Reframing our academic offer
In 2013, higher education philosopher Ronald Barnett challenged those in HE to, “become poets of the university, coming forward with new languages, new metaphors for understanding the possibilities for the university.” During the past two years, we have had to face this challenge as we flipped between learning styles and different approaches to support our students’ learning in a blended environment due to the pandemic.
Rather than use change and innovation as a reactive measure, we now have an opportunity to re-consider and re-think our approach to HE as a whole. Our current academic offer has evolved significantly over the last 15 years to be complex, inefficient to deliver, inflexible for students and challenging to timetable.
What’s involved in the Education 2030 project
Education 2030 is considering how we will deliver teaching and learning in the future and is aimed at producing an academic offer that is as attractive as possible to students who have to fit learning around their increasingly complex lives. Flexibility is now key for students, whether that’s location, the ability to move seamlessly between virtual learning and on campus delivery, multiple entry points and the ability for students to pause and restart their studies as circumstances dictate. Others may want more of a personalised learning experience, opting for an inclusive assessment approach or diversity with the subjects that they choose to study.
Clearly, the future of higher education is an ongoing, wide-ranging and vigorous debate. JISC published its report on Teaching and Learning Reimagined which included a number of different visions for the future. These visions are interesting observations that challenge how we see the university but can also get us thinking about where we want to take our learning experiences.
The general ideas at the heart of Education 2030 are about developing a framework that is student-centred, robust and future-proofed to best support teaching and learning and deliver a high-quality student experience and high-quality student outcomes. Programme design should be as simple and standardised as possible to support the logistics of delivery, improve the student experience and have a positive impact on staff workloads. We want our staff to be celebrated and recognised for an innovative approach and, in an increasingly competitive environment, it is important that our academic offer is as attractive as possible to students as sustainable student recruitment is vitally important for our university.
If you have any ideas or feedback, please contact the Education 2030 team. You can share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each faculty has an Education 2030 lead (Christine White in ADH, Leanne de Main in BAL, Zoe Allman in CEM and Kaushika Patel in HLS). They will be supported in faculty by ADAs and APQs. You can read a presentation about Education 2030, and we hope to update colleagues regularly on the work we are doing on Education 2030, so please continue to look out for central and local communications in the coming months. A list of FAQs and a staff toolkit are also available to support colleagues.