Jisc and Emerge Education have re-launched Step Up – an innovation community dedicated to transforming higher and further education by matching edtech startups with colleges and universities in an attempt to help solve the sector’s biggest challenges.
In light of the announcement, a list of top recommended startups has been published, with selected institutions aiming to tackle five of the sector’s most pressing issues: digital learning, assessment, employability, wellbeing and recruitment. These challenges were initially identified in Jisc and Emerge Education’s series of 2020 reports, From Fixes to Foresights.
The Step Up programme is designed to support colleges and universities by allowing them to quickly and easily choose growing edtech startups that suit their budgets, will pass procurement processes, and will drive a culture of innate innovation.
“Our mission with Step Up is to sustain an innovation-driven community that will transform higher and further education with technology,” said Sue Attwell, head of edtech at Jisc. “The Step Up assessment process means that colleges and universities are able to easily filter, select and engage with startups that will be the best fit for them.
“Our ongoing research continues to identify the biggest challenges faced by UK institutions, and our vetted top 20 list of startups will be refreshed annually, to reflect sector needs. We look forward to supporting their work going forward.”
The top 20 Step Up startups include:
Aula: delivering engaging online classes
Bibliu: bringing textbooks to life
Blackbullion: helping universities to build students’ financial understanding
Enroly: simplifying and making post-acceptance administration secure
Examity: online proctoring
Fika: mainstreaming mental fitness
Fourth Rev: driving employability in the digital community
Handshake: powering university employability offices
Inkpath: lifelong skills and career development platform
Interfolio: making faculty-specific scholarly data instantly actionable
Morressier: providing virtual conference solutions
Note Taking Express: advanced note-taking solutions
Open Campus: Drupal-based campus management solution
Peergrade: facilitating peer feedback sessions with students
Riipen: cloud-based ‘future of work’ experiential learning platform
Stucomm: providing students with the right information, at the right time, via the right channel
Uni Buddy: helping students thrive through sharing their experience
Unitu: heling universities and student unions deliver faster improvements to the student experience
Virtual Internships: a virtual internship programme that combines real work experience with comprehensive learning and training
Uniwise: helping universities deliver secure and accessible digital assessment
Nic Newman, partner at Emerge Education, commented: “The Emerge and Jisc higher education edtech advisory board, chaired by Mary Curnock Cook, identified that one of the biggest barriers for universities to adopt innovative startups is insufficient market information and the risk and cost of selection. Step Up was co-designed with the UK higher education sector to solve these problems for universities. It is clear from Jisc’s learning and teaching reimagined report that there has never been a greater desire for innovation, and we are excited to relaunch Step Up as one of the key tools to help achieve this.”
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