Almost all (98.3%) UK universities are planning to deliver a form of blended learning in the new academic year with both online and face-to-face teaching, while around seven in 10 institutions are expecting provision to be taught “mostly online”, research has suggested.

Surveying 104 staff members at UK universities, QS Quacquarelli Symonds found that only 8.6% of those at universities providing blended learning expect teaching to be delivered mostly face-to-face with some online delivery.

38.6% said they expect their campus to be fully open in January 2021

Around 70% expect teaching to be done mostly online with some face-to-face, and one in five (19%) suggested teaching would be split equally between online and face-to-face.

Overall, just over half of respondents (54.4%) – including university deans, vice-chancellors and registrars – anticipate that their institution’s main campus will be fully opened to students in either September or October this year.

A further 38.6% said they expect their campus to be fully open in January 2021.

The survey by the higher education think-tank also found that the majority of institutions are introducing social distancing measures.

While 82.8% of respondents said their institution is installing hand-gel stations around campus, only a quarter (25.9%) said face-masks would be mandatory for staff and students on campus.

However, 37.9% said staff would be issued personal protective equipment at their institution.

Some 65.5% said their institution is holding lectures and seminars in larger rooms to minimise close contact in large gatherings.

“This is already an anxious time for students and this data helps inform students on how they can expect universities to operate when they start their studies in September,” said QS marketing director, Paul Raybould.

“These insights are more important than ever as the sector navigates this unprecedented situation and finds ways to balance delivering great student experiences and high-quality teaching, while maintaining social distancing.”

QS also compiles its QS World University Rankings. The ranking saw Asia gain ground in 2020.

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