New figures were obtained by Citrix, following a Freedom of Information request issued to around 150 universities, with 61 responding.
Universities were asked about their plans for the future delivery of education services, student expectations around teaching practices, as well as investment into technologies to enable remote and blended learning.
Responses suggested that 69% of universities are actively planning to implement a blended learning model – a strategic decision to deliver learning in a new way – in the next year. The vast majority (90%) say they have the necessary technologies in place to operate a blended learning model today.
Most universities claim to have already deployed the technology required for a more flexible learning model. This is likely why nearly half (43%) of the responding universities said they don’t have allocated budget set aside for blended learning as it stands.
However, investments to improve remain on the agenda for many. To this effect, 8% (five responding universities) have set aside between £1-5 million, with over one in 10 (11%) planning to invest between £100,000-499,000 on technologies to enable blended learning.
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“With new Covid-19 variants and uptake in vaccines lower among younger people, universities are braced for an uncertain future in terms of whether students will be present in lecture halls, at home, or a mixture of both this academic year,” said Mark Sweeney, Regional Vice President, UKI at Citrix.
“While most appear to have already rolled out some forms of technology to enable blended learning, some may be relying on more tactical deployments acquired for ad-hoc use – for the likes of ‘snow days’ – to deliver learning continuity.
“Many are therefore still investing further in this area in order to strategically deliver the best possible learning experience, wherever the students are based,” Sweeney added.
Of those that had access to the data (46 universities), 82% said they are seeing a demand for blended learning, while less than one in five (18%) said they are not.
Blended learning also appears to offer increased scale to universities, by enabling the provision of more global students. Nearly half (48%) of universities have considered hybrid learning as an opportunity to reach more international students. Just 11% have not considered this.
Sweeny added: “Whatever the application of technology, it is critical that universities ensure all students have access to a level playing field when it comes to learning, with technology set to play a clear role to enable students to learn, work and collaborate – either in-person or remotely.
“With record numbers of students accepting university places this year, it is important that universities prepare their technology effectively to set them up for success this year – whatever disruption may lie ahead”.
Join the Conversation: Digital Transformation 2021 Summit
The role digitisation can play in making industries more efficient will be a key theme at the upcoming Digital Transformation Summit on 28th October.
Now in its sixth year, the Summit has established itself as Scotland’s largest annual conference focussed on digitalisation and organisational change.
For more information on how to register a free place visit: https://www.digifutures.co.uk/