9 things to watch in 2014 – redux

I’m usually not one to brag, but round about this time last year I did a bit of future-gazing and knocked out “9 things to watch in 2014” and a quick glance around suggests a fair measure of accuracy.

  • Virtual realityFacebook bought Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard happened, and celebrity sweary-keynote giver Donald “Lectuuurrres” Clarke jumped on the bandwagon so hard it creaked
  • Algorithmic policy and the knowledge worker shift – well, I still think it is coming but maybe we didn’t see as much this year in HE as I expected. In the public sector, at least. Business strategy, and marketing strategy, is heavily algorithm driven. But I’m going to score this as a near miss.
  • Data literacy – We sure need it. Even Forbes now think so.
  • Personal data trails – I’ve seen many, many presentations and posts about personal data anxiety and the effect on students. Uppermost I would suggest Catherine Cronin’s ALT-C keynote. But I’ll also highlight this from Ben Goldacre, and this contextualisation to HE from Brian Kelly.
  • Corporate courses – just today I saw FutureLearn, apparently with sincerity, highlighting the experience of global megacorp Vouchercodes.co.uk on one of their courses. Coursera are all over this, as Audrey points out. FutureLearn even use their courses to train their own staff, with a textbook 80% drop out rate (MOOC story of the year for me)
  • Open Classrooms – Phonar (and PhonarNation) continue to go from strength to strength, as do the other courses I mentioned last year. I thought we’d see more press about this, but on reflection this is stuff that happens under the radar of the PR/journalism nexus. So I’ll score this one as a near miss too.
  • Challenges to institutions#copsoffcampus . Any number of university occupations, protests, demos, but the Warwick stuff (great year for Warwick, Times Newspapers University of the Year 2015!) really brought into focus the disconnect between management on the one hand, students and academics on the other.
  • Effectiveness metrics – Oh god. And how. How many people need to die or leave HE before this stops? I guess the REF results next week will offer some clue.
  • More funding chaos – Andrew McGettigan’s work on funding concerns around the new breed of private HE has been one of the stories of the year. And although PG loan access is welcome (as was the end of the UG cap before it) we still have no idea how to pay for either, and we enter the election campaign with HE funding looking likely to be a major political issue.
  • (User data bubble – this was a bonus, and longer term. But we are on our way. )

I award myself 7.5 out of 9, an approx 80% accuracy rate. Predictions for next year will follow in the next few days.

Now what kind of a guru are you, anyway?

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