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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

QAA publishes evaluation of blended learning

Date: December 21 - 2020

QAA has published a new evaluation of how UK higher education providers have managed the shift to digital delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report confirms that the transition to blended learning was rapid and effective, and highlights a number of positive case studies. The resource is designed to provide confidence in the work undertaken by the UK higher education sector this year, as well as to support our members with their ongoing adjustments.

The report builds on key questions contained in QAA's earlier guidance on UK higher education in 2020-21. QAA engaged with over 60 providers from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to capture positive practice. Students' union sabbatical officers and NUS representatives also provided their views, as did professional bodies and a range of sector agencies and groups, including Independent HE, GuildHE, MillionPlus, Universities UK and the Higher Education Policy Institute.

The report is accompanied by QAA's first Quality Compass piece, published last week, which explores ideas and discussion points on digital assessment. Future editions will explore topics including modular qualifications, flexible delivery, curriculum design, and student engagement and success.

Dr Ailsa Crum, QAA's Director of Membership, Quality Enhancement and Standards said: 'As we come to the end of a year like no other, it's important that students and international partners can have confidence in the quality of blended higher education. Through this substantial evaluation, we've found how universities and colleges across the UK have worked hard and at pace to design effective plans for safe, quality hybrid learning communities this year.'

'While there are always enhancements to be made, our whole sector should be proud of the extraordinary flexibility and cooperation it has demonstrated. Working together, providers have maintained academic standards and the quality of the student learning experience in challenging circumstances.'

How UK Higher Education Providers Managed the Shift to Digital Delivery During the COVID-19 Pandemic is published on our COVID-19 support and guidance page.

More information about the new Quality Compass series, including Quality Compass: Navigating Assessment in a Digital Environment, is published exclusively for QAA Members on our Membership Resources site. Those from QAA Member institutions can sign-up to access this site using our registration form. If you have any contributions related to the ideas raised in this first edition, please contact us at membership@qaa.ac.uk