Queen Mary students make pioneering start to innovative blended learning model
Students at Queen Mary University of London have made a strong start to the academic year, taking up the opportunities of blended learning and adapting to a Covid-secure campus. While the Covid-19 pandemic has ensured that this years’ experience is unique, students across every part of Queen Mary are discovering a variety of new opportunities.
Students are enjoying this unique experience thanks to Queen Mary’s investment into an innovative blended learning model that is ensuring a world-class education despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
High-levels of participation and engagement in world-class online learning
The backbone of blended learning is a full programme of online educational activity for every student, fully accessible to all wherever they are studying from. Early indications suggest that online learning is providing students an easy way to access the quality of education they expect at a Russell Group university like Queen Mary, as well as a range of additional benefits. For example, lecturers across multiple subjects are reporting that students are contributing to classes at a much higher level than usual.
Professor Eric Heinze, of the University’s School of Law said “Every single student participated without having to be called on. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen 100 percent voluntary participation before!”
Elsewhere, Chemistry Lecturer Dr Stoichko Dimitrov remarked that the online model has “given the students a lot more exposure to me and the chance to master their skills and knowledge, and even for some of them to teach their peers on particular topics.”
Professor Stephanie Marshall, Vice Principal (Education) at Queen Mary, said:
“Academic and learning support staff worked tirelessly though the summer to ensure that Queen Mary was ready to offer students an outstanding online experience. It is such good news that students are now enjoying the benefits, particularly as many are making a more active contribution to classes.”
Hands on experience
Alongside the online experience, students are making the most of the many in-person opportunities that are on offer. Accounting for all Covid-safety requirements, every school is developing a range of activity that enhances student learning while creating opportunities to get hands on-experience in their subject. As a research-intensive university, deeply embedded in its community, Queen Mary has been able to offer a rich variety of practical experience. This includes:
- Students helping to run client enquiry lines in the University’s Legal Advice Centre;
- A multi-disciplinary group of students working on real-world business challenges as part of a consultancy partnership with industry;
- Significant laboratory time for first year chemistry students to conduct experiments and begin developing practical skills;
- Mental Health postgraduate students have been invited to attend case presentations by senior clinicians.
Professor Stephanie Marshall added:
“We’ve fast-tracked innovations in learning and teaching to respond to the extraordinary circumstances of this year and the benefits are going to be long lasting. This year’s students are pioneers of new ways of learning and we are delighted that their Queen Mary experience has started so well.”
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