With face to face teaching suspended due to coronavirus, Gower College Swansea is using its wide range of remote and online learning techniques and expertise to keep delivering its mission – helping students onto their next educational or employment step.
In the lead up to closure, teaching teams quickly started to prepare learners in their tutorial sessions and around 450 laptops and other devices were sourced and loaned to both students and staff.
The next step was to ensure all students continued to follow their agreed timetable so they would receive a combination of online teaching through platforms such as Microsoft Teams as well as access to materials such as videos, lecture notes, instruction guides and past examination papers – and curriculum support either as part of a group or on a one to one basis.
To help tutors, the College devised a comprehensive support package to assist them in both developing and delivering online materials. This included online tutorials delivered by practitioners and developers, a bespoke website showcasing some of the excellent practices in place, with signposts to a range of online libraries, and the introduction of a buddy system whereby tutors with less experience partner up with others to test the tools and techniques.
On top of all of this curriculum support, the College has retained a high level of pastoral and more general support to its whole community through its team of student support officers, wellbeing activities and advice and guidance.
Speaking about these new ways of working, Principal Mark Jones said: “The results of all of this support have been sensational, with over 70% of our whole College community engaging in digital platforms.”
To date there have been over 8,600 digital interactions per day and over 4,800 students are regularly using the College’s learning platform Moodle.
“It’s a great story,” added Mark. “This method has become the preferred model for many students, it’s not only helped with engagement, but will also contribute to what we are anticipating will be some excellent results this summer.
“Finally none of this could have been achieved without the huge dedication of staff from across the College as they are constantly demonstrating innovation, resilience and a commitment to our students, and so my sincere thanks go to them.”
The next step is to develop transitional materials for school pupils across the city looking to join us in September 2020.