Our response to COVID-19
As the disruption caused by the pandemic continued across the world, we remained committed to supporting and protecting our people, customers, and communities. Throughout the year, our teams worked quickly to adapt to the evolving needs of our customers, responding to an increasing demand for high-quality digital products and services.
Within Education, we saw an increased shift to online or blended learning. Our key priority was to support this generation of learners to continue their studies anywhere in the world, whether it was at school, at home, or a hybrid of the two.
We provided valuable support through our education platforms MyMaths, Kerboodle and Oxford Owl, which were updated to support home educators. Our Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme was provided to many of England’s primary schools to support children whose early language and literacy development has been impacted by the pandemic.
For students, we granted temporary free access to our eBooks via RedShelf and VitalSource in the US, and Kortext, BibliU, Law Trove and Politics Trove in the UK. With libraries closed, we also made two new courses, Teaching Online and Learning Online, accessible for free for all librarians for a two-week period to help them prepare for the coming academic year.
Oxford University Press also launched the Lockdown Learning Heroes Awards—celebrating learners, teachers and parents—that went above and beyond during the pandemic.
Within our Academic Division, a hub of the latest research about COVID-19 and pandemic response from journals and online products was created, pulling in millions of views and made freely accessible to researchers, medical professionals, policy makers, and others working to address the COVID-19 crisis.
We also gave free access to Oxford Medicine Online to NHS staff across the UK, home to over 1,000 medical books, ranging from clinical handbooks, nursing resources, medical textbooks, and more.
Oxford University Press also granted free access at certain times during the pandemic to Epigeum courses, including Teaching Online, University Teaching: Core Skills, Planning and Preparing Learning Activities and others.
In our English Language Teaching (ELT) division, we set out to help teachers, learners, and parents alike. Support for English language teachers came in the form of digital events such as ELT Together, ELTOC, and Camp ELT. We also offered a range of online teaching materials for students and parents continuing studies from home, including access to graded readers eBooks and free worksheets. One hundred million users have accessed our online platforms and products in the last year (significantly up on last year), with 9.1 million access codes made available for free. From a recent impact study, 96 per cent of participants believe that using Oxford Online Practice has had a positive impact on students’ engagement with learning English outside the classroom.
There were numerous online resources specifically to support teachers, learners, and parents manage the challenges of remote learning.
These included the Learn at Home hub; a ‘get started’ programme for teachers, knowing that teachers needed support as they returned to school at different stages through the year; a digital teaching hub, which included tips and resources to help with planning digital lessons; and the Private Language School hub, which provided support around the transition of moving your business online and adopting blended learning solutions. Teacher wellbeing was an important focus—it wasn’t just about keeping teaching going, but helping teachers keep going too.
For employees, among many other initiatives related to COVID-19, we launched the Global Wellbeing programme to support our people while they continued to work from home. The programme focused on four pillars: mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, health nutrition, and financial wellbeing. We also hosted global briefings to make our employees aware of new ethics and compliance risks that had evolved and become more prominent as a result of the pandemic.
users have accessed our online platforms and products in the last year
of participants believe that using Oxford Online Practice has had a positive impact on students’ engagement with learning English outside the classroom