SUMS Consulting has been talking to university leaders about managing the Covid-19 crisis and their visions for the future. With views gathered from a series of one-to-one interviews, SUMS’ Community of Practice Groups meeting virtually, along with student surveys, SUMS is able to take a service-by-service review of university operations. It has found a sector eager to change and seeing positives in adversity.   Here, Claire Taylor and Nick Skelton, Principal Consultant and Associate Consultant share insight from their research into the implications of the pandemic on Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

In response to Covid-19 and social distancing restrictions, many universities were quick to move the remainder of their 2019/20 teaching online. For some students, this will have meant little change with Semester 2 entering its closing weeks. For others – those on January starts, year-long professional courses or just about to start pre-sessional activity – a much higher proportion of teaching will be delivered through this different mechanism.

Whilst it is admirable that so much has been done so quickly, the quality of provision will have suffered due to speed of transition and lack of knowledge and experience of the majority of staff in delivering teaching wholly online. Indeed, for many lecturers this will have been their first experience of delivering online content. In this immediate timeframe, students are likely to accept a lower quality of provision: engagement levels will have been forged through face-to-face tuition and will sustain through this transition. For new modules, the digital experience will need to be the source of that engagement.

SUMS has been working with a number of institutions and with the network of educational technologists across the sector to understand the impact and opportunities that Covid-19 offers.

Read the full Rapid Response Briefing Paper here.


SUMS’ consultants are gathering in-depth views from university leaders across the full breadth of university operations. We’ll be publishing their service-by-service findings later this month. Register here to receive your copy of our full sector report.

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