Continuing Education Blog
Richard Lee reports on the latest developments for Continuing Education
August 21st: Love Learning
Instead of paying for individual courses they have created a subscription scheme. This means that you can attend as many of the open courses as you like, with a new programme being announced each season. Your choice can be from weekly courses, study groups, weekend dayschools, and lunchtime talks. This season’s archaeology choice includes courses on Bede’s World, Newcastle’s Classical Architecture, The Archaeology of Northern England, and their usual Egytpian contributions.
August 17th: More from Cardiff
Following my July 29th post about the closure of continuing education at the University of Cardiff, I had hoped to have some good news about the university’s new Choices programme, for which I have just received the new autumn 2009 prospectus. The prospectus arrived toady and the bad news is that there are no archaeology courses available. By none, I do mean that, not even in the widest sense – none at all. So very disappointing news for those of you in South Wales I’m afraid. The courses that are available include IT, languages, law, science, social studies, and environment, but even the latter doesn’t come close to archaeology alas. We can but hope that their 2010 programme may offer some light in the darkness.
The Open University is offering a number of new archaeology related Heritage course from this autumn. Having demonstrated its success with its ‘World Archaeology’, and ‘Archaeology: the Investigation of Science’ courses the OU is keen to expand its provision in this area. Its two new courses are as follows, with enrolment now available:
August 14th: Kind Words, Dark Deeds
This weeks Times Higher Education supplement includes a letter from the Standing Conference for Archaeologists in Continuing Education (SCACE). The recently reactivated group comments on Lord Mandelsons maiden education speech.
Lord Mandelson appears to be unaware that some of the very suggestions that he thinks need to be pursued for adult education, are currently being thwarted by his very own department. It’s bad enough that education has being subsumed into the business department, but does one hand know what they other is doing?
The letter, ‘Kind Words, Dark Deeds’, can be found here
August 13th: Evening University
In an innovative mood the University of York’s Centre for Lifelong Learning is styling itself the University of York in the evening for the coming autumn term For those attending its evening courses this means that there will be more facilities open in the evening than was previously the case. All of the centres courses will be held in Alcuin College this year, and the adjacent B Henry’s café bar will remain open until 8:30pm for food, drinks, and the availability of an area for socialising. The location of Alcuin College next to the JB Morrel library also makes that facility more accessible to students.
This is a commendable move by the university and the centre lifelong learning, when many universities have been criticised for leaving their evening students without the facilities available to their day time counterparts.
August 4th: New Manchester centre
Good news for those of you in the Manchester area. New archaeology courses available from this autumn.
MANCENT is the new centre for continuing education in Manchester, which will be offering courses from this September. MANCENT – the Manchester Continuing Education Network – steps into the breach created by the closure of the University of Manchester’s Course for the Public earlier in the year. So far they are offering courses in the Ancient World, and Roman Archaeology, plus other subjects such as Latin, Music, Science and History. Course will be offered at different venues around the greater Manchester area. For full details have a look at their website.
July 30th: Good news at York
The University of York Centre for Lifelong Learning has just announced its archaeology courses for 2009–2010, and has a raft of new options including an expansion into the provision of Distance Learning. York is one of the very Universities which is expanding its course provision, so that’s good news for all those in the area.
For the first time the Centre will introduce a Certificate of Education in Lifelong learning for Archaeology, for which there will initially be three accredited options:
- The History and Theory of Archaeology. The course will be taught from October 7th for eleven weeks, by Don Henson.
- An Introduction to British Archaeology. The course will be taught by Charlie Dean from January 13th 2010 for eleven weeks.
- The Archaeology of Egypt. The course, taught by Joanne Fletcher, will run from April 21, 2010. for eleven weeks.
Non-accredited courses will include:
- Ethics in Archaeology: who are we to decide?. October 14, for ten weeks, taught by Suzie Thomas.
- Anatolia: Cradle of Civilization – from Noah to Turkish Delight. The course begins on January 27th, 2010, and runs for eight weeks, taught by Clifton Stockdale.
The Centres first foray into Distance Learning will be The Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (Online), which will look at the history and archaeology of Egypt from its earlier prehistoric origins, through the pyramid builders, famous figures such as Rameses II, Tutankhamun and Nefertiti. This course, taught by Richard Lee, will run twice for en weeks each, first on October 12th, and then again on January 11th 2010.
