This Tuesday I attended the LMS Education Day, a yearly event focussing on how we teach mathematics to our undergraduates. The topic this year was curriculum development: are our curricula ready for the 21st century?
I have been engaged with higher education for the past 15 years, starting first as an undergraduate and now as lecturer teaching undergraduates myself. The rise of MOOCs, from 2012 onwards happened after I had finished my graduate studies and from then on I learned new material mostly by reading textbooks, research papers and spoke directly to colleagues. Although I was aware of their popularity, MOOCs never seemed important enough to warrant a closer look. Until now that is.
Student loans are an everyday reality for thousands of students in the UK. The average debt for a graduate in England is £32,220, but it can be more than £50,000 for students from poorer families on a four-year course.
One can look at these and other numbers and make mathematical statements: What is the average time it will take a graduate to repay the loan? How to model the average value of a university degree compared to the hopefully higher salary of a graduate with the loan owed to the Student Loans Company. We ask our first-year students at Brunel to create a simplified model of their projected income and loan repayment. It is usually an educational experience for them.