QS attended International Conference on MOOCs

On 28 January 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit was invited to attend a major international conference in London with senior education leaders around the world to have a discussion on the future of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

This conference is organised by The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, University of London International Programmes, and Leadership Foundation on Higher Education’s titled ‘MOOCs: What we have learned, emerging themes and what next’, in the Senate House of University of London, UK.


(Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University gave the keynote speech at ‘MOOCs: What we have learned, emerging themes and what next’, in the Senate House of University of London, UK.)

Some of the most influential speakers on MOOCs have confirmed to speak at this high profile conference, including:

Confirmed speakers:

· Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of London

· Tim Gore OBE, Director of Global Networks and Communities, University of London International Programmes

· Dr William Lawton, Director, Observatory on Borderless Higher Education

· Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities & Science, Minister for Universities & Science, Department for Business, Innovations and Skills

· Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University

· Professor Jenny Hamilton, Director, University of London Undergraduate Laws Programme

· Jon Harman, Learning Design & Media Director, College of Law

· Professor Stephen Brown, Professor of Learning Technologies, De Montfort University

· Professor Neil Morris, Chair of Educational Technology, University of Leeds

· Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair on Open Learning

· Michael Gaebel, Head of Unit, HE Policy, European University Association

· Professor Dinesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi

· David Lock, Director of International Projects, Leadership Foundation

· Dr Mark Pegg, Chief Executive, Leadership Foundation

· Professor Daphne Koller, Chief Executive, Coursera [via video]

· Will Archer, Chief Executive, i-graduate

· Simon Nelson, CEO, FutureLearn

· Tom Flynn, Vice-President Education, University of Bristol Students’ Union

· Professor Jeff Haywood, Vice Principal Knowledge Management, University of Edinburgh

· Michael Kerrison, Director of Academic Development, University of London International Programmes

· Michel Bernard, Universities Relations Manager, Google

· Stephen Haggard, Education Consultant

· Dr Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive, Association of Learning Technology

· Marielle van der Meer, Minerva Project

· Benjamin Barbon, Reader in English Literature and Digital Education

During the opening session of the conference when Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University gave the keynote speech, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit asked Martin a question on if there has been any research done properly globally on how employers see the future and values of the MOOCs development globally. Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University said Christina asked a great question because currently around the world, most of the empirical research on MOOCs are usually from the views from universities. There s a gap to start to engage employers in this important process.

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang also talked to and met other senior leaders of the conference and discussed potential opportunities for collaborations.


(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit asked Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University a question on if there has been any research done properly globally on how employers see the future and values of the MOOCs development globally. )


(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit talked to old friend Tim Gore OBE, Director of Global Networks and Communities, University of London International Programmes on the opportunity to work closely on promoting on-line education globally)

Christina with Google UK Director

(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang and David Black, Director of Google UK talked about the possibility of participating in QS Global Employer Survey, as well as enjoyed an interesting discussion about the rise of WeChat around the world and reaction from Google about this booming mobile phone based app. )

Denish 1

(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Professor Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor and Professor of Mathematics on a discussion of the MOOCs development in India.)


(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair on Open Learning and had a discussion about getting QS involved in UNESCO’s work on opening learning)


First ranking of BRICS countries- out 17th December

QS is to publish the first bespoke ranking for universities in the so-called BRICS countries next month.

Like its other regional rankings, the one for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will have measures and weightings designed specifically for the group of countries concerned, rather than simply representing an edited version of previously published results.

In order to make valid comparisons between more universities than have precise positions in the QS World University rankings, and to reflect common priorities in the five countries, the new ranking will contain eight measures. They will include the proportion of staff with a PhD and the number of papers published per faculty member.

QS has worked with Interfax, the Russian news agency, to produce the new ranking. Interfax was commissioned by Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science, earlier this year and chose QS to compile the ranking because of its experience with regional and subject comparisons. The ministry has ceded control of the design of the ranking and any editorial content. The results of the pilot study will be presented at a conference in Moscow on December 17.

The ranking has also been discussed with India’s Minister for Human Resources and Development, Dr ShashiTharoor, and the Education Secretary, Ashok Thakur. Both are encouraging Indian institutions to participate in and submit data to international rankings to see if such comparisons can help them.

Dr Juliana Bertazzo, Higher Education Policy Adviser and coordinator of the Brazilian project ‘Science without Borders’, as well as Dr Renato Prado Guimarães, Secretary General at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, were also supportive of the new project, which will highlight the strengths of the universities of these emerging markets.

More than 400 universities across the five countries have been assessed for the new ranking. Only the top 100 will appear in the initial publication.

The methodology will be similar to those used for QS’s regional rankings for Asia and Latin America. Academic reputation will be the most heavily-weighted indicator, but at less than the 40 per cent weighting it receives in the QS World University Rankings.

Ben Sowter, who is responsible for the exercise as head of the QS Intelligence Unit, said the results would be valuable because the five nations had comparable characteristics that led to the development of the “BRICS” term in the first place. The company did not intend to include other emerging nations with few similarities simply because it had the capability to do so.

Jim O’Neill, who coined the term as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said this month that the group remained a valid point of comparison, although Indonesia could have been included. Between them, they already represented a bigger market than the United States and would play important roles in the future, he said in a speech in London.

QS is to work with the Indian Centre for Assessment & Accreditation (ICAA), a private accreditation body, on a separate evaluation of Indian universities to be published next year. Dr Arun Nigavekar, the ICAA’s founder and a former chairman of the University Grants Commission, said the aim for Indian exercise was to create a system that was “globally accepted, yet locally grounded”.

QS and Interfax Group to launch first BRICS university ranking



QS has been appointed by Interfax Group, a leading information provider in Russia and emerging “Eurasian” nations, to produce the world’s first university ranking of the “BRICS” countries.

The “QS University Rankings: BRICS”, as the ranking will be named, has received support from ministries of education and higher education institutions around the world. As one of the most trusted independent university ranking organisations, experienced in both global and regional rankings, QS was Interfax Group’s natural choice of partner for the project.

The new ranking was fostered by Russia’s ministry of education; following Russian president Vladimir Putin’s announcement (May 2012) to have at least five of the country’s universities in the top 100 in global university rankings by 2020.

Interfax Group was chosen out of five bidders to launch two new pilot rankings. The first will include only universities from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),the second ranking is a “BRICS” nation ranking, which will include the universities of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa; this will be a joint project between QS and Interfax Group.

Zoya Zaitseva, project director for QS University Rankings: BRICS says: “The BRICS nations are investing heavily in higher education, research and development as they recognize that creating knowledge and nurturing talents is essential to fuel the growth of their rapidly-expanding economies. The new ranking will increase their visibility and allow these universities to become more recognized on a global level.”

Dr. Mrs. Indu Shahani, Member  of the University Grants Commission, India and visiting faculty member at the UC Berkeley and NYU Stern says: “I’m delighted to be associated with the pilot of the QS University Rankings: BRICS. There is a strong belief among academics that this will create a new benchmark for young students as well as help raise the profile and global visibility of good Indian universities.”

She adds: “BRICS nations are accustomed to research studies on economic and political areas but this kind of educational research initiative based is a first and should be well received by Indian universities.”

Results of the first QS University Rankings: BRICS will be announced at the Interfax and QS BRICS University Forum in Moscow on 17th December 2013 and published on on the same day.

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