The Business of HE Moves On…

A smattering of business-of-education stories from my feeds today:

  • Hot on the heels of the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design, Publishing firm Pearson announce Pearson College, a private university that will start off by offering a business related degree (BSc (Honours) Business and Enterprise) accredited by Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (hmm… doesn’t that mean “Pearson College” should be a listed body?*). From September 2013, they’re looking to offer BSc(Hons) degrees in Computing as well as Engineering (“with pathways in Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical and Manufacturing”). It seems like work experience/partnering is a key part of the initiative, with programmes being marketed to organisations as much as students (“There are significant benefits to be gained by embedding our Pearson degrees within an organisation’s learning and development, and/or talent development programmes, and in contributing to the design of our programmes.” And if you need help with your talent management process, Pearson can help you out there too…. Hmmm….) This is quite an interesting play, I think – setting up as a provider to industry of embedded degree bearing training/”talent development” programmes. It doesn’t much contribute to the notion of universities as academic playspaces that support open-ended reflection and idea creation though…
    Entry is by interview and either 320 UCAS points or success on the Pearson College Aptitude Test, whatever that is… Fees are set at £6500 per year for a 3 year course, £8k a year if you fancy a two year sprint, or £4875 if you take it over 4 years. According to the blurb:

    “Pearson students have the choice of studying in either central London or central Manchester at our attractive, modern premises. At Pearson you will be studying business from within a business, so your lectures and seminars are held in classrooms within our corporate premises. You’ll be part of a business and an academic community from day one, immersed in the atmosphere of a modern office environment.”

    They also offer accommodation in student residences via private hall providers (Liberty Living in Manchester, Opal Property Group in London).

    I’m intrigued to see who their engineering partners turn out to be…

  • Over in the short course corner, it seems that Coventry University are working with the Intellectual Property Office and the British Library to offer a two and a half day residential IP Masterclass. At £990 + VAT, it offers delegates the “opportunity” to gain 15 credits at Masters level/Level 7 which can then be put towards a range of postgrad qualifications. I’m not sure how this works – at undergrad level, one rule of thumb is 10 hours study per CATS point (split 2 hours teaching and 8 hours private study per point), so with say 20 hours of teaching over two and a half days, you’d also expect to add in another 130 hours of private study to get 15 points. Presumably there’s homework if you want to pick the credit opportunity up?

    With MBAs coming in at 180 points, twelve of these courses (6 working weeks if you take them back-to-back) would get you the “opportunity” to claim the required points haul.

  • And arising from the ashes of MIT opencourseware, it seems as if some enterprising alumni from an MITx course are using opencourseware to run a follow on course: 6.003z: A Learner-Created MOOC Spins Out of MITx. As more folk start to realise they can self-organise, it’ll be interesting to see how these plays out – and whether there’ll be any institutional backlash, response or opportunistic land grab (eg taking over a community driven course, or stepping in to offer accreditation for it).

* Given that it is up to Recognised Bodies to inform BIS of who their providers are, wouldn’t it be great if each Recognised Body also had to publish this data in a standard form as open public data?

Related: OU Innovating pedagogy report: publisher-led mini-courses, Is Education Working? and Media, Erm, Studies?.

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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