Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 19th June 2020

Business Intelligence: A round-up of the week in HE: 19th June 2020

Next Term

Should I go to university this year? (BBC, 19/06/2020)
The deadline for students to decide whether or not to accept university offers for the new academic year passed on Thursday.

Uni deadline day: ‘Covid changed my whole future’ (BBC, 18/06/2020)
Video lectures and no freshers’ week make for tough decisions

‘I don’t even know when I’m moving to university’ (BBC, 17/06/2020)
Students say they have been left without any communication from universities.

Most universities will teach in-person this autumn (UUK, 17/06/2020)

The vast majority of UK universities are preparing to provide in-person teaching this autumn, a new survey from Universities UK has revealed.

Further Comment:

Most UK universities planning in-person teaching from autumn, poll finds (Guardian, 17/06/2020)

Most UK unis preparing for in-person teaching in 2020, survey finds (PIE, 17/06/2020)

UK universities to provide ‘significant’ in-person teaching in autumn (THE, 17/06/2020)

Thinking of deferring your university place? Here’s why that might not be a good idea (Telegraph, 18/06/2020)
As 23 per cent of students consider deferring their university places to 2021, we hear from the experts why this may not be the best idea

I don’t want to go to university next year – what can I do instead? (Guardian, 18/06/2020)
If you’re planning to defer your university place until next year, you have gap year options in the meantime

Universities’ Covid-19 response: not perfect, but far from cack-handed (WonkHE, 15/06/2020)
Paul Greatrix takes issue with a recent Times leader castigating the response of universities to Covid-19

This September, students should be able to try before they buy (WonkHE, 15/06/2020)

Jim Dickinson suggests that to boost confidence, we should let students experience higher education before they become liable to pay for it.

UK university applicants rapidly needed certainty. They didn’t get it (THE, 19/06/2020)

Fee caps should be dependent on what universities can actually provide in a pandemic, says prospective fresher Nélson Fernandes Serrão

Student Numbers, Admissions, and UCAS

Universities should be stripped admissions control and places should be allocated by lottery, report says (Telegraph, 18/06/2020)
Universities can no longer be trusted to act responsibly when attracting and selecting applicants, ex-Government advisor says

Students have more chance of getting accepted at a top university this year, higher education chief says (Telegraph, 16/06/2020)
His remarks come ahead of the deadline on Thursday or prospective students to decide whether or not they accept a place for this autumn

Further Comment:

This year, students have a better chance of getting into a top university (Guardian, 17/06/2020)

‘Lockdown has a lot to answer for’: the mature students going back to university (Guardian, 15/06/2020)
Far from being a deterrent, coronavirus is inspiring those who thought they’d left education behind to start studying again

Does the student number cap incentivise over-recruitment? (WonkHE, 14/06/2020)
A curious multi-year effect of 2020s new student numbers cap means that it might make more sense to break it – for certain kinds of university. David Kernohan has the detail.

The other independently educated could miss out on HE this year (WonkHE, 14/06/2020)

Private candidates, schooled at home or following a distance learning course, are not eligible for an awarded grade this summer. Ros Morpeth calls for flexibility in university admissions.

Tuition Fees and Student Finance

Students estranged from their families could end up destitute this summer (Guardian, 19/06/2020)
The government must provide extra financial support for students and graduates who don’t have family to help them out

University students who work part-time need support – or they will drop out (Guardian, 16/06/2020)
Without a coordinated strategy on hardship funds, poorer students risk dropping out of their courses to make ends meet

International Students, VISAs and UKVI

UK gov approves 72 PTE centres for UKVI tests (PIE, 19/06/2020)
The UK government has approved Pearson PTE to open bookings for SELTs for UKVI purposes in a further 72 locations.

UK confirms post-study work stands if onshore by April 2021 (PIE, 16/05/2020)
The UK Home Office has confirmed that international students will remain eligible for post-study work rights upon graduation if they begin their studies online in the next academic year.

We need to put the bounce back in ‘Global Britain’ (THE, 15/06/2020)
The UK’s international education strategy must be more ambitious if the country is to remain globally competitive, writes Jo Johnson

Further Comment:

UK should double duration of PSW visa to recover HE sector – former minister (PIE, 15/06/2020)

Overseas Activity and Internationalisation

Time to redirect internationalisation efforts where they are most needed (WonkHE, 18/06/2020)

The pandemic offers the opportunity for UK universities to rethink their models of internationalisation, aligning their need to innovate during challenging times with the education ambitions of marginalised learners around the world.

