Why branch campuses cannot go their own way

American University in Dubai.

 

International branch campuses (IBCs) are traditionally seen as a means of boosting international outreach and generating revenue for universities. As their name implies, they are supposed to be extensions[i] of their parent institutions.

It has been recently argued that some IBCs could break free and become independent institutions. One example is the American University in Dubai, which is now an independently accredited institution and no longer a branch campus of American InterContinental University.  The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, which has published reports on IBCs in 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2012, classified this institution as an IBC in 2009, but not in 2012. Another example is the United States International University in Kenya, which broke free from United States International University (USIU) when this merged in 2001 with California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) and became Alliant International University.

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International students – more than just a cash cow for UK higher education

If you’ve been following the recent press coverage or listen to government ministers speak about international students, you could be forgiven for thinking their only contribution to UK higher education was to finance the bottom line of universities. Through their unregulated fees, international students do pay a sizeable amount to study here in the UK. And whether universities admit it or not, international fee income unquestionably helps to subsidise the home and EU students they study alongside.

But to dwell on the financial contribution international students make is to miss the point. One of the greatest strengths of studying in a UK university is, and always has been the chance to meet fellow students from different backgrounds. This collision of perspectives and personal histories doesn’t just enrich the educational setting by adding new dimensions to the debate and discussion in our classrooms, it helps to shape a more civilised and understanding society.
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Massification and Inspiration through online learning – Part two of two: Humans and computers; when galaxies collide!

Photo courtesy of Abigail Grant.

The closing session of the Sloan Consortium  18th international conference for online learning followed the two themes that I set out in my first post; Massification and Inspiration. The wittily delivered presentation, “Citizen Science- Authentic Participation in Research” was delivered to  an overwhelmingly US audience by fellow Brit Arfon Smith and left me feeling humbled, inspired and strangely proud.

Arfon Smith is Director of Citizen Science at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and Technical Lead of the web-based citizen science platform Zooniverse. He leads a team of developers, educators and scientists who build citizen science projects across a range of disciplines including solar physics, papyrology and biodiversity.

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Massification and Inspiration through online learning – Part one of two: Can you create an intimate learning environment through MOOCs?

Two weeks ago, I attended the Sloan Consortium’s 18th annual international conference for online learning in the US . Seeing that many of the over 1,500 attendees have been involved in online learning for many years, it’s not surprising that the current ‘MOOC mania,’ (massive open online courses) was viewed by many with scepticism.

Sebastian Thrun, founder of MOOC provider Udacity, had a hard pitch when he delivered the opening plenary session “Democratising Education” on day two of the conference. He is a Stanford professor and was the creator of the first MOOC. The famous A.I. open course that in September of last year attracted over 160,000 students to enrol in 7 days. “On the 8th day the University Administration asked me to drop by for a chat!” he told us. A story which won over a sizeable portion of the audience.

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It Ain’t What You Do

During a lull in a long meeting over the summer, a couple of colleagues at INTO were wrestling over our “elevator pitch” – what makes us distinctive. And we then broadened it out to think about ways in which universities can communicate their distinctiveness, a word appearing on many people’s lips across the sector. It’s difficult  when there is so much change and much analysis is unremittingly bleak.

The first years of this decade have brought us funding challenges on both sides of the Atlantic, the emergence of the discerning customer, disruptive market entrants to higher education, confusing and poorly executed government policy on student visas and so on.  It’s not easy being a traditional university in this environment. Moreover, after years of steady and quota-secured growth in tertiary enrolments, universities are facing serious structural challenges as various quasi-markets are created by government policy. The squeezed middle is very real.

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Comprehensive internationalisation: the power of partnerships

internationalisationINTO’s Director of Academic Affairs for the USA, JoAnn McCarthy, has recently co-authored a paper on internationalisation in the educational industry. In this blog she gives an overview of the paper and her thoughts on international study.

A complement to John K. Hudzik’s earlier publication, “Comprehensive Internationalization: From Concept to Action”, this most recent joint effort, entitled “Leading Comprehensive Internationalization: Strategy and Tactics for Action,” provides practical guidelines for starting, sustaining, and evaluating a comprehensive internationalisation agenda in a wide range of institutional types. Continue reading “Comprehensive internationalisation: the power of partnerships”

Looking forward – INTO’s chairman Andrew Colin offers his vision of the future of global higher education

Group of studentsIt’s a confusing world. The forces shaping global higher education demand and supply seem to be working in opposite directions. On the one hand student demand for higher education is at an all-time high. The demand for graduate-level skills across the world is also growing at an exponential rate.

On the other, there is talk of unsustainable higher education systems in the United States – on the verge of bankruptcy and spending well beyond their means, and in China reports emerge of a growing army of unemployed graduates.

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There are many routes to higher-level skills but why do we keep forgetting about international study?

Students socialisingIt’s that time of year again when A-Levels are released, Clearing provides a second wind to those who didn’t quite reach their desired number of Ucas points and we find out that finally the boys have got better grades than the girls.

It’s also that time of year when people begin to question the worth of higher education and look at the alternative routes to further their career without incurring debt.

This year however, the volume seems to have been amplified as people still come to terms with paying £9,000 per year for undergraduate courses in many UK universities. Young people are also taking note of the financial climate along with the jobs market, both of which continue to fluctuate as the country continues to face more economic uncertainty. Continue reading “There are many routes to higher-level skills but why do we keep forgetting about international study?”

Engineering change in US higher education through public/private partnerships

INTO USFAn increasing number of higher education institutions in the United States are now financially unsustainable and debt-ridden according to a new report that surveyed almost 2,000 private and public schools from consulting company Bain & Co. and Sterling Partners, a US-based private-equity firm.

University debt in the US is increasing annually at 12 per cent per year with the report attributing gross financial mismanagement and a lack of sustainable business models as two damaging factors. Continue reading “Engineering change in US higher education through public/private partnerships”

How can iPads revolutionise the teaching experience?

With the news announced recently that students will be using iPads on the International Business Diploma programme at INTO University of East Anglia, London, Tim Powell Jones, a teacher on the course gives his opinion on why this approach is the way forward.

This September, as all students on the International Business Diploma programme at INTO UEA London head into their new classes equipped with iPads, our teaching staff will be using the devices to develop new ways of helping them understand the content in their subject classes and engage with English language and culture. Continue reading “How can iPads revolutionise the teaching experience?”