Newsletter - April 2001We welcome you to the first edition of our 'new look' newsletter. Our lead article is from Terry Hilsberg, NextEd. We invite you to comment and engage in a discussion on his paper in the virtual conferencing system. Terry will join us for this discussion for the first two weeks of May. If you're not sure how to use the system please read the article on the virtual conferencing system and visit the site http://www.ascilite.org.au
ascilite Newsletter is produced three times per year and we welcome article suggestions from our readers. Send your article suggestions to the editor of this edition, Gerry Lefoe.
Editorial team: Cathy Gunn, Carmel McNaught, Tony Gilding, Gerry Lefoe.
Web Editor: Russ Pennell
The future of higher education partnerships
What's interesting on the ascilite website?
What's interesting elsewhere?
The future of higher education partnershipsTerry Hilsberg, Chief Executive Officer, NextEd
Higher Education in Australia is a vertically integrated, government protected industry, with its largely homogeneous form heavily determined by Government protection. It has the potential to be the textiles clothing and footwear industry of the 21st Century.
If you doubt this hypothesis, contemplate what the shape of the industry would be if instead of subsidising the providers, the Australian Government allowed students to attend any higher education institution (HEI) in the world, using the funds and loans provided by the taxpayer.
The vertically integrated, homogeneous nature of the industry is unlikely to be sustained, given forces such as:
- An inability of governments to continue to subsidise the industry at historical levels, as the real wages of academics increase, but production methods do not change
- The continuing shift to time scarce, adult learners who pay fees and demand service
- The need to reward star academics at a much higher level than the run of the mill researcher or teacher
- New technologies which further break down the historical geographic immobility of students, academic labour and courses, opening up the industry to the forces of globalisation and vertical disaggregation
In this environment partnerships will be required to:
- Access capital, given the very poor capital reserves, ability to re-invest cash flow and weak alumni funding of Australian HEIs
- Reward, retain and attract the best academics to Australia
- Give Australian students access to the best courses and teachers in the world
- Reduce the costs of course production and delivery
- Access international delivery networks
Such partnerships are likely to take many forms, ranging between extremes, including:
- Traditional domestic and international partnerships between academics and HEIs to share the costs of marketing and course production e.g the Global University Alliance
- Partnerships with commercial course providers who pay a royalty for use of the HEI brand, accreditation and materials, but essentially do everything else e.g the relationship between Financial Times Knowledge and it's HEI partners
- Outsourcing by HEIs of some of the aspects of the student experience, such as provision of a reliable, scaleable extranet infrastructure, over which courses might be delivered and students recruited e.g the relationship between NextEd and it's partner Universities
- Partnerships that give HEIs access to students already "owned" by downstream entities, such as corporate employers and students at 2 year colleges e.g the relationships many Australian HEIs have with colleges in Malaysia
All of these arrangements can potentially be of benefit to an HEI, or might represent the privatisation of the benefits of historical government investments. The key issue is the evaluation criteria an HEI uses in entering such partnerships. For instance; an HEI that decides it wishes to own the lifelong learning experience of its students, is unlikely to allow a downstream college to 'own the student'.
Would you like to comment on this article or any other part of the newsletter? Go to http://www.ascilite.org.au. In the top right hand corner you will see Member Login. Username is first initial surname eg jbloggs and password is ascilite (unless you have already changed it). On the top of the new page you'll see Edit your profile. Please change your password then scroll to the bottom to add yourself to the newsletter list. Do join in the discussion!
What's interesting on the ascilite website?Virtual Conferencing System
This Virtual Conferencing System (VCS) is a password-protected area where members can participate in forums, find resources, people and chat to others. The Virtual Conferencing System has a number of discussion streams to which members can subscribe:
General - for general ascilite discussion
WebCT - for discussion of the WebCT virtual learning environment
Development Units - for discussion about university online and multimedia production units
Research - for discussion and questions about research being conducted by members
This system integrates web and email-based methods of participating in discussions. All messages can be viewed on web pages and the web can be used to create messages and reply to existing messages. Participants can also choose to receive copies of all messages in one or more discussion streams via email. Messages can also be posted via email (including replying to other messages). All messages sent via email will appear on the web pages, together with any attachments. Each discussion stream has an associated 'Resources' database for uploading of files, web sites, etc., as well as an optional real-time chat facility, and the ability to see which other members are subscribed to this stream.
The VCS incorporates the ascilite members' database. One of the features of the members' database is the abililty for members to maintain their own contact details, advertise their consultancy skills and subscribe to streams. In addition, there are private streams associated with the ascilite Executive, the ascilite EIP project and the CUTSD evaluation project. More streams can be added as requested by members.
HTML Author: Diana Jonas-Dwyer Authorised by: Rob Phillips
What's interesting elsewhere?Pearson Distributed Learning Reviewed by Dr Anthony Gilding, Victoria University of Technology
The Pearson Distributed Learning Website is the Web marketing tool of Pearson Education, which includes Addison Wesley, Allyn && Bacon, Prentice Hall, Pearson Custom Publishing and the Pearson Technology Group. According to its authors, the web site provides educational institutions, state-wide higher education systems and consortia with information about its print and electronic content.
ascilite members may be interested in the Web based resources now available for use with textbooks and/or other electronic content we can now use in our classes. Basic Companion Websites are ready-made, text-specific, interactive websites that complement specific textbooks. Each Companion Website may include electronic content, tutorials, quizzes, and web resources. If your course contains more than 250 students, you may have the web site customized to better suit your course. Examples of custom material are your course syllabus, assignments, handouts, lecture outlines, line drawings, and links to other website material. Pearson also provides so called Premium Websites that are designed to extend the resources beyond the scope of the textbook.
As with most Web sites today, Pearson DL provides information on the conferences its representative attend, a message board for visitors to use and information on its partnerships. Once you move past the advertising, you may find the Web site useful for the examples of Web based resources it provides. Now that we are starting to use textbooks that have companion Web based resources developed for use within systems such as WebCT or Blackboard's CourseInfo, the site is worth a look. The web site contains examples of both subject and discipline based resources.
EdNA What's New
|A comprehensive Australian online educational resource network. What's New service provides material which has recently been added into EdNA Online.||Australia
To subscribe: http://www.edna.edu.au/edna/page1469.html
|IRN Internet Resources Newsletter||A-Z collection of the latest Internet Resources for academics, students, engineers, scientists and social scientists.||Heriot-Watt University, UK
To subscribe: http://www.hw.ac.uk/libWWW/irn/irn.html
|INFOBITS||Each month the Information Resources Consultant selects from a number of information technology and instructional technology sources and provides brief notes on key topics of interest.||University of North Carolina USA
send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following message:
SUBSCRIBE INFOBITS firstname lastname
|SCOUT Report||The Internet Scout Project provides information about the Internet to the U.S. research and education community.||University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
send email to email@example.com In the body of the message type:
|ALT: Association of Learning Technology||ALT is an educational organisation which seeks to bring together all those with an interest in the use of learning technology in higher and further education.||UK
ALT is affiliated with ascilite and we have a reciprocal arrangement for conference attendance at the membership rates.
|DEST's Higher Education Division||The Department of Education, Science and Training provides a free electronic newsletter on issues and developments in Australia's higher education sector.||Australia
To subscribe: http://www.dest.gov.au/highered/enews/subscribeenews.htm