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Emerging HE policies highlight new political landscape

Interventionism is suddenly all the rage with the Westminster Conservative government, and higher education is feeling the impact as new policies and legislation are brought to bear on the sector, writes Johnny Rich, Chief Executive of Push and of the Engineering Professors’ Council.

Rethinking universities from the outside in

Mike Boxall, an independent researcher and consultant on higher education policies and strategies, and a senior adviser to PA Consulting, considers the emerging post-COVID world and its implications for the future of universities. His blog is based on a paper published recently by PA Consulting, and co-authored with its HE lead, Ian Matthias.

Technology at heart of effective feedback to students, project finds

Technology is central to providing prompt and useful feedback to students, according to a new good practice guide.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in Scotland (QAA Scotland) has worked with 19 Scottish universities to ensure feedback is consistent, student-friendly and makes the best use of available technology.

Ian Kimber, QAA’s Director of Quality Development, said that in the National Student Survey (NSS), assessment and feedback was traditionally the area of the student experience with the lowest satisfaction levels.
 
QAA Scotland has produced a summary leaflet which offers 10 messages for policy makers to help encourage the use of technology to support assessment and feedback within universities.

It recommends workload models designed to support online learning, giving staff training and support in new technology and involving students in formulating assessment and feedback approaches.
 
Liz Marshall, Assistant Academic Registrar at the University of the West of Scotland, which took part in the project, said: "The sharing of good practice through this project has been phenomenal. One key thing for us has been the use of technology and how that supports feedback, not only on campus, but also for distance-learning students."
 
Student associations in Scotland have worked with their universities to improve the assessment and feedback processes. Many Scottish universities have signed Student Partnership Agreements highlighting how student views are represented and collaborating on a range of learning and teaching activity including assessment.

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