How college lecturers are keeping up by training one another at work

It's not every day that a former student stops you in the street and recites a poem about plant hormones which they learnt 15 years ago. But when your name is Richard Spencer and you have a following in Australia, the USA and Europe, it is perhaps hardly surprising.

Online degrees: A model worth emulating or a plan that risks creating a two-tier system?

David Willetts wants more people to take degrees by distance learning at further education colleges. Lucy Hodges looks at what it could involve

Short business courses - It's amazing how much can happen in three days

Can anything of enduring value be learnt on courses which provide a quick turnaround? Amy McLellan reports

Learn to take control of your career

When you need an edge in the workplace, it's time to take a course, writes Virginia Matthews

From lace-making to mushroom-foraging, Arca has the course for you

Have you always wanted to spin your own wool or carve yourself a country-style stool, immerse yourself in Chopin's works, or master that digital camera you got for Christmas? If so, then there may well be somewhere nearby offering a course that fits the bill.

Creative courses: Programmes that are music to your ears

More than 20 institutions now offer courses from acting to design management

What's the best way to ensure young people are taught in safety?

Colleges now have to pay closer attention to protecting students. But problems surround the tighter structures.

Professionalisation will create a win-win scenario

College teaching staff now have to become at least as qualified as schoolteachers.

On the Murder Trail: How staff are finding original ways to improve themselves and enhance the way students learn

When students at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College recently turned up for class, they got more than they bargained for – the sight of a severed head (happily, not a real one) in the bushes. As if that wasn't enough drama for one day, they watched in amazement as tutors ran around panicking that the crime-scene investigation team wasn't available. There was only one solution, they said: the students would have to do the investigation themselves. "It wasn't like the recent case of a pretend shooting in a school, where students thought it was real," assures lecturer Paul Barlow. "We set the scene as being fictional from the outset, with things such as film-style music in the background."

Alison Wolf: Ministers should stop treating adults as stupid children

British governments are convinced, in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, that they can predict the future. You might think they would be disabused by the financial crash, our limping economy, and the yawning gulf between the Treasury's expectations and its confident predictions in times of plenty.

The elite squad: If you like marketing and Manchester, this Masters degree is perfect for you

They live in swish city-centre apartments, have money in their pockets and work for go-ahead companies. They might not sound like postgraduate students but then theirs is no ordinary degree.

Recipe for a great career: How college gave one man the ingredients to succeed in the restaurant business

Restaurateur James Thomson didn't like school. Much of his time was spent looking out of the windows at the old buildings of Edinburgh, fantasising about their history and the people who had lived there. What Thomson did like was working. Aged 12, he became a dishwasher at Crawford's tearooms on North Bridge. "My grandmother had a cashier job there, and they were always short of dishwashers, so I was called in. I loved the theatre of the place – they served morning coffee, lunches and high tea, and had old-fashioned cake stands and waitresses who all mothered me and gave me strawberry tarts to eat. I also helped the chef. I loved things like the smell of the coffee and cheeses, and the whole ambience of the place."

How training can help you develop the skills for survival

The downturn is no time to abandon training. Kate Hilpern argues that it's the point when you need it most
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