Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 16th October 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 16th October 2020

HE Policy

OfS seeks views on distributing funding for increased student numbers (OfS, 15/10/2020)

The Office for Students is seeking views on its approach to allocating up to £10 million in additional recurrent teaching grant, and up to £10 million in additional capital funding, to support increased student numbers in 2020-21.

Universities should not profit from self-isolating students, minister warns (Telegraph, 12/10/2020)

Michelle Donelan said she will write to vice-Chancellors to say that no university should “seek to profit” from students self-isolating

UUK publishes guidance on security risks (UUK, 15/10/2020)

UK universities must take steps to security risks such as guarding against foreign interference and cybersecurity according to new guidance published by Universities UK.

Interview: Chris Skidmore, former universities minister (UB, 16/10/2020)

The former universities minister, Chris Skidmore, tells University Business about his hopes for international research, his review of the Office for Students and his memories of Boris Johnson

OIA statement in response to the impact of the coronavirus situation on the new academic year (OIA, 05/10/2020)

We hope it will be helpful to draw together here some points from our guidance for providers and students that are particularly pertinent at the moment, and to give an update on what we have seen so far in complaints arising from the coronavirus situation.


Online Learning: Universities and Covid-19 (Hansard, 12/10/2020)

University Teaching and Student Services: Covid-19 (Hansard, 12/10/2020)

University STEM Subjects (Hansard, 12/10/2020)

Covid-19 and Isolation

Will students have to study from home after Christmas? (BBC, 16/10/2020)

University students have been promised they can get home for Christmas – but will next term switch online?

Further Comment: The fear now gripping universities: will students come back in January? (Guardian, 16/10/2020)

Decision on pausing in-person lectures due ‘soon’ (BBC, 15/10/2020)

The move will help students return home for Christmas safely, the Department for Education says.

Further Comment: Universities to be asked to abandon face to face teaching ahead of Christmas break (Independent, 15/10/2020)

End-of-term testing blitz to get students home for Christmas (Telegraph, 15/10/2020)

Pre-Christmas Covid lockdown for students ‘may come too late’ (Guardian, 15/10/2020)

Five big questions hanging over guidance on Christmas (WonkHE, 13/10/2020)

England’s pre-Christmas lockdown plan ‘unworkable’ (THE, 15/10/2020)

Coronavirus: Around 9,000 university students have Covid-19, minister says (Independent, 12/10/2020)

Public Health England reports outbreaks at nearly 70 institutions, Michelle Donelan says

At least 20,000 university students have had coronavirus since the start of term, analysis finds (Telegraph, 16/10/2020)

Union boss backs lecturers to ballot for strike action if vice-Chancellors fail to heed their concerns about face-to-face learning

Can students and universities squeeze through the pitfalls of the pandemic? (WonkHE, 12/10/2020)

As the country prepares for new restrictions, Jim Dickinson wonders whether and how students and their universities will be able to squeeze through ever inflating pressures on time, money and health.

Self-isolating students told ‘wait behind in fire’ (BBC, 15/10/2020)

The University of York asked self-isolating students to let others leave the building first.

Students fined £10,000 for Covid breach party (BBC, 12/10/2020)

Police say three students have been issued with fines after holding a party for up to 100 people.

What is it about small areas with large numbers of Covid-19 cases? (WonkHE, 12/10/2020)

The emerging discourse is that it is students, rather than any other risk factor, that are the best indicator of Covid-19 in a local area.

Support staff complain of abuse from locked-down students (THE, 15/10/2020)

Front-line workers left carrying the can for chaotic start of term, says union

Long Covid impact ‘must be considered’ as cases on campus soar (THE, 15/10/2020)

Academics warn that staff, and students, are at risk of a debilitating illness that research suggests can last for months

Covid-19 surge on campuses ‘risks poisoning town-gown relations’ (THE, 15/10/2020)

As resentment simmers over increasing student cases in cities, expert says institutions must work hard demonstrate their worth to their communities

More than 1,000 Covid cases at Sheffield university (BBC, 14/10/2020)

‘Pre-emptive strike’ to screen Cardiff University students (BBC, 10/10/2020)

More than 950 Durham University students test positive (BBC, 15/10/2020)

Spike in Oxford University Covid cases after Freshers Week (BBC, 12/10/2020)

Student Numbers, Admissions, and UCAS

Universities and admissions leaders encourage students to be ambitious with their 2021 applications (UUK, 12/10/2020)

Tuition Fees and Student Finance

‘My teaching dreams have been destroyed’ (BBC, 14/10/2020)

The government’s scrapped teaching bursaries for the arts and humanities.

Cardiff University Covid support ‘too little too late’ (BBC, 12/10/2020)

Ellie Cooper says it feels she “paid £9,000 for five new friends and a couple of Zoom classes”.

University students may have a case for refunds, says Russell group chair   (Telegraph, 12/10/2020)

Dame Nancy Rothwell said students may have a case for demanding refunds if “learning outcomes” cannot be delivered

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

UK plans on student visas fail to empower entrepreneurialism (THE, 15/10/2020)

The government’s illogical restrictions deny the country a potential source of post-Brexit growth, argues Dylan Jones-Evans

Home Office ‘wants to work with UK sector on welcoming message’ (THE, 15/10/2020)

Immigration minister signals dramatic brightening of departmental tone after May era as new ‘streamlined’ student visa route launches

Overseas Activity and Internationalisation

New guidance can ensure universities protect and develop international partnerships (UUK, 15/10/2020)

Universities are today publishing guidelines to better safeguard themselves against security-related risks that can result from international collaborations.

Program to boost Russian & UK uni links (PIE, 15/10/2020)

The British Council has announced a new program to strengthen links between universities in Russia and the UK, and to facilitate joint science research projects.

