“Fostering Student Engagement Campuswide”, National Survey of Student Engagement Annual Results 2011

Findings released by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) show that full-time college students, on average, spend 15 hours a week on their studies. However, study time differed by academic majors, for example, seniors in engineering averaged about 19 hours per week, while their peers in the social sciences and business averaged five fewer hours. The findings were from a 2011 survey of 416,000 first-year students and seniors attending 673 U.S. colleges and universities.

The findings raise questions about whether there is a mismatch between the work asked of students and what students believe necessary to succeed, and whether Faculty expectations for study time may need to be adjusted.

Alexander C. McCormick, NSSE director and associate professor of education at Indiana University, suggests that Faculties and academic leaders may need to reflect on their expectations for academic work by discipline. It would also be useful to explicitly teach study skills and strategies so that students can become effective learners.

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Value of degrees to be revealed for first time in the UK

Official work force surveys in the UK are now asking respondents about which universities they attended. As a result, it will be possible to show which university graduates dominate lucrative careers like law and banking, and the financial benefits over time of attending particular institutions.

It is part of a move by ministers to make higher education more accountable and reveal key details about what undergraduates get for their money.

The data is collected by the Office for National Statistics as part of the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which questions 110,000 people in 50,000 households at quarterly intervals and is used to show national employment levels.

“The labour force survey gives details of salaries and employment over time, which students can make judgements on,” A government source said. “Over time the LFS information could enable modelling of lifetime earnings by institution and help contribute to our understanding of social mobility.”

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Top scholars in China share courses online

20 courses provided by 18 top Chinese universities went online in November, 2011. This is China’s latest attempt to disseminate teaching resources within the nation and promote Chinese culture globally. They are available through the websites of NetEase and China Network Television, as well as icourse.edu.cn, for free.

The Chinese Ministry of Education comments that these open courses can enable university students across the country to have access to lectures given by top scholars. They also promote the idea of open education by using the internet, and they can be shared by the public for free.

According to the Ministry, up to 1,000 online open courses will be offered by the end of 2015, and 100 will be available by the end of 2011. Some of the courses will be translated into English and promoted across the rest of the world.

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“Making Student Learning Evidence Transparent: The State of the Art”, a report on National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

The report “Making Student Learning Evidence Transparent: The State of the Art” by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) analyzes the degree to which institutions make available what they are doing to assess the knowledge and abilities undergraduates acquire.

The report is based on information from the websites of 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. and describes how institutions display assessment results, the progress higher education has made in the past few years concerning institutional transparency, and the impact of national transparency initiatives to encourage institutions to report such information.

NILOA researchers point out that while institutions now share their work in terms of assessing student learning more frequently, much more can be done to make assessment information easier to understand and to be used by both external and internal audiences. The report also provides recommendations to colleges and universities to enhance transparency of evidence of student learning and subsequent use.

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