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Universities take centre stage in the fight against Covid-19

Amid predictions that higher education will be changed forever by the current pandemic, Professor James Miller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University, suggests the innovative ways the sector is responding to the crisis will make it even more valued in the future.

New norms highlight the value of scientific experts and research collaboration

The current crisis has underlined the critical role played by the UK’s experts and researchers and the institutions supporting them, as well as the need for collaboration between them, says Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business.

Online Learning Summit supports shift to remote teaching and learning

As a growing number of universities move teaching and assessment online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Derby is holding a virtual conference which aims to support staff in making the transition.

New inquiry into whether "challenger institutions" offer a genuine choice for students

A new parliamentary-led inquiry conducted by the Higher Education Commission is to investigate innovation in alternative models of delivering Higher Education.

The Commission, a cross-party group of parliamentarians and leading representatives from business, industry, and the public sector, says it wants to investigate a broad spectrum of higher education institutions providing alternative models of provision which differ from the campus-based three year undergraduate course.

The inquiry’s final report will be launched in June 2017 and will make a series of recommendations designed to promote good practice ahead of the Higher Education and Research Bill which is currently making its way through the House of Lords.

The Bill will introduce a new regulatory architecture which will relax regulations to allow high quality entrants to enter the market. The Commission said it is important to consider whether the newer so-called ‘challenger institutions’ – who may offer alternative models of provision – are genuinely expanding the choice for students in the market. The inquiry, chaired by Lord Norton of Louth and Professor Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor of the University of Winchester, will examine whether these institutions offer a distinct alternative and offer recommendations for cross-sector learning.

The inquiry follows the HE Commission's From Bricks to Clicks report which investigated the potential of data analytics in HE and how providers could use data to better deliver education.

A call for evidence is to be issued in the New Year, inviting insights from sector bodies, employers, and universities on the innovation taking place in institutions providing an alternative model of provision.

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