Students and Staff Shine throughout Crisis

Staff at Farnborough College of Technology have been developing innovative ways to help its community of students, staff and local people amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

With teaching and learning continuing into the summer term, all classes are being delivered via video conferencing, with a great response from students and staff.

The College was keen to ensure all students could continue learning from home, so put its recent investment in laptops to great use by loaning them to those students who did not have one at home.

Electrical installation lecturer Alex at work in his garage – now a home classroom

One student commented that:

 “We were able to interact with our tutor during the lesson and it was clear. I was worried about finishing level 3 but this has given me confidence that we’ll be able to do so.”

Using technology throughout a lesson was not the only way students and staff have adapted. The type of work they do, and how it is assessed, has also been a source of innovation. Examples from around the College include:

  • Hair and beauty students giving treatments to family members at home, with photos being sent to tutors for assessment.
  • Music students learning how to setup microphones via a video recorded in the lecturer’s home studio.
  • Foundation and Entry Level students exploring an app that identifies plants, with students then invited to draw their favourites.
  • Photography students tasked with projects that can be done from the garden, including ‘A Snail’s Eye View’.
  • Some adult students’ courses being re-timetabled to accommodate students’ childcare needs. This included moving classes from the daytime to the evening, when their home-life was quieter.
  • Degree students in graphic design and photography hosting a virtual exhibition using ‘Sketchup’ software.
  • Catering students learning different vegetable cuts via a live video stream from a lecturer’s home kitchen.
  • A lecturer at Aldershot College, teaching construction courses, converting his garage into a classroom to live stream practical skills.

College staff have also been delighted with students’ reactions to the new way of working. Reflecting on motor vehicle maintenance apprentices, assessor Katy Hawkes said “The group participation this week has been incredible. The students have really shown an outstanding level of adaptability and patience whilst we work out the kinks of the new online learning setup. I cannot express how grateful I am to all the learners and how impressed the tutor and I are at their hard work.”

Hairdressing apprentice Millie shows her skills from home

Following the first week of remote learning, a video compilation of teachers expressing their admiration for their students’ efforts was shared via the College’s social media accounts, reaching around 3000 people.

Teachers are regularly checking up on the welfare of their students – and colleagues – via video conferencing. Some teams have been having virtual tea breaks together, while others have daily meetings to check how students are progressing.

Supporting the community

The College has also been playing a role in supporting the local community. Fashion students past and present have been creating medical clothing using materials led by their teachers, engineering staff have been creating visors for use in hospitals, and laboratory equipment is being donated to healthcare professionals at Frimley Park Hospital. Many students from health and social care, and early years courses have continued working in their settings to support those in need.

Early Years student Eleanor is working in a local care home
Early Years student Amelia is caring for key workers’ children at a local nursery
Health and Social Care student Katerina volunteering is an NHS responder, supporting and answering questions

Principal CEO Virginia Barrett said:

“We are fortunate to be in a position where we have both the technology to deliver classes from home, and a fantastic group of teachers who are doing all that they can to make sure students continue learning. It is heartening to see so many of our staff and students doing their part to support the community too, and we continue to support those in need in our community wherever we can.”

Fashion and textiles student Amy sewing scrubs

Staff at Frimley Park Hospital wearing their new scrubs

Students continue to receive information on how to maintain their wellbeing, especially mental health, during this uncertain time. Students and parents can access information on services, tips, and resources via the College website to help them stay positive and continue to achieve great things. The College’s ‘Stay Home – Go Far’ social media campaign was also launched to support learning, safety, and mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Visors created by the engineering department using 3D printers

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