Online learning connects instructors with students

Lecturers from Barking & Dagenham College who teach vocational subjects such as plumbing have been creative about finding engaging ways to teach their classes remotely.

Plumbing lecturer Matthew Smith (pictured) has been resourceful by using his own house as the plumbing workshop, filming himself doing tasks around his own house. You can watch one of his videos showing how to do a 30 degree offset shallow angle here.

Long before the coronavirus, the College was already set up for online learning. For many years it has had a virtual learning environment and, for all their courses, it conducts what is called ‘blended learning’ – a combination of traditional face-to-face learning and some remote learning using Google Classroom.

Andy Duffy, head of digital Learning at Barking & Dagenham College, explains: “The way it’s working is quite simple – lecturers are continuing to follow their timetables, so if they were meant to be teaching a particular class at 10am they will still go ahead, only virtually. The way most of the teachers are doing this is by using a video conferencing service such as Zoom or Skype.The teachers then deliver the lessons via the live video link as usual at the timetabled time.

“Some teachers instead have chosen to upload work to the class and then follow up with one-to-one video calls after the students have submitted their work to discuss their answers and any questions they may have.

“The lecturers have truly embraced using technology to ensure that students continue learning. We’ve seen massively creative ways of teaching students from their own houses, particularly with some of the trades and other vocational, hands-on subjects.”

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