How will the quality of teaching be assured if I have to do online learning?
Embarking on a course of study at a UK higher education institution is a significant commitment which is why the UK higher education system demands high quality teaching. This is how the UK higher education system maintains its internationally renowned reputation. Any mitigations put in place by UK universities due to Covid-19 will have to adhere to the same high-quality standards as usual, as explained by the Office for Students in its recent advice to English providers. This is the case whether teaching takes place in person or online.
On 16 June 2020, the UK government confirmed that distance/blended learning will be permitted for the 20/21 academic year provided student’s sponsors intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow.
The vast majority of UK universities are planning to provide in-person teaching this autumn, a new survey from Universities UK has revealed. 97% of universities surveyed confirmed that they are planning to provide some form of in-person teaching at the start of term this year, with 78 universities (87%), also stating that they will offer in person social opportunities to students, including outside events and sporting activities, all in line with government and public health guidance.
The Office for Students have added to existing advice stating “The OfS continues to regulate all registered providers in England, regardless of whether their current provision is online or not. They have published guidance that sets out the expectations for providers in maintaining quality and standards during the period of disruption resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, as the regulator for higher education in Wales, has similarly published a circular which reaffirms its expectations that providers will continue to meet their obligations for quality and standards. In Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council is working closely with the Quality Assurance Agency and Education Scotland to monitor the quality of the student experience.
OfS consumer protection guidance requires providers to be clear about their plans for next year and the OfS will be polling students to identify any providers or courses that are a cause for concern. This provides reassurance to international students that the quality of their UK qualification will not change and will continue to be valuable whether delivered face to-face or online.
You can find more information from the Office for Students on quality and standards here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/guidance-for-providers-about-quality-and-standards-during-coronavirus-pandemic/
If you are planning to study in Wales you can find more information on quality and standards from HEFCW Higher Education Funding Council for Wales here: https://www.hefcw.ac.uk/working_with_he_providers/coronavirus/coronavirus.aspx
Source: UK Government
Correct as at 29.6.2020