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Aha Education to meet Swissuniversities.ch

It is exciting to know that the biggest swiss education portal swissuniversities.ch grows interest in our project Programship.com. This October, we will meet their staff in Bern to develop a mutual understanding and discuss a possible collaboration in the future.

Swissuniversities (Nomenclature: swᴉssunᴉversᴉtᴉes), the Rectors ‘Conference of the Swiss Universities, is a Swiss association in which the three former Rectors’ Conferences CRUS (Universities), KFH (Universities of Applied Sciences) and COHEP (Universities of Education) have been brought together. It started operations on 1 January 2015. The main task of this association is the deepening and further development of cooperation among the Swiss universities. Externally, the Swiss Higher Education Area can speak with one voice. Furthermore, the association carries out coordination tasks and acts at the international level as a national rectors’ conference for the entirety of the universities, colleges and universities of teacher education in Switzerland.

Within one-month beta launch this year, Programship has earned institutions’ affection in Europe. In May 2018, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice has signed a three-year agreement with Aha Education to train their Erasmus students in the future. Media started exposing Programship, including Startupticker, RSI Rete Uno, Ticino Management Magazine, Investiere and Crunchbase. The project has met Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Swiss Business Hub China, and StartCup with a result of very fruitful and promising feedback.

We sincerely look forward to this coming meetup with swissuniversities.ch.

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Aha Education meets USI: support the field project for master students

Aha Education has been accepted as one collaborating firm in Switzerland for Universita della svizzera italiana to support their field project program for master students. The Field Project consists in a consultancy study on behalf of a firm, conducted by a group of USI Masters’ students under the supervision of a professor (“tutor”) of the specific Master for a standard duration of 3 months.

The students who opt to work for Aha Education will work in the project of Programship.com. It is a Swiss match-making web platform serving in the field of academic mobility to connect international academic programs’ promoters and the prospective international students by offering a variety of tools to enhance their online exchanges of information and communication.

Programship aims to have a final report including the following sections:

  • User expectation
  • Usability inspection
  • Usability testing
  • Suggestions on improvement

Students are expected to:

  • conduct user expectation research by interviewing/surveying program recruiters from European educational institutions via online media;
  • conduct usability inspection as “experts” to discover and report problems of the existing user interface of the platform for both student user account and recruiter user account;
  • conduct usability testing by recruiting a group of student users and a group of program recruiters; and
  • propose advices on how to improve the existing user experience design.
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Digitalize Business Cards: 5 Steps to Boost Efficiency

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Editor

Jingjing Lin

Today, I finally got the chance to calm myself down and organize the accumulated business cards that I received over a long period. Now, I am not a very social person so the number of these business cards seem still manageable. But still in front of me, there are 175 business cards, which need to be categorized, grouped, and stored somehow.

Here I am not talking about putting them in a more bearable way to simply tidy up the space.

 

I am talking about what I call Digitalize Business Cards. And here are five steps on how to do it.

 

STEP 1 . PICK A BUSINESS CARD ORGANIZER APP AND INSTALL ON YOUR PHONE

There are a plenty of choices of apps to help you make this work much easier. You can check for instance this post ‘5 apps to help you digitally organize business cards’ to dedice on it. I picked CamCard and the experience is actually pleasant and satisfying. The only short coming is the free version only allows 200 cards in the list. If you want more, you gotta pay.

 

STEP 2 . CREATE GROUPS

You need to organize your contacts under groups. For instance, I organized mine into:

  • Business contacts
  • School contacts
  • Govenment contacts
  • Student contacts
  • Others

These groups will help you find the contacts much faster.

 

STEP 3 . SCAN BUSINESS CARDS ONE BY ONE

This part of job is very neck-challenging, I must admit. But still it is much faster than recognizing the information on the business cards all by yourself. The app usually can help to detect the relevant information, such as name, email, phone, fax number, address, company, etc, and copy them to the fields of a form, where all the information automatically gets digitalized after the scanning.

