Home Office Visa Compliance in the Next Normal

Sarah Gallagher | International Student Management Expert

A guide to International Student Management

by Sarah Gallagher

The education sector has changed dramatically in a year. Bore out of necessity, we have seen the meteoric rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. With this sudden shift from in-class teaching across the globe, a question mark surrounds the adoption of online learning; and whether the trend will continue post-pandemic.

In this article, we will look at what effect blended learning has had on Home Office Visa Compliance; and how your institution can be in the best position to prepare for what the new academic year brings.

The Problem

Before the pandemic, clients could use physical attendance as a means of accounting for engagement, as attendance is a key indicator of student success. However, with e-learning now unavoidable, this metric alone will not truly quantify student engagement.

This becomes a serious thing to consider when put in context with the Home Office’s UKVI Compliance requirements, outlined in the temporary concessions made around Distance Learning. See the full document here.

It states that “If a student stops engaging with their distance learning for more than 30 days, whether overseas or in the UK, their sponsor must withdraw sponsorship.” Higher education needs a new and improved means of tracking attendance (including online classes), accurately collating and representing engagement levels, and reporting this data for UKVI Compliance.

Whilst the Home Office has made these temporary concessions, educators must consider what the compliance landscape will be at the start of a new academic year. Will there be a reversion back to previous requirements? Or will there be new ones, representative of a more blended approach to learning?

Whatever the answers may be, the time is now to start planning ahead. Position yourself, before these changes take effect, to have the functionality and flexibility in your corner. A UKVI Compliance Solution to handle any new requirements. This solution needs to be more than just software. It needs to be a collaborative effort between the client and provider, between people, ready and willing to tackle any curveball that is thrown your way.

The Solution

Collaboration is key

A UKVI Compliance Solution created with our Clients, for our Clients.

The SEAtS Student Success Platform offers an out of the box solution for Visa and Immigration Compliance Workflows. Adhering to the Academic Engagement Requirements outlined by the Home Office, our workflow rules can monitor;

Attendance on Campus

Card Readers, Mobile app check-in’s & QR codes

Find out more.

Online Engagement

Remote learning plug-ins – Zoom, MS Teams or any campus based signal (such as LMS login, Coursework Submission, Grade Submissions etc)

Find out more.

In addition to our early alert workflows, we have a suite of reports available to the end user for UKVI reporting and audit purposes. Our clients have seen a 98% decrease in the time it takes to generate visa compliance reports.

SEAtS UKVI Compliance Package

Our Professional Services Team delivers innovative solutions and guidance to our clients off the back of any changes to Visa Compliance or University Policies.

We offer Business Process creation workshops, helping us to interpret our clients’ requirements. From this, we can provide clear guidance on solutions, based on industry experience and lessons learnt.

Our experts then create custom user acceptance testing documentation, taking you through the test process and use case scenarios. Together, we test the workflow from end to end, ensuring the solution meets the business requirements of the institution.

We have developed functionality which enables Universities to make amendments to their existing or new workflows via the self-service workflow editor. Our Training and Knowledge Transfer team will cover this in detail, along with the training on the main application and the administrative portal.

Summary

Higher education institutions are currently in the unfamiliar place of ‘not knowing’ when referring to UKVI compliance requirements for the new academic year. Many have been recently forced online and do not have the solution in place to easily monitor and report on student engagement.

With SEAtS you can transform your approach to compliance. Lean on us, as industry experts, to help you successfully implement a hybrid-ready compliance solution that fulfils the requirements for today, and tomorrow.

Free for a chat?
If you would like to make sure your institution is ready for the future, simply fill in your details for a discovery call!

Top 5 Must Have Student Scheduling Features for the New Academic Year

Student Scheduling

Introduction

Preparing timetables is standard practice in any academic institution. However, with a wide variety of schools, subjects, in-class and online lecture combinations, creating student timetables can be a difficult task. Implementing scheduling software could help to manage all of these moving parts. Transforming a once tedious task into useful student engagement data. In this article, we will look at our top 5 features to look for in a future-focused student timetabling solution.

1.      Blended Learning Functionality

Before the pandemic, contrasting views collided over the inevitability of higher education students moving from in-person to online classes. In just one year, higher education has been forced online, making the argument redundant. Students now require unprecedented flexibility in how they interact with their classes and your institution should be equipped to offer it. Offering blended learning to students requires more than online access. It requires the continued support online that would be readily available in-person. Student support comes from visibility. Visibility over potentially struggling students and the ability to intervene in a timely manner.

Reclaiming visibility over your students’ progress begins with a hybrid-ready scheduling software, to go beyond blocking out time slots and begin your students’ success journey.  Here’s what to keep an eye out for:

Room Availability
The ability to check room or lecture hall availability and manage any arising conflicts.

Add Online Classes
The ability to add online lecture access details with ZOOM and Microsoft Teams integrations (among others). So, your students can log-in to their online classes seamlessly, in one place.

