“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our students of tomorrow”
Student advisers from across the country (and a couple of other countries too!) are gathered in Manchester to explore the challenges and opportunities of the fast changing student landscape
The theme; A Brave New World.
But the question is not so much one of “is it a new world?” for the answer is an easy yes – it is more a question of are we brave enough for it.
Technology is playing an increasingly important role, strategy is becoming ever more complex and at the heart of it all are humans – students with expectations and staff passionately trying to meet them. Where these elements intersect we find the education ideal
The impact on education cannot be understated and neither can the gulf often evident between educators and students. While many educators remain skeptical of the marriage of pedagogy and technology for students the advantages are clear and obvious.
It will be years before MOOCs pose a genuine challenge to the primacy of lecturers and bricks and mortar institutions. But the seeping power of technology should be welcomed as it can complement existing practice with efficiency and engagement never before possible.
[Q] Digital natives will expect elements of technology in their education – so how to implement them effectively?
Policies and priorities are shifting fast and sometimes the tough question is not “how to do” but figuring out “what to do”. This poses challenges to creating a strategic framework within which to address the broader Student Services agenda.
The student experience remains key to satisfaction, recruitment is a challenge within the new funding environment and widening participation and access initiatives remain key. But what might be the unintended consequences of decisions made and policies pursued?
[Q] How to survive and thrive within in an unpredictable environment
The Human element
More than 20,000 students complained to their universities last year the BBC has found. Most complaints were judged to be unjustified but we should all note how sharply students’ expectations are growing.
Unsurprisingly these complaints have risen as fees have. With an average debt of £53,330 it’s barely surprising that students expect more from their education as they feel they are paying more for it. The expectation of guaranteed jobs against the reality of a tough graduate job market and employers who believe students to be educated but not sufficiently skilled is just one example
The increase in fees means students are clearly demanding more from their universities. Adequately preparing them for the financial reality of life at university and the details of their course will go a long way towards bridging the gap between the expectations of students and the reality of their experience.
[Q] how can universities do more with less and still ensure students have the best years of their life?
I am sure these and many more questions will be debated long into the night at conference and I, for one, can’t wait!