 

STEP 4 . MODIFY INFORMATION ON THE FORM

The technology of information recognition of these apps, though, is not perfect. You will find some information not correct or accurate. So after the scanning, you should examine each field of the form that was generated from the scanning, and make sure all information transfered from the paper business cards is correct. If not, you need to manually modify it to make sure you have the contact right.

 

STEP 5 . EXPORT TO EXCEL/VCARD 

After you scanned and modified every business card on your hand, you will have a list of digitalized business cards on your app.

Now, what you need to do is to have a back up in a distributable format such as Excel spreadsheet or vcard. I prefer exporting them to a spreadsheet, where I can do whatever change, add additional information, make backup copies, or share with other colleagues when needed.

Congratulations! You have learnt how to Digitalize Business Cards. To sum up, this task has five steps including:

  • STEP 1 . PICK A BUSINESS CARD ORGANIZER APP AND INSTALL ON YOUR PHONE
  • STEP 2 . CREATE GROUPS
  • STEP 3 . SCAN BUSINESS CARDS ONE BY ONE
  • STEP 4 . MODIFY INFORMATION ON THE FORM
  • STEP 5 . EXPORT TO EXCEL/VCARD

Some tips for you to take away:

  • Do not too much rely on one method of storing your contacts, because it may fail you in an unexpected way. For instance, I once used Mailchimp to organize my contacts in its account. Then GDPR came this May, and Mailchimp requested its users to take action to agree on the new terms and policies within a deadline or else the account will be closed. Of course, I missed that email and realized it three months later… Well, have to admit that I am not Mailchimp’s frequent user, as well.
  • Make sure you check the scanned information and modify when necessary. Or else, you will end up having a pile of incorrect digital business cards which cannot help you reach anyone.
  • Take advantage of the technology and carefully pick one tool that suits you. And stop manually inputting business cards anymore. It really takes a lot of time and kills your mood.

Thanks for your reading. And if you like this post and find it useful, please kindly help to share it to your social media channels.

 

About Author

Dr. Jingjing Lin, hols a PhD degree in Communication Sciences, and a Master degree in Information and Technologies in Education. She is the cofounder of Aha Education Sagl.

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ASEAN student, academic mobility is patchy

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Jingjing Lin

Student and academic mobility, particularly within the Southeast Asian regions, underpins the region’s globalisation of higher education, with concerted efforts to streamline visa procedures across the region to aid student mobility.

However, significant social and political hurdles are still to be overcome, according to a new report by the British Council.

The study, The Shape of Global Higher Education: Understanding the ASEAN region, released at the British Council’s Going Global conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week, looks at policies to promote internationalisation in higher education among the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN.

It notes that nine out of the 10 countries score highly or very highly on cross-border openness generally. The scoring in the study measures national-level strategies supporting inbound and outbound mobility of students and academics, openness of academic programmes, and collaborative research.

Of the 10 ASEAN countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – only Myanmar scored ‘low’ on this measure while Malaysia and Thailand scored ‘very high’ on openness of the higher education system, including student and academic mobility.

Countries in the region were working to make the recognition of foreign qualifications more transparent. Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines score well on this, according to the study.

“Interestingly, the recognition of TNE qualifications is not as advanced as that of foreign qualifications, although work is under way to improve this across the region,” the report says, referring to foreign qualifications delivered to local universities, known as transnational education or TNE.

Choltis Dhirathiti, executive director of the ASEAN University Network Secretariat in Bangkok, which for some years has been working on credit transfer mechanisms to boost student mobility, recently told University World News it was a long drawn-out process, not least because of the huge disparity between countries in the region, and within countries between universities themselves.

“Quality and standards are very obvious in the eye of the beholder – you can see clearly that this student has a higher quality [education] while that student doesn’t, and this hinders our universities’ exchange programmes through credit transfer mechanisms in a multilateral framework, meaning among universities in a big group like ASEAN,” Choltis said.

Universities in ASEAN “still prefer to do exchanges bilaterally and prefer to negotiate with their counterparts one-to-one and set up customised exchange programmes, maybe without credit transfer or with transit transfer, or sometimes with only credit and no letter grades,” he said.

