The Government announced the Lockdown measures in March and, as an institution, we had to quickly adapt to this, ensuring that learning (lectures, seminars and assessments) could continue, despite students and staff having to work or learn from their homes. Here's some examples of how we have been operating under the difficult circumstances.
How does this work?
Pearson College London students benefit from being able to access lectures online, as all lectures are recorded and available to watch anytime on the Online Learning Environment (OLE) Portal. This is ideal for students to help them if they are unable to attend in person, if they want to go over something that they didn’t quite understand or if they want to re-watch a lecture when they are revising. Students can also take notes whilst watching lectures and ask questions in a forum, which can be shared with the whole class.
The OLE is filled with several activities and tasks for students to do, to help them understand the topic and give them an idea of what they will need to know. They can participate in group discussions and debates, so that they can understand the scope of the subject and be able to formulate their opinions and theories, which is crucial for critical evaluations.
What about textbooks/ resources?
Students get access to all textbooks and resources, online, via the Online Library and have the benefit of being able to use the Online Library for other useful skills, like referencing, and be able to see their module reading lists. The online library has several resources for students to access and view, with a plethora of professional literature, articles and books.
Support from Tutors
Tutors are still available to contact and are on-hand to provide support to students and help them with their learning. Tutors have dedicated time to students where they can submit work in advance and go through their comments and suggestions over a video call. Tutors have also had to adapt to these difficult times, with many of them having to look after their children, who also cannot go to school, but whilst it has been a difficult time, tutors have been able to offer more support and been able to check in on their students, to enquire about their health and well-being.
Pearson Business School students have shown an adaptive mindset as they continue to study towards their degree and develop their knowledge. The move to online has been a swift one, but students still have the same contact time and timetable of classes, as they would if they attended in person. This is also aided by the extra support from tutors with helpful sessions, such as Townhall sessions and group feedback sessions. Feedback is so important for our tutors, and we encourage our students to share their feedback.
Students are familiar with the platform that we use for our teaching, Blackboard Collaborate, so can break out into groups and be able to present to the rest of their class. This feature has been useful for students to be able to work on projects, in small teams, and present to the rest of their class, so the tutor can give feedback and peers can give feedback too.
What about Industry Engagement?
Pearson College London has several connections to industry and students can participate in workshops, industry days, talks and business challenges. Industry events have also continued as students have been able to attend the Work Fit webinars. Our Work Fit Bootcamp events welcomed industry professionals from Direct Line, TFL, Tesco, LinkedIn, Microsoft and many more. We are currently running a Work Fit Summer Programme, with industry professionals from Salesforce, Deloitte, NHS, as well as sessions with academics and alumni.
What do our students think of this?
When we moved to entirely online classes, there were some challenges and difficulties, but students have been really engaged especially with Industry events occurring over virtual platforms, making it easier for students to be able to attend and watch from their home. Tutors have also noticed that student's confidence has grown and they have been able to develop a useful skill of presenting online. Many students presented their research and ideas during our first ever, Academic Conference, and presented to other students, academics and professionals from Industry.
What about Societies?
At Pearson College London, we have several societies and groups, set up by the PCSA, and open to all Escape Studios and Pearson Business School Students. Many societies and groups have continued, in a virtual format. The dance and yoga societies are very popular amongst students from both schools, with fitness sessions by current degree apprentice (and Trained PT) Eleni, and Virtual Yoga sessions with Yoga Instructor, Bibi.
The Student Experience team have had to create new ways of helping students to make the most out of their University experience, with webinars, virtual student award ceremonies and tips and advice during Lockdown, like book recommendations, TV shows and podcasts.
As a smaller, boutique institution, we know that being part of the Pearson College London Community is all about our people and no matter whether we are in a building or together, connected virtually, we are all part of an inclusive and diverse society. No matter what the situation will bring, for the next academic year, we are so proud of what our students continue to achieve and we will try to create the best learning experience for students, and continue to help provide them with industry engagement opportunities.
"We have a strong community at the College and students, tutors and staff have together responded incredibly well in adapting to the current situation."- Dr Roxanne Stockwell, Principal of Pearson College London