Australian Universities offer 'iTunes Style' Education
Two of Australia’s major universities, the University of NSW and the University of Western Australia, have announced that they will be offering a number of their courses for free online to anybody in the world from next year.
Following in the footsteps of Stanford and Columbia universities in the United States, as well as Harvard and Princeton, the two Australian institutions are embracing the newly titled model of education described as the “iTunes of higher education”. Coursera will run the free online courses.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are short courses that are offered exclusively online and free of charge by universities. They provide education in a subject; however do not necessarily lead to a formal qualification or credit. A number of critics have spoken out against such courses, believing them to be over-hyped, pointing to high non-completion rates and continuing preference among employers for formal qualifications. There has also been debate about whether these type of courses pose a threat to traditional university degrees.
A report published on Wednesday 31st July by the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney about MOOCs argues that, rather than posing a threat to traditional universities, free online courses could offer opportunities to universities to better use technology and gain a greater global profile.
Professor Iain Martin, UNSW's acting vice-chancellor said the partnership with Coursera would help boost the university's digital education profile. “Importantly, it is also an excellent opportunity to incorporate some of the best online teaching practices and technological advancements into degree programs taught at UNSW,” he said.
Initial UNSW courses offered will be in science and engineering and will begin in 2014.
The iTunes Generation
The report also highlights a shift in the way people absorb information, and argues that the internet is having a profound effect of education, just like it has influenced the music industry, for example.
University degrees are increasingly like a live concert, the report states – immersive, at a cost and only available to a limited number of people – while the providers of MOOCs are the "iTunes of higher education", making a much cheaper version of the music available to all online.
“It's not as if iTunes killed the Rolling Stones or going to a Rolling Stones concert, in fact maybe those are even more attractive now because you can buy a playlist on iTunes,” said Professor Geoffrey Garrett of UNSW, co-author of the report.
“Yes it’s true people can access your material now more conveniently than they ever could before, but some people still want to experience the real concert, or the real education.”
Open Universities Australia made a foray into MOOCs this year, offering free courses to 25,000 students with a completion rate of about 26 percent. Garrett said at the moment the MOOCs were about the experience of learning, not an accreditation, so were in some respects, akin to adult education courses. “Instead of getting it from the local TAFE, you get it from a Harvard philosopher.”
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Digital Leader Mobiquity Expands Into Asia-Pacific
As an international digital consulting firm, Mobiquity helps a global client base upgrade its digital banking and financial services. The company employs 1,200 team members across 50+ nationalities and serves an estimated 200+ million users each day. Recently, the company built out a digital banking experience for the Bank of the Philippines Islands’ online and mobile platforms—exemplifying its mission to help leading brands engage with technology in meaningful ways.
To highlight Mobiquity’s services, here are a few of the company’s recent accomplishments:
- Designed and developed the first FDA-approved digital medicine system
- Launched a five-star mobile ordering app
- Pioneered a cloud-based IT infrastructure that prevented bank fraud
- Built the official AWS re:Invent 2017 and 2018 mobile apps
What Makes Mobiquity Stand Out?
According to Mobiquity, it's the people that make all the difference. ‘We’re born innovators who like meaty challenges’, the company wrote. ‘We go deeper, getting to the root of your customers’ friction and creating personalised engagements that deliver much more than a digital experience alone’. Now, the company has added former Microsoft and IBM director Gustavo Quiroga to its team.
Who Is Gustavo Quiroga?
At Mobiquity, he’ll be the first Vice President of Business Development Financial Services in APAC. With years of experience in the industry, Quiroga has developed numerous tech, business, and customer experience projects: at Microsoft, he led a top Aussie Azure Data and AI specialist team, and at IBM, he applied AI and deep analytics to transform the company’s business processes, CX, and UX.
Based in Sydney, Australia, Quiroga will start to work with Mobiquity clients in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines and take responsibility for expanding the company’s regional operations. ‘Our best way to impact client outcomes’, he wrote, ‘is by listening to them with an inquisitive and open mind and empowering our people to do the same’.
When notified of the announcement, Quiroga expressed excitement over his new role. ‘I’m delighted to join Mobiquity and support the company’s rapid expansion across the Asia-Pacific region. I joined Mobiquity to develop, design and implement digital products and services that create meaningful experiences with customers...and I look forward to using my expertise to develop partnerships where we can achieve this every day’.
Where Does Mobiquity Go From Here?
In the past six months, Mobiquity has hired over 100 new employees, including the high-profile additions of Howard Moore, Senior Director of Banking, and Ruby Walia, Senior Advisor for Digital Banking. This falls in line with the company’s hyper-growth strategy to deliver digital products to the world.
As Matthew Williamson, Mobiquity’s Vice President of Global Financial Services, explained: ‘Our appointment of Gustavo demonstrates [our] commitment to hiring an A-list team of talent. The latest addition to the Mobiquity team supports our vision of global growth in Asia-Pacific, as a recognised partner within the banking and finance ecosystem’.