Student mobility

Within ASEAN, Malaysia and Singapore are in the top 20 countries worldwide for incoming international students, with students entering from within ASEAN and from outside, according to the British Council report.

Nonetheless, “despite Brunei, Cambodia and Vietnam all having relatively low numbers of international students, there is evidence of efforts being made to develop clarity in the entry and selection criteria for international students,” the study says, adding that “much of this work is being undertaken at the level of higher education institutions themselves in developing their own policies, rather than at the sector-wide level.”

All 10 ASEAN countries have some form of study-abroad scholarship programme, but these vary greatly in size and extent, the study says.

In Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, the national government takes the lead in offering scholarships, while in other countries foreign aid plays a bigger role – particularly from countries like Japan extending mobility outside the region – although the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme offers ASEAN masters scholarships for ASEAN member states’ citizens.

The Cambodian government offers scholarships for Vietnamese and Laotian students to study the Khmer language and engineering. Singapore also has a well-funded ASEAN Scholarship Scheme and the Singaporean government also provides scholarships for Indian nationals to study at Singaporean institutions.

Academic mobility and brain drain

The study notes that there is “as yet, less evidence of policies to actively support academic mobility through preferential visa policies or working opportunities in the ASEAN region”.

However, academic staff working abroad is seen as a way to improve the academic capacity of the domestic higher education system.

The majority of countries have some form of programme in place to enable outbound academic mobility, or in the case of Myanmar, are working towards such a programme. “Where inbound academic mobility is concerned, there is less activity evident,” it says.

Many countries sending academics abroad have “safeguards” to ensure they return home.

“Understandably, there are anxieties from ASEAN nations regarding the impact of expansion of IHE [international higher education] on their internal capacities if it leads to more academic staff moving abroad and not returning,” the study says.

Brain drain is an issue in Malaysia, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines, and it is also a concern for Myanmar, where anti-‘brain drain’ policies feature heavily in the National Education Strategic Plan for 2016-21.

Cross-border research collaboration

“Limitations in the ability of ASEAN nations to fund academic mobility does not imply, though, that they are not willing partners in working with each other and those outside the region on international research collaboration,” the study says.

ASEAN countries are not significant funders of research collaboration-building, with the possible exception of Malaysia. “But they are devoting resources within their capabilities, and some countries – Malaysia again, Thailand and Vietnam – are taking a strategic approach to partnership development.”

Singapore’s A*STAR, the national agency for science, technology and research, funds scholarships for postdoctoral training at leading overseas laboratories.

“Research collaboration in Southeast Asia is a huge challenge and we still cannot perform well in this,” the ASEAN University Network’s Choltis admitted.

While funding for collaborations is an issue, another is building trust, Choltis says. “You need to know each other very well, otherwise it is very difficult to manage cross-border research collaboration projects.”

Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore have dedicated units to further such collaborations, but this is not the case in other ASEAN countries.

In all the countries of the region, “research collaborations tend to be led by particular institutions which have the necessary capacity originating from their histories and-or size,” the study says, adding that “the leading role these relatively more prestigious universities play is usually supported by policy-makers”.

Noting the development of a few elite world-class universities that conduct international collaboration in research, the study warns: “An approach to international research collaboration that prioritises the development of a small number of universities that will rank highly in particular global ranking systems may inevitably come at the expense of the development of international research collaborations across the whole of the higher education system.”

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A two-way street: why China is not just a student departure lounge anymore

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Editor

Jingjing Lin

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_SOCIAL_ICONS]

Mainland China has long been known as something of a student departure lounge. Between 1978 and 2016, it is estimated that more than 4.5 million Chinese studied outside their home country, to the huge cultural and financial benefit of the universities in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and beyond.

It has not always been a two-way street. According to The New York Times, just 20 years ago there were only 3.4 million students studying in China. Today, however, it is thought that more than 26 million people are enrolled in Chinese universities, and nearly 490,000 of them are from overseas. Times, it seems, are changing. China wants to be seen as a premier higher education destination – and some would argue it already is. Indeed, the country is now behind only the US and the UK in terms of the total number of international students on its campuses, and has been for several years.

