Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 10th April 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 10th April 2020

HE Policy

UK government to tackle foreign interference at universities  (PIE, 07/04/2020)

The UK government will tackle foreign interference at British universities by working with Universities UK and by promoting diversification of international students, responding to a prior inquiry which cited a failure to protect academic freedom.

Student Numbers, Admissions, and UCAS

Higher education regulator urges fairness for students in admissions (OfS, 04/04/2020)

Office for Students chief executive Nicola Dandridge has written to all universities and colleges reinforcing the extended moratorium on unconditional offers or changing existing offers announced by the Universities Minister Michelle Donelan.

New poll finds almost one-third of applicants feel less confident they will get into their chosen university since the Coronavirus pandemic (HEPI, 07/04/2020)

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has worked with YouthSight on a poll of over 1,000 full-time undergraduate students and over 500 applicants to higher education to see how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting them.

Further Comment: Fewer than half of students think their predicted grade will accurately reflect their ability (Telegraph, 07/04/2020)

We must not forget the impact of Covid-19 on postgraduate study in 2020/21 (HEPI, 06/04/2020)

We need to plan ahead to support PGT participation and Covid-19 will require us to finally start thinking differently.

Changing student recruitment in light of Covid-19 (WonkHE, 06/04/2020)

Approaches to UK student recruitment have changed remarkably little in the last quarter century. And as a profession, we have been slow to imagine new ways of doing things. The current crisis shows us how we might be braver, to manage the current crisis and do things differently on the other side of it.

Will recruiting more home students be enough to help providers who will lose out internationally? (WonkHE, 05/04/2020)

Within broader international student numbers and financial data we can see some providers that are particularly dependent on student fee income from students in Asia.

We can make admissions work without A levels (WonkHE, 05/04/2020)

There are no A levels this year, but what replaces them can be made to work for the higher education admissions system with a bit of thought

Why delaying term starts until January is a bad idea (THE, 08/04/2020)

Starting terms in January to avoid second-wave coronavirus outbreaks will be too costly for universities and damage students’ educational progress, says Anthony Seldon

We should take this time to address the flaws in UK admissions (THE, 04/04/2020)

Post-qualification applications will greatly improve access to UK universities, says Robin Hardman

University Funding and University Status

Universities warn of going bust without emergency funds (BBC, 10/04/2020)

Universities across the UK are calling for emergency funding of at least £2bn, warning some institutions will go bust without it.

Source text: Package of measures proposed to enable universities to play a critical role in rebuilding the nation (UUK, 10/04/2020)

Further Comment: Universities demand £2 billion Government bailout as they warn institutions face ‘financial failure’ (Telegraph, 10/04/2020)

UK universities plead for billions of pounds in support (Guardian, 10/04/2020)

Universities face a financial storm – that’s why we need government help (Guardian, 10/04/2020)

Universities UK: state bailout required to save institutions (THE, 10/04/2020)

Too big to fail? A request for government support for providers following Covid-19 (WonkHE, 10/04/2020)

UUK has published details of a package to support universities as we emerge from Covid-19. David Kernohan asks what it might mean for your institution

How can universities climb out of the coming financial abyss? (WonkHE, 05/04/2020)

With the pandemic posing a huge threat to universities over the next year, Debbie McVitty asks what the options will be for a sector looking to stay the course.

Tuition Fees and Student Finance

What fees will EU students end up paying next year? (HEPI, 10/04/2020)

With no guidance yet from the UK Government about the fee status of EEA students attending UK universities following the currently scheduled end of the transition period, there is a cliff-edge approaching.

Keep calm and carry on paying your tuition fees (and rent) (WonkHE, 10/04/2020)

As the emergency turns into a prolonged crisis, what is it reasonable for students to expect from their experience? Jim Dickinson has a think

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

UK: int’l students call tuition payment “painful” (PIE, 08/04/2020)

Almost half of international students in a recent survey by payments company Flywire have said they wouldn’t recommend a university to others if they experienced difficulties during the payment process.

Looking after international students during the Covid-19 crisis – and after (HEPI, 09/04/2020)

More than half of Chinese students ‘could still cancel UK study plans’ (THE, 09/04/2020)

British Council survey suggests more than a third are still undecided about whether to continue with applications

International student hit ‘core financial problem’ for UK sector (THE, 07/04/2020)

Virus crisis will affect domestic recruitment, but impact of falling overseas admissions seen as greater

Widening Participation

Could coronavirus make university education fairer? (Independent, 08/04/2020)

In the coming months, Covid-19 is going to force us to try out virtual teaching on a mass scale. If down the line it leads to students being taught by the brightest and best, shouldn’t we embrace it? Steven Cutts isn’t so sure

We must not abandon widening participation this year (WonkHE, 05/04/2020)

With the pandemic upending this year’s A levels and university entry, Jonathan Simons argues that hard-fought progress on WP and equality could be lost.

