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Spreading growth around. The_Virgo/Paul Callan

Deploy universities to fix England’s regional divide

Imbalances in the share of growth across the regions continue to be deep-rooted, the Office of National Statistics has confirmed. By 2012, the South East was the only region that had only just crept ahead…
Was it worth it? Brunel University

Hard Evidence: can dropping out of university be positive?

University dropout seems a dreadful thing to happen. From the perspective of a student you might feel you’ve failed and have to pay off debt for a life time. The university gets penalised if student non-completion…
Lost in translation. Gwenaël Piaser

We need to fall back in love with learning languages

The drop in applications to European language programmes at UK universities will not have come as a great shock to anybody teaching languages. For at least the past 15 years, the number of students applying…
Laden with bad economics. thisisbossi

Why the government shouldn’t privatise the student loan book

The announcement that the government intends to sell off part of the student loan book is perhaps no surprise, but it is bad economics. Debt from student loans is currently a groaning £46.6 billion on…
Gloomy outlook for free speech. ucloccupation

Policing on campus is a brazen attack on free speech

Relations between student protesters and police in universities have broken down. From demonstrations demanding that “cops stay off campus” to protests against the heavy-handed way in which students have…
Australia should adopt a US program that brings students into prisons to learn with prisoners. Prison image from www.shutterstock.com

Inside out: why we need to bring students and prisoners together

Over the past 15 years, a criminal justice professor in Philadelphia named Lori Pompa has quietly grown an innovative education program that brings together university students to learn alongside prisoners…
Inadvertently, universities may be constructing courses and learning environments that encourage cheating. Cheating image from www.shutterstock.com

Universities could be encouraging students to cheat, without even knowing it

A few years ago a group of psychologists from two North American universities ran a fascinating experiment designed to see whether the quality of light in a room influenced people’s willingness to cheat…
Higher education costs money, so someone always has to pay. Graduate image from www.shutterstock.com

Someone always pays: why higher education is never free

After some speculation, this week education minister Christopher Pyne has said the Coalition has no plans to increase university fees. His comments come after much debate over selling the HELP – formerly…
Students who have a gap year achieve more highly at university than students who enter university straight after school and mature age students, the study found. Frontierofficial

Study links a gap year to better university grades

Students who take gap years are more successful in their university studies than mature aged students or students who enter…
The cost of a degree depends on the colour of your cash. Nick in exsilio

The UK split over tuition fees is bad news for students

The different countries of the UK have very different ideas about a lot of things, and university fees are no exception. With the introduction of £9,000 tuition fees in England, Wales and Scotland both…
A longer academic year would have serious drawbacks for university students and staff. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Idle time? Why we don’t need a longer academic year

This week Coalition MP Alan Tudge wrote a piece in the Australian Financial Review calling for an end to the 26-week academic year. In his article, he said students were spending the remainder of their…
Are students “customers”? The answer is not so simple. Piggy bank image from www.shutterstock.com

Students aren’t customers…or are they?

With the rise of mass higher learning, tight public funding and intense competition for students, universities are often encouraged to see students as “customers”. But should they? Commentators who criticise…
A universal student ID could be on way for Australian students. ID image from www.shutterstock.com

One student ID to rule them all?

Is a universal (and cradle to grave) identity number on the way for all Australian students? The government is now seeking to create a mandatory universal identifier for all Vocational Education and Training…
Another funding shake-up: the University of South Queensland and others are concerned about cuts to student funding and scholarships. USQ/Grace Yu

Students to pay the price for reduced university funding

Losing A$200 a student doesn’t sound like a major cut for a multi-billion-dollar industry - so will the new university funding…
There are other ways to improve undergraduate writing that don’t involve teaching grammar explicitly. Writing image from www.shutterstock.com

Grammar lessons not the solution to undergrad writing woes

University students across the nation will be handing in their first assignments of the academic year over the next few weeks. Academic staff will sigh, as they do every semester: “my students can’t write…
Many students are confused about grammar and sentence structure – so should universities teach it explicitly? Words image from www.shutterstock.com

Back to basics: should universities teach grammar?

Imagine a student turning up at university and not knowing basic multiplication. He or she could be hard-working, bright, enthusiastic but completely unable to answer a basic question like: what’s six…
Are students really paying for their degrees in exchange for sharing their beds? Degree image from www.shutterstock.com

Swapping sex for a degree: the myth of the ‘sugar daddy’

This year has already seen a flurry of media commentary regarding the “sugar daddy” phenomenon, much of it self-generated for publicity reasons by sites such as SeekingArrangement.com. Sugar daddies (and…
Academics need to trying new teaching methods in introductory classes if they’re to engage students. Pirate image from www.shutterstock.com

Kill your Powerpoints and teach like a pirate

Despite my university title, I’ve always thought that someone, one day, will discover that I’m not a “real” academic. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that when it comes to teaching, I’m by no means…

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