In fact, last year in 2017 during the 19th China Congress, China government is aiming to let China become the most attractive and popular study-abroad destination country by 2049. It is the business time to promote China education to the international stage and make learners outside China start to know and use it.

“International student numbers have increased 45% in that time, [and] here is the rationale. China wants to be seen as a major player internationally in terms of higher education. The government wants to boost the internationalisation for our universities as part of a ‘soft power’ policy to project China internationally.”

It is well on course to meet its self-imposed target of hosting 500,000 international students by 2020 – a figure that, based on current numbers, would see it leapfrog the UK in that particular league table.

More than 489,000 international students were studying in China between in 2017, a 10% rise compared to 2016. According to Ministry of Education data, there has been a 299% increase since 2004.

Much of this recent growth is arguably down to the One Belt One Road Initiative, one of the largest overseas investment drives ever launched.

It is, primarily, an infrastructure project. Some $900 billion has been allocated to initiatives that will boost both land (the ‘Belt’) and sea (the old ‘Silk Road’) trade routes which run West, to Europe, via Asia. China says its aim is to usher in a ‘new era of globalisation’ that will benefit not only itself, but all countries in the region.

“The One Belt, One Road strategy is aimed not only at strengthening exchanges between China and the rest of the world, but also at ensuring the development of Asia,” explains Yuan. “Education is the one of the most important aspects of this strategy.”

Wang Huiyao, founder and president of the Center for China and Globalization, an influential Beijing-based think-tank, agrees. “We are still lagging behind by the US on soft power,” he said at the launch of a CCG report on international student mobility earlier this year.

“There are more than 300 world leaders including presidents, prime ministers and ministers around the globe that graduated from US universities, but only a few foreign leaders that graduated from Chinese universities, so we still need to exercise effort to boost academic exchange and educate more political elites from other countries. The Belt and Road initiative is a good chance to achieve this goal.”

It appears to be paying off. The number of students heading to China from India, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan and Thailand – all countries affected by the initiative – has increased more than 20% on average from 2016 to 2017.

The CCG speculates that because One Belt One Road has created jobs for people in these countries, local people are more motivated – and financially more able – to study in China.

However, it is not just countries along the Silk Road that China see as fertile ground for student recruitment. The number of China-based African students increased 26-fold to around 50,000 between 2003 and 2015, according to the Unesco Institute for Statistics. This puts China second only to France in terms of the number of students it attracts from the African continent.

Numbers from countries with more established and prestigious higher education systems are on the up too. There were twice as many US origin students studying in China in 2015 (12,790) compared to 2005 (6,391), for example, while the number of UK students studying there is reported to have tripled over the same period. One of the drivers of this rise has been a proliferation in courses taught in English.

“Most of universities in China are offering a good number of English taught programmes now,” Yuan explains. “The number of English taught programmes has increased by 63% in the last five years.”

The recruitment drive in the English-speaking world was evident at this year’s Student World exhibitions in the UK – recruitment fairs profiling study abroad opportunities.

At the 2018 events in Manchester and London, 36 Chinese institutions booked exhibition space. This is a significant increase over the two previous years, when only one Chinese institution had exhibited at the events.

The type of course that China’s international students are studying once they arrive in China is changing too. According to the Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in 2016 more than 40% of foreign students in China are studying the Chinese language.

This figure represents a 15% drop compared with 2012. Conversely, the number of students on non-language courses is on the up, and the number of international PhD and Master’s students has jumped 49% and 28% respectively (see table).

Another reason for the soaring popularity of study in China is the number of scholarships on offer. In 2017, some 58,600 international students received a government scholarship compared to just 8,500 in 2006.

“There are so many misconceptions about studying in China,” says Richard Coward, chief executive of China Admissions, which assists international students wanting to study in China. “Things are changing so fast. You’ve really got to be here to see it.”

