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Aftermath of the MOOC wars

Can commercial vendors support creative higher education?

Christopher Newfield

claim – that, in Coursera’s words, they ‘provide universal access to the world’s best education’ – best because ‘classes with online learning (whether taught completely online or blended) on average produce stronger student learning outcomes than do

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Examining the graduate attribute agenda in Australian universities

A review of (continuing) problems and pitfalls

Peta S. Cook

Graduate attributes refer to an amalgamation of cognitive, personal, interpersonal and social skills, abilities and qualities that students are expected to develop and apply during and after their degree programme. They have been widely adopted across higher education in Australia and internationally. In this article, I review some of the continuing problems of graduate attributes in the Australian higher education sector some twenty years after their introduction, including the concepts of employability and work readiness, the processes of mapping and resourcing and whether graduate attributes are generic. This examination foregrounds the ongoing pitfalls of graduate attributes in relation to their purpose, contextualisation and implementation. While there remains potential positive student and institutional outcomes from graduate attributes, the continuing problems of resourcing and the diversity of roles and purposes that universities serve for students and communities, are being overlooked.

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Matias Thuen Jørgensen and Lena Brogaard

). Ideally, the teacher is able to bring these different competencies into play in a way that adds value to the course or project and helps the students achieve the relevant learning outcomes. However, the reality is that in many cases the teacher faces an

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Annabel Erulkar and Girmay Medhin

.4*** 4.3 5.6   Currently attending 0.5 34.1*** 0.5 5.9*** Because of increases in school enrollment across study arms given the Ministry of Education campaign, we focused attention on learning outcomes among girls who had never been in the formal

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Qualifications frameworks for the European Higher Education Area

a new instrumentalism or 'Much Ado about Nothing'?

Berit Karseth

The purpose of this article is to explore the development of qualifications frameworks as a key element in the Bologna Process, which aims to develop a European Higher Education Area by 2010. By setting up descriptors of learning outcomes, a European qualifications framework is intended as an instrument that enables Europe to coordinate and exchange qualifications. Furthermore, the article analyses the proposal of a national qualifications framework in Norway and institutional responses to it. Despite general support for the idea of a framework, the analysis shows that the institutions question the possibility of a qualifications framework that fits all types of educational programmes.

With reference to curriculum theory the article concludes that the idea of a qualifications framework based on measurable learning outcomes represents a turn towards an instrumental curriculum approach in higher education, in contrast to a traditional curriculum approach which foregrounds disciplinary content and its mastery. Drawing on institutional theory the article also questions the possible impact of qualifications frameworks in higher education.

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Eva Infante Mora

Evaluation is essential to the analysis of the performance of academic programmes and is a central feature of the academic accountability movement. Most study abroad programmes, however, lack evaluation protocols, even though establishing them and acting on the results would contribute to their credibility. This final section of a comprehensive account of the reform of a study abroad programme presents how CASA-Sevilla has developed evaluation strategies to inform pedagogical changes in each successive semester to improve student-learning outcomes. The programme’s aim is to achieve a 360-degree assessment by treating students holistically and including all involved faculty, staff, community partners and host families. The aim is also to be transparent in pointing out the problems in the programme’s performance and use them as an impetus for improvement. This section is written to share what we have learned in hopes of starting a more robust dialogue among study abroad programmes about evaluation.

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Paulina Mihailova

The article investigates how university lecturers taking part in the compulsory teacher training at Stockholm University (SU) conceive of the effects of standardised and formalised training on their teaching. The study explores the emotions and responses evoked among academics when everyone is required to embrace the same pedagogic philosophy of constructive alignment (Biggs 2003), adopt the language of learning outcomes and assign the same standards to diverse academic practices. The article attempts to shed light on different conceptions of the quality of teaching and learning in higher education and the interplay between the lecturers' values of academic freedom, collegiality and disciplinary expertise and the university leadership's values of efficiency, accountability and measurability of performance. The article considers how these conceptions coexist and are negotiated within the university as an organisation.

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Bettina Dahl, Eirik Lien, and Åsa Lindberg-Sand

The aim of the Bologna Process is to make higher education systems across Europe more transparent. It is crucial for this purpose that confusion concerning the characteristics of the systems should be replaced by conformity. But, as we will show, conformity brought about at one level may create confusion at another. The curricular aspect of the Bologna Process focuses on a shift to outcome-based and student-centred programmes. Syllabi should now be based on intended learning outcomes (ILOs) and should be adjusted to general level descriptors for qualifications. However, the Bologna documents give no explicit recommendations about the use of grading scales. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the reforms of higher education induced by the Bologna process included a change of grading scales and referred to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Through these three case studies, we describe and analyse the political process and argumentation underpinning the decisions to change the grading scales in each country. This includes the problems, both experienced and perceived, with the old grading scales, the various national assessment traditions and the new grading scales. The purpose of the change was not the same in each country, but the ongoing adaptation to a seven-step grading scale was thought to ease the international recognition of the national grades, making mobility easier. Though a seven-step grading scale was implemented in both Danish and Norwegian higher education and also by an increasing number of Swedish higher education institutions, the translation of grades only works on a superficial level. The grading scales designed are fundamentally different as classification systems; they attach different numerical values to grades with identical labels and they relate differently to norm- and standards-referenced judgements of learning outcomes. The information condensed in similar grades from the three countries cannot be equated. The vision of simple transparency turns out to be an illusion.

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

.S. undergraduate in London who learned more from her co-nationals than by immersing herself in U.K. culture, and mainly immigrant English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students in the U.S. – and yet they achieve many of the learning outcomes deemed to constitute

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Introduction

Digital Media and Contested Visions of Education

Wesley Shumar and Susan Wright

learning outcomes’ as part of their syllabi and lesson plans including an articulation of how these things will be measured. Learning outcomes as a term assumes that there are specific discrete things that students are going to learn. They pre-exist the