March’s industry round-ups
New research: Most institutions expect to be worse off, but edtech can lessen impact – survey
The PIE, 23 March
According to a flash survey from HolonIQ, the majority of education institutions expect to be worse off in the long and short term as a result of coronavirus. However, by enhancing edtech provisions they expect to lessen the impact of a drop in face-to-face enrolments. Respondents of the survey included over 700+ ministers, presidents, vice-chancellors, CEOs, senior executives and investors from 50 countries. A quarter of all respondents said they identify new technologies as their primary growth strategy, an increase of 10% since September 2019, with little doubt that COVID-19 is a key driver of this change. However, the feeling that “the time for online has come” is evident in respondents’ feedback.
Opinion: School performance tables are cancelled – should university league tables be cancelled too?
HEPI, 25 March
This opinion piece argues that university league tables, like school performances tables, should be cancelled for 2021 and 2022. This is because the National Student Survey runs between January and the end of April, meaning the results will be a mix of those who completed before the pandemic and those completing now, reflecting two very different types of student experience. It is also likely to suffer from lower response rates, given how much of the promotion of the survey is done on campuses, and many students have now left their campuses. In terms of the graduate prospects data, for 2022 this will rely on the surveying of graduates who are entering the labour market this summer. Given the economic implications of Britain responding to COVID-19, the data is also unlikely to be comparable to previous years.
Opinion: Universities will be changed forever by the Coronavirus crisis – and its aftermath
HEPI, 23 March
This opinion piece claims that the coronavirus pandemic has caused a greater sense of unity and collective mission among UK universities than at any point in recent years. It also argues that The Office for Students (OfS) has become notably more emollient and will be more flexible and empathetic after the crisis. It suggests five proposals for the university sector over the next year: first, universities need to lay competition aside and support each other through the crisis; secondly, there needs to be a unified strong voice in the sector to protect public reputation; thirdly educational vision needs to be widened; fourth, build on the opportunities that the virus has exposed, and lastly vice-chancellors’ overpay needs to be scrutinised.
Opinion: Will the coronavirus make online education go viral?
THE, 12 March
When THE surveyed leaders of prominent global universities in 2018, the 200 respondents – from 45 countries across six continents – were emphatic on one point: online higher education would never match the real thing. However, this article argues that as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, online higher education will become the new normal, a development that has come far sooner than expected and not without its problems.
Editorial reporting: Australian universities begin moving classes online to tackle COVID-19 outbreak
ZDNet, 18 March
Universities across Australia have begun transitioning towards online classes in a bid to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Queensland University of Technology will provide all lectures online, along with the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney and Melbourne University. While universities have made efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19 through online classes, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said on Wednesday morning that schools and universities will continue to remain open as all arrangements, likely to be in place for at least six months, need to be “scalable and sustainable”.
Editorial reporting: shift to online education spreads in US, covering entire states
THE, 11 March
Coronavirus cancellations are rapidly becoming the norm across US higher education, with dozens of institutions and even entire states ending in-person classes. Universities that have moved their teaching online or are making plans to do so now include most of the Ivy League, with heavy concentrations of campuses in New York, Massachusetts, Washington and California – the four US states with the largest numbers of coronavirus cases. However, there are some concerns for the shift to online learning, such as foreign students who may lack local housing options and the technological options to resume their studies online.
Editorial reporting: With 290 million kids out of school, coronavirus is putting online learning to the test
Quartz, 5 March
According to the United Nations, school closures in 13 countries to contain the spread of Covid-19 are disrupting the education of 290 million students globally. This has led millions of teachers and students to turn to online learning, much of which is unfamiliar and untested at such scale. Rose Luckin, a professor of learning-centered design at University College London, says that there are several reasons to worry about the prospect of scaled remote learning across the UK as not all schools have the tech or support to make this happen. However, Ellen Mahoney, founder of Sea Change Mentoring argues that “there will be interesting lessons from this. One is how to use technology and I hope it helps schools to be more adaptable and flexible.”