Book News: July 23rd, 2009

By Peter Bradwell

This report from Demos argues that British universities will lose their leading international standing unless they become much more radical in their use of new technology.

British universities occupy four of the top ten world rankings and the UK is one of the top destinations for international students. But The Edgeless University suggests that a slowness to adopt new models of learning will damage this competitive edge.

The research showed that the recession has put universities under intense pressure as threats to funding combine with increasing demand. A wave of applicants is expected to hit universities this summer as record numbers of unemployed young people seek to ‘study out’ the recession.

The report says that online and social media could help universities meet these demands by reaching a greater number of students and improving the quality of research and teaching. Online and DIY learning can create ‘edgeless universities’ where information, skills and research are accessible far beyond the campus walls.

The report also calls for universities to acknowledge the impact of the internet by making academic research freely available online. The internet and social networks mean that universities are now just one part of the world of learning and research.

The report makes a series of recommendations for opening up university education.