Archive for February, 2011

Twitter, engagement and grades

Friday, February 4th, 2011

With new research indicating the value to students of using the micro-blogging site Twitter the case for blending learning and for encouraging learning through to collaboration appears to be further cemented into place. The paradigm shift from teaching to learning did not occur because of the technologies but because of their application by those interested in innovative educational concepts and flexible learning modes. What part has the OU has played in the shift towards the mainstreaming of these ideas?


Universities of the second chance

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Research from the Higher Education Policy Institute (a thinktank created on 1 November 2002 and which says that it is the ‘UK’s only independent think tank devoted exclusively to higher education’) indicates that 40% of students from England who were accepted on to university degree courses last year achieved lower grades than two Es at A-level. The comparable figure in 2003 was 24%. Bahram Bekhradni, the HEPI director, suggested that the values of the OU have become mainstream when he said “It is one of the strengths of the UK higher education system – and a feature that sets it apart from most others in Europe – that second-chance higher education is possible”. As Bekhradni worked at the Department of Education and Science for nearly 20 years and presided over the RAE it is likely that he is aware of the history of the term ‘second chance’ (as it is used in para 23 of the Executive Summary). It was often applied to the OU. In 1971 over 30% of the first students at the OU had less than two A levels or equivalent. The report also noted that plenty of people who apply for higher education, even though they have fewer than 80 tariff points, are not offered a place at a conventional university.