A shorter week this week, as we had Easter Monday, of course with the lockdown I didn’t go anywhere on the long weekend and I am not going off to the office this week… this could result in an easy blurring of home and work. Though I generally am less strict during the working week, I kept the entire weekend free of work to have a decent break away. Though reading the news some relevant stuff does bubble to the surface such as this report from The Guardian on the potential drop in income universities will suffer as foreign students drop out.
Some universities are already expecting to lose more than £100m as foreign students cancel their studies, with warnings that the impact of coronavirus will be “like a tsunami hitting the sector”.
Several organisations are now planning for a 80-100% reduction in their foreign student numbers this year, with prestigious names said to be among those most affected. The sector is already making a plea to the government for a cash injection amounting to billions of pounds to help it through the crisis, as it is hit by a drop in international student numbers, accommodation deals and conference income.
There are also concerns that many domestic students will defer their entry for a year, if the first term in September will be online as it is now. I am wondering how many prospective students will defer their entry for a year as they wouldn’t want to miss the physical aspect of attending university. Similarly will there be first and second year undergraduates who will take a gap year.
We are starting to see the potential impact of this, as some universities are looking at delaying the start of term, whilst others are planning for online delivery.
Confidential documents seen by Palatinate show that the University is planning “a radical restructure” of the Durham curriculum in order to permanently put online resources at the core of its educational offer, in response to the Covid-19 crisis and other ongoing changes in both national and international Higher Education.
The proposals seek to “invert Durham’s traditional educational model”, which revolves around residential study, replacing it with one that puts “online resources at the core enabling us to provide education at a distance.”
We don’t know for sure when the lockdown will be lifted, or what measures will stay in place, or even if they are lifted, whether they may come back down again, if there is a second or even a third wave of coronavirus infections. So it makes sense for universities to plan for online and remote delivery, something which is not the emergency models they have had to put in place right now.
It looks like the TEF has been indefinitely postponed.
— David Kernohan (@dkernohan) April 15, 2020
I spent a lot of time this week discussing assessment and the challenges moving to online assessment. Of course assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning, so things you do for assessment need to be incorporated into the teaching and learning.
There are many challenges that the higher education sector faces with regard to assessment, but through my research, interviews and a landscape study, these challenges emerged as key to the sector.
Student engagement – Maintain student engagement through the next few weeks and through the assessment process, as they continue to socially isolate and study remotely.
Translating and transforming to online assessment at scale and at pace – Transform multiple modes of assessment to online versions at scale and at pace. Many universities have experience of designing and delivering online assessment, however they will not have done this at scale or transformed at the pace required.
Ensuring academic standards and quality when moving to online assessment – Maintaining the academic standard and quality as required by internal and external regulations, as they translate and convert existing practice into online modes.
Online assessment dashboards and benchmarking. – What are other universities doing with online assessment? What best practice is out there? Which universities are doing it well? How do universities compare? What do universities know about themselves?
My top tweet this week was this one.
Since Matt Hancock was interviewed from his office, this has been bugging me. What I can never understand about his cupboard/office, where is the door? Does he climb into the office? A trapdoor underneath his chair? If the door is in front of him does he climb over his desk? How? pic.twitter.com/i7lZXgYdPE
— James Clay (@jamesclay) April 16, 2020