College finds innovative ways to adapt to closure

Solihull College & University Centre may have had to temporarily shut its campus doors during the COVID-19 crisis, but students and staff are finding innovative ways to continue to learn remotely, assist the community and adapt to these unprecedented times.

With classes currently moving online, many teams have found themselves introducing new teaching methods.

Antony Stafford from the computing department has created videos for students using screen capturing software. He explained: “These unusual times inspired me to make content for my learners and do something different. I used the software to screen record and voice record in real-time my PowerPoint presentations and assignment briefs, much like how I would normally deliver within the classroom. It was important to adapt my lessons to this format in order to support my learners, catering for a mixture of learning styles, and allowing them to work at their own pace.”

The Management & Professional team have created content to support key worker students who are currently working over their scheduled hours. Recorded versions of lessons are being made available for those who cannot attend virtual lessons live.

The Business team have been adapting to help support apprentices complete their qualifications remotely. Assessor Kim Blackman spent time with the learners preparing them for this change, undertaking mock remote assessments and assisting them towards their eventual distinction grades. Kim explains: “Progress reviews take place with the students and their managers remotely so that the College and the employer can still support the student to achieve during this challenging period.”

The Animal Care team have been on site at Blossomfield keeping the animals fed and cared for on a daily basis. The team have been recording clips of their daily progress. 15-year-old Sulcata tortoise Jack has been wandering the corridors (under supervision) carrying out his daily exercises. Here’s Claire from the team on her evening rounds:

The College has been expanding its online and distance learning offer with many people in the community at home looking to use the time to upskill. This has included support from the West Midlands Combined Authority to offer brand new online construction courses.

Nadia Davies from the College’s Employer Services team spoke to Solihull Radio discussing learning options. She told listeners: “We are helping people in a variety of situations. We have 37 different distance learning qualifications that can be studied remotely… there is something for everybody and the employment and skills team are here to help with any queries.”

The College is also helping the community in any way it can. The Health & Social Care, Hair & Beauty and Science departments donated several bags of PPE including gloves, aprons, anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitisers to the council-run Better Living Centre in Solihull, which works to provide help and support to elderly adults and young disabled adults. Health & Social Care lecturer Carol Baker has gone even further to assist NHS workers by collecting fabric donations and creating wash-bags for those dealing with COVID-19 patients enabling them to wash garments safely.

With staff and students showing resilience and adapting well to this steep learning curve, the College is continuing to navigate these unusual times and provide support to students and the local community.

Have a listen to Nadia’s interview with Solihull Radio below: