Nodal University – where your learning evolves around you! #FutureEd

So the final task for the #FutureEd mooc made you the Vice Chancellor for a new educational establishment and you had to write the mission statement design the structure and decide what you institution was for.  Below is my attempt, I would be very interested in what others think of it

 (please watch video for Vice Chancellors welcome speech: I deliberately made it using only free technology – youtube – as a contrast to the professionally produced videos that most VCs have done for them)

Create, Share, Collaborate – are the 3 pillars on which our university stands

We want creators, of Art, of Science, of Humanities.  Making objects, thoughts, reports, procedures and performances

Share is about more than the “share button” its about how, what and to who and what not to share.  Our sharers are digitally literate students experimenting with different mediums and methods of sharing what they create or curate

Collaborate – working together, learning together, helping each other.  We help our students to be both leaders and followers the kind of person you would follow anywhere and the kind you can rely on to use their intelligence to make your project succeed.

There were some buzzwords, but I think a place where you create wonderful things share them with the world and work with interesting people on things that excite them – is a place I would like to learn at.

Our Academic staff – we recruit the best we can find, but only those who are happy with our way of working.  How do we work? well it will be a limited form of “Open Allocation” more on this later.

Who are the students? Much like how we recruit our staff the students we admit will be the best we can find who want to learn and study in our environment.  Because a diverse group of students provides a richer learning environment the recruitment process will favor selecting students from a variety of backgrounds so we select the best student cohort rather than just the best individual students.

Our admissions criteria: For a degree excellent a level results, however we have a foundation year for those with lower grades or non-traditional and mature students

Who pays and how much £9000 by students via student loans, this is pretty much standard in the UK (although in an ideal world Government would pay a significant % via general taxation)

How do the courses meet? Varies

What are the assessments? Projects will make up the majority of assessments, it will vary depending on the units that you select but you will be marked on what you produce and what your contribution was to the groups that you worked with. ePortfolios and personal blogs will contribute to overall grades.

What constitutes mastery of content? Performance and understanding of concepts as evidenced through personal blogs.  Exams will be uncommon and only used for Units where there is no practical alternative.

Are there diplomas? Yes! Most students will be aiming for a 3 year bachelor’s degree although we do aim to offer some postgraduate qualifications

With the invention of the internet education changed, it is no longer necessary to memorise facts and it is possible to communicate with experts around the world.  To take advantage of this all staff and students should have an internet enabled device with them most of the time (and there will be bursaries as part of the hardship fund for those students unable to afford them).

Staff design and chose the units they want to teach (with a few compulsory units always running). Students chose which units they want to study (in addition to the compulsory units they have to take).  Every unit will have a core of material/skills that staff feel is essential the students learn, beyond that the information and learning will be curated and created by the student cohort with students taking a lead in their education.  A large part of each unit will be project based with students working to make (in its widest sense) something that contributes to their subject.  Students will be responsible for creating and maintaining ePortfolios of their work and publishing a personal blog throughout their degree – it is important that our learners both evidence and reflect on their learning.

All learning materials will be online (with exceptions for disabled students who need alternative arrangements) and the content of a unit will be delivered via video, readings and other online materials.  Contact time with staff will not be in lecture format but will be devoted to seminar and project work – staff will record short videos to cover key points for students (see flipped classroom for details).  Staff will be encouraged to involve students with their research to both increase their productivity and to give students a deeper understanding of the subject.

Learning with loose boundaries – we wish to encourage cross disciplinary work and wide collaboration between students (and staff) as such working with students who are not studying the same unit as you will be supported and you can include evidence of what you have achieved with others in your portfolio of work for the Units you are taking along with explanations of why it is relevant.  Similarly students will be allowed to take units from other disciplines if they have the preliminary skills required by the Unit.

Teaching with loose boundaries – as part of our open allocation policy for staff, staff will be hired to work in their specific discipline and will chose the majority of their work within this area.  They will however be encouraged to work with and co teach with staff from other disciplines.  Career progression will be

  • “Mentee Lecturer” – new lecturer who is helped and supported in their teaching and research by experienced staff
  • “Lecturer”  – member of staff fully responsible for own workload who works with other staff
  • “Mentor Lecturer” – responsible for own workload and guiding a number of Mentee Lecturers with theirs.

Support staff will be hired to support various essential functions but will also be encouraged to work across boundaries and will have a similar career structure to academics.

Alumni and the wider world – students and staff will be encouraged to take advantage of the internet to extend the boundaries of the classroom and work with people from around the world.  Our alumni will be a key resource in this with students being strongly encouraged to connect with alumni, and alumni encouraged to pass real world problems to staff for students to solve as part of their units.  Alumni will also have the option to enrol on individual units to keep their skills current.

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