The HE Bite: 1st September – what stood out at CASE 2017?

The HE Bite: 1st September – what stood out at CASE 2017?

CASE 2017 dominated the four day week in the education sector. But, what made the headlines from the conference? Also, a piece of revolutionary technology could be about to make its mark on the education industry too. So, let’s crack on… here’s what’s been happening in the world of Higher Education over the past week.

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Alistair Jarvis dismisses attacks on tuition fees

Three of our Natives, Alex Causton-Ronaldson, Lauren Hudson and Dave Musson (who will be rounding up the event next week… watch this space) made their way to Birmingham, for the three-day CASE conference.


Lauren Hudson and Alex Causton-Ronaldson, from Net Natives, at CASE 2017.

They watched Alistair Jarvis’ maiden speech, as Chief Executive of Universities UK, where he shot back at criticism of the education sector, leveled by former Labour party politician Andrew Adonis. Without naming the Labour peer by name, Jarvis stated:

“In the UK, it seems to be open season on universities. Whether it is attacks on the value of a degree, problems with the tuition fees system, senior staff being overpaid, or problems with international students: universities are this summer’s scapegoat of choice.”

Jarvis summed up the issues being politicised and discussed in the sector this summer. He stated that evidence based measures need to be utilised by critics of the education industry. Recently, there have also been concerns about the impact of Brexit on the number of international students, as well as the gross inaccuracy of the number of international students falsely reported by Theresa May.

Why does this matter to you?

It is important to keep a pulse on sentiments in HE. Criticisms have the potential to translate into policy changes, new measures for student success, and reform.

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What could Blockchain technology mean for universities?

Blockchain technology has been used to create a digital tracker that enables people to ensure they have the full scope of knowledge from source to sell. Want conflict free diamonds? Use Blockchain! Multiple versions of the digital ledger make it harder to hack or alter. It also cuts the need for a middleman to validate a transaction.  

Infiltrating various industries, it was only a matter of time until Blockchain technology became relevant to the HE sector; and the conversation has been a hot topic for some time. Blockchain has been viewed as a way to cut out administrative costs associated with the HE sector, such as verification of credentials among potential students or employees. It is a way to ensure applicants are not lying or exaggerating their credentials. It can also be used to help refugees and international students return to their studies without interruption for verification and documentation in war torn countries with disruption to institutions.

John Domingue, Director of the Knowledge Media Institute at Open University, has already talked to University College London and Imperial College London about putting their qualifications on Blockchain;  they have expressed interest!

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Why does this matter to you?

Blockchain technology will likely play a role for the HE sector in years to come. It is important to familiarise ourselves with the impact, goals, and potential outcomes this technology will have on the running of HEIs.

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