Cheaper, flexible, effective institutions: community and learner support

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Part of the CETIS Conference 2010 Programme

Facilitated by: Simon Grant, Li Yuan and John Robertson


Whatever our approach is to low-cost, flexible and effective higher education, it means a change from the familiar picture of the labour-intensive strongly supportive traditional higher education institution. At worst, this might risk leaving learners on their own, with the well-prepared surviving, but the less ready ones lost, whether they are trying to study by themselves, or unsupported by employer or professional body. Perhaps this is neither acceptable in principle, nor effective for a higher education system designed to educate a major proportion of the population. David Willetts, in the BBC interview, says that "most importantly, it's got to offer a better quality student experience."

How, rather, can we use the technology, and build on the practice that we are involved with, to create systems that provide low-cost, flexible and effective community and support for learners, vital towards a new vision of cheaper, more flexible higher education, and to a better quality student experience?

Participants are asked to bring their knowledge and experience of learner community, learner support, PDP, and portfolio practice, and to merge these with CETIS expertise towards ideas for supporting learners effectively in leaner environments.

Related work supported by JISC includes a March 2008 briefing paper on "The Use of Technology to Support Admissions to Higher Education" (available as PDF); and within that work, the report of "Study 3: Good practice in supporting learners throughout application to and induction in higher education, and the use of supporting technology" (also available as PDF). In preparation for this session, some ideas are being brought together on stages of learner support.

A related session on Day 1 of the conference will look at Cheaper, flexible, effective institutions: technology, politics and economics.


Back to JISC CETIS Conference 2010 Programme