 2 – September of Year 3 Students should be attached to this course in the previous academic year. This course is started in the previous academic year but is finally assessed in September

Example Courses that could make up a programme

A Core Course (Digital Foundations + Digital Principals)   Credits: 20 [New Course will need to be written up]Content:  These courses will introduce the students to the theory and practice of working in the digital realm through the use of advanced contemporary design technologies …
Pathway Specific Course 1 Credits: 20 Eg: Advanced 3D Animation from MA 3D AnimationContent: Students are encouraged to research 3D animation in theory including its technical aspects, develop direction skills, explore a number of effective rendering techniques and merge 3D animation in real footage. Students will produce experimental animated sequences including: storyboarding, 3D character and object computer animation, motion capture and 3D scanning, camera tracking. Students will be taught the principles of 3D animation, creation of personalities, engaging performance and lip-sync. Furthermore the course will enrich their knowledge in 3D
Pathway Specific Course 2 Credits: 20 e.g.: Advanced 3D Motion Graphics from MA 3D AnimationContent: The introduced research methodologies will be applied by students to support their arguments and demonstrate their concepts. This research will be reflected within their practice. Students will produce motion graphics for commercial and creative purposes including 2D or 3D art and animation, visual effects, video compositing and synchronization of sound and image
Pathway Specific Course 3 Credits: 20 e.g. Applied Art for the Web from MA WEB DESIGN AND CONTENT PLANNINGContent: The course provides teaching on a range of topics, each delivered by experts in their field. Each session focuses on a specific, relevant area of the applied arts and provides an understanding of the general principles and how these may be applied to the web. At each stage, a critical appraisal of appropriateness, quality of implementation and aesthetics is made. Topics covered in the course include Typography,Animation, Photography, Interaction Design and various aspects of Graphic Design.
Elective course or work placement(s) or Industry Project  Credits: 20 e.g. Industry Project from MA 3D AnimationContent: Students will be able to apply any theoretical and practical knowledge that have been gained from the course. Students are required to complete a substantial piece of work in the form of an convergent media project (this may include web, video; animation; audio, photographic; or mixed-media installation production) according to the industry briefs. The project will be a completion of a practical project and accompanying reflective/critical paper (case study), including: Project planning, Ethics and integrity in research, Selecting methods of data collection.Or students would elect from there wide range of MA/MSc courses available through the University of Greenwich.
Critical Research Methods    Credits: 20 Code: DESI 1191 Content: The course will introduce the students to: Interpreting, challenging and undertaking a level of re-thinking of the information discovered and to develop a constantly challenging position. They have to write research proposal at the beginning of this course that is a strategic project plan, which will help structure the research.
Master Thesis.  credits:  60  From MSc ArchitectureContent: The Thesis is a piece of work that addresses contemporary critical positions and disciplinary innovation in design. Students, working individually, will research their subject, formulate their aims and resulting arguments, and communicate their findings through seminars and in their final Thesis (written dissertation or design research). The Thesis will demonstrate ability in structuring and organising speculative thought, drawing conclusions and producing a critical position, formalised in a written text or a design proposal. 

Course delivery.

If each course had a number of modes of delivery; Full-time [Face to Face (F2F) and online], Part-time [F2F and online], and completely Online then the possible number of participants in each course could increase? Each course could be created so that it could be delivered traditionally face to face in the studio with an online record of work placements ect, and VLE assessments. Part-time F2F with more online delivery and interaction and if viable certain courses could be constructed so they all use e-learning and online interaction technologies. A good example of this is the Open University’s Atelier D: [Achieving Transformation, Enhanced Learning and Innovation through Educational Resources in Design]. I have spoken to Georgina Holden from the Design Group at the OU during a seminar I attended last month and she was very keen on collaborating in a project that extended the scope of their initiative.

Programme structure.

The schema above allows for 100 credits  to be from the generic cross school courses, Critical Research Methods, [20 credits],  Master Thesis [60 credits], and ‘A Core Course’ [20 credits] to be taken by all the pathways and for 20 credits from a relevant elective to be chosen by the student. This would mean only having to write a maximum of three specific courses for each pathway of 20 credits each. Some course might already exist that could be plugged into certain pathways.

 

 

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