Universities need to rethink teaching in the age of Google and the internet.

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8 July 2018 Issue 513 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Universities need to rethink teaching in the age of Google and the internet

   In Commentary, Wafa Singh asks if teaching has become redundant in the age of the internet and how universities can rethink teaching so it offers value to students. Linda Storey offers one solution that may assist with this, explaining how lecture-capture technology can be key to personalising learning and widening participation by supporting a diverse student body. Lin Tian and Nian Cai Liu say that higher education in China should be seen as a global common good rather than a public good, and universities in different countries need to cooperate and construct a community with a common interest rather than focusing on their own self-interest. And Harivansh Chaturvedi writes that Indian higher education is in need of much more deep-rooted change than the proposed replacement of the University Grants Commission with a new regulatory body, the Higher Education Commission of India.

   In our World Blog this week, Hans de Wit says the dynamics of international student mobility have intensified and become more diverse and complex over the past 10 years, but the push and pull factors for mobility have not changed.

   In our series on Pacific Rim higher education and research, Yojana Sharma reports that academics attending the Association of Pacific Rim Universities conference emphasised the need to deal with ethical issues in the use of artificial intelligence so that research and applications are not used for nefarious purposes, such as weapons of war.

   In our section on Academic Corruption, Brendan O’Malley writes that the digital revolution has already transformed the way some people cheat and some of the methods used to catch them.

   In Features, Ria Nurdiani reports on a new task force set up in Indonesia to develop guidelines to combat Islamic radicalism which appears to be gaining wider support on campuses. And Gilbert Nakweya reports on a call at the Sustainable African Cities conference for timely research from universities to help address challenges affecting people in African cities.

Brendan O’Malley – Managing Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Ministry ends hundreds of Sino-foreign HE partnerships

Yojana Sharma

China’s education ministry has closed down a fifth of partnerships between Chinese and foreign institutions, including five jointly managed institutions, without mentioning when the terminations occurred, in a drive to raise quality, according to a list of terminations issued last week.


New regulatory body will push HE quality and autonomy

Shuriah Niazi and Yojana Sharma

The Indian government has put forward two draft acts to replace the higher education regulatory body, the University Grants Commission, with a new body with a reduced role over university financing but greater powers in areas which the government says will improve academic standards.


New body to regulate all higher education institutions

Francis Kokutse

The country’s national cabinet has approved the establishment of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission, which will regulate all tertiary institutions and help to speed up the establishment of qualifying private universities, according to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.


Drop in applications expected to hit universities hard

Eugene Vorotnikov

Russian universities are expecting a shortage of applications for university places this year, according to a government report. Experts warn it could lead to declining standards and send many private institutions into bankruptcy. It will also increase pressure to recruit more international students.


EU students’ post-Brexit loans and fees guaranteed

Brendan O'Malley

The European Union students starting courses in 2019-20 in England – months after the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU – will remain eligible to receive government-backed loans to cover their tuition fees for the duration of their courses and will continue to be charged the same fees as UK students.


Brexit risks for Danish higher education and research

Jan Petter Myklebust

Danish universities are ill prepared for Brexit, particularly if it becomes a ‘hard Brexit’, fearing serious implications of the end of freedom of movement for Danish students and researchers to the United Kingdom – and a significant intellectual loss for Danish research institutions.


Financial costs deter thousands of masters students

Geoff Maslen

More than 130,000 Australians are undertaking one or other of nearly 1,200 masters by coursework degrees. But while a masters degree has become the required qualification to gain entry to an increasing number of occupations, the cost is deterring many students.


University staff union threatens to sue over deductions

Christabel Ligami

Kenya’s Universities Academic Staff Union has threatened to go to court if the ministry of education does not take immediate action against the higher learning institutions in the country that are reported to be deducting from their employees’ salaries illegally without remitting deductions to the relevant institutions.


Demand for institution to be upgraded to university

Shadi Khan Saif

A leading public sector teacher training institute in Afghanistan has remained in lockdown for nearly two months over demands by students and teachers that it be upgraded to a university to provide better job opportunities for its graduates and higher salaries for faculty members.



Has teaching in higher education become redundant?

Wafa Singh

The internet is transforming how students learn and by comparison students find traditional lectures boring. To compete, universities need to rethink teaching, from the way it is structured and what it offers to what value-addition it can provide to students.


Engaging and retaining students through video capture

Linda Storey

Supporting a diverse student body remains high on the agenda for higher education. Lecture-capture technology can supplement learning, help to engage students, enable them to catch up if they can’t attend lectures in person and join in post-lecture discussions online.


Chinese HE’s contribution to the global common good

Lin Tian and Nian Cai Liu

Higher education in China should be seen as a global common good rather than a public good. This means that it is not just the government that is responsible for its development – it is up to universities, students and wider society to take responsibility.


Replacing the UGC won’t solve India’s problems

Harivansh Chaturvedi

It is being billed by the Modi government as an attempt to introduce ‘minimum government, maximum governance’, but Indian higher education needs much more deep-rooted change than the proposed replacement of the University Grants Commission (UGC) with the Higher Education Commission of India.


