Telford College students have praised the systems which have been put in place allowing them to keep in touch with their tutors while working from home.
Dozens of learners are now using the Discord Teaching Platform to connect with the college on a remote server. The system also offers a ‘chat community’ between students while they are at home.
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Telford College computing lecturer Martin Seymour said: “The platform allows students to chat to each other, and allows me to screenshare presentations from my own computer.
“It means I can talk to every student as a class group, or individually on a one-to-one basis if I wish. I have also created channels for the class groups to be able to go in and share ideas.
“Using this system, the students can direct message me with any questions about the assignments, and send me drafts to check.
“When assignments are completed, they can then put their work in to be marked, and keep track of what is done.”
Martin already has more than 60 students working with him in this way – and it is proving a great success.
Student council member Lindsey Ellis, a level five HND computing student, from Hadley, said:
“Discord is actually better than I thought.
“We can still get in touch with our tutors for help, and they can show us visually where we are going wrong which is useful because it accommodates visual learners and auditory learners. I think that this should continue to be used after the virus pandemic is over!”
Bilal Ali from Admaston, who is on a level two IT course, said: “I think the Discord application is an excellent way I communicating to other students – but also it is a simple, easy and brilliant way of getting help from tutors and submitting the assignments.”
Oliver Stanworth of Leegomery, another level two IT student, added: “Using Discord as a teaching platform has been a good choice for letting students and tutors communicate as a group and is a good alternative from exclusively using email to communicate.
And Razvan-Sorin Boghita, also studying level two IT, said: “I enjoy using Discord. It is by far the greatest online teaching platform as most teenagers are already using it, so the majority already know how to use it.”
Graham Guest, Telford College’s principal and chief executive, said the college was determined to use all means of technology at its disposal to keep disruption of learning to a minimum.
“When I first arrived here, we invested heavily in the ability to monitor and track students online, and this is now coming to fruition. But it is a big culture change for everyone.”
“We are still open – albeit remotely – and we are still working with all of our students, and local employers. The most important message we are giving to students, wherever they are, is that they need to continue to study.
“I want to reassure them that they will not be disadvantaged by the situation we are in. We will work tirelessly to ensure they progress to where they want to be.
“We want to ensure that we don’t lose a generation, and that our students achieve.”