Space Management
With a scheduled class of 150, and physical room capacity set at 75, the obvious approach would be to alternative online and physical classes between the students. However, there will be students who do not wish to attend any physical classes, which brings another level of complexity to the whole process. Here is where being able to offer a fluid hybrid learning experience is going to simplify your campus management. Give students the option to reserve their own seat for lectures. Then, when capacity is reached, allow for online attendance.

2.      Placement & Internship Management

Look for capabilities to schedule work experience, clinical placements, apprenticeships and any other off-campus aspects of your students’ education.

3.      Create One-off Events

For unplanned or one-off events, you should be able to create them and notify everyone within just a click.

Add Guest Speaker/Lecturer
An added feature to look for is the ability to add guest speakers or lecturers to your timetable, even if they are not faculty members.

4.      Real-time Notifications & Updates

The importance of having student scheduling software operating in real-time cannot be understated. It allows for live notifications of schedule changes and cancellations. Keeping students and faculty on the same page, saving time and preventing any confusion.

5.      Student Attendance & Engagement Monitoring

What happens after you’ve finalised and dispatched a timetable to your students? Do you have the power to assess each students’ engagement level with their schedule? Are they attending class? Make sure that these questions evoke positive answers by tracking student attendance and engagement. Monitoring these metrics efficiently allows you to identify and intervene with at-risk or underperforming students early, before there is any irreparable damage done.

Look also at your student attendance monitoring system’s campus integration capability. Combine new and existing data for a holistic view of student engagement.

Summary

The new normal is here and higher education institutions need to be in the best possible position to offer a fluid blended learning experience to their students. Find a timetabling solution for your institution that can make adjusting to academic life post-COVID as easy as possible.

February Updates

What better way to kick off Spring than with the latest feature updates to help us take another step on our journey back to normal. The big stories this month are:

  • Introducing new ways to measure class and online attendance that help support students out on placements and apprenticeships.
  • SEAtS Moodle and Blackboard connectors now push Last Activity and Last Seen Online updates straight to the student dashboard so you can see live engagement status for every student.
  • SEATS is now live on the Microsoft Marketplace as the next step in our Microsoft Education Partnership!
    Read more

SEAtS is now available on Microsoft Marketplace

SEAtS Software, a Microsoft Preferred Solution Partner, is thrilled to announce the availability of our student attendance app, early alert, learning analytics, and timetabling scheduler solutions on the Microsoft Azure and AppSource Marketplace.

 

Each pack is available for 2,000, 5,000, or 10,000 students and comes with everything you need to get up and running fast for semester 2 including onboarding and training.

 

The Microsoft AppSource & Azure Marketplace are online markets for buying and selling cloud solutions certified to run on Azure, connecting campuses seeking innovative, cloud-based solutions with partners who have developed ready-to-use solutions. The availability of SEAtS on AppSource will make it easier for established Azure customers to purchase and use this innovative solution.

 

“We’re excited to welcome SEAtS Software to Microsoft AppSource, which gives our partners greater exposure to cloud customers around the globe. Microsoft AppSource offers partner solutions such as SEAtS Software to help customers meet their needs faster.”

—Toby Bowers, General Manager, Business Applications Group, Microsoft Corp.

 

Simply pick a solution that suits your institutional needs, buy SEAtS today on your Microsoft Enterprise Account, and start your Student Success Journey.

Student Attendance on Microsoft Marketplace

Student Attendance

SEAtS Learning Analytics on Microsoft Marketplace

Learning Analytics

Student Timetable Scheduler on Microsoft Marketplace

Hybrid Timetabling

CovidSafe Campus

SEAtS Contact Track and Trace Add-on is now available to existing customers free of charge. This offer also applies to new customers signing up before 30th November 2020.

Read more

September Updates

Our development team has been working hard to bring you innovative updates around powerful room occupancy tools, supercharged search capabilities, and COVID19 contact track and trace reporting. Read more

August Updates

Our development team has been working hard to bring you innovative updates around powerful room occupancy tools, online engagement features, and efficient absence management. Read more

July Updates

Our development team has been working hard to bring you innovative updates around powerful room occupancy tools, online engagement features, and efficient absence management. Read more

June Updates

Our development team has been working hard to bring you innovative updates around powerful reporting capabilities, Read more

Time for Student Success

University Challenges #4 Time for Student Success
As a senior administrator in higher education over many years, the most enjoyable time of year for me and most of my colleagues was graduation. Read more

The Year in Numbers

As 2019 comes to a close, we take a look at the numbers that made up another successful year.

SEAtS in numbers

November Updates

SEATS November Updates

SEAtS is constantly being updated and improved to make student engagement even easier.

Whether you’re an existing SEAtS user or you want to find out more about the No.1 Read more

October Updates

SEAtS is constantly being updated and improved to make student engagement even easier.

Whether you’re an existing SEAtS user or you want to find out more about the No.1 Student Success Platform, we’ve got a collection of exciting updates to share.

