Wednesday, 15 August 2012

University World News - Issue No 0234

MOOCs shake up world’s universities ‘like a tectonic shock’ – Marginson

In World Blog, Jo Ritzen argues that universities could help Europe out of its current economic crisis, but there needs to be more Pan-European higher education cooperation and institutions need to become more engaged in broader societal issues.
In Commentary, Simon Marginson explains why Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs – will be the game changer in higher education worldwide. Lynnel Hoare writes that transnational education may need to overcome ethnocentricity but can bring significant benefits to mature students, and Francesca Onley describes a project involving mobile teaching support in Tanzania that could provide a model for improving learning around the world.
Geoff Maslen interviews Melbourne sociologist Ramon Spaaij, author of a new book on ‘lone wolf’ terrorists – the first in-depth analysis of the phenomenon. Also in Features, Alya Mishra reports on gaps in America’s visa regulations highlighted by the latest raid on a dubious university, which has left hundreds more foreign students stranded. And she looks at a study of India’s culture of creative improvisation, which has led to ‘frugal innovations’ that are attracting interest worldwide.
Finally, Gilbert Nganga writes that rapidly rising student numbers and increased competition have led universities in Kenya to embark on an extraordinary ‘race for space’ in commercial buildings in cities and towns, driving a property boom.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

Huge rise in discrimination against women students
Yojana Sharma and Shafigeh Shirazi
More than 600 degree programmes in 60 universities in Iran are now segregated by gender, in what is being seen as a major expansion of the government’s efforts to separate male and female students. Discrimination against women students is also on the rise.

New academic misconduct laws may not be adequate
Yojana Sharma
New laws to clamp down on academic cheating at China’s universities could come into effect later this year as the rampant problems of plagiarism, falsification, lying about credentials and research papers and other misconduct continue unabated in higher education.

Students to protest over fee hikes for late finishers
Lee Adendorff
Student groups are threatening protest action after the Italian parliament backed a law on 7 August that gives universities the power to raise the fees of students who are taking too long to complete their studies.

Bologna reforms now implemented and widely accepted
Michael Gardner
Ten years after the formal introduction of bachelor and masters degrees at German higher education institutions in the wake of the Bologna reforms, most courses have been adapted to the new system. Statistics suggest that the new degrees have found acceptance among students and industry.

Islamist professor becomes higher education minister
Ashraf Khaled
One month after Egypt got its first-ever elected Islamist president, the higher education portfolio went to another Islamist – engineering professor Mustafa Musad.

New regional higher education initiatives under way
Wagdy Sawahel
Egypt has launched several higher education initiatives including a plan to set up branches of Alexandria University in Lebanon and Malaysia, establishing an Arab higher education area and joining the Arab and European Leadership Network for Higher Education.

Study finds link between research and economic growth
Sharon Dell
Recent research in South Africa confirms what has almost become a truism, particularly in the developing world: knowledge production and the pursuit of higher education is good for a country’s economic growth, and governments would do well to bear such evidence in mind in their development of research-related policies.

Fees hike as universities prepare to reopen
Jane Marshall
Côte d’Ivoire’s universities, disrupted or closed for the past two or three years, are due to reopen on 3 September – but critics are protesting against increases in fees of up to 5,000%.

Students sue for losses during lecturer protests
University of Malawi students have sued the institution’s council for losses they incurred during an eight-month academic freedom protest by lecturers, who have in turn passed a vote of no confidence in the institution’s authorities.

UN launches human rights initiative in universities
Maina Waruru
Kenyan universities will start teaching human rights to arts students, in an initiative spearheaded by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Five universities will be selected later this year to pilot the project, in which arts students will take a unit on the subject.


New book on lone wolf terrorists who cause mayhem
Geoff Maslen
In the long roll call of ‘lone wolf’ terrorist attacks, few countries have been spared. Melbourne sociologist Dr Ramon Spaaij has been researching terrorism for 10 years and for the past five has focused on solitary gunmen who open fire on the innocent in pursuit of specific goals. His new book, Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism, is the first in-depth analysis of such terrorism worldwide.

US visa fraud institutions highlight regulatory gaps
Alya Mishra
Herguan University in Sunnyvale, California, is the third institution in less than two years to have been raided by US officials and accused of visa fraud by the federal authorities, leaving hundreds of foreign student – most of them from India – stranded.

‘Frugal innovation’ path for cash-strapped research
Alya Mishra
Although countries like China have raced ahead of India in research spending and investment in science and innovation, India’s culture of creative improvisation has led to inexpensive, low-key innovative solutions, sometimes known as ‘frugal innovation’.

Universities’ scramble for space fuels property boom
Gilbert Nganga
In the basement of Church House in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, worshippers gather at one end of a room for evening prayers. At the other end of the dimly lit space, students of the Presbyterian University of East Africa finish assignments for a 17h00 class. The noise from the enthusiastic worshippers fills the room, but the students are at ease. They are used to it.


Can universities lead Europe out of crisis?
Jo Ritzen
Universities can help lift Europe out of the economic crisis. But there needs to be more Pan-European higher education and research cooperation, Europe needs to recognise that one size does not fit all, and universities need to overcome the crisis of trust between academia and society.


Yes, MOOC is the higher education game changer
Simon Marginson
Free Massive Open Online Courseware – MOOC – is less than a year old but it is already clear this will be the game changer in higher education worldwide. Right now it is reverberating through the world’s universities like a tectonic shock.

Transnational education: A good-news story
Lynnel Hoare
Transnational education has been seen as everything from altruistic to neocolonialist, but in much research the voices of students involved are ignored. A study of mature students on a transnational education programme in Singapore shows they can reap considerable benefits, but it raises questions about ethnocentricity in the way courses are taught.

Mobile teaching technology provides a model for future
Sister Francesca Onley
A joint project in Tanzania between an NGO founded by Stanford's chief technology officer and Holy Family University could provide a model for future teaching. It involves the use of mobile teaching technology that enhances student learning and encourages creative and innovative approaches to their education.

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