Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 17th April 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 17th April 2020

HE Policy

So long, and thanks for all the TEF? (WonkHE, 15/04/2020)

It seems that the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (the TEF) is now without a date for 2021.

Student Numbers, Admissions, and Standards

Predicted grades appeal system is not fair, ex-Ucas chief says as she warns it favours middle class students (Telegraph, 13/04/2020)

Students who wish to appeal can sit an exam at the start of next academic year – but they risk having to take an ‘enforced gap year’

First British university announces delay to start of next academic year due to coronavirus (Telegraph, 14/04/2020)

Aberdeen University said that its autumn term will begin two weeks later than planned to give staff time to “adapt” to the new environment

University Status and University Funding

Universities brace for huge losses as foreign students drop out (Guardian, 11/04/2020)

Call for a government bailout worth billions to help sector survive the crisis

A student-centric bailout for universities (HEPI, 15/04/2020)

Universities UK (UUK) have proposed a series of measures to ensure that the higher education sector isn’t irreparably damaged by the Coronavirus crisis. But is there a better way of looking at this, through a student lens?

Another perfect storm? The likely financial impact of Covid-19 on the higher education sector (HEPI, 12/04/2020)

Post by Andrew Connors, the Head of Higher Education at Lloyds Bank

Tuition Fees and Student Finance

Universities warned not to force students to pay for any extra terms in order to graduate (Telegraph, 15/04/2020)

Students should not be made to pay more in tuition fees due to coronavirus, the higher education minister says

In the turmoil of the Covid-19 crisis, students must not bear the brunt of universities’ woes (HEPI, 17/04/2020)

Student loans – data science case study (Gov, 16/04/2020)

GAD used data science techniques when we advised on preparing, pricing and implementing the sales of the government’s student loan book in England.

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

Pivot to adapt to “significant” drops in int’l enrolments, HEIs told (PIE, 15/04/2020)

Almost half of prospective international students whose study plans have been affected by coronavirus are intending to defer their studies as a result, while just short of one in 10 have indicated that they no longer want to study overseas, an analysis from global higher education experts QS has shown.

China: 39% of applicants unsure of study plans (PIE, 14/04/2020)

A British Council survey of nearly 11,000 Chinese students considering higher education in the UK has revealed 39% are undecided about cancelling their study plans.

UUK proposes delay to new immigration system to help counter “serious challenges” (PIE, 10/04/2020)

Universities UK has proposed a package of measures to the British government that would enable universities to play a critical role in rebuilding the nation following the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that the £95 billion that universities generate for the UK economy will be greatly reduced without mitigations and support.

Coronavirus and Chinese students: UK universities told not to prevaricate (UB, 17/04/2020)

HE providers must be decisive and sensitive as Covid-19 triggers a Chinese recruitment crisis, says Rocky Chi

International students could help save British universities (WonkHE, 17/04/2020)

With campus closed and learning shifted online, many students have returned home to their families, whether in the UK or abroad.

Overseas Activity and Internationalisation

International scientists need better support during global emergencies (THE, 17/04/2020)

Being trapped in Peru as countries went into lockdown showed us just how little support is available to researchers working abroad, a group of biologists writes

Covid-19 is an opportunity to reimagine international partnerships (THE, 16/04/2020)

Equitable collaborations are key to ensuring that universities can best respond to the SDGs, says Joanna Newman

Widening Participation

Digital can’t replace face to face when it comes to widening participation (WonkHE, 14/04/2020)

Is this really the moment to develop more online widening participation work? Or is this the moment when we realise the limitations of online learning and the irreplaceable value of face-to-face encounters?

Student Experience and Standards

Durham University plan for more online teaching criticised (BBC, 17/04/2020)

A union has criticised a university’s “radical” plan to reduce the amount of face to face teaching it will offer.

Further Comment: Lecturers condemn Durham University’s plan to shift degrees online (Guardian, 17/04/2020)

Distance learning: Durham University plans shake-up despite union objections (UB, 17/04/2020)

Universities UK response to NUS letter calling for ‘no detriment’ exam policy (UUK, 14/04/2020)

Universities recognise the exceptional circumstances in which students are being taught and assessed and are ensuring that the qualifications students are awarded hold their value and meet the requirements of accrediting bodies so as to enable students to progress smoothly into their chosen profession.

English universities have fewer lectures despite charging higher tuition fees, report finds (Telegraph, 16/04/2020)

Students at English universities also appear to work less hard than their peers from elsewhere in the UK

Further Comment: Students in England ‘have fewer teaching hours than rest-of-UK peers’ (THE, 16/04/2020)

Source text: New report asks whether the UK still has a single higher education sector (HEPI, 16/04/2020)

Is student course evaluation actually useful? (THE, 16/04/2020)

Virtually all modern university courses end with a request for feedback. But are students’ reactions even useful for improving future course design, never mind assessing lecturers? Seven academics discuss their experiences

Crisis-driven online exam shift ‘chance to boost academic integrity’ (THE, 15/04/2020)

Integrity benefits of remote assessment via tech and change in attitudes outweigh the drawbacks, experts say

Learning and Teaching

Stage presence: how drama schools adapted to the age of social distancing (Guardian, 17/04/2020)

Reinventing courses that rely on physical contact is a challenge, but digital training could be the perfect curtain-raiser into theatre’s brave new world

Remotely Hands-On (Inside Higher Ed, 14/04/2020)

Teaching lab sciences and the fine arts during COVID-19.

