News in brief

October 9, 2008

Assessment practices in FE
Keep students informed, says QAA

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has warned further education colleges delivering higher education courses that they must ensure that assessment practices and procedures are appropriately monitored. The call follows a series of reviews carried out by the QAA in 15 further education colleges. It said that colleges should ensure that students understand their assessment schedules, know the criteria for assessment and progression, and receive information about when to expect feedback.

Joint Information Systems Committee
A century of TV news goes online

Thousands of hours of historic news footage are freely available to academics and students through a new service funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee. NewsFilm Online, which can be accessed at www.nfo.ac.uk, has been launched as part of a £22 million digitisation programme to promote innovative use of technology in higher education. The service, which is based on a century of ITN archive footage, will allow users to download clips and edit them to create their own user content for projects.

Business engagement
Sector told to befriend local SMEs

Universities should be encouraged to partner small local businesses with placement programmes, the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) has told regional development agencies. The warning comes one week after a report prepared by Public and Corporate Economic Consultants said that universities were failing to reach out to local small and medium-sized enterprises. Richard Brown, chief executive of the CIHE, said that a system of student placements, offering undergraduate expertise to local businesses so that they could see the benefits of employing local graduates, were the best way to build these links.

University admissions
Straight talk on employability

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is set to launch a new section on its website to tell prospective students which degree programmes offer the skills that employers want. The site, part of the main Ucas website, will draw on information gathered by the Council for Industry and Higher Education for its student employability profiles, first published in 2006. It aims to provide an easily accessible guide for students and parents choosing a degree programme, as well as helping graduates to sell their transferable skills in a job interview. The profiles outline the core skills and competencies each student will develop.

Widening participation
AimHigher honours staff mentors

The achievements of the university staff who help young people aspire to higher education have been recognised at an awards ceremony. Schemes involving the universities of East London, Nottingham Trent, Derby, Manchester Metropolitan, Manchester, London Metropolitan, Keele, Staffordshire and Bucks New University were recognised at the national AimHigher awards last week.

See www.aimhigher.ac.uk/practitioner.

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