2022 – a year in review. 

Dear reader, 

We’re sure you’ll agree that 2022 has been quite the whirlwind of a year and has flown by at tremendous speed. 

 For us, 2022 has provided an excellent opportunity to gain more insight into the life of students, including their background, their aspirations and how best to support them throughout and beyond their higher education journey. We’ve seen several great independent and Kortext-driven events and publications that help us keep the student experience at heart, such as: 

The Secret Life of Students – an event run by HE policy experts Wonkhe 

The Student Money Survey – an invaluable survey pulled together every year by Save the Student  

HEPI Policy Note on Digital Learning Resources: Student Expectations vs. Reality – a look at what students want from their digital learning resources and how universities can respond

Common themes in recent research and pervading HE events are student mental health and money worries, which were already prevalent prior to the cost-of-living crisis deepening, which we will come onto later.

To address student concerns highlighted earlier in the year, on University Mental Health Day in March we teamed up with GP and mental health expert, Dr Dominique Thompson,  to provide students with practical steps to tackle five key issues they might face during their time at university. 

The changing landscape of education

In addition to finding out more about current students, we gained further insight into how higher and further education is set to change in the future when updates to the Augar Review were revealed earlier in the year. Unpacking the updates, we were joined by Professor Jonathan Michie, Professor of Innovation & Knowledge Exchange at University of Oxford and widening participation expert, Tim Roe on the first ever episode of Kortext’s podcast, The Bookmark. 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

There was also demand for changes to the curriculum. Decolonising the curriculum was a very popular topic earlier in the year with growing pressure from students and those in academia to provide alternative content and viewpoints in teaching and learning for more rounded and inclusive course content that helps students foster a sense of belonging at their institution and on their course. 

To read our exploration on decolonising the curriculum, tap here 

Who are our librarians?

We work closely with librarians every day, but how well do we really know them? Well, this year we got the opportunity to become a fly on the wall in university and NHS libraries. 

In a new content segment entitled Meet the Librarian, we had the chance to speak to librarians in their natural environments to explore their role and get to know them as individuals. This all stemmed from a Tweet we saw at the start of the year that mentioned a slice of bacon being used as a bookmark – fuelling the all-important question in any Meet the Librarian article…what is the worst state in which you’ve ever had a book returned to you? You’ll have to give them a read to find out more. 

In our first edition we interviewed the lovely Eleri Kyffin of University of Westminster. After receiving such excellent feedback, we continued the series throughout the year, expanding to include NHS librarians too. Catch up on our Meet the Librarian content here! 

Speaking of librarians…

We celebrated librarians in a big way at this year’s Times Higher Education Awards by sponsoring the award for Outstanding Library Team. With several universities up for the accolade, the fantastic library team at the University of Lancaster came out on top. Do keep your eyes peeled for an update on this in the new year once we’ve had the chance to speak with them about their nomination and subsequent win. 

Back to the cost-of-living crisis  

To help combat the burden of the cost-of-living crisis and the expense to students, we rolled out an ambassador scheme across the country giving students the opportunity to earn whilst they learn.  We also provided a discount code to students enabling them to save an additional 30% on their eBooks this semester through the Kortext store if their university did not provide them and they wanted to buy their own copy. According to the latest HEPI and Kortext student research, 35% of students ‘sometimes’, ‘often’ or ‘always’ purchase their coursebooks, despite having access to their university library, so our store offers an affordable alternative to the traditional purchase routes. 

Well, reader, much like the year, this blog is coming to an end… 

With that comes new hope! 

Whilst 2022 has certainly flown by, we know it hasn’t been a breeze – more like a gust of gale-force wind!

However, 2023 is on the horizon and it’ll be here before we know it, giving us all the opportunity to start anew with refreshed hopes for the future.   

Here’s to looking back, and thinking forward.  

Merry Christmas,

The team at Kortext.