There aren’t many people that could have imagined, just over ten months ago, as the bells chimed the beginning of 2020, that before the end of March, our college buildings would be closed and many people around the world would be working from home, with no indication of how long for.
Despite campuses being physically closed, South & City College Birmingham staff were still providing teaching and meetings were taking place using various online technology. As part of Colleges Week 2020, we want to take a look at what we’ve been doing to deliver a 21st century learning experience for our students…
Leading the way with online resources
As a college, we’ve 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 South & City 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.
Embracing new online platforms
As a college, we have a wide variety of online platforms for both staff and students to use to make working and studying from home easier and engaging; from the college app, Moodle, SeeSaw and Google Classroom to Microsoft Teams and our Anywhere Learning Portal. The latter allows staff and students to login off campus and access all the programs they would be able to do at college.
The Microsoft Teams collaboration tool has also been deployed across the college, with both staff and students embracing its ability to host video meetings, lessons, team chats and even virtual events like online open days.
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 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 College.”