This Charming Man…?

March 24, 2010

What needs to change, but probably won’t.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ihaventgotastitchtowear @ 4:07 pm

There really is no such thing as the full time student anymore. Well it’s becoming an endangered species. The days of the student grant, equipment allowance, travel allowance, free fees all gone and long lamented. Even 20 years ago there was student poverty, but back then you had to rely on a small grant and the best wishes of the bank manager.

All different now. Large loans for fees and living expenses means that the average full-time student is working, and a large minority of full-time students are working full time. What does this mean for education? Clearly, things do need to change. Most universities are still locked into their 9 – 5, 2 semester cycle. Content, if you are lucky is through an asynchronous lecture capture and dissemination system.

Yeah Universities need to be more technologically enabled, or at least need to start leveraging some of the big infrastructure projects they are putting in place for teaching and learning. But something else needs to change. And that’s the availability of synchronous face 2 face stuff, however that is defined.

The after 5pm teaching has traditionally been the preserve of the put upon part-timer who has very little contact with the department or institution more generally. And whilst the majority of staff are sympathetic to the challenges that students face there is little appetite for accelerated courses, the thought of three semesters raising concern for workloads and research.  But this doesn’t mean that things shouldn’t change.

Universities have to respond to the fact that many students just cannot afford the cost of a system that was created in the 12th century, and seriously hasn’t changed that much.

Will it happen? I think not anytime soon. Deakin Uni tried the 3 semester appraoch, and is still in some union – management stand-off. Should it happen? Hell, yeah. But I’m not holding out for it anytime soon.


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