“Foreigners are coming to get a high-quality education at an affordable price… and more and more are taking full degrees, whereas before they were mostly on more short-term programmes. It is becoming a serious study destination.”

In addition to stepping up efforts to attract international students, China is also taking steps to encourage these students to remain in the country after graduation.

In 2017, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security decreed that international students who had obtained a master’s degree or above from a Chinese institution within the last year were eligible for work permits of up to five years. There are other examples too, such as the Science Innovation Center in Shanghai, which offers a two-year residence permit for international students who work or do an internship.

In addition, the reputation of China’s own higher education institution is steadily rising. In 2015, China announced the “Double First-Class initiative”, which aims to increase the global standing of its higher education system.

By the end of 2049 – the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic – China intends to have 42 “world class” universities.

This agenda, combined with the sheer number of Chinese students who have studied overseas, means the competitive advantage gained by having a foreign degree may not be as highly prized.

In arrivals, though, the future seems much clearer. From the very top of government, the intention is to push China as a destination for students, and to further its reputation for quality higher education.

“China is the future, and to study there means you can get a good degree for cheaper than the UK or the US, and also learn the language,” says Kate, a 16-year-old attending the Student World exhibition in London. “I’m seriously considering it.”

According to recent trends, she is most certainly not alone.

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When Aha Education meets WTOIP

Thanks to the arrangement of CP Startup, we were invited in a private meeting with two delegations from Boao Zongheng Network Technology Co., Ltd. (博鳌纵横网络科技有限公司), Mr Edmont Rao(饶学谦先生), the vice president and Ms. Joanna Sapulak (苏静云女士) the senior manager of international business development.

Through one-hour conversation, we exchanged ideas and introduced business and offerings from each side. Aha Education Sagl was invited to visit Guangzhou city in the south of China to give presentation to local institutes and attend China International Import Expo in November.

During the meeting, Dr. Jingjing Lin from Aha Education Sagl was presenting the project of Programship, which is a web platform that aims to connect European institutes and Chinese students.

In 2017, Chinese studying abroad reached 608,400. European countries are on their top choices of overseas education destinations. Now Europe has 51 countries and a total of 2,436 universities that are offering higher education degree programs. Programship is a match-making platform that connects these two big groups of users to make sure their communication online is direct, efficient, and cost-effective.

If you are interested to get updated about Programship, please subscribe to our company’s newsletter or directly write to support@programship.com for details.

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Invited as guest to a local business event: Eveno Cina

On June 7, Dr. Jingjing Lin from Aha Education was invited to attend a local event to enhance Swiss business collaboration with Shenzhen and Shanghai.

Presenters:

  • Marco Arrighini, from Euler Hermes
  • Mirko Audermars, from Audermars SA
  • Marco Borradori, from Sindaco di Lugano
  • Alex Chung, from City of Lugano
  • Chiara Crivelli, from Cc-Ti
  • Emanuela Falcone, from CRIF
  • Wu Jingchun, from Ambasciata cinese a Berna
  • Damian Kunzi, from Credit Suisse SA
  • Emanuele Mastrongiacomo, from Euler Hermes
  • Valentina Rossi, from Cc-Ti
  • Daniela Tontini, from CRIF
  • Mingya Ye, from Swiss Business Hub China

Activities Album:

 

 

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When Aha Education meets SFIVET

Today we were honored to be invited to give an 8-minute presentation to members of the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (http://SFIVET.SWISS) at CP-Startup in Lugano, Switzerland.

The CEO of Aha Education, Dr. Jingjing Lin, was sharing the two ongoing projects that are highly related to educational services. They are programship.com and ovcose.com. The presentation is available in the audio format as displayed below.

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What it means to to do a Ph.D.?

What it is like to be Ph.D.? If you are interested to know more about being a Ph.D. student and what it can bring along to you, this video can help you.

Dr. Jingjing Lin, also the co-founder of Aha Education, has recently finished her Ph.D.. She would like to take this chance and share her fresh ideas about her research in Massive Open Online Courses and experiences as a previous Ph.D. student.