Four lessons learned from making the shift to online learning (HEPI, 14/04/2020)

We need our universities to be engines of change. As the planet, and all of us on it, face huge challenges in the decades ahead, all of humanity’s creative and innovative capacities need to be aligned and applied as never before.

Teaching Human Rights: Resources, Benefits, And Guiding Questions (Teach Thought, 13/04/2020)

Human rights education builds awareness and understanding of the basic rights shared by all people

From emergency remote teaching to resilient systems for higher education (AdvanceHE, 17/04/2020)

Has the current crisis exposed or enhanced our own capacity for virtual collaboration, social and emotional intelligence, new media literacy, novel and adaptive thinking, and cognitive load management?

Transforming Your Lectures into Online Videos (Faculty Focus, 17/04/2020)

How to avoid making the mistake that is made with nearly all new technologies—looking at them through the lens of the old way of doing things.

Learning styles are fake news (THE, 13/03/2020)

Let’s bury the fallacy that students favour particular approaches regardless of the topic, says Gavin Moodie


Covid-19 Youth Employment Group (NCUB, 16/04/2020)

NCUB is pleased to have been invited to participate in the new Youth Employment Group, a collaboration to bring together leaders and experts to help drive the UK’s response.

Redefining the employability agenda in the age of Covid-19 (HEPI, 11/04/2020)

Unsurprisingly, commentary about the crisis from the sector has focused on the problems with managing admissions, ensuring some kind of viable student experience and reworking examination processes. This is important, but so far there has been insufficient discussion of the employment timebomb that is ticking for this year’s (and maybe next year’s) graduates.

Economy and Skills

AI education must help students see inside the black box (THE, 14/04/2020)

Graduates’ common lack of deep understanding about how AI works is hindering industry take-up

IT in HE

To Zoom or not to Zoom? That is the question (THE, 17/04/2020)

The popular online conference tool, used by millions of teachers and students globally, is beset with security concerns

Online learning shift contends with Chinese internet restrictions (THE, 15/04/2020)

Academics at overseas universities find it a challenge to ensure mainland students can access all course materials

Has the leap online changed higher education forever? (THE, 15/04/2020)

Online platforms threw many universities a lifeline, but the experience could well change how they and their students view the learning experience


More questions than answers as PhD students get six months more funding (WonkHE, 14/04/2020)

In the hours before the Easter break, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) gifted final-year PhD students an extra six months of funding.

ResearchGate chief enthused by lockdown research collaboration (THE, 17/04/2020)

Survey of users on academic social network suggests many are finding more time to strengthen international ties

Researchers weigh return to labs on non-coronavirus work (THE, 16/04/2020)

‘There is a life in science beyond the virus,’ warns German rectors’ head, amid calls for attention to the trade-offs between shutdowns and scientific progress

Equality and Diversity

Does working from home exacerbate gender inequalities? (WonkHE, 17/04/2020)

In the pandemic, disrupted working and home lives are converging. Emily Yarrow and Julie Davies wonder if working from home exacerbates gender inequalities

Administration and Governance

Leadership Intelligence: How to Manage in Unchartered Territory (CABS, 16/04/2020)

Our Chair shares his advice for demonstrating effective leadership in a crisis.

Supporting resilience in difficult times – new report on executive mentoring (AdvanceHE, 16/04/2020)

How mentoring can be a valuable support to HE leaders in these challenging times

Adequate is enough – and some days we won’t manage even that (THE, 16/04/2020)

University managers must accept that business as usual is not an option for many university staff, says Petra Boynton

Trends, Developments and Opinions

Universities must create opportunities for the people coronavirus will harm most (Guardian, 16/04/2020)

Let’s use this pandemic to reimagine society – starting with education and employment where they’re most needed

What the Post-COVID-19 world could look like for business schools (CABS, 16/04/2020)

Professor Zahir Irani assesses the best and worst case outcomes for business schools after COVID-19.

For the emerging transition, the sector has lots to learn from SU leadership (WonkHE, 17/04/2020)

Over the past few weeks, the higher education sector – and the student experience with it – has undergone a significant, if not the most dramatic, change it has ever seen.

Critical thinking and communication will be more necessary than ever post-pandemic (THE, 12/04/2020)

Skills learned in arts and humanities degrees will be vital in understanding the effects of the coronavirus crisis

UK universities have come together to maintain quality standards during this crisis (THE, 14/04/2020)

Providing hardship funding to buy laptops and being flexible with evaluations are among the best practices the QAA has observed, writes Vicki Stott