Category: HE News

Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence

The Department for Education have produced a new report ‘ Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence’ The need for a report is partly due to cuts in funding for Universities’ support for disabled students. Now the education provider is expected to ensure that their provision is already inclusive. Funding will still be available for very severe impairment issues.

This might seem like a bad thing – more cuts – etc. However, the report makes it clear that they are embracing a very enlightened approach to disability. They include a section on the Social Model of Disability p.12 where they say:

“Increasing opportunities for disabled students requires us to consider the social model of disability. This emphasises that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference and looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for disabled people. When barriers are removed, disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives. HE providers could embrace and adopt this approach as it supports and guides the ways in which pedagogy; curricula and assessment are designed and delivered to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. It embraces a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others. This calls for a shift in thinking and focus to one which not only advocates the social model of disability but also promotes French and Swain’s (2000) affirmation model which views disability as a normal part of diversity and views it as a matter of pride and not personal tragedy.”

To read the full report go to:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-teaching-and-learning-in-higher-education

Launch of Teaching Excellence Framework for Higher Education in England

2017 sees the launch of the Teaching Excellence Framework for Higher Education providers in England. Those who sign up by the end of this month will self-assess, and then be externally assessed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England in relation to teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes.

The Framework provides opportunities for students to play an active role in supporting excellent teaching and learning environments, but may well cause concerns for HE Institutions who know that they have little influence over future employment opportunities, which form a significant part of measuring their success.

There is considerable concern about the implementation of this amongst higher education providers, especially as those signing up will be given grades. https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2017/jan/05/what-will-happen-in-higher-education-in-2017

BBC: University lowers entry grades for disadvantaged

The University of Bristol is to offer places with lower grades to disadvantaged students in local schools. As you will read, teachers will make an assessment as to the competence and potential of the person, regardless of grades achieved. Dare we propose that this carries both risks and advantages: if teachers are not competent to assess the competence and potential of students, we have a major issue – as we know, the education of teachers in this country leaves much to be desired; on the other hand, this proposal from the University promises a move towards accepting the – to us – intuitive notion that grades does not tell us everything we need to know about the competence and potential of a person!

Read more here

UWE Graduation: MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education

A huge congratulations to our students who are all now graduates of the MSc in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education (Integrated Professional Development), accredited by the University of the West of England, delivered by the Crossfields Institute faculty at the Ruskin Mill Trust Field Centre.

Despite the terrible weather provided by Storm Angus, a wonderful graduation ceremony was enjoyed last night at the Bristol Cathedral, for those who were able to attend.

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We are proud to be working in partnership with established and innovative Universities…

We are proud to be working in partnership with established and innovative Universities like Alanus University in Germany and University of the West of England.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/aug/02/more-than-30-fake-uk-universities-closed-by-watchdog

Since 2011, 220 bogus UK universities have been identified and 80% of them are no longer active. Photograph: Alamy
Since 2011, 220 bogus UK universities have been identified and 80% of them are no longer active. Photograph: Alamy

“Merchants of Knowledge”?

In this article, A J Angulo provides a view of the marketisation of higher education and a quick summary of its history. Socrates warned us against creating “Merchants of Knowledge”. On that point, we wonder: what have we learnt from the current situation? As an independent Awarding Organisation, a Higher and Research Education Institute, the question of widening access to high quality education is on our agenda every day. In the current financial and political climate, how do we provide for education in a format that allows access to as many people as possible? We have very good reasons to believe that what we offer makes a positive contribution to society and we want to offer what we have developed to all those who are ready to engage. We are not about to create a consumer-supplier relationship with those people. But intelligent, innovative solutions are urgently needed. We are working on it. Are you? Join us and tell us what you think.

https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/jul/06/dont-turn-students-into-consumers-the-us-proves-its-a-recipe-for-disaster

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Trump University has hit the headlines due to recent lawsuits. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP

Top Universities to offer full degrees online in 5 years

The BBC is reporting that top universities will be offering online undergraduate degrees within the next 5 years, something they have been reluctant to do until now. The rising costs of university education will make this an attractive offer to many young people particularly.  We believe that online Higher Education, or blended learning with a mix of online and face to face can work very well, as long as students are well supported, have ready access to tutors and an engaged peer group. An example of this is our HE programme: Researching Holistic Approaches to Agroecology which invites students from all over the world, is mainly online with an annual meeting and is for anyone interested in taking a research approach to the environment and agriculture.

Here is the BBC article:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36703778

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