July 19, 2024

Free resources for FE during the COVID-19 crisis

Author: jess.moore@jisc.ac.uk
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In a show of support to the further education (FE) sector, service and content providers are extending free access to resources during the COVID-19 crisis. Teachers and learners can now benefit from e-books, vocational learning resources, virtual reality resources, and ‘home use’ licences for personal devices.

Jisc’s e-books for FE collection, which holds in excess of 500 curriculum-mapped e-books covering GCSE English and maths, a range of A-level subjects, and vocational qualifications from levels 1 to 3, is freely available to Jisc members at more than 300 UK further education institutions.

Sector-leading publishers – including ProQuest, Pearson, Bloomsbury, Cengage, Hodder, and Taylor & Francis – have now provided a further 66 titles, which are available for free until 31 July. Further, leading digital e-textbook platform Kortext has extended its free student textbook programme (FSTP) initiative to FE, supporting higher education learners in college settings.

Targeting specific fields of study, the subscription fees for Jisc’s vocational learning resources have been lifted until 31 July 2020, supporting learners studying construction, digital and IT, education and childcare, health and social care, and hairdressing. The Vogue archive for FE, MediaPlus for FE and Primal Pictures are also available from license subscriptions manager.

Katie Butler, librarian at Ashford College, says:

“At a time when accessing online resources and independently learning from home has become vitally important to students, Jisc has once again ensured that FE students are supported with the resources to help them succeed in their studies.”

The educational charity NCFE is another enthusiastic supporter of the FE sector. Their virtual reality resource, PregnancyVue, is an immersive app that allows users to learn about foetal growth and development. It is freely available from Oculus stores, with versions also available on android and apple. Executive director of innovation, Dawn Baker comments:

“We’re proud to support UK students and teachers, working alongside Jisc to provide high-quality learning materials for free to the FE sector.”

Meanwhile, in the rapid move to online learning necessitated by the pandemic, computer software giant Adobe has made temporary ‘home use’ licences available for FE learners and staff. These give access to Creative Cloud products via personal computers, laptops and mobile devices, and are available for free until 31 May 2020.

Paul McKean, Jisc’s head of FE and skills, concludes:

“We’re delighted to see free resources extended to the FE sector, and particularly pleased to be working with publishers to extend free access to a wider range of e-books during this unsettling and unprecedented time. We hope more publishers will come forward to support the sector and are keen to work with publishers to roll out extensive trials.”

Publishers are invited to complete Jisc’s online survey, which seeks to capture the measures that content and service providers have put in place or plan to implement. The survey includes questions on provision for off-campus access and whether publishers intend to roll out extended trials or grace periods. Responses will be updated daily on our licence subscriptions manager service website.

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