UK Universities risk falling behind if they do not capitalise on technology

A recent report by the digital services organisation, Jisc, warns that UK higher education risks falling behind the US and Australia if universities do not build on their investments in technology-enhanced learning.

The report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), says that UK Universities must capitalise on their strong track record of using technology to improve their teaching and learning.
According to a recent article by The Times Higher Education, the University of New England in Australia has also managed to lower student drop-out rates from “18% to 12%”, due to the role of “learning analytics”.

This process involves universities proactively analysing and applying the data they receive on the progress of their learners and more importantly the contexts in which their learning takes place.
The report coincides with recent pressure by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which has a focus on the teaching quality of UK universities.

According to The Times Education, HEPI advocate that higher education institutions within the UK should recognise digital technology as being a key tool in their responses to TEF assessment exercise.
Warwick currently utilise an Academic Technology Team whose IT services ensure that staff have access to technology and the support to enhance their practice.

A recent Institutional Teaching and Learning Review (ITLR) included discussions on how technology can impact on the quality and standards of teaching and degree courses at Warwick, the final results and conclusions will be released later this year.

Sarah Davies, co-author and head of higher education and student experience at Jisc, states: “Universities need to identify the approaches that work in their context and [start to] embed them into their teaching, whether this is through using learning analytics to identify and support students who may be at risk of underachieving, or using online research to prepare for engaging face-to-face workshops”.

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