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Data and learning analytics are like "gold dust" in higher education, and the sector cannot afford to put advances in this area on pause, argues Graham Cooper, Head of Education at Capita Education Software Solutions.
The use of big data to improve the student experience is a rich seam that universities are increasingly mining. In this Good Practice Briefing, HEi-know looks at a variety of approaches that have been taken by eight universities to collect and make use of data to enhance learning, and provide better support and feedback for students.
Dave Hall, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Leicester, finds the long-running argument over whether higher education's primary purpose is utilitarian or more holistic continues to dominate debate in the media on developments in the sector.
The Royal Statistical Society has warned that the Teaching Excellence Framework is misleading thousands of students by failing to meet the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value that the public might expect.
Universities must ensure they are working effectively with partners to support students' mental health and wellbeing, Office for Students Chief Executive Nicola Dandridge will tell MPs today [Wednesday 31 October 2018].
Speaking to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Students, she will say that this is a priority for the OfS because it is a priority for students.
And she will unveil findings of a new analysis on student wellbeing an happiness, which shows some of the key factors affecting levels of happiness among students, including subject studied and employment prospects.
In her remarks to MPs, Nicola Dandridge will say: "All students deserve to get the support they need to cope with times of mental ill health and distress. But there are times when that support does not get to where it is needed, when it is needed.
"Every time I meet with groups of students and student unions, the challenge of mental health is raised, and the members of the OfS Student Panel have also raised it as a priority.
"I know many universities and colleges are already working hard to improve their support services for mental health and wellbeing, but all have a responsibility to provide the right support for mental health and wellbeing."Mental health and wellbeing are complex issues, but universities are full of people who excel at working with complexity.
"So I believe that – with the challenge and support provided by the OfS – higher education providers can and will address these issues, so as to enable their students to flourish and unlock their potential."
She will highlight how the OfS is working to improve support for students in a range of ways, including challenging registered providers to improve their support for their students' mental health; funding activities that directly support students, including a guide to help universities prevent student suicides, and a £6 million Challenge Competition for innovative projects to combat the rise in student mental health issues; delivering a £1.5 million collaboration with Research England that will support postgraduate research students; working in partnership with providers, charities and other organisations to encourage good practice through the University Mental Health Charter and the Universities UK Mental Health in HE Advisory Group; and improving the data and evidence around what the problems are, what causes them and what works best to address them, such as the new analysis published today that shows how different characteristics impact on graduates' anxiety, life satisfaction and happiness.
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