Keynote speakers announced for the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2018

Please see below for the announcement from Advance HE (formerly HEA)

“We are delighted to announce the keynote speakers for the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2018 taking 3-5 July, Birmingham, UK.

This year we will welcome Professor Christine Jarvis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), University of Huddersfield; John Gill, editor of Times Higher Education; and Shai Reshef, President of University of the People, USA. You can read the full news story here.

The conference will position the spotlight firmly on teaching in a global context, exploring how we can learn from global communities to ensure the best student experience for all. In addition to the keynote speakers, the conference will include over 300 sessions from over 500 presenters.”


News from the HEA (now Advance HE)

We recently became Advance HE, from the merger of the Higher Education Academy with the Equality Challenge Unit, and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. The official vesting day was 21 March, when our new Advance HE website went live and we also launched the new social media accounts on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn. Please follow our new social media accounts and visit the new website for news and frequently asked questions where we will keep you updated with our progress.

The theme for this year’s Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference (formerly HEA Annual Conference) 3-5 July 2018, will be “Teaching in the spotlight: Learning from global communities”. If you missed the Annual Conference last year and would like to know more, you can read about the highlights or watch the videos of the keynotes on our YouTube channel.

Last month we also celebrated Fellowship Week after reaching the milestone of 100,000 HEA Fellows. This infographic provides a snapshot of what a Fellowship of 100,000 people looks like. During the week we were proud to be able to share blogs written by our community of Fellows around the world about the impact Fellowship has had on their teaching

Want to find out more about the GDPR?

Demand from the sector for information and advice on the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been strong, and seems to be increasing the closer we get to the day it becomes law on 25 May, 2018.

In response, Jisc staged a free GDPR conference on 6 December, which quickly sold out. If you missed it, don’t worry because each of the main speakers and the resulting films are online now.

For more information, follow this link.

PebblePad for Apprenticeships: reflections on an event held in December

Degree Apprenticeships and eportfolios

Every year, the team behind PebblePad tries to run an event aimed squarely at exploring topics our community would like to learn more about. Last year they explored the use of eportfolios to support professional development, and the year before that looked at the idea of future readiness.

This year they’ve turned their attention to Degree Apprenticeships, a topic exercising and exciting universities in equal measure. Although Degree Apprenticeships are currently only available in England and Wales, there should be plenty of interest in this blog post for readers elsewhere too.

Find out more here.


HEA’s TEF 2 submission analysis and webinar

This HEA research is an analysis of the narratives taken from the submissions from the first ‘trial’ year published in June 2017, and explores themes that UK universities have identified as being relevant for delivering excellent teaching.

Here you can read the full report, the report infographic, HEA’s response to the report and the press release.

The HEA is hosting a webinar on Thursday 14 December 13:00 (GMT) that will provide highlights from the research. This webinar is free to subscribers.



Wonkfest 17: revenge of the experts

The first Wonkfest will be held at Ravensbourne College on November 6-7

Wonkfest is for UK higher education professionals: from the policy wonks and planners to comms, marketing and public affairs professionals, academics with an interest in the future (and present) of UK HE and everyone in between. Joining them will be politicians, journalists, civil servants, business leaders and others from civil society with a stake in the future of our universities.

It’s a festival, not a conference, so sessions will run concurrently, food and drink will be available throughout both days and there’ll always be something to do at one of our different stages and areas.

For more information, follow this link.

News and upcoming events from the HEA

September will start with a bang with the announcement of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme winners and the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence finalists, days before the NET2017 Conference and the gala dinner which will celebrate the first winners of Global Teaching Excellence Award.

To help ease you back into the swing of things, and plan for your continued professional development throughout the year, the HEA has extended its early bird offer on all 17-18 training and events* if you book before 15 September 2017.

*Excludes NET Conference 2017 and Global Insights USA


Conferences and Events

> NET2017 Conference – LAST CHANCE TO BOOK
5-6 September 2017, Churchill College, University of Cambridge

> Teaching Excellence Programme – First Workshop
7 September 2017, HEA, York

> New to Programme Leadership: Higher and Degree Apprenticeships
12 September 2017, Manchester

> Virtual reading group: September
18 September 2017, Online

> Academic Leadership Programme – First workshop
19 September 2017, HEA, York

> Principal Fellow Writing Retreat
21 September 2017, Friends House, London

> Senior Fellow Writing Retreat
21 September 2017, Friends House, London

> New to Teaching in Higher Education
27 September 2017, HEA, York

> HEA STEM Conference 2018: Creativity in Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement
31 January & 1 February 2018, venue TBC – Call for papers now open

University staff conference 2017

We are now just three weeks away from our staff conference and fringe events; we hope to see many of you at the various sessions. Staff from the CLE will be presenting at both the main conference and the fringe.

