I don’t think anyone could really disagree with the UK government’s sentiment about getting pupils and students back into college. However, as always with government advice the devil is in the detail.
On the 2nd of July the UK Government published guidance called “What FE colleges and providers will need to do from the start of the 2020 autumn term”
What the government expects you to do this September
From Autumn 2020 the UK government expects you to:
- provide a full programme of study and training offer for learners of all ages from your normal term start date in September 2020, including those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) (with or without an EHC plan)
- make sure that individual learners are undertaking their full study programme, in as far as they can in compliance with wider government guidance, and that it is of a sufficient standard to meet relevant funding requirements (this should include evidence for any elements completed remotely)
- decide the appropriate mix of face to face and remote delivery – post-16 learners are more likely to undertake self-directed study but may still need additional support, you should make sure that planned hours meet the relevant funding guidance as set out in funding guidance for young people 2020 to 2021
- assess the gaps in learners’ knowledge and skills early in the autumn term, focusing on the most important content and prioritise this to help learners to catch up
- put in place additional support for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including identifying if they need support to access any remote delivery
- identify and put in place plans to manage any safeguarding concerns
- develop remote education so that it is integrated into planning:
Remote education may need to be an essential component of delivery for some pupils, alongside classroom teaching, or in the case of a local lockdown. You are therefore expected to plan to ensure anyone who needs to stay at home for some of the time is given the support they need to make good progress. Where a class, group or small number of learners need to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring learners to remain at home, we expect you to have the capacity to offer immediate remote education.
You are expected to consider how to continue to improve the quality of your existing offer and have a strong contingency plan in place for remote education provision by the end of September, for all provision apart from that which requires face to face delivery e.g. occupational competence provision. This planning will be particularly important to support a scenario in which the logistical challenges of remote provision are greatest, for example where large numbers of learners are required to remain at home.
Onsite learning can also continue to be complemented by high-quality remote learning if it meets learners’ needs.
Contingency plans using remote learning
So we are now in a situation where the government want colleges to have plans in place to