TNE in HE is about collaboration, not neo-colonialism

Robert Coelen

A recent University World News article paints a picture of transnational education (TNE) as neoliberal, neo-colonialist and motivated by a rankings obsession. This does not echo my experience. Transnational education in higher education works best when it is about cooperation among equals.


Wider access to higher education needs a mindset shift

Steve Sharra

The idea that only a few are capable of university education is still very much alive in Malawian classrooms from primary school to university and this mindset is reflected in the severe limitations on places in the country’s university system. But without wider access to higher education, the country will struggle to achieve its national, continental or global development goals.



The new dynamics in international student circulation

Hans de Wit

The main push and pull factors for international student mobility have not changed in the past decade, but global contexts have, resulting in growing global competition for international students and increasing South-South student flows. But quality concerns and language issues remain barriers to further growth.



Urgent need to address ethics of artificial intelligence

Yojana Sharma

Students and researchers must be better prepared to deal with ethical issues in the use of big data, robotics and artificial intelligence so that research and applications are not used for nefarious purposes, including weapons of war, a recent conference of Pacific Rim university presidents was told.



The digital revolution in cheating has already begun

Brendan O’Malley

The fourth industrial revolution may bring a host of new forms of academic corruption and new ways of tackling them, but the internet and its internationalising effect have already transformed the way some people cheat and some of the methods used to catch them.



Ministry sets up task force on campus radicalisation

Ria Nurdiani

A new joint task force has been set by Indonesia’s Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and the country’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency to develop guidelines to combat Islamic radicalism which appears to be gaining wider support on campuses.


Urbanisation conference calls for timely research

Gilbert Nakweya

African academic research on sustainable urbanisation has not kept pace with the rapid economic, environmental and policy changes that define sustainable development, according to experts at the Sustainable African Cities conference held last week in Accra, Ghana.


Bad politics and the paradox of university rankings

Kudzai Mashininga

Zimbabwe’s higher education sector finds itself caught in a paradox: the country has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa at 92%, but its universities perform dismally in both continental and international rankings. Pressure is mounting on the post-Robert Mugabe government to intervene.



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Trump scraps Obama-era affirmative action guidelines

The Trump administration has scrapped Obama-era policies promoting diversity in universities known as affirmative action. United States President Donald Trump’s decision has been viewed as an indicator that the federal government may soon challenge Harvard University’s admissions practices and nudge other universities to shelve race-orientated policies, writes Maya Oppenheim for the Independent.


Taipei universities face dormitory beds crisis

A preliminary survey showed that public and private university dormitories in Taipei are short of 14,772 beds, the Taipei City Government said last week, adding that it plans to use government-owned buildings to supply 4,223 beds over the next five years, writes Lee I-chia for Taipei Times.


Universities must uphold standards – Commission

The Higher Education Commission has directed all higher education institutions in Pakistan to uphold their academic standards in order to ensure quality education and fulfilment of all the requisite criteria in quantitative and qualitative terms, reports Pakistan Today.


State funding per tertiary student ‘halved in 10 years’

State third-level funding per student is half what it was 10 years ago, according to the body representing Ireland’s seven universities. In a pre-budget submission, the Irish Universities’ Association has called for a significant increase in core funding from the state, as well as capital investment of more than €5 billion (US$5.9 billion) over the next 12 years, writes Emma O Kelly for RTÉ.


Quota for transgender students in colleges, universities

In a progressive step towards inclusive education, the Kerala state government in India has allotted two additional seats for transgender students in all universities and affiliated arts and science colleges across the state, reports News18.


Spanish universities’ science publications up by 70%

Over 2007 to 2016, the number of scientific publications from Spanish universities in the Web of Science has gone up from 31,690 to 54,764 documents, an increase of 72.81%, reports EurekAlert!.


Pressure on South Korean universities to study the North

Across South Korean universities, improved relations have given rise to the provision of more courses on North Korea. According to The Diplomat, there is currently a lack of South Korean universities offering North Korean studies, writes Leelian Kong for StudyInternational.com.


Alcohol blamed for chaotic behaviour among students

An academic at the Copperbelt University in Zambia has called for a change in the policy that allows the sale of alcohol in institutions of higher learning, saying it is the cause of chaotic behaviour and unrest among students, reports Lusaka Times.


Biggest mistake universities make when going online

What is the single biggest mistake universities make when putting a course online? They think they are simply putting a course online instead of creating an online product and ensuring it offers a world-class learning experience tailored to what current and prospective students want, writes Furqan Nazeeri for eCampus News.


AJK students to get free education from Chinese company

Kohala Hydro Company, a state-owned power company of China, will provide free education to students hailing from different areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) affected by power generation projects, reports The Express Tribune.


Admiralty law to be included in universities’ curriculum

The federal government of Nigeria said it has taken appropriate steps to ensure that admiralty or maritime law is included in the curriculum of universities in the country for the speedy resolution of maritime cases, reports the Nigerian Television Authority.


Photo exhibition on slavery and American universities

Many American universities, like the country, have economic and historic links to slavery – a photography exhibition on James Collins Johnson is part of a greater initiative at Princeton University to investigate and give visibility to the university’s ties to slavery, writes Allison Meier for Hyperallergic.

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