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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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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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Universities have become more and more interconnected worldwide. As the global education scenario evolves, it is important for universities to understand the challenges and opportunities that surround them. The American Council on Education (ACE), a coordinating organization representing presidents of all types of accredited, degree-granting institutions in the U.S., convened the Blue Ribbon Panel on Global Engagement in 2010. The Panel analyzed the current environment and developed principles and practices that may serve as a framework for further global engagement by colleges and universities. A Blue Ribbon Panel report was produced and it discussed the challenges faced by universities in the 21st century; the American higher education in the global landscape; critical issues for American universities and the global engagement opportunities.

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More and more professors in the US are soliciting student feedback midway through their courses. Some universities, such as the Stony Brook University, Grand Valley State University and Western Washing University have adopted university-wide online system to collect midterm feedback from students. The reason for inviting comments earlier in the term is that it allows teachers to take steps to improve their teaching, to have a chance to discuss with students and get a deeper understanding of their needs. Midterm evaluation may even encourage teachers to ask more directed and open-ended questions. It is a good way for them to achieve better end-of-semester evaluations which may be used in performance reviews and promotion and tenure in some universities.

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Some 75 UK Higher Education (HE) institutions have set to produce Higher Education Achievement Reports (HEAR), a new way of recording students’ academic and personal achievements to enhance their employability. According to Professor Bob Burgess, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester and Chairman of the Burgess Implementation Steering Group, many HE institutions in the UK find that the honours degree classification system is not very useful when it comes to describe the skills, experience and attributes of graduates in the 21st century. It is believed that the HEAR will be taken up sector-wide soon, and that in this competitive time it is appropriate for every graduate to offer prospective employers more than just a degree classification.

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University College London will stop using traditional degree classifications and instead adopt an American-style “grade point average” (GPA), which gives undergraduate students a score based on all the courses they have taken. This is due to “award inflation” in UK universities in the past decade or so. Official figures show that the number of students getting a first or upper-second class degree in 2010 doubles the number a decade ago. Malcolm Grant, the Provost of UCL, commented that the UK system was not well recognized around the world and that the honours degree classification was no longer capable of providing the information that students deserve and employers require. A form of grade point average would ensure that the students’ mode of study be internationally recognized.

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The Future of Higher-Education Internationalization
By Francisco Marmolejo, The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 30, 2011

Synopsis:

It is suggested that the traditional concept or definition of ‘internationalization of higher education’, such as mobility of students, is no longer sufficient to address a much more complex and changing reality nowadays. Many scholars have called for a revisit of the traditional concept of higher education internationalization and critical examination of the causes that are leading to some questioning and even criticism of the concept. Internationalization now may embrace the internationalization of curriculum, research, the offering of dual degrees with overseas partners, establishment of branch campuses/ offices abroad, engagement of international alumni, adoption of international quality assurance frameworks, increased competition for international students and much more.

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