EUA has launched the Trends 2015 report, which presents the universities’ perceptions of the changes that have taken place in European higher education over the past five years, particularly in relation to learning and teaching. Based on survey responses of 451 higher education institutions from 46 countries (48 higher education systems), the report outlines the changing context in which higher education institutions operate.
The quality of learning and teaching is receiving increased attention and support by the academic staff and the institutional leadership. As examples, 60% have a centralised unit for pedagogical staff development, and 63% have institution-wide quality assurance policies and processes. The implementation of learning outcomes has continued to progress since 2010, with 64% of institutions responding that these have been introduced for all courses. Institutions are generally positive about the benefits of learning outcomes. It is clear, however, that in many institutions their implementation appears to have taken place without changing in radical ways how curricula, including examinations, are developed. Therefore this area is still a work in progress.
Since then, I've tried lots of different strategies in my classes and, despite the fact that our world has become more connected through social technologies in recent years (that are easy to use and often free), I still have students who regularly share with me that my class is different -- because they feel like they know me and they feel like I care. This isn't to say that online instructors who use voice/video and interactive tools to design and facilitate their courses are the only instructors who care. But these strategies are key to my ability to be present in the experiences of my students. And they're key to my ability to share my inflection, my concern, and my enthusiasm for them -- nuances text cannot convey.
The future of higher education is more than a digital replica of yesterday's campus or even today's classroom. The building blocks of our future higher education institutions are physical and virtual; they are human and technological. By combining these capabilities—the best of both the traditional (the campus) and the digital (computing), we can build colleges and universities that are designed to engage, thus bringing us closer to achieving the mission and goals of higher education.
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