Can tech help improve the experience of international students?

The Higher Education Commission has launched ‘Staying Ahead: Are International Students Going Down Under?’ - a new report highlighting the challenges of continuing to recruit overseas students to the UK. It raises a lot of questions about the UK's role as a leading provider of HE to the rest of the world - but can inclusive tech services help deliver a better experience for them?

UK higher education enjoys a world-class reputation and is second only to the USA in attracting overseas students. That position is under threat however, with falling numbers coming to the UK amid increased competition and concerns about increasing fees. I attended the launch event at the Houses of Parliament and amongst the many points raised saw an opportunity for tech to enhance the student experience and help stop the slide.

Stats presented by UKCISA showed a decline in international students in the last few years - this was attributed to many factors but discussion particularly focused on a need to identify a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for UK HE that could attract international students. 

AbilityNet is passionate about the endless possibilities tech offers in an educational setting, especially for those with additional needs, so it was great to see the CEO of JISC on the panel mentioning the role of tech in HE systems and the difference it can make to the success of every students.

This includes internal admissions, student support systems that can identify study needs, accessible virtual learning environments (VLEs), and signposting support for assistive tech including apps and adjustments. 

We know that this type of technology has the potential to increase well-being, inclusion and support for students with disabilities and learning differences, but it also provides additional support for the whole cohort of students - so perhaps it provides a USP for attracting international talent?

It will be great to see what the future may hold for technology and education and the benefits it will bring to each individuals studies. 

More information

Read the report ‘Staying Ahead: Are International Students Going Down Under?’

The twitter handle used was @EduSkillsHE - use the hashtag #StayingAhead to follow ongoing discussion on Twitter.

AbilityNet offers support to students and advisers about technology and disabilities: