Category: UK

How video communications are leading the way at universities around the world

“Video-based communications can prepare students for a future built on collaboration, and flexibility, no matter what they are studying”

Educational institutions play a major role in generating a new skilled workforce that has the potential to open the doors to the innovations that will change the world.

To achieve this, school administrators and educators must be able to communicate with each other and their students in real-time. Helping to realise that ambition is video collaboration, which has many benefits.

It allows for face-to-face meetings with professors and lecturers across the world in different times zones; it provides access to online courses and meetings with faculties from different universities. Plus, students are using these tools to connect with other students and experts across continents, to collaborate and work on projects together.

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Universities, like Oxbridge, fail to represent Britain’s ethnic diversity

“Educational success by BAME individuals is fundamental in ensuring the future of a diverse British society”

If one were to envisage the Oxbridge stereotype, a white, wealthy student fed by Eton would most likely come to mind. Whilst the UK’s top two universities have claimed to be erasing this reputation by promoting ethnic diversity, it seems reality continues to tell a very different story. 

Statistics show that successful admissions for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals remains significantly lower than that of their white counterparts. According to UCAS, 2016 saw Oxford accepting 2180 white students in comparison to a mere 35 black individuals.  Similarly, the statistics for Cambridge revealed only 40 black students were granted a place compared to 2025 white students.

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Are students ready for the future of work?

“There is perhaps too much emphasis on exam grades and not enough on the students’ actual learning journey”

With a myriad of factors influencing the future of work such as automation, globalisation, mobility, and flexibility, the future of work holds endless possibilities for change and opportunities for growth.

As many admin centric and unskilled tasks are now being automated, it’s important to understand what self-management and unique human skills will be valued in the future. The role of education has traditionally been to prepare students for their future workplaces, but as the pace of change accelerates, are curriculums keeping up with the evolving requirements of the future of work?

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The UK can do better than “the land of fish and chips”

“Far from portraying the UK as a “lifestyle” destination, we should promote our world-leading graduate outcomes”

A radio advert carried by a number of leading Malaysian radio stations for the previous British Council Education Exhibition – promoted the UK as “the land of fish and chips” with universities that “provide scholarships & discounts.”

Is this really how we want to be portraying UK higher education, in any market especially what is a mature and established market, the third largest sender of full-time international students to the UK?

Far from portraying the UK as a “lifestyle” destination and cutting the cost of our world-leading degree programmes, we should change direction and promote our world-leading graduate outcomes.

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Why food really matters to international student well-being

“Importing ingredients that help make a ‘local’ dish truly authentic can make a huge difference to students”

Most of us happily take it for granted that we will be able to buy the food we like when we want to. For international students coming to study in the UK, access to the food they like to eat is not a given so schools and colleges that see the true importance of food as a way to; ease homesickness, increase social interaction and improve general well-being should be applauded.

Recent research puts the issue into perspective

Masters student, Erika Stewin undertook research on “food insecurity” issues among international students at two Canadian universities. Her research found that “many students described experiencing food insecurity, students related feelings of depression, homesickness and identity loss, hunger, difficulties with weight loss or weight gain, and stories of being forced to compromise religious beliefs in order to eat.”

So, how can institutions do their very best to ensure food is seen as a crucial aspect of pupil/student wellbeing?

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Implementing the Augar report would help democratise education

“While the Augar report may be flawed, it does make some really important recommendations”

The Augar report was overdue. Not since 1963 had the Government ordered an examination into further and higher education. And while not all of Augar’s recommendations have been universally welcomed, the report does propose measures that aim to democratise education and transform access to learning for all adults.

Beyond the headline recommendations of lowering student fees and extending the period in which graduates repay them, the Augar’s report should be admired for offering a holistic approach to the challenges in adult education and exploring alternatives to traditional university qualifications that can meet the needs of the economy.

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The instrumental impact of EU funding

“As a research-led University with a strong sense of civic mission, regional economic and social development are a major priority”

As Wales braces for what could be a perfect economic storm in the months ahead, Ceri D. Jones, director of Swansea University’s Research, Engagement and Innovation Services looks at the impact of EU funding on regional development, and some of the seeds of hope in the pipeline.

Recently Ford announced its engine plant in Bridgend is set to close in autumn 2020, with the loss of 1,700 jobs.  Just weeks ago, British Steel was put into compulsory liquidation – re-igniting major concerns about an industry that employs thousands in Wales.  With the UK set to leave the European Union on the 31 October, Wales is set to lose out on hundreds of millions of pounds each year in EU funding that has been driving economic and social regeneration in recent years.

Swansea University is located within the ‘West Wales and the Valleys’ region, which has been identified as one of the most deprived regions within Northern Europe, and as such, is a net beneficiary of EU funding.

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How online education can transform the international student experience

“If the online learning platform is of high quality, there is no reason why the online learner should be disadvantaged when studying virtually”

The facts are pretty clear-online education provision is growing and, not only does it benefit working adults who can fit studying around their work and family commitments, but it also has the power to transform the lives of international students.

Take high tariff, popular courses in the UK, such as veterinary science and medicine. The average premium international students are paying to study in the UK is £20,000 per year, so an additional £100,000 over a 5 year study period. Fees for international students typically increase every year across almost all Universities, so the cost of study in the UK is consistently rising.

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Working as a university residence assistant is about personal development as well as helping others

“Students were motivated to become an RA by their desire to help other students navigate what they had found difficult themselves”

Residence life – the US-led programming of activities and support for students in university accommodation – is taking off in the UK and Ireland. At its heart are the students who work as residence assistants (RAs), usually for pay or subsidised accommodation. But the benefits of being an RA reach far beyond the financial, and money is rarely the motivation, as the recent Residence Assistants Panel at the CUBO Residence Life Conference revealed.

The RA panel was part of a two-day professional development event for residence life professionals. It featured five of the eight students awarded a 2019 CUBO RA Award for outstanding services as residents assistants, including Shiyi Xu, aka Agnes, from Hong Kong.

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Learning and Long-Term Memory

“If we want to be effective in education, we need to help students build up the content of their long-term memories”

By some quirk of fate or coincidence, 1956 was the year that saw both the founding of TASIS by Mrs Fleming and the publication of one of the most significant articles ever in the field of education.

Written by American psychologist George Miller, it was titled “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.” It helped to establish the powerful truth that short-term (or working) memory is limited both in duration and capacity. This is important because if short-term memory is necessarily constrained, then to be effective, education has to focus on something else.

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