In light of the upcoming Re-imagine Education Awards, the innovative global competition launched last year by QS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to find the world’s top higher education pedagogical innovation. I started reminiscing about my own university experience, and one particular course came to mind when I looked closely at Hybrid Learning. At QSIU, we are proud to have a team with a diverse skill set, a range of over 12 languages, and have come from various different universities from around the world. Below is an account of a few QSIU team members who share their own memorable experience of past pedagogical methods that have been particularly effective.
IBM Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, developed in IBM’s DeepQA project by a research team which was led by principal investigator David Ferrucci[i] IBM Watson first appeared the game show Jeopardy! competing and winning against the two of the most successful contestants on the show, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
In 2011 IBM announced it was collaborating with eight leading technology universities to advance the question answering technology of Watson. These universities were[ii]:
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of Southern California
- University of Texas at Austin
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- University at Albany
- University of Trento (Italy)
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
IBM intended to market the DeepQA software to large corporations with a very high price[iii] in the millions of dollars, which was expected to decrease as the technology improved. However in 2013, it was reported that there were three companies who were working with IBM to create apps embedded with Watson technology[iv]. In November of that year, IBM announced it would make Watson’s API available to software application providers, enabling them to build apps and services that are embedded with Watson’s capabilities[v].
There are several ways universities can get involved with Watson – from full semester courses with unprecedented access to Watson, to weekend Hackathons and Case Competitions. All designed so that students can engage with cognitive services, access IBM resources, and broaden portfolios[vi].
On 15th January 2015 IBM announced the first winner of its Watson University Competition which is part of the company’s partnership with top universities through its cognitive computing academic initiative. The winning team of student entrepreneurs, which in this case were from the University of Texas at Austin, receive $100,000 in total in seed funding to help launch a business based on their Watson app, which offers the promise of improved citizen services.
The first-ever Indian Students Mobility Report 2015, released by M.M Advisory Services reveals a renewed growth in the Indian student market, with student outflows surpassing China for the first time. The new report looks into Indian student mobility trends to the main English-speaking countries – the Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States. These account close to 85% of the total outbound student mobility from India.
China saw a growth rate of 8% in student numbers to the five English-speaking countries between 2013-14, India drew a higher growth rate at 10%. There were over 300,000 students from India in 2014, however this figure still lags behind China’s 650,000 Students. Nonetheless, growth in the Indian market is a welcome change to the slump experienced over the past 4-5 years. The report further estimates the international students market in India is currently valued over $4.5bn, strengthening its position in the student mobility market.
Source: Indian Students Mobility Report
According to the firm, with the exception of the United Kingdom, every other country has seen more students go from India this year than previously. This could perhaps be attributed to the strict visa rules introduced in 2014.
The report, examining trends since 2005, was prepared using statistics and data from government departments in various receiving countries including the US’s Institute of International Education, the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The Rockefeller Foundation is a famous philanthropic organization and private foundation, established by John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”), the American business magnate, who co-founded the Standard Oil Company which has a major impact of the oil industry.
In addition to the big petroleum industry business Rochefeller started, he is also considered to have defined the structure of modern philanthropy through setting up the The Rockefeller Foundation in New York State May 14, 1913.
In the first year of its foundation, $35 million was made as a gift to the foundation, followed by another $65 million donation by John D. Rockefeller (“Senior”) . After 100 years develoment, The Rockefeller Foundation now has an endowment fund of $3.696 bn USD
For more than 100 years, “to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world” has been advocated as the mission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Nowadays, one of the key areas the Rockefeller Foundation focus is on “building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses”. This is discussed in greater details of the book “The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong”
Dr. Judith Robin, is the author of this book, and also the first female President of the Rockefeller Foundation since 2005 . She was previously the first permanent female president of an Ivy League University in the USA-being the 7th President of the University of Pennsylvania(1994-2004), which is being ranked the world’s Top 13th by QS World University Ranking 2014/15.
Today, on the 19th January 2015, Juditch Robin, was interviewed by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta on her book. NESTA. NESTA is formerly NESTA, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. There are about 200 delegates including senior leaders from the Cabinat Office, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for International Development, World Bank, leading UK think tanks and corporates such as Arup, Barclays, Burberry, as well as universities leaders. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit was also invited to this high profile event.
NESTA is set up in 1998 through £250 million endowment fund established through an Act of the UK Parliament, with the mission to promote innovation capacity of the UK. Nesta was previously an executive non-departmental public body till 2012 when it was made into an independent charity.
There are indeed a lot of interesting points Judith Rodin put forward in her speech about efficient overall strategy to help individual, community, business, government of cities around the world to have more “Resilience”, as defined by a blog Judith wrote in 2014, as “the ability of people, communities and institutions to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back more rapidly from acute shocks and chronic stresses”.
For example, she put forward “Awareness, Redundancy / diversity, Integration, Self regulation, Adaptability as the 5 key characteristics of resilience. Some may argue that the whole idea is about “rebranding the art of city planning” in a new way, as suggested by Katherine Mathieson, Programmes Director for British Science Association.
Also, $100 million has been allocated by the Rockefeller Foundation since 2013 to create the project 100 Resilient Cities-selecting 100 cities around the world to provide support to build urban resilience around the world. Maybe for QS, there could be an consideration to include how resilient a city is as part of the QS Best Students Cities Rankings next year?
