The Ajenta team were delighted to attend FutureScot’s EduTech conference, ‘The Future of Higher & Further Education‘ on 14th November 2019
The focus of this event was to discuss new approaches for re-designing campuses, including removing borders between the student world and real world as well as focusing on new ways for teachers and learners to collaborate in innovative new ways, offering a radical departure from the pedagogies of old.
Co-presenting with CEO and Principal of USP College, Dan Pearson, Ajenta CEO John Wilson kicked off our masterclass session titled ‘An Innovative Approach to Cross-Campus Learning‘. This session allowed delegates to learn how USP College have used digital technologies to help address some of the challenges facing newly merged FE colleges including high staff to income ratios, inconsistent teaching quality across campuses, subjects with small student numbers and issues with teacher recruitment and retainment.
USP College was formed in 2017 following the merger of Seevic College in Benfleet and Palmer’s College in Grays, Essex. The College serves 4,500 students and aims to provide career-focused learning, giving students the skills employers need with students not only gaining formal qualifications but developing professional skills desired by businesses.
USP College recognised they were experiencing high staff to income ratios, subjects with student numbers and teacher recruitment issues. Coupled with inconsistent teaching quality between the campuses and in A-level subjects, the newly merged college saw an opportunity to change their teaching delivery.
During the masterclass, Dan showcased the solution USP College has found to connect three geographically dispersed college campus sites across Essex (Seevic Campus, Palmer’s Campus and Docklands Campus). The creation of new ‘immersive classrooms’ has enabled the campuses to share expertise with one another, making it possible to run programmes that would not be viable at any individual location. The use of Vscene has also allowed the College to connect with other Colleges and specialist partners.
Innovation in Teaching Delivery
USP College uses Vscene to connect the geographically dispersed campuses, supporting collaborative teaching remotely across multiple ‘immersive’ classrooms. The Ultra HD V-Room classroom system allows lecturers to teach multiple classes from one location, creating consistency for students and allowing smaller cohorts to be taught, improving cost efficiency.
- Vscene: The class scheduling platform
- V-Room: Classroom system for Ultra HD video calling
- VsceneCapture: Giving students access to recorded classes
A Natural, Immersive Experience
Each ‘immersive classroom’ has been designed to deliver an engaging experience for the students providing innovative technology such as large, fully interactive screens connected across classrooms to enable real time collaboration across multiple classrooms as well at ultra-high quality video connections powered by the V-Room, giving the illusion of ‘invisible walls’ between the campuses.
Enhancing the Learning Experience
USP College have on average 10 virtual classroom sessions every week scheduled through Vscene, joining up multiple immersive rooms across the campuses as well as providing access to remote students from outside the classroom. Each session is recorded using VsceneCapture and can be accessed by the students from the Vscene media library to assist with the continuing learning journey.
Equity and Enhancement in Curriculum
Since launching the Vscene project a year ago, USP College has benefitted from expansion of their curriculum and creating new learning opportunities by overcoming teacher shortages. This has resulted in improved learning outcomes attributed to an increase in student motivation from the experience of the immersive room combined with removing the barriers of travel required between campuses.
Commenting on the project, Dan added: ” This delivery model has allowed USP College to provide otherwise unviable curriculum to our students addressing the known nationwide teacher shortage. In addition, it enables both our staff and students the opportunity to use the highest quality of technology and innovative methods of learning. This approach has also proven to broaden cross campus student connectivity.”