Another report slams universities’ use of technology

The report calls for universities to acknowledge the impact of the internet by making academic research freely available online. | Photo: Karl Gunnarsson

British universities will lose their leading international standing unless they become much more radical in their use of new technology, according to a JISC commissioned report.

The report comes just a month after JISC released another research that found universities are falling behind their students in the use of Web 2.0 technologies.

British universities occupy four of the top ten world rankings and the UK is one of the top destinations for international students.

But the Edgeless University, conducted by Demos on behalf JISC, suggests that a slowness to adopt new models of learning will damage this competitive edge.

The research showed that the recession has put universities under intense pressure as threats to funding combine with increasing demand. A wave of applicants is expected to hit universities this summer as record numbers of unemployed young people seek to “study out” the recession.

The report says that online and social media could help universities meet these demands by reaching a greater number of students and improving the quality of research and teaching. Online and DIY learning can create edgeless universities where information, skills and research are accessible far beyond the campus walls.

The report makes a series of recommendations for opening up university education, including making all research accessible to the public. It says teaching should be placed on a more even footing with research in career progression and status and teaching which uses new technology rewarded.

Author of the report, Peter Bradwell, said: ‘This is a great opportunity for UK universities and colleges to open up and make learning more accessible to students who would not traditionally stay on in education. Edgeless universities can transform the way the UK delivers, shares and uses the wealth and quality of information its institutions own.”

The full report is available here.

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