Wednesday, April 11, 2018

On bullied universities speaking truth to power

Britain’s bullied universities should be speaking truth to power" raises some interesting points about New Zealand’s Education Act   .... "that universities a statutory duty to be “the critic and conscience of society”"  Whilst he offers support for such an institutional arrangement he has little to say about other forms of institutional innovation that might be applied to UK HE.

Wolff offers a critique of academic practice, implying that more than institutional innovation is needed. Consideration of his own reflexive praxis is, however, missing from the article.  In critiques of this type it would be good to see a shift from the abstract to the embodied and personal.

Systemic perspectives on the Murray-Darling Basin

This part photo-essay prepared by the Guardian Australia  is worth exploring.  The invitation by the authors is to: 

"Follow our 3000km journey along the rivers, travelling from inland Queensland to the Murray mouth, to understand where the plan has failed those who live and work on this land".

Enhancing Systems Thinking in Practice at the Workplace

Findings from research made available.

"The eSTEeM project was an 18-month systemic inquiry beginning January 2014 initiated by a core team of 5 academics associated with the production and presentation of the postgraduate programme in Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP). The inquiry comprised a series of online interviews over two phases, and a workshop held in London Regional Office in May 2015.  There were 33 interviews in total, including interviews with 10 postgraduate students undertaking core modules associated with the  STiP programme, 8 STiP alumni, 8 employers of STiP alumni, and 7 Associate Lecturers teaching on the STiP programme.  The one-day workshop involved 41 participants including members of the core eSTEeM team, all interviewees from both initial phases,  along with other special guests invited on the basis of their involvement, support and interest for the STiP programme.

The project aimed to design a learning system for transforming the ‘threats’ of a gap between postgraduate study experiences and post-study work experiences into ‘opportunities’ for radical pedagogic adaptation and (re)design. One such course where the gap is evident is with the postgraduate suite of qualifications in Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP) launched at the OU in 2010."

Monday, April 09, 2018

Teething problems with apprenticeships?

According to an article today on Wonkhe - marking the first year of apprenticeships - some systemic issues are emerging:

"Appy birthday

Friday was the first birthday of the apprenticeship levy, with a veritable fiesta of events to mark the occasion. However, the government’s target of three million starts by 2020 looks seriously at risk, despite claims that all is going “as planned”.
Challenges include demonstrating the benefits to prospective applicants and their families, meeting employer needs, and delays getting new apprenticeships approved. One major employer, IBM, described the process as “incredibly difficult” with “bizarre decisions” and “not a good experience at all”. That same employer also said they have “shifted away from graduates ... which is possibly an unintended consequence".
There are also issues in demonstrating the returns to firms of taking on apprentices – simulations published by the Education Policy Institute to estimate the costs and benefits suggest that most firms would only break even if apprentice pay is close to minimum wage, and that higher-level apprenticeships taken up at a later age could offer lower returns for both apprentices and their employers.
From a standing start, many universities are starting to offer degree apprenticeships, which Gerry Berragan of the Institute for Apprenticeships said he was supportive of. He also said management degrees are a "perfectly respectable" way to use levy funds and address productivity challenges.
Time will tell if the government, the post-18 review, and OfS can create a coherent, system-wide offer that includes different routes and levels. With unspent levy funds and stubborn skills gaps, it’s likely that more enterprising HEIs will continue to seize this opportunity."