There are not many that could have imagined just over three months ago, as the bells chimed the beginning of 2020, that before the end of March, the College buildings would be required to close and many people around the world would be working from home, with no indication for how long. Despite campuses being physically closed, our staff are still providing teaching and meetings are taking place using various online technology.
As a college, we have been leading the way with interactive online resources, using a blended approach to learning for some time and have been involved with the West Midlands Combine Authority’s (WMCA) Flexible Learning Fund Project since its inception.
For example, back in 2018 we reported about the College using a ground-breaking artificial intelligence learning platform CENTURY Tech, as a teaching and revision tool for maths and English courses. November last year saw us partner with Mindful Education to deliver content online for apprenticeships in accounting.
The College has a wide variety of online platforms for both staff and students to use to make working and studying from home easier and engaging.
From Moodle, SeeSaw and Google Classroom to Microsoft Teams and our Anywhere Learning Portal. The latter allows staff and students to login and access all the programs and desktop they would be able to do at College.
On an average College day there are 406 Google Classrooms running and nearly 2,300 active daily users. There are also over 200 other classes running using other online and offline resources.
Microsoft Teams collaboration tool has also been deployed across the college, with both staff and students embracing it - the statistics show excellent adoption with almost 10,000 messages and 200 video conferences held daily.
Ben Coley, Online Learning Project Lead said, “I’m really pleased that we are in a position where we can benefit from the blended learning model that we have implemented for a couple of years now. This has meant that the transition to ‘Home Learning’ has been fairly smooth for both our students and our staff.
“Our use of Microsoft Teams has also enabled us, as staff, to continue to have our regular team meetings and ensure that everyone is kept up to speed on developments, but also that everyone is safe and well. Mental health and wellbeing is especially important at this time and we have a culture of care at South & City. These online platforms allow staff and students to keep in contact when it can feel a very lonely place out there.”