You can find out more information from the links below:

In the meantime if you have any other question please email


The incredible machine: what next for TEF? – conference June 8th

The Teaching Excellence Framework has proved to be the most controversial policy in UK higher education over the last two years. With the results of TEF2 eagerly anticipated, on 8th June in London, Wonkhe is hosting a one-day conference to explore all the important issues and to look ahead to the future of the exercise.

To find out more, and book a place, click here.

“Don’t call us lazy!”Jisc’s learning analytics app

This year, Jisc will be releasing a learning analytics student app (part of their effective learning analytics project) so that students will be able to see how their learning activity compares with others and set targets to do better in their courses. This will not only benefit students, but staff members too, who will be able to view a dashboard showing the learner engagement and attainment of their students, allowing them to better target students who might be struggling with the course, and prevent drop-outs too. The app will also help staff members to better understand how to make learning more effective.

What the TEF is going on in the Lords?

From today’s WONKHE blog:

Today the Higher Education and Research Bill enters the third day of its Report stage in the House of Lords, and it’s in very different shape to this time last week. Cross-party opposition peers, with a little help from a couple of Conservatives, have taken a legislative sledgehammer to some of Jo Johnson’s central policy initiatives, defeating the government on a number of key points, at least for now.

As we stand, against the government’s wishes, the amended version of the Bill now allows for the following:

  • Any government ‘rating’ of universities (i.e. TEF) may not be used to set variable rates of tuition fees or to restrict recruitment of students, including international students. Peers argued that the exercise was not yet ready to be tied to universities’ income.
  • Any such government rating may not be a “single composite ranking” of higher education providers, and instead “must evaluate and report on whether an institution meets expectations or fails to meet expectations on quality measures”. This was an explicit vote of dissatisfaction by peers against the TEF’s three-medal rating system, effectively giving OfS powers for a pass/fail threshold for institutions.
  • The methodology of teaching evaluation must be evaluated by the Office for National Statistics, and approved by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament. Peers argued that the TEF’s current methodology is not sufficiently robust and has not been sufficiently scrutinised.
  • A higher bar has been set for new providers to receive degree-awarding powers. A new clause requires either a track-record of four years operating under a validation agreements with an existing provider or satisfying the needs of the OfS’s Quality Assessment Committee. And, in addition to either of those, OfS must be satisfied that the provider operates “in the public interest and in the interest of students.” Peers argued that a four-year track record is essential to protect the quality and reputation of the sector. With the Quality Assessment Committee constituted of HE practitioners, this is a protectionist move designed to make it more difficult for new entrants to award degrees.
  • Students should be automatically placed on the electoral register, reversing the effects of Individual Electoral Registration introduced in 2014, which saw huge numbers of students drop off the register.
  • Appeals against a variation or revocation of a higher education providers’ authorisation by the OfS to grant degrees have been altered to replace a narrow list of options with, “the grounds that the decision was wrong”. This was a more technical point, aiming to increase providers’ scope for appeal if they find themselves in conflict with the OfS.

TEF, in particular, has taken a bit of a hammering. Peers have criticised, amongst other things, the use of a medal rating system, the metrics including NSS and DLHE, the lack of parliamentary oversight of the methodology, and the benchmarking which means only a relatively small portion of institutions would obtain Gold (not everyone can be above average).

None of the noble Lords expressed opposition to increasing tuition fees annually by inflation; their objection to this policy is that the link with TEF means not all universities would be entitled to such an increase. The government could still award universities (perhaps all of those that meet the baseline quality threshold) the increase through a statutory instrument, as it has done for 2017 entry. But it is by no means certain to do so in the future without the quid pro quo of the TEF, and so when the dust settles on the Bill, the fee rises could be shelved altogether. Whether the government has the stomach for the ensuing fight with the sector (which had been expecting and planning for the rises) remains to be seen.


As the Report stage continues this week, the following proposed amendments could be flashpoints for debate and possible government defeat:

Amendment 145 which would prevent retrospective changes to the terms and conditions of student loans.

Amendment 146 prevents students in unincorporated higher education providers from fully accessing publicly funded student support.

Amendment 150 which will stipulate that students not “be treated for public policy purposes as a long-term migrant to the UK”. The amendment also aims to secure employment and immigration rights for foreign nationals working at higher education providers. Universities UK is briefing peers in support of this amendment.

Passing these amendments would be a big problem for the government, and it’s probably at this point that the Bill and associated debate moves firmly up No.10’s risk register. The peers’ revolt was not widely reported in the mainstream press last week, which was more preoccupied with covering the Budget, Brexit Bill, and grammar schools.

Amendment 150 on international students could reverse this. It’s a bit of a wildcard – not related to the Bill text itself, but an issue on which the Prime Minister does not have a clear majority in the Lords, nor possibly in the Commons, and not even around the Cabinet table. Theresa May is unlikely to want to suffer an embarrassing and very public defeat on the issue in Parliament and so may have to offer some sort of compromise to stop both Houses defeating her government. Despite trying to call a truce last week over the Bill, Universities UK is now lobbying furiously to ensure that 150 gets a hearing and the vote goes its way.

