Special edition HE journal celebrates successes during Covid

Special edition HE journal celebrates successes during Covid

An education journal released by the University Centre Stockport College has celebrated staff and student successes during the pandemic.

The publication describes the challenges staff overcame to deliver the very best in education online, with a special mention for the Access to Higher Education Team, who received a certificate of commendation from qualifications body, the Open Awards, for ensuring students received the estimated grades they needed.

Dr Andy Stott wrote: “I hope that the thoughts and reflections shared go some way to show why this recognition was so well-deserved. However, I’m sure the Access Team would agree that the real ‘key workers’ during lockdown were the adult learners who, having returned to full-education just six months before lockdown began, continued to engage and achieve, despite the challenges they faced in their own lives.”

The 30-page document also includes positive findings from University Centre research into the progression of students from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds during 2019 and 2020 conducted by Stockport higher education professor Dr Controllah Gabi, which showed comparatively higher rates of satisfaction among these level three students.

Dr Gabi concluded: “The University Centre has steadfastly advanced scholarly activity and output to generate knowledge and intelligence necessary for predicting, identify and responding to the everchanging challenges and expectations of the business of education. This enables us to meet the dynamic needs of our learners and to stay ahead of competition. Such a strong evidence base gives us confidence in our decisions and processes as it enables us to always have up-to-date cutting-edge evidence.”

Constellations is the name given to the University Centre’s research journal now in its third edition, which includes reports from lecturers from each of the institution’s curriculum areas, some of whom faced their own personal challenges during lockdown, such as home schooling their own children while remaining available for students, sometimes around-the-clock.

Journal of Scholarship

This is Volume 1: Edition 3 of our annual research journal Constellations containing a selection of scholarly activity undertaken by the staff at The Trafford College Group this academic year.

For more information about Constellations, or to contact the lead please email Head of University Centre, Scholarship and Enhancement lead gary.spicer@tcg.ac.uk

Throughout the document all HE lecturers commented on an increase in the levels of pastoral support provided for students, above and beyond a new University Centre directive on learner engagement.

The Art School’s James Condon reported continuation in the quality of results while colleague Luca Shaw discussed the importance of the arts in supporting mental health and the potential for more “new voices into our creative spaces” through the use of video conferencing platform Microsoft Teams.

Children and Young People department’s Amanda Vardy reported more than a hundred engagements within her first Microsoft 365 session, and Jackie Braithwaite in Early Years Practice praised Microsoft Teams for facilitating a two-way dialogue with students, which impacted positively on wellbeing. Colleague Nicola Kirkham working in Childhood Studies shared how the power of motivational messages opened up channels of communication throughout remote learning.

Comments from students during the lockdown period included: “distance learning has given me the chance to explore a new aspect of learning and challenge a new learning style”, “ it has proved that I can access books online”, “whilst distance learning, more independent studying was required and I saw this as a positive as it allowed me to use or test the skills I’d obtained over the two years and not to solely rely on asking for support, which is easier to do when in a classroom”, “I find it easier to use Search Plus; I can find exactly what I need. I prefer it to taking books out of the library”, and “surprisingly, I got the grades I hoped for and I felt a sense of achievement because it goes to show that if you work hard it really does pay off ”.