Covid-19 spurs in-person and TNE route “mix” (PIE, 13/10/2020)

International students opting for a mixture of at-home online and on-campus learning is kindling hopes of wider acceptance for online and TNE qualifications globally, say stakeholders.

QAA publishes consultation on new method for the evaluation and enhancement of the quality of UK transnational education (QAA, 12/10/2020)

Anonymise online courses ‘to protect students from foreign laws’ (WonkHE, 15/10/2020)

New guidance suggests UK universities could introduce Chatham House rule for seminars to protect recruits from countries with repressive governments

Widening Participation

Are disabled uni students getting enough help? (BBC, 16/10/2020)

As universities adapt to the coronavirus pandemic is enough support being given to disabled students?

Policymakers must not forget refugees’ higher education (HEPI, 13/10/2020)

For young asylum seekers, the A-Level fiasco represents only a fraction of the obstacles they face in applying for higher education in the UK.

Do we misunderstand being marginalised? (WonkHE, 16/10/2020)

Ria Bluck explains new research that tests our traditional understanding of “marginalised” students in higher education.

Student Experience and Standards

Never mind the quality, feel the exhaustion (WonkHE, 16/10/2020)

The government says providers charging full fees during the pandemic should be offering “quality” courses. Jim Dickinson goes on the hunt for a definition.

What’s behind the rise in first class degrees? (WonkHE, 14/10/2020)

Is it grade inflation or grade improvement? Recent research by Calvin Jephcote, Emma Medland, and Simon Lygo-Baker finds other explanations for the rise in first class degrees.

Securing great outcomes for students means focusing on students, not courses (WonkHE, 13/10/2020)

Government should abandon the rhetoric of “low value” courses and focus on helping the students who are least likely to progress, says Graeme Atherton.

Learning and Teaching

Design Thinking for Pandemic Pedagogy (Hybrid Pedagogy, 14/10/2020)

I wish to offer an approach — design thinking — for addressing the challenges of designing and redesigning our teaching and learning in the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Building Relationships: How to Connect from a Distance (Faculty Focus, 14/10/2020)

Let’s take the remote out of online learning (WonkHE, 16/10/2020)

Sarah Dyer and Lisa Harris challenge the “deficit model” of online teaching and learning with tried and tested recommendations.

Does blended learning change what learning is? (WonkHE, 14/10/2020)

For Christine Rivers and Anna Holland, online and blended delivery requires a careful rethinking of the way we understand learning and teaching.

The transformation of learning and teaching is just getting started (WonkHE, 12/10/2020)

Universities have moved mountains over the past six months – but is this just the end of the beginning? Rachael Curzons distills learning from HE leaders for the next phase of change.

Pastoral Concerns

Covid: What is the mental health cost to the young? (BBC, 10/10/2020)

Could the long-term mental health impact of virus restrictions be far more damaging than the virus itself?

The importance of student friendships (HEPI, 12/10/2020)

As the new academic year begins under the long shadow of COVID, students’ interpersonal relationships are under the spotlight.


Bridging the skills gap: graduates need real-world work experience, says new report (UB, 15/10/2020)

Students need real-life work experience to secure employment in a post-pandemic world, say sustainability experts

Tackling the disability employment gap (WonkHE, 13/10/2020)

Raphaele von Koettlitz highlights how few disabled graduates are aware of the financial support available to them for access to work.

IT in HE

‘Security is not a bolt-on to the IT function’. (JISC, 15/10/2020)

Security is an issue for everyone. That’s the overarching message pushed out by the team at Oxford Brookes University while implementing its first dedicated information and cyber security strategy.


Lockdown has reduced capacity to conduct research – Vitae survey (UB, 14/10/2020)

On average, researchers spent 40% less time on research than before lockdown

Bringing academic insight into Parliament (WonkHE, 15/10/2020)

An increased demand for expert evidence requires new ways of bringing academic research into Parliament. Rowena Bermingham and Sarah Foxen introduce the Areas of Research Interest.

Quarter of citations in top journals ‘wrong or misleading’ (THE, 16/10/2020)

Forensic analysis of citations within leading scientific periodicals reveals alarming lack of rigour in academic referencing

Lockdown led to ‘more polarised’ working hours for UK researchers (THE, 15/10/2020)

Many early career researchers saw their working hours fall, but one in nine scientists worked 60 hours a week, says Vitae study

Equality and Diversity

Masked Out? The implication of using face masks for deaf students in HE (Advance HE, 16/10/2020)

I, like most other deaf people have no issue with wearing a face mask to play our part in limiting the spread of Covid-19. However, as I depend on lip-reading to communicate, going into an environment where everyone around me has their mouth covered is disconcerting, and at times, alienating.

Hope for ‘honest conversations’ about racism to ‘protect and support the Black community’ (Advance HE, 14/10/2020)

October is Black History Month and at Advance HE we are proud to share stories of Black success, experience and action in higher education.

“Lasting change requires system change” (Advance HE, 13/10/2020)

Advance HE Prof Rowena Arshad discusses how the University of Edinburgh has taken a strategic approach to advancing race equality, practical ways institutions can address race equality, and white allyship

Change male academics to create gender parity, universities told (THE, 16/10/2020)

Institutions have long framed gender inequality as a problem with women, and have been ‘strangely silent’ about masculinity in academia, professor argues


What could Brexit mean for the Erasmus scheme? (BBC, 15/10/2020)

What could Brexit mean for current and future participants in the Erasmus scheme?

UK experts propose “Scholarship Office” for EU students (PIE, 12/10/2020)

The UK needs to pay greater attention to the impact of Brexit on EU student numbers, speakers have warned during a UK-focused panel at The PIE Live, which also heard from University of Glasgow on live trends for enrolment.