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Perspectives: The student view: online learning is essential in the new normal

Posted by Becky Hartnup on August 13, 2020

The student perspective is key to recruitment, retention, and student outcomes. By staying close to their students, universities can anticipate, prioritise, and plan for the future. Yet, institutional and academic leaders have told us that one of their key challenges is keeping up with the rapidly changing student population. In the past ten years, the pace of change has increased, driven by technological and social developments. So how are the disruptions of 2020 impacting students’ concerns? 

One key area has been the introduction of online learning techniques. This began as an emergency tactic, but is now being adopted as a survival strategy for universities wanting a robust offering that can survive the current uncertainty.  

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Perspectives: Yasmina Mallam-Hassam on diversity and inclusion

Posted by Vanessa Boddington on August 06, 2020

How the digital disruption of Higher Education can boost inclusivity – and why it matters for your institution and your students

If your university is responding to the disruption of 2020 by investing in technology, it is worth considering whether your approach can boost inclusivity and diversity.

Higher education has always been more challenging for certain groups of students, because of gender, ethnicity, economic background. “Evidence suggests that an imbalance in diversity can lead to individuals from ethnic minorities feeling less included within their educational environment”, with research suggesting that BAME students’ sense of belonging can impact their university experience, including their likelihood of dropping out and overall attainment. In 2020, the gap in progression rates by age 19 between Free School Meal and non-Free School Meal pupils has increased to 18.8 percentage points - up 0.2 percentage points since last year and the highest gap since 2006/07.

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Perspectives: A modern learning environment

Posted by Vanessa Boddington on July 30, 2020

If your institution is introducing - or expanding its use of technology right now, it is likely that your number one priority is ensuring you can continue to deliver high quality teaching, whether or not you can bring your students together face-to-face. 

The transition to digital can appear overwhelming. Given the tight timelines and looming deadlines, it may be helpful to learn from institutions who have already taken that path.  The following lessons are drawn from a VitalSource case study from 2018.

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Perspectives: Five ways to lead a digital transition in six weeks

Posted by Vanessa Boddington on July 23, 2020

It is undeniable that COVID-19 has altered the higher education landscape, and that the reshaping of teaching and learning continues to dominate the minds of higher education leaders.

Now the period of emergency online teaching is coming to a close for the majority of universities worldwide, it is time for institutions to decide on the future of their course delivery. For many, this will be blended learning – a combination of face-to-face, on campus teaching, and online teaching. The introduction of blended learning may cause some of your staff and students some concern, particularly given the tight timelines. But the implementation of tech doesn’t need to be cumbersome and slow. It doesn’t need to cause problems for your teaching staff.  And it certainly does not have to diminish the student’s experience. With the right support and tools, technology can have the potential to provide quick wins that enhance the student experience, and even improve learning outcomes.  

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Perspectives: Aurelie Soulier's recommendations for academic leadership

Posted by Becky Hartnup on July 16, 2020

Aurelie Soulier’s work is within the UK open-source technology company, Catalyst IT. She is a product specialist, which consists of supporting clients with their learning technology, design and configurations to help them make the best possible use of Catalyst IT’s open-source educational tools. As a product specialist, she uses her 13 years of experience as a learning technologist and her knowledge of learning tools to support and train her clients.

I asked Aurelie for her recommendations for academic leaders who are expanding their use of technology in order to be able to flex their offering, and continue to deliver a high-quality student experience, regardless of the circumstances.

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