Read more

October Coming Soon

SEAtS Coming Soon

It’s been a busy autumn here at SEAtS as we continue to work towards some big improvements for the holiday season. Put simply, we cannot wait to show you what is coming. So….drum roll please!!!

Read more

September Updates are here

September New features

Our development team have been hard at work this summer at SEAtS HQ.

Whether you’re an existing SEAtS user or you want to find out more about the No.1 Student Success Platform, we’ve got a collection of exciting updates to share.

Read more

SEAtS Video Tutorial #1 – Custom Colour

Learn how to change the colour of your SEAtS dashboard with SEAtS Tutorial.

More video tutorials will be published over the coming weeks to showcase a number of new features that have been introduced. STAY TUNED!!

Should you build or buy a Software Solution?

SEAtS eBook - in-house vs off the shelf

Time and time again, business owners debate whether to build or buy a software solution to solve the many problems they face.

This is especially apparent in the higher education sector Read more

Summer Updates are here

SEAtS New Features

Our development team have been hard at work this summer at SEAtS HQ.

Whether you’re an existing SEAtS user or you want to find out more about the No.1 Student Success Platform, we’ve got a collection of exciting updates to share.

Read more

10 Reasons why you need to be using SEAtS Software

Ten Reasons why you need to be using SEAtS Software
1. Student Retention increases on average 12% in one year

Retaining more students is about finding those who are struggling and facilitating a journey towards Student Success. Better student retention results in increased revenue, reputation and rankings.

Read more

Why is recording student attendance important?

Research Literature

First and foremost, the scholarly articles that have reported on the relationship between student attendance and ‘performance’ (grades, completion, etc) highlight the fact that there is a very clear correlation between student success and student attendance.

Read more

6 NEW SEATS PRODUCT UPDATES

Our development team have been hard at work building amazing features just in time for the New Year.

Whether you’re an existing SEAtS user or you want to find out more about the No.1 Student Success Platform, we’ve got a collection of exciting updates to share.

You will find something to help you at each stage of the student journey, with features including productivity boosters, tools for managing cases and much more.
Read more

Are students afraid to ask for help?

The first semester can be overwhelming for students; managing workload, making new friends, homesickness, social anxiety, academic stress, meeting deadlines. While graduates look back at the challenges of the first semester with a great sense of pride and achievement, it is difficult to appreciate the lessons at the time. Many students struggle with the transition to higher education, so it is incumbent on the institution to provide services that help students along the way.

Read more

Student Success – A win:win for students and faculty in Higher Education

Higher education institutions (HEI’s) in the 21st century face many and varied challenges. The reporting demands alone are daunting and seem unending. Add to this a complex regulatory framework and ever increasing ‘accountability’ and you begin to get some idea of the challenging environment of global higher education.

Read more

What is Predictive Analytics?

What is predictive analytics?

As the name suggests, Predictive Analytics makes predictions about unknown future events. Data mining, statistics, modelling, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence can all play a role in analysing old and new data to make future predictions.

Read more

SEAtS Software is top of the class for Attendance Monitoring

SEAtS Software is the most popular commercial Attendance Monitoring System in UK universities.

Corporate Information Systems Group (CISG) recently published their annual report of all UCISA member institutions. The results confirm that SEAtS Software is twice as popular as its nearest commercial competitor.

SEAtS wants to reverse a worrying trend in colleges which has seen student retention rates decrease for the 4th year running.

A key indicator of student progress is attendance. SEAtS provides the hardware and software to record accurate attendance. Attendance data combined with dozens of other data points offer a complete digital progress report of each student. Workflows allow faculty administrators to automate contact with the student and escalate at-risk students for data-driven case management.

Early intervention increases student retention, and reduces the financial and reputational loss for both the university and the student. EdTech has seen an explosion in popularity in Higher Education over the last decade, and SEAtS Software is leading the way.

Unitec Institute of Technology goes live with SEAtS in only 46 days

Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand is now live with SEAtS Student Success Platform after only 46 days implementation.

Unitec will use SEAtS to deliver the best possible student experience and outcomes, while supporting Unitec’s Student Retention, Engagement, and Compliance Programs.

Since going live, the SEAtS system has delivered the following key benefits:

  • Attendance tracking of 20,000 FTE students and over 60,000 students in total
  • Simple student check-in using SEAtS mobile app and Student ID Card readers
  • Integrated Data streams from both Peoplesoft SIS and Timetable systems.

SEAtS is student success, student attendance and learning analytics software in the cloud, on mobile, and built to work from day one. Learn more about all of our solutions here.

If you would like any further information on how you can put SEAtS to work at your institution, just drop us a mail or call us on the number below.

APP UPDATE: 10,000 v2 downloads in one week

v2 App Stats

10,349 students used SEAtS v2 mobile app in the first week of availability on the iOS and Android App Stores.

Students experienced 145,000 interactions with the new app in the first week.

The average interaction time was 27 seconds

70% of devices were iPhones

Students in the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand and Ireland are using the new app.

Read more