QSIU HE Digest – The Typical MOOC student

  • MOOCs: The Typical MOOC student
  • India: Research Output Grows at 14.4% Annually
  • US: Handbag and College Degree
  • Korea: Bracing for Reorganizations

A recent study found that more men than women studied for MOOCs – with a male to female gender ratio of 64:36, while the majority of students (22%) lived in the United States. India accounted for the second biggest proportion of students, with just 6% of participants. The UK came third, making up 5% of candidates.Importantly, 70% of the enrolled students already held a degree, while more than a third (35%) were already enrolled with another education provider. The data suggests that a typical MOOC student is a well-educated man in his mid-30s, living and working full time in a developed or Bric (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) country, and using the course to improve their professional or personal knowledge. The developing economies are not getting a look in. “Given that this profile runs counter to what might be expected. This audience should be a consideration in the development of future Moocs,” the study concluded. The first demographic data released from by UK-based Mooc provider FutureLearn, published this month, reinforced these early findings. More than 80% had already secured a higher education qualification before registering. Despite more than 121,000 students signing up for the University of London’s Coursera courses, fewer than 35 indicated they had taken one of the four Moocs when later applying for a place at the university

Full Story: The Guardian

A recent study prepared by Elsevier for the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and based on Scopus data, shows that India has achieved substantial growth in research articles output, increasing from 54 thousand in 2008 to 93 thousand in 2012 at an annualized growth rate of 14.4%. This is a rate higher than that of China (10.9%), Brazil (7.9%), Russia (1.9%) and the U.K. (2.9%). Over the same period from 2008 to 2012, India’s share of the top 10% of the most cited articles – a proxy for high quality research articles – rose from 2.0% to 3.1% at an annual growth rate of 11.3%, which is higher than Brazil (7.6%), Russia (8.4%) and the U.K. (- 2.7%). Only China surpassed India with a 13.8% annual growth rate. India’s field-weighted citation impact (FWCI) – normalized at value of “1” as the world average – is below average at 0.75 and is declining at a rate of 1.6% per year. China has a comparable FWCI to India, but is experiencing an upward annual growth rate of 2.4%. The field-weighted citation impact is generally considered to be a good indicator for quality. The report indicates that when India collaborates internationally, the articles with Indian and international co-authors are associated with 111% greater FWCI than articles with single institution co-authorship.

Full Story: Elsevier

If you happen to have $31,500 lying around, you could buy a Louis Vuitton PM Showgirl handbag. Or you could spend almost exactly the same sum to pay for one year’s worth of tuition (not including room and board) at an average American four-year private college. The handbag and the college degree have more in common than you might think. In America, the markets for luxury handbags and higher education both produce what are called “Veblen goods.” More than a century ago, the sociologist Thorstein Veblen coined the term “conspicuous consumption” to describe the practice of buying luxury goods in order to display social status. In its purest form, conspicuous consumption involves purchasing expensive goods precisely because they are expensive, which means that the true conspicuous consumer will have what economists call an inverted demand curve.

Full Story: The Week

Minister of Education Seo Nam-soo said last month that the government planned to cut 160,000 university places by 2023. The ministry calculates that there are 772,000 undergraduates in South Korea at present.”Over the next 10 years, the population of high school graduates and university applicants is expected to drop sharply, reducing the demand for universities,” said Seo later. According to the ministry, in 2013 there were 613,000 high school graduates, but by 2018 the number is projected to be only 549,000 and it is set to plummet by 2023 to 397,000 before recovering slightly to 409,000 by 2025.”As a result, the Ministry of Education has decided to significantly reduce the number of spots for students so we can focus on enhancing the quality of their education instead,” said Seo. “We will execute a rigorous series of structural reforms within the university sector to improve the quality of education.” He also said in a briefing in January that the South Korean economy needed more creative talent. Innovation and creativity have been conspicuous in the speeches of President Park Geun-hye recently.

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