What’s next?

There appear to be three main ‘endgame’ scenarios that could now play out when it comes to the future of the Bill, and particularly TEF which has had some of the roughest treatment in the debate.

Remember, anything changed in the Bill by Lords needs to be sent back for MPs to vote on, before being sent back again to the Lords for approval or rejection. Colloquially, it’s known as ‘ping pong’, and it’s notorious for its ability to ramp up the political drama and the pressure on proposed legislation. Jo Johnson and his team will probably want to avoid having to go through the process if possible as it can be bruising, torturous and raises the prospect of further defeats.

Scenario 1: Compromise before ping pong. This is probably the most likely outcome and would see a quiet resolution to the political standoff. Under this scenario, the government would propose some further compromise amendments that opposition peers would accept, and the House of Lords would remove the latest changes from the text before sending the Bill back to the House of Commons. For example, a further delay in the link between TEF and fees – to 2020, well after the ‘lessons learned’ exercise – may be enough for peers to back down on that point. Other similar compromises could satisfy peers on some of the other issues up for debate.

Scenario 2: No compromise and the government gets its way. If Lords decide that they don’t want to/can’t sustain a fight with the Commons during ping pong, the Bill would probably lose the wrecking amendments and the trajectory of policy would largely proceed as expected before the peers’ intervention. Let’s remember that differentiated fees aren’t anticipated until 2019 entry that is after TEF3; the results from May’s TEF2 exercise entitle all participating institutions to the full uplift.

Scenario 3: No compromise and the Lords win at least on some issues. It’s an unlikely scenario, given it would require a rebellion of Conservative MPs to agree to the Lords’ amendments. However, the government only has a very small majority in the Commons so it wouldn’t take many MPs to rebel. Opposition peers may sense an opportunity to keep pushing the amendments that could be won – Amendment 150 on counting international students as migrants could be a contender if there is no prior compromise. But if the TEF-related amendments were to pass, it would bring a whole new level of complication and it’s hard to see what a completely revised TEF – perhaps no longer linked to fees and no longer ranked Gold, Silver and Bronze (and so lacking any monetary or reputational incentive), and overseen by Parliament – could look like.

CLE drop-in days

Each month the CLE are offering a drop-in day aimed at staff and research students wishing to learn more about the CLE and teaching and learning at the University. Our next session will be running on 22nd February between 10:00 – 16:00.

This drop-in day will have a learning technology theme and each session will link a learning tool to the Realistic Learning strand of the CRe8 Framework.

The day is split up into sessions lasting somewhere between 30 and 90mins. You are welcome to attend the full day or pick and choose which sessions suit you. Please see below for an outline of the sessions running;

  • 10:00 – 11:00 – Active – Make your lectures more interactive using their mobile devices and an app called MeeToo.
  • 11:00 – 12:30 – Reflective – Get your students reflecting using e-Portfolios.
  • 12:30 – 13:00 – Collaborate – Learn how to encourage collaboration with a quick and easy Padlet wall.
  • 14:00 – 15:00 – Co-Create – Have your students create and set each other questions and activities with PeerWise (particularly good for STEM subjects!).
  • 15:00 -16:00 – Challenging – Challenge your students inside and outside of the classroom with two interactive apps – Socrative and EdPuzzle.

Sign up and select your sessions using our online form. Registrations received after 5pm on 16th February may not be processed.

Upcoming webinars

You might be interested in taking part in these webinars.

17 February 2017, 12:30-14:00

Webinar 6: Enhancing access, retention, attainment and progression in higher education: A review of the literature showing demonstrable impact

See the description of this webinar below.  

Guest presenters from Plymouth University will present the findings of their recent literature review which presents a synthesis of literature (published since 2009) in each of the key student outcomes of access, retention, attainment, and progression.  The review locates and reviews a representative collection of empirical research that evidences demonstrable impact relating to each outcome, from which broad observations can be drawn about what works.

To book your place click here.


Register for this webinar here: 

Student Interactive Response Systems – The benefits of going online

When? Thursday, 21st February 2017 at 11:00 (London time)

We hope you can join us for Meetoo’s next webinar with Senior Learning Technologist Mick Wood from University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). 

Mick will be sharing his experiences of moving from clickers to online voting systems; why and how did they make the change and what benefits have they seen. How Meetoo is now used by lecturers across UCLan and the reactions they’ve got from lecturers and students in enabling more accessible active learning practices and measurement of learning.



The text and data mining copyright exception: benefits and implications for UK higher education

Changes in the law enable researchers to make copies of copyright material for computational analysis. This guide outlines the implications of the new text and data mining copyright exception for researchers, research support services and librarians in UK universities.

Check Jisc’s guidance for more information: