Cash crisis: not all bad

February 7, 1997

The modern university lecturer has to be an opportunist. The concept of students as autonomous learners is a good thing. Regretfully, higher education establishments of bygone, halcyon days failed to establish a means for developing the process.

One of the benefits of a funding crisis is that it concentrates the mind to explore and develop new approaches to teaching and learning.

Therefore, although I share some of the sentiments expressed in Grenville Wall's article (THES, January 31) I was disappointed to see curriculum and assessment modification as a means of encouraging greater autonomy in students dismissed so readily. Only through carefully designed curricula and the introduction of assessment methods to improve student learning will individual institutions identify what they understand by the term "autonomous learners".

The more interesting question raised in the article concerns "balancing the books". Does higher education have the strategic managers to "balance the books" without destroying the whole edifice?

Paul Osmond

Senior biology lecturer Staffordshire University

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