The iPad is an ideal tool for field archaeology.

This blog sets out to bring together experiences of archaeologists using iPads.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where are all the innovators in academia?

Innovation regularly transforms the business world, but we have yet to see the equivalent in the university sector

Universities are reasonably conservative places and virtually no institutions have moved away from the three-year undergraduate degree, or the one-year master's programme. The exceptions, such as the four-year classics programme at Oxford, are mainly historical anomalies rather than recent innovations.

Almost all universities are geared around either full-time undergraduates, or part-time students who will take the full-time programme over a longer time period. Tuition methods are usually based around lectures and classes, with the exceptions often more conservative still – Oxford and Cambridge, for instance, use tutorials rather than classes, but this again is an old established tradition.

The sector lacks radical entrants. In the old days the only cheap airfares within Europe were returns, including a Saturday night stay. The low-cost airlines moved away from this model by offering day returns, usually at the same price as returns that included a Saturday night stay. Airlines such as British Airways were forced to respond, and consumers benefited. Apple's iPad has transformed the face of personal computing. Home delivery has transformed the supermarket sector. Yet we have not seen the equivalent in the university sector.

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