Degree apprenticeships can improve access for disadvantaged students (THE, 05/04/2020)

On the third anniversary of the UK’s national apprenticeship scheme, Simon Hunt calls for more buy-in

Student Experience and Standards

QAA’s new guidance: higher education responses to the COVID-19 challenge (QAA, 07/04/2020)

Thematic guidance on four areas is now publicly available on the QAA website

Is necessity the mother of invention? (AdvanceHE, 09/04/2020)

Necessity can be the mother of invention and brilliance. However, it can also be the mother of other things, too, such as mediocrity, compromise and poor reactive decisions.

Online teaching provides ‘same outcomes as in-person courses’ (THE, 08/04/2020)

New paper finds STEM students scores were not negatively affected by switch to online or blending learning

Could the coronavirus force positive change in higher education? (THE, 09/04/2020)

We need to build on the speed and enthusiasm with which academics have embraced online teaching

National university curriculum not the answer to ‘low quality’ courses (THE, 07/04/2020)

The UK’s existing oversight by external visitors and professional bodies is the best way to safeguard standards, says Colin McCaig

Learning and Teaching

Finite and Infinite Pedagogies in the Transition Online (Inside Higher Ed, 08/04/2020)

James Miller asks, as professors move to virtual instruction, how do they hold on to the open-ended creativity of discussion more common in the physical classroom?

Turning the Tide on Online Learning (Inside Higher Ed, 08/04/2020)

Only when it provides the full range of instructional connection points available in a traditional classroom will it begin to be a viable educational model, argues William G. Durden.

Good Questions for Better Essay Prompts (and Papers) (Faculty Focus, 08/04/2020)

Most professors would admit that they’ve found themselves frustrated when grading papers.

Economy and Skills

What does COVID-19 mean for the future of work? (NCUB, 06/04/2020)

In a time when we are all adjusting to a new way of working as a result of COVID-19, it is interesting to reflect on what this might mean for how we work in the longer term.


‘Recruitment is on hold’: the students graduating into the Covid-19 recession (Guardian, 10/04/2020)

Businesses are scaling back graduate recruitment, leading to fears of a ‘lost generation’ with limited options

Will Covid-19 cause a rise in graduate unemployment? (WonkHE, 07/04/2020)

Short answer: Yes.

Resilience in adversity: supporting graduate careers during Covid-19 (WonkHE, 07/04/2020)

Research by the Institute of Student Employers showed around a quarter of employers expect to recruit fewer graduates, and 31 per cent expect to recruit fewer interns and placement students because of the impact of the virus.

IT in HE

Facebook comes full circle with plan to launch social network for universities (Telegraph, 09/04/2020)

Social media giant working on ‘Campus’ service, in a return to the company’s college roots

How to prioritise IT services through extended periods of closure (JISC, 09/04/2020)

As teaching and learning has quickly moved to a remote model, what do you need to consider when planning IT service maintenance?

Clever tricks to find open access content during the pandemic (JISC, 09/04/2020)

Publishers, aggregators and libraries are helping to make research and course materials available online open access. But is there a knack to finding them?

Security settings ‘essential’ as online collaboration increases (JISC, 07/04/2020)

During coronavirus lockdown, online collaboration tools are seeing a global surge in popularity. Ensuring security settings are up to date remains an essential consideration.


Managing research risks – riding the wave of #phdpandemic (JISC, 07/04/2020)

With COVID-19 jeopardising research projects, you might think it’s a bit late for risk assessments. Not according to Pat Thomson.

Charting the REF waters ahead (WonkHE, 07/04/2020)

Decisions to be made

Researching Covid-19 must not become a feeding frenzy for opportunists (THE, 09/04/2020)

Whatever the truth around Mauro Ferrari’s resignation from the ERC, the affair raises an important issue, says Luca Magnani

Huge Covid-19 output prompting ‘sea change’ in access to research (THE, 09/04/2020)

Data suggest research related to the outbreak already numbers thousands of publications

Administration and Governance

Leading through coronavirus: strategy, sweet spots and shifting to sustaining (AdvanceHE, 06/04/2020)

The complex, big picture world ‘out there’ is uncertainty personified, unpredictable and unfathomable beyond most of our imaginings and falls largely into the ‘out of our control’ realm of thinking.

Trends, Developments and Opinions

University students should be drafted into a ‘national service’ to boost social mobility, Government adviser says (Telegraph, 04/04/2020)

When undergraduates start their courses they could be automatically enrolled as tutors for underprivileged children, Prof Major says