Judith also mentioned about the role education systems around the world could play in contributing to more resilient cities around the world. Her view on that is to educate students, to raise the awareness of such issue. Another part of role universities could play is on the research and innovation on the design and planning of infrastructure of cities, which would certainly have a major impact on how resilient cities could become when face unexpected catastrophy and disasters.
Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit asked a question to Judith Robin at the event, on her view about efficient ways to have more bottom up approaches to get the general public to play a more active role on the grassrout level, so that such issue is no more just on top of the agenda of government and business leaders, but everyone. Judith replied highlighting the role NGO, local cities, communinity could play in organising more de-centralised approached in reaching out to the public.
After the forum, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, enjoyed an interesting chat with Dr. Judith Robin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation on the successful Wharton-QS Stars Awards: Reimagine Education which was launched in University of Pennsylvania in 2014. Interestingly, Judith Robin also knew Nunzio Quacquarelli, who founded QS when he was a MBA student at Wharton Business School and asked Dr. Christina Yan Zhang to send best regards to Nunzio Quacquarelli, the Wharton Alumni. Christina also had a brief discussion with Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, on future opportunties to collaborate on education related areas between QS and Nesta.
The issue of student loans has been flaring up on both sides of the Atlantic quite recently, with some serious implications for higher education if many of the changes were to be implemented in the next few years.
In the US, the efforts of the administration to enact legislation that will ease the financial burden incurred on university students by way of their student loans and the federally subsidized grants has been a major point of friction with Republican opposition. Student loan debt is estimate to close to 1 trillion USD, increasing at a staggering rate of 300% in ten years , whereas the average debt load for the graduates of higher education is approximately $20,000 on average. Given the recovery phase of the US economy and the financial woes that have troubled it since 2008, it becomes obvious that debt restructuring is a key issue.
The importance is twofold. Student loans are proving to be a heavy financial burden, stifling entrepreneurship and forcing many graduates to abandon career aspirations and seek even low-paid employment in order to repay their loans; in the days of the financial crisis aftermath, many find themselves still unemployed and with a negative credit score, painting a rather bleak personal picture of the future. In addition the student loan apparatus involves the federal government, the universities and a series of market players, such as debt relief companies and others, which makes reform not only gruelling but also politically tense.
In the United Kingdom, the government will be conducting research on the issue of student loans, although the department of Business, Innovation and Skills has not confirmed a change in policy. The UK has a relative advantage to the US system since tuition for undergraduate study is capped at £9,000 per year. The system is also more generous, since it allows repayments only if the graduate is employed and earning over a certain amount and the debt itself has a 30 year write off term limit, with outstanding fees written off after that period has elapsed.
The proposed research will be exploring the possibility of making universities partially responsible in underwriting student debt. In theory, this would lead to a closer connection between the graduates and the university, perhaps increasing the investment and effort UK universities will need to put forth in order to ensure high employability rates for the students. It will also mean a shared and thus diminished risk taken on by the Treasury, reducing exposure for the government.
The key issue in the UK remains that if such moves were ever to be implemented, debt to earnings ratios within universities would shrink or even disappear, making universities less able to secure their financial position and thus undertake large and important steps in improving infrastructure, offer scholarships and bursaries to under-represented groups and of course continue to strive for improving educational services without the worry of debt repayment in a flux economic climate. In fact, any alteration to the student loan scheme would have to take under consideration the realities of tertiary education and the job market so as to ensure that the drive for minimal government exposure to debt would affect the teaching quality and outcomes in universities.
Quite an unusual gift will be given to all the undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (about 4,500 of them) at autumn 2014: USD 100…worth of bitcoins. Bitcoin is a virtual currency using a peer-to-peer network to make payments. Currently* one bitcoin can be bought for USD 653 according to Coinbase.
Discussions surrounding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have increased with an international momentum attracting both proponents and opponents. Perceived as a response to an ever digital and highly connected world, MOOCS are a platform for thousands of courses offered by world class institutions. This global platform continues to grow in popularity expanding far beyond the US. Multilingual platforms are now available in China and France, while Latin American and Middle Eastern initiatives are underway.
MOOCS, however, are still in their infancy and yet to glean global recognition from recruiters.
In order to measure employers’ perspectives, QS Intelligence Unit canvassed recruiters and their position on MOOCs in the annual QS Global Employer Survey.
Recruiters were asked whether they were familiar with MOOCs and of the 4,654 employers who responded, 71% said that they were not.
Perhaps what was most interesting was the regional distribution of responses. The highest proportions of recruiters with awareness or familiarity of MOOCS were based in Eastern Europe and US & Canada, from Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States. Latin America and Western Europe evidenced the greatest proportion of graduate recruiters who were unaware of MOOCs. A greater proportion of recruiters from Africa & Middle East displayed a familiarity in comparison to their Asia Pacific counterparts.
A regional breakdown is presented below:
Those sectors to which respondents responded positively were Consulting (24%), closely followed by Technology (22%) and Industry (17%).
Tracking a quickly evolving initiative such as MOOCs would be essential for higher education sectors and potential students alike. We at QS will continue to monitor the evolution of this phenomenon with the aim of maintaining a pulse on the market.
- China Vice Premier Endorsed QS work in Major speech Highlighting 5 Years Plan for Chinese Universities
- Rate Your Student City!
- New Generation of University Applicants Strive to Become Global Citizens
- Meet David Reggio, the new face of QS Consulting
- Higher Education World June 2016: Evaluating the World’s Best Higher Education Systems