Are university degree models stuck in the past?

Does Higher Education need to evolve from the lecture hall to encompass new technology and meet the needs of a diverse range of learners?

Does Higher Education needs to evolve from the lecture hall to encompass new technology and meet the needs of a diverse range of learners? Click To Tweet

Politicians, the media and the public tend to think about university students as 18-year-old school leavers who go away to study a degree full-time for three years, while hopefully having the time of their lives. But in reality higher education reaches out to a far more varied mix of people – or at least it should.

Against a backdrop of crashing participation from mature and part-time learners, the government is urging universities to think hard about how they can reskill the workforce and encourage lifelong learning.

2VCs discussion series

In the latest of our 2VCs discussion series, Anna Fazackerley talks to David Bell, vice-chancellor of Reading University, and Alec Cameron, vice-chancellor of Aston University, about the future.

As well as experience on the ground at their universities, both VCs bring a different perspective to this discussion. Before he took the reins at Reading, Bell was the permanent secretary at the Department for Education, living through a hailstorm of different initiatives and four different secretaries of state. Cameron came to Aston from Australia, where he headed one of the country’s leading research-intensive universities.

Reading is a traditional university with more than 50 research centres. It has not shied away from trying new things, with a campus in Malaysia and a branch of its business school in South Africa. The university was one of the founding members of Futurelearn, the UK’s “massive open online course” (MOOC) learning platform. It offers 15 free courses, with 800,000 people registering over five years.

Aston is a modern university with a very strong focus on the world of work. More than three-quarters of undergraduates carry out work placements as part of their degree. It has recently launched Aston Online, offering masters courses at a distance, including an online MBA from its flagship business school.

To read the full excellent article from the Two university vice-chancellors (2VCs) discussion series see The Guardian

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