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Higher education’s ‘new normal’: building connections in the post-Covid-19 era

Blog Editor, IOE Digital31 July 2020

Allison Littlejohn

The Higher Education sector is facing the highest level of uncertainty in its long history. Prospective students are wondering what to expect from study in the 20-21 academic year.

A recent study by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found over 70% of UK students expect some online teaching, but only 18% expect all learning to be online. Through our UCL Institute of Education ‘Task & Finish’ Group on sustained future for taught provision, we have been talking with students about their experiences of learning remotely during the pandemic. In general students are understanding about the challenges of moving to teaching online.

They appreciate that the rapid move to online teaching was necessary to protect students and staff from the risk of infection. However, they miss the face-to-face ‘connection’ with academics and other students, so it’s important to re-establish connections in ways that enable our whole community – academics, students and professional services colleagues – to work together. The question is, how do we do this in a way that allows for the current operating restrictions due to Covid-19?

The IOE’s UCL Knowledge Lab has been leading a study of the experiences of staff across UCL during the rapid move to online teaching, research and working from home through the UCL Moving to Online Teaching and Homeworking project (MOTH). Data was gathered beginning March 26, 2020 via an online survey, with (more…)

Wellbeing: engaging with students on their experience of moving online

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 July 2020

Nadine Zwiener-Collins, Lisa Fridkin, Neus Bover-Fonts.

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, universities worldwide have experienced rapid changes to the way they teach, especially the move to online teaching. These changes and their consequences are widely discussed within the Higher Education sector; however, because the changes are so new, systematic evidence on how students are coping is just emerging and so far, we know little about students’ own perceptions of the impacts on their learning experience and wellbeing.

These impacts are likely to be complex and multidimensional, and shaped not only by the students’ own diverse backgrounds and individual circumstances but equally by the specific responses of universities and individual programmes to the crisis.

We asked one cohort of students about the effects of the crisis on their wellbeing and learning just after the end of Spring Term and shortly after (more…)