Big deals: New online MA opportunities, VLEs expand globally, and robotics take hold down under

News from Sotheby's Institute of Art, Anthology, and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Sotheby’s Institute of Art announced this month that it is adding an Online MA in Art Business, beginning in the fall of 2024, to its portfolio of in-person degrees in London and New York – the first of its kind to be offered on the art business education market. Through immersive online learning, this new master’s degree program enables participants to cultivate expertise in art business and attain a comprehensive understanding of the global art market from anywhere in the world.

For over 50 years, Sotheby’s Institute of Art has been devoted to the study of art and its markets, providing students with unparalleled access to the art world through courses taught by industry professionals and thought leaders. Today, Sotheby’s Institute offers a range of educational programs for postgraduate, undergraduate, and pre-college students and professionals seeking expertise in art business, contemporary art, historic art and design, and luxury business.

“The Master’s in Art Business (Online), a program designed for art market professionals of the future, reflects our changing times and the necessity of flexibility in delivery of higher learning on a global platform,” said Ann-Marie Richard, Director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York.

“Our Master’s in Art Business (Online) is an inventive model that corresponds to the needs of students and art professionals around the globe. This innovative program allows students to learn from industry leaders at international art organizations, gaining valuable insights and global perspective from any part of the world,” said Judith Prowda, Professor of Art Law at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York.

“The Master’s in Art Business (Online) program enables students and working professionals to experience immersive courses that allow for flexibility without foregoing peer and faculty connectivity. Students will unveil the intricate tapestry of the art business, where value is created through human inspiration, then translated using finance to pave a pathway to success for artists, collectors, dealers, and auctioneers,” said Lawrence Motz, Professor of Art and Finance at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York.

With the transformation of education in the digital age and the increasing desire for more flexible forms of learning, Sotheby’s Institute of Art introduces an online delivery of its signature MA in Art Business with the aim to surpass geographical barriers and offer unprecedented opportunities for students. This innovative approach enables working professionals and students from diverse backgrounds to affordably pursue an MA in Art Business while maintaining the highest level of flexibility and engagement with our esteemed faculty and peers. This program offers a minimum two-year track, with options for participants to customize their pace, whether accelerating their studies to just 18 months or extending them up to five semesters.

Through its highly successful program offerings in art business and related specialties, Sotheby’s Institute has educated leaders across all sectors of the art world and now has more than 8,000 alumni in prestigious positions across the globe. With the MA in Art Business (Online), Sotheby’s Institute aims to bring the successful content and experience of its traditional MA in Art Business to a wider audience.

Anthology, a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, announced more than 100 universities in the region are now delivering 100 percent of their courses on its flagship Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Blackboard Learn Ultra. Courses taught in Blackboard Learn Ultra benefit from the significant investments and product enhancements made over the past 24 months, including industry-leading AI design tools. 

“We are thrilled to celebrate this achievement with our clients,” said Joel Armando, Director of Client Experience at Anthology EMEA. “The benefits of being fully live on Blackboard Learn Ultra, with all classes in the tool, means that students have the most accessible and consistent learning experience across their courses. And all users benefit from the flexibility, effective workflows and the data insights embedded in their daily activities.”

Clients who are live on Blackboard Learn Ultra are among the first universities in the world to access innovative features like AI Design Assist for course creation; flexible grading; student progress tracking and Accessibility Checker powered by Anthology Ally. 

“Our students have embraced the user-friendly interface and mobile access of Learn Ultra. It has significantly improved their digital learning experience, allowing them to engage more meaningfully with course materials,” said Steve Montagu-Cairns, lecturer and digital education academic lead for the University of Leeds School of Law. “I’ve worked with other products, and Learn Ultra is just a better experience for staff and students. The progress tracking button where I can see how many students have accessed my materials is absolutely brilliant– myself and my students use it. My students use it to self-mark, and I use it for the data to see whether students are engaging with my content.”

“We chose Learn Ultra for several core reasons. It’s intuitive, mobile-friendly, device-agnostic, responsive and accessible,” said Rob Farmer, Learning Technology Manager at University of Northampton. “Our staff like that their courses look cleaner, their content is at most three clicks away, and new features are introduced all the time.”

Blackboard Learn became a part of Anthology’s global EdTech portfolio in 2021. Extensive investment in features based on significant input and iteration with clients and the extended university community were pivotal in creating the user-centric solution it is today. 

The momentum with Blackboard Learn Ultra will continue, as institutions in Italy (University of Macerata) and Spain (ILERNA) have recently made announcements they are moving from their respective incumbent VLEs to Blackboard Learn Ultra. In addition, TETFund of Nigeria has recently announced plans to implement Learn Ultra in up to 253 higher education institutions representing two million students throughout Nigeria. 

“Anthology is committed to the transformation of education in EMEA, and this milestone demonstrates our dedication to the region,” said JD White, Chief Product Officer at Anthology. “We have made substantial investments in Blackboard Learn Ultra to ensure it meets the evolving needs of educational institutions. Our commitment to listening to our clients and continuously improving our products remains unwavering.”

It has never been easier to transition to Learn Ultra with new tools such as the Ultra Adoption Toolkit and bulk course conversion. The planning, change management, and conversion tools – built in partnership with Blackboard Learn institutions, their instructors, and users – together are powering the fastest, most efficient conversion process and can also be utilised by clients migrating from other VLEs.

Clients will celebrate this milestone and other innovations in EdTech at Anthology Together Europe, Anthology’s annual user conference at the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham, UK, on 25-26 October 2023. 

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has launched the Robotics Institute, a cutting-edge research center at the forefront of robotics research and innovation, led by globally recognized robotics and mechatronics expert Professor Sarath Kodagoda.  

The UTS Robotics Institute brings together more than 80 researchers to develop customized robotics solutions for industry, government, and not-for-profit partners in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, health, manufacturing and defense. 

UTS Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Andrew Parfitt said the launch of the Robotics Institute celebrates a significant milestone in the advancement of robotics at UTS. 

“This has led to genuinely world-class capacity that has made so many contributions both to the science of robotics and to how the industry will be able to develop and utilize the next generation of robotics,” said Professor Parfitt.

The event showcased key projects including a groundbreaking robotic solution to maintain the Sydney Harbour Bridge, robots to support NBN’s vast infrastructure, and an innovative partnership with Sydney Water to deliver robotic systems to assess the condition of buried metallic water pipes and concrete sewerage pipes.

Professor Kodagoda, the driving force behind the Robotics Institute, celebrated the numerous achievements stemming from UTS’s Centre for Autonomous Systems – the Institute’s predecessor – including more than 70 research and industry awards, through sustained collaborations with industry.

“Today’s launch event marks our transformation from the Centre for Autonomous Systems to the Robotics Institute, and with this, our commitment to pioneering research, impactful contributions, and a culture of innovation and education,” said Professor Kodagoda.

“Thank you to our team, comprised of world-class researchers who not only publish some of the most highly cited papers but also possess an unwavering drive to challenge convention, and to deliver research that enhances safety, efficiency and sustainability.”

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