Which nations will weather the storm on international recruitment? (THE, 18/06/2020)
Five key recruiting nations’ crisis measures on international student recruitment compared and analysed

Widening Participation

Why and how the post-Covid world could offer more opportunities for widening participation in England (HEPI, 16/06/2020)
Despite the difficulties we all face in the current circumstances, there are constructive ways forward that allow the post-Covid world to offer more equitable opportunities for young people to access the information they need about higher education.

Higher education providers must take action to protect their least advantaged offer holders (HEPI, 15/06/2020)
Higher education providers are facing unprecedented admissions challenges as a result of exam cancellations.

Student Experience and Standards

QAA publishes new guidance to help tackle the use of essay mills (QAA, 18/06/2020)
QAA has today published new guidance for UK higher education providers to help them protect academic integrity and combat the use of essay mills in their institutions.

Further Comment:

Essay mills ‘targeting students’ as pandemic crisis shifts HE online (THE, 18/06/2020)

QAA to review English academic credit framework (QAA, 15/06/2020)
The credit framework is published by QAA and provides a benchmark for providers of higher education in England to reference when designing their degree and other higher education programmes.

Further Comment:

Credit where it is due: how can England’s credit framework recognise micro-credits? (QAA, 19/06/2020)

The LockedDown Opportunity (HEPI, 19/06/2020)
Thousands of initiatives are taking place around the world to assess social, economic, health, behavioural and other impacts of the pandemic measures.

Fair and Equal (Faculty Focus, 19/06/2020)
“There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.”

Learning and Teaching

‘We’re All in This Together’ (Inside Higher Ed, 17/06/2020)
Most instructors were novices in a new environment last spring, and many sought help. In preparation for fall, colleges and others share their expertise freely. Here are some new initiatives.

How COVID-19 has changed student assessment for good (JISC, 15/06/2020)
In February 2020 a Jisc report concluded that the archaic pen and paper assessment process needed a technological overhaul by 2025. Little did we all know that the pandemic would necessitate that switch much sooner.

How can we best use Graduate Teaching Assistants during the Covid-19 pandemic? (HEPI, 15/06/2020)
In normal circumstances, universities rely on the help of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) for the smooth running of many of their courses.

Never stop asking the question, ‘What is my role as a teacher?’ (Advance HE, 15/06/2020)
“It is helpful to remember that what the student does is actually more important in determining what is learned than what the teacher does.”

Fostering Fun: Engaging Students with Asynchronous Online Learning (Faculty Focus, 17/06/2020)
I have some experience with digital pedagogy but for me personally, asynchronous online teaching holds the highest level of difficulty because my style of teaching induces and relies on a sense of community, connection, and interaction within the classroom.

Anger over Birmingham’s crisis switch to ‘generic mega-modules’ (THE, 18/06/2020)
Institution’s efforts to make teaching more coronavirus-resilient could mean research-led teaching is ‘jettisoned’, critics claim

Pastoral Concerns

New funds to boost student mental health through pandemic (OfS, 17/06/2020)
Students are to have access to a new online platform delivering targeted and high-quality mental health support, designed to respond to additional pressures caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Covid-19 could be a catalyst for a more supportive, inclusive education (WonkHE, 18/06/2020)
From the first year who cannot afford a laptop needed to access their lectures, to the final year whose family home does not afford them a quiet space to sit their exams, this year’s cohort would be forgiven for questioning just how level their playing field can possibly be.


Supporting graduate employability during the pandemic (OfS, 18/06/2020)
The latest briefing note from the Office for Students focuses on how universities, colleges and employers are working to support final year students and recent graduates to find employment during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gradual outcomes from Graduate Outcomes (WonkHE, 18/06/2020)
For the first time the public is able to see the results of HESA’s Graduate Outcomes survey. David Kernohan guides us through the key findings.

Further Comment:

What we can learn from the graduate outcomes data and why it’s important (JISC, 18/06/2020)

Graduate Outcomes in a post Covid-19 world (WonkHE, 18/06/2020)

A beginner’s guide to… Graduate Outcomes (WonkHE, 17/06/2020)
HESPA’s Sally Turnbull introduces a guide to interpreting and using Graduate Outcomes data.

