Bringing Web 2.0 to University Admissions – UCAS 2.0

With everyone’s mind firmly on the new term and University and College admissions, @universityboy has just published an interesting article about the challenges facing students with great grades that are failing to secure places on their desired courses.  This is clearly a big problem for Universities and the admissions service, UCAS.

Against that background, my thoughts turn to e-Democracy, Social Media and Web 2.0 – as they often do with very little prompting! I’m reminded of the thrill that I felt when I first  recognised the real potential and power of the so-called Web 2.0 champions, like e-Bay. The buyes and sellers rated each other – online identity became valuable for the first time and the community was able to police itself. This seemed incredible.

How could we apply those same forces to university and college admissions? To make the process fairer and more transparent. On the one hand you have service providers offering various products aimed at different budgets (academic aptitude, say), and you have a population of potential consumers greater than the available product (higher education).

Technologies exist that make the old application process seem somewhat arbitrary and unfair to unfortunate students who fail to get into the course of their choice as Martin talks about in his blog.

Obviously as outsiders to the system we can make only superficial observations, but it seems that currently there is neither the information available to students, nor the mechnisms to let the system work efficiently. I say it’s time for a revolution!

Could the universities bid for the brightest students on their courses? How would the bidding system work? What would the currency be? Could students be presented with a list of courses from across the country that they would be accepted on?

With David Willett’s Iron Triangle fresh in my mind, I prefer to think of opportunities!

3 Responses to Bringing Web 2.0 to University Admissions – UCAS 2.0

  1. Martin - TheUniversityBlog September 10, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    Interesting thoughts here. I’d never considered anything like a bidding system. It almost turns the tables around on the current situation. It would need to be more complex than an ebay rating system, because HE covers so much ground and people don’t all study at uni for the same reason. But you’re right that getting more detail from past students is a positive move. The National Student Survey makes a mark, for instance, so there’s room to build on and develop from successes such as this.

    We’re at a point where new ideas, such as this, are urgently needed. Hey, they could even spark that revolution you suggest!

    Many thanks for the mention.

  2. chris September 10, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I think you’re absolutely right, there are far more things at play here than exist in e-Bay, a simplistic rating system isn’t enough. Even the detail contained within the NSS doesn’t feel like it captures enough information in something as complex as a student’s experience in Higher Education. I’d like to see some qualitative data – personal recommendations and the like. This all needs more thought, I just feel that there’s potential.

    Thanks for the article, it got me thinking radically!

  3. Newell September 10, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    I love this idea! It would be an excellent and positive step to have universities work to convince the best students to join them rather than the other way around. Students can start treating their skills as an asset.

    The problem is, though, that those average students may be put off university by such a competitive atmosphere. If we can find a way to ensure that doesn’t happen then I think this would be great fun.

    Maybe an independent site can be set up so that this can be a decision making tool/game for now? It’s much more positive than students betting on their results!