The full programme of courses and classes for 2009-2010 can be found here
Peter Mandelson’s education speech
The NIACE website offers a concise assessment of First Secretary Peter Mandelson’s speech at Birkbeck College on Monday, which had particular relevance for Lifelong Learning:
I think we need to ask whether the higher education system adequately supports mature students and part timers. I think we have taken huge steps in all these areas – not least in the pathbreaking model of the Open University and here at Birkbeck, which openly positions itself as ‘London’s evening university.
But we need to be that serious about adult skills and life-long higher and further education, for a number of simple reasons.
First: almost half of British university students are already mature students.
Second, most of the future British workforce of the 2020s is already in their twenties or older, and it is their skills that will determine our economic capabilities at that critical point.
Third, the demographics of an ageing population mean that even with an influx of foreign students, the student market is going to get progressively older, and demand will reflect that.
Further details of the speech can be found here
July 29th: Cardiff Lifelong Learning Centre to close
Following months of speculation the University of Cardiff has decided to close its Centre for Lifelong Learning. Cardiff has had a long and active archaeology programme, and the decision removes South Wales’ most prominent provider of part-time education. The University’s official statement on the closure states that ‘it was necessary because the Centre was predicting a substantial deficit arising from increased costs associated with the University’s obligations to hourly-paid teaching staff, of whom the Centre has over 200. In addition a new programme of Humanities courses will be launched in early 2010. This will allow us time to put in place all the necessary arrangements, a task which could not be achieved by September. We anticipate that around 50 Humanities courses will be run during 2009/10’. It is hoped that archaeology will be amongst the subjects retained in 2010 but no further details are forthcoming yet.
July 28th: Lifelong Learning in the Guardian Education pages
Dr Tom Sperlinger, at the University of Bristol, has been a frequent commentator on the challenges facing Lifelong Learning. There is an article by Tom in the latest Guardian Education pages. Whilst Tom is in the Department of English his comments on the current situation facing students within lifelong learning are equally applicable to those taking courses in archaeology. Indeed the article gives a precise example of where a student hoping to start a part-time BA would find themselves financially. ‘Lifelong learning programmes must be responsive to today’s society, but they can still deliver radical social change. Creating fairer access to universities – and through them, to the professions – requires a new commitment to adult education’, comments Tom.
The announcement of the closure has attracted national attention with a news item on BBC Wales. Cardiff is not affected by the ELQ cut backs, being outside England, so this closure is all the more surprising. The loss of approximately 100 part-time jobs has ensured that the closure has attracted high profile attention.
Previously, Dr David Wyatt, the co-ordinating lecturer for history and archaeology at the centre, said the humanities courses were quite successful. ‘The value of what the humanities offer cannot simply be measured in terms of economic benefits.’
Monday 12th July
Whilst it was announced earlier in the year that the University of Bristol would be closing its Centre for Public Engagement and its continuing education provision in summer 2009, there has since been some better news for its archaeological provision at least. From autumn 2009 the archaeology part-time and short courses will be offered from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology. They will be offering courses in Prehistoric, Iron Age and Roman Britain; practical archaeology, and some Egyptian modules. For information on the new choices further details can be found here.
This is particularly good news for the south-west following a gradual decline in opportunities in recent years, and the University of Bristol hope to maintain their archaeological short courses choice beyond 2009/2010. Having brought continuing education into the archaeology department, this may even facilitate a greater choice of courses than previously.
Along with Bristol, the University of Reading also announced the proposed closure of its Centre for Continuing Education this summer. However, following a campaign to either save the department or find a suitable partner in order to continue its course provision, good news has been announced there also. Whilst the university announced last week that the Centre for Continuing Education would close, two opportunities to carry it further have also arisen. The University of Oxford has stepped in and decided to deliver its own public courses programme at the Reading Whiteknights campus. This will include the previously successful archaeology modules. Further details can be found here. Other public courses may be run in conjunction with the Reading WEA group.
Friday 9 July 2009
Welcome to the new blog in Continuing Education and associated matters. If you’ve got to this point then you are probably aware of my research and subsequent report into this subject over the last eighteen months. 2009 has been an eventful year for Continuing Education and for all subjects, a range of factors has meant that this form of education has been hit hard by cuts. For archaeology, a subject which has traditionally thrived on evening classes, dayschools and field trips, these cuts have been close to devastating. Although I only recently finished the first stage of some research on this subject, available here, developments are fast-moving, so this blog will keep you up-to-date with the latest news. If you have any comments, news or thoughts, please do contact us.
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