It was a pleasure to deliver this session alongside my colleague Becky Smith, Assistant Director International at Advance HE. Speaking on the ‘collaboration stage’ at the THE Student Success Forum our focus was to highlight some of the key conclusions arising from the Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education project undertaken by Advance HE between May and July 2020. This was a rapid, large-scale, generative project involving 300 senior educational leaders from the UK and around the world. In the time available in the session we looked particularly at the priority areas of student induction, space and place, learning and teaching design and delivery (including assessment), and quality. In approaching the session we decided that we would like to go further than a passive report back, and include an opportunity to ‘take the pulse’ of the HE sector through some live polls, particularly as regards how ideas are being moved into action as the next academic semester/term begins. There were seven polls in total, delivered quickly as the session progressed, and as you will see below the results are fascinating.
The above image shows the components of our Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education project that were core to discussions. The five circles at the bottom represent each of the leadership reports which were published as outputs from the project, and the four circles above capture the overarching themes that were the focus of the Final Capstone Report.
Polls at the THE Student Success Forum
In turning 'ideas into action' which personal values or qualities are proving most important for you?
The larger the text the more the word was mentioned by participants.
As the next academic semester/term begins, what are you main Covid concerns?
Themes of health and safety, student engagement, teaching online, resilience, wellbeing and loss of confidence were seen in this poll.
What do students most look for from their induction experience?
All six of these are important factors in student induction. The options that largely require communication were the most selected options. Being ‘in the right place’ and developing early confidence is a critical foundation for student engagement.
How has remote working been for you (select one image)?
The majority of people were feeling positive about their time remote working during the pandemic. However, the sense of being isolated in a ‘capsule environment’ was also a resonant image.
In redesigning learning and teaching, where have you been giving greatest emphasis?
Online learning experiences and innovating assessment have been high on the agenda of those redesigning their learning and teaching as a result of the pandemic.
Which aspect of learning and teaching quality are you most concerned about?
Themes of student engagement, accessibility and wellbeing were seen from this poll. However, the quality concern which came up most often was the achievement of learning outcomes.
Which of the following 'process' stage dimensions of quality are currently most challenging (from Gibbs, 2002)?
Scoring high on this question were contact hours, class size, the quality of teaching and formative assessment and feedback.
Our thanks to the session participants for engaging so willingly in the live polls. We greatly enjoyed the interactive dimension this brought to the session, and the sense of a conversation that emerged. Whilst small in number, and far from definitive, the responses are, perhaps, suggestive of the mood of the sector as the new academic semester/term begins. They also provide an insight into the shared concerns colleagues may have, and also where they are giving their energy and attention.
Doug Parkin, Principal Adviser for Leadership and Management, Advance HE.
Read the Final Capstone Report of our Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education Project