Inaccurate graduate employment data helps no-one (HEPI, 17/06/2020)
Now – more than ever – we need accurate graduate unemployment data.

The rising value of interpersonal job tasks for graduate pay in Europe (CGHE, 15/06/2020)
Golo Henseke and Francis Green analyse how wage differentials and employment among Europe’s tertiary graduates have changed with task content.

Asterix, Graduate Outcomes, and the squeezed student middle (WonkHE, 14/06/2020)
Martin Edmondson highlights how difficult it will be to understand graduate employment patterns post-Covid.

Gender and ethnicity graduate gap outlined by new UK data (WonkHE, 19/06/2020)
First release of Graduate Outcomes, which looks at what people are doing 15 months after leaving university, shows stark differences for some groups

IT in HE

How can colleges and universities keep critical services running smoothly during clearing and enrolment in lockdown? (JISC, 17/06/2020)
There’s never a ‘good’ time to suffer a cyber attack, but there are certainly a few dates in the year when the financial and reputational effects of a website or email failure will be more damaging than others.

Pandemic response shines spotlight on coding in science (THE, 16/06/2020)
Debate about computer programs underlying epidemiological modelling leads to wider calls for more openness


Will the pandemic force universities to address the challenges of copyright? (WonkHE, 16/06/2020)
For Chris Morrison and Jane Secker the shift to online learning means educators and policy makers need to address copyright and licensing.

Cut UK academic publishing fees by 25 per cent, urge universities (THE, 17/06/2020)
‘Unprecedented’ financial pressure on university budgets should result in reduced subscription charges

A pandemic is not the time for academic opportunism (THE, 16/06/2020)
The urge to be proved right and the mantra of publish or perish amount to a toxic scholarly brew. Reflection is the best policy, says Simone Eringfeld

Data can improve our sustainability work (THE, 13/06/2020)
In the post-Covid world we have a chance to increase our use of data to better understand research opportunities and student learning, says Dawn Freshwater

Equality and Diversity

Gender pay gap begins for students straight after university – report (Guardian, 18/06/2020)
UK data also shows black graduates are more likely to struggle in the labour market

‘Students want to confront it’: academics on how to decolonise the university (Guardian, 17/06/2020)
Students have been calling for decolonised curriculums for years, yet few UK universities have made meaningful changes

Time for honest conversations about racism (Advance HE, 16/06/2020)
As educators developing our next generations of decision makers and innovators, the further and higher education sectors have a crucial part to play in tackling racism.

What have we done? How not to be complicit in racism (WonkHE, 14/06/2020)
In the wake of worldwide #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations, Randall Whittaker calls for structural change fuelled by lived experience.

Performing arts isn’t the tolerant refuge you think it is (THE, 19/06/2020)
Rishi Trikha says his experiences of racism and homophobia in a conservatoire show that creative fields have to be part of anti-racism conversations, too

Rhodes Must Fall returns along with call for decolonisation in HE (THE, 16/05/2020)
Swell of global anti-racism protests brings hope for change but academics warn ‘we’ve been here before’

The scientific community needs constant self-assessment on race and gender (THE, 14/06/2020)
Women and racial minorities are more likely to introduce valuable scientific novelty. Why are their ideas not taken seriously?

Administration and Governance

Connected leadership in a disconnected world (Advance HE, 17/06/2020)
Doug Parkin reflects on the model of Connected Leadership that underpins the long established Preparing for Senior Strategic Leadership programme and its strong relevance for leaders and leadership amidst the rapidly unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

Trends, Developments and Opinions

Why we should all mourn the disruption to student outcome data (WonkHE, 17/06/2020)
However we feel about data in regulation, we should be concerned that insights into equality we need will be lost thanks to Covid-19, says Deborah Johnson.

Mobilising the higher education sector on climate change (WonkHE, 16/06/2020)
The cross-sector Climate Commission’s work has begun. Sonya Peres reports on the commission’s inaugural evidence gathering event.

Maintaining trust in university data handling (WonkHE, 15/06/2020)
As students return to a socially distanced campus there will be an increased need to track, trace and monitor. First, ensure that the trust is there, advises Andrew Cormack.