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Today, more than ever, innovations in university teaching are supporting universities to prepare students for their future careers, equipping them with the skills and experience they will need to succeed.
The report was written by Oliver Burnham, policy analyst at Universities UK, who supports policy on research and teaching.
Innovation in university teaching is nothing new. Today’s best practice represents centuries of incremental changes, each improving students’ learning, and each making use of the most up-to-date teaching research and developments in technology.
During the twentieth century, lecturers moved from using blackboards to using overhead projectors to using Microsoft PowerPoint. Students have gone from completing assignments using pens, then typewriters, then computers. Adopting new technologies in educational settings is not unusual.
The past decade especially has seen education providers expanding the use of digital enhancements to teaching. As well as the fully online courses delivered by some universities, there has been a growth of blended learning (a mix of in-person and online content within a course), hybrid learning (providing both online and in-person provision for individual lectures or other course content), and increased use of digital tools and resources within the physical lecture theatre, seminar room, or laboratory.
Allow students to learn old skills in new ways by improving understanding and competencies.
Provide students with the opportunity to practise new skills that are increasingly relevant in the modern workplace.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic’s innovations and cultural shifts, we have investigated how universities can rethink curriculum design and the ways teaching and assessment are provided.
If universities give themselves the freedom to invest in digital innovation, they have an opportunity to empower a better prepared graduate population.
These changes could benefit graduate skills and employability. If universities give themselves the freedom to invest in digital innovation, they have an opportunity to empower a better prepared graduate population.
Investment in up-to-date technology, for innovations in teaching to be used effectively and to keep pace with developments in the sectors where graduates will be working.
Investment in staff, to use technology effectively and to develop future innovations. This includes provision for specialist support that can stay up-to-date with the most suitable innovations in education technology, in addition to supporting wider teaching staff to make use of these.
We would encourage the identification and sharing of best practice to mitigate or minimise any negative impacts of online delivery, for example the best uses of communication technology, as well as the role of co-creation in engaging learners.
As part of both updates to existing courses and the creation of new courses, universities can move beyond the lessons learned during the pandemic.
Universities can also be making use of the wide range of emerging evidence, practice, thinking, and technology to design courses in a way that will best meet the needs of students and employers.
It is important that universities communicate clearly with applicants on what they can expect from a course, both in content and how it will be delivered.
This is also an opportunity to be more up front about why digitally-enhanced teaching and learning – and, in particular, blended learning – is used, and what benefits it can bring.
Collectively developed resources, delivered and implemented locally, maintain institutional autonomy and distinctiveness while reducing unnecessary duplication of effort, and providing universities and students with the best quality material.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic’s innovations and cultural shifts, we have investigated how universities can rethink curriculum design and the ways teaching and assessment are provided. These changes could benefit graduate skills and employability.