QSIU HE Digest – First Ever MOOC Data Research

  • MOOC: First Ever MOOC Data Research
  • India: Few Takers of Top Academic Pay
  • US: Measuring Faculty Collegiality
  • China: Planning Campuses Abroad

Despite the buzz around Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), data about them is scarce, limiting the ability to judge how the courses will fit into the higher education landscape—and particularly whether they will be creditworthy and eventually profitable. Hoping to counter this, the University of Edinburgh has compiled the most comprehensive data to date on the sector, revealing the study choices, motivations and nationality of participants in its six Coursera-backed MOOCs. A pre-launch survey sent to 217,512 email accounts a week before the course began yielded 45,182 responses (a rate of 21%) and revealed that some 200 countries were represented in the learner cohort, the majority of students coming from the US, UK, Spain and Brazil. Researchers said “there were gaps” in the participating nationalities, however, with zero activity from China for example.“This suggests that reaching widely with MOOCs to gather many more learners from non-US/UK/Europe sources is not an unreasonable goal, but also not a simple goal,” the report states.

Full Story: Pie News

One of the surprising findings of a 2012 book, Paying the Professoriate: A Global Comparison of Compensation and Contracts, was that university teachers in India are among the best paid in the world. Average monthly salaries for entry-level positions at Indian institutions, estimated to be nearly $4,000 in purchasing power parity (PPP) dollars – in which salaries reflect what it takes to purchase similar goods and services in different countries, is higher than in other developing countries, and substantially higher than China’s $259 PPP. Though India’s teachers are paid well, few Indians appear interested in taking up the profession in India. Government officials have estimated faculty shortages at 30 percent or higher. Even the country’s most venerated institutions – the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and others – are short of qualified faculty.The larger implications of these shortages are enormous – both in terms of the ongoing expansion of higher education as well as the quality of education. In particular, the government’s plans to support the rise of at least a few institutions into world-rankings – where India’s universities are nearly absent – are unlikely to succeed without large numbers of well-qualified faculty across a wide range of disciplines.

Can a written test determine whether a faculty member is a bully or a jerk or an all-around pain in the neck? Two higher-education consultants believe they have an instrument that does just that. They call it the Collegiality Assessment Matrix, and they are promoting it to colleges as a tool for both professional development and faculty evaluations.The instrument is objective enough, they say, to enable colleges to weigh collegiality as a distinct criterion in making decisions related to faculty members’ reappointment, promotion, or tenure. By using it, the consultants say, colleges can confront faculty members over actions that vex their colleagues and either coach them on how to behave better or, if necessary, show them the door. A companion instrument, the Self-Assessment Matrix, lets faculty members examine their own behaviour and see how well their self-perceptions match up with the impressions others have of them.

Full Story: The Chronicle

To date, China has been on the receiving end of the globalisation of education, with many western universities, colleges and other institutions setting up in the country.But now it seems China has plans to turn the tables by setting up foreign campuses for its own institutions of higher learning.Leading international education researcher, Dr Christopher Ziguras says the move is part of a broader economic strategy employed by the Chinese.

Full Story: Radio Australia

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