QS released its 2012 World University Rankings earlier this month. The rankings, which rate universities around the world, placed seven Australian universities in the top 100 worldwide and four in the top 50. The figures show one less Australian university in both the top 100 and top 50 than the 2011 rankings, but ANU found its way back into the top 25 (up to 24th from 26th in 2011).
The 2012 rankings also placed Australia with the third highest representation of universities in the top 100, behind the US and the UK. Higher education analyst Simon Marginson, however, warned against complacency and underestimating the challenges that will need to be addressed in the future, reported The Australian.
"There is a serious danger that a 'feel good' finding like this will induce complacency in policy circles and in institutions, leading us to underestimate the challenges we face,'' Professor Marginson said.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are due to come out early next month.
The Australian reported that some institutions have seen a rise of 20% in their Chinese student enrollments. The increase comes two years after sudden changes in immigration rules by the government, and other adverse factors, including a strong currency, threatened the future of Australia's largest offshore market.
The figures should come as little surprise, however, with China Daily USA carrying highlights from a recent report that showed the total number of Chinese students studying in overseas universities increased to 339,700 in 2011, representing 14% of all international students worldwide.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have come to the forefront of education technology discussion in past weeks as Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle both reported stories on the US’s increased interest.
Inside Higher Ed reported that MOOC provider edX had announced a partnership with Pearson’s testing centres, allowing students of its online courses to sit a proctored exam. While those who sit the proctored exams will still not receive credit from edX partner universities, the move strengthens the validity of MOOCs and may encourage other university to start recognising credit.
"There’s been a lot of talk about how the whole online methodology is not able to verify identification," said Anant Agarwal, the president of edX. "This will take online learning to a next level."
Meanwhile, The Chronicle reported that Colorado State University-Global Campus would recognise transfer credit from MOOC provider Udacity. Udacity also announced a partnership with Pearson’s in June this year.
While CSU Global Campus is an online university running separately from CSU’s two other campuses, the decision makes it the first US University to recognise transfer credit from Udacity. This is in addition to several European universities that had previously done so.
The potential of MOOCs has some concerned, however, as The Chronicle also carried highlights from a report suggesting that the technology may hurt smaller and for-profit colleges. The report, compiled by Moody’s Investor’s Service, found that MOOCs would be of great benefit to well-known universities, helping them bring in new revenue, heighten brand recognition and reduce operating costs.
Conversely, smaller, less-known colleges that cater to students in small, regional areas may have their market share significantly reduced in the long term as the availability of more prestigious university courses increases. In addition, the report warns that using MOOCs facilitated by other universities could eventually lead to staff cutbacks.
Not everyone is convinced of the possible dangers of MOOCs. Trace A. Urdan, analyst at Wells Fargo Securities: "I think the conclusions of the report are a little silly—there is no business model at the moment for MOOC’s... I watch with bated breath to see if someone can build a business around this phenomenon, but at the moment the MOOC’s are basically leveraging the existing brand and existing talent employed by the universities."
University World News released several reports highlighting key aspects of the recent OECD - Education at a Glance 2012 report.
In the face of a dramatic increase in the student population, regional providers are stepping up efforts to recruit Indonesian students, reports ICEF Monitor.
The Montreal Gazette reports that several websites have been created that allow students to pay unemployed professors to write essays for them.
A Pakistani bank has rolled out a new International Student Identity Card, reports CR80News.