”The portal is an entry to the graveyard” – Careword Webinars from Gerry McGovern

Two great webinars from Gerry McGovern are available for download from his Customer Carewords site. One deals with Government websites, the other with intranets.

If, like me, you’re switching your brain back on after the summer break these are just the thing to provide inspiration.

Gerry’s main point is that it’s all about managing the tasks people are trying to do on your website. What is your website for? What are the people trying to do who come to it? Can they actually do the things they want to do? Because, if they can’t, they’re probably not coming back.

They are each about 40 minutes long and cover carewords, organization vs. customer centric thinking and the way to measure the success of content; all good stuff.

Tuition Fees in Sweden in 2010 – What do you think?

From 2010 onwards the Swedish government wants international students to pay tuition fees when they study in Sweden – the proposal will probably be passed in the Autumn of this year. 

Students who have already begun studying, or are applying in the application periods starting in 2008 or 2009, will not pay fees.

You can see all my entries tagged as fees here.

The entries on my blog about fees have been very popular and I’d like to learn what you think about paying tuition fees in Sweden. For example, will it affect your choice of Sweden as a study destination? Would you still recommend Sweden to your friends? What information do you need to have?

Please leave your comments below, thanks!

Earlier Application Date Could Attract Students to Lund University

An earlier application date could attract international students to Lund University, according to an article published today in Sydsvenskan(a Swedish broadsheet).

The key points of the article are:

- Tomas Brage, an international coordinator from the Physics department at Lund, believes an earlier application deadline in the Autumn would enable Lund University to compete with other universities which have similar application deadlines; Lund’s deadline is later than most other universities

- Tomas Brage believes it is important to attract international students to Lund because they bring knowledge to the University and remain in Sweden, after their studies, to work

- Per Warfvinge, the vicerektor of the Engineering Faculty at Lund, believes an earlier application date would create difficulties as the course content would have to be decided earlier

- Per Warfvinge does not think that the later application date which Lund currently uses is a problem but does think that the number of applications to Lund, from international students, could change with the introduction of fees but that it is hard to say right now

The original article was published on Monday 14th July, in Swedish, and written by Max Jerneck. The translation is my own and I apologise for any mistakes.

See all my recent entries about fees…

The next application period, for masters programmes at Lund University will begin in December 2008 and end in February 2009. This is for programmes beginning in the fall 2009. There are currently no indications that students applying for programmes beginning in 2009 will pay fees during the course of their studies. However, the final decision on fees, and their implementation, will not be known until later this year.

KTH – Helping the students using studera.nu with facebook

The Royal Institute of Technology, in Sweden, has recently linked to Andrei Necula’s studera.nu facebook community. I think this is great, it’s got just over 500 members and offers a wealth of advice and discussion from students as they work through the application process.

This ties in nicely with Gerry McGovern’s latest article which discusses how organisations are losing the trust of the people- people want to speak to people like themselves, and are using the web to do so. How many university staff have actually used studera.nu for real? Answer: not very many – and I’m willing to bet that none of us have invested anything like the amount of time and energy which international students invest into checking the website, figuring out how to make an application and then following the process all the way through.  Giving students who visit KTH’s website the chance to talk to students like themselves means that the real experts of studera.nu – the people who actually use it – can talk to each other.

I’ve done something similar by linking to the entries about tuition fees on my blog - there’s several links to forums and communities there. As we move closer to the next big application round, in December, I will certainly be following KTH’s lead.

And finally…it’s the Swedish summer here which pretty much means that Sweden closes for about a month. I’ll still be blogging, but also enjoying the sun, so I won’t be as regular as usual, so to speak.

Tuition Fees: English Summary of the Swedish Government’s Investigation

If you take a look at the english summary on pages 13-16 of the Swedish Government’s 2006 investigation into fees you can get an overview of their possible thinking with regard to tuition fees. Remember that this report was prepared by the last government so it may not reflect the the thinking of the current one.

The key points are (and remember these are only suggestions, not law – we’ll have to wait until the Autumn to see what will definitely happen)

- Fees will be for under and post graduate education, but not for PhD students

- Fees will be fixed by each university, at a ‘limited’ number of levels

- Students who will be exempt from paying will include: citizens from EEA countries, people with Swedish residence permits, students in an exchange programme and citizens of countries that have entered into free movement agreements with the EU (e.g. Switzerland)

- The right should exist for universities to charge application fees

- Work permit rules should be amended so that it is easier to remain in Sweden, to work, after graduation

- Scholarship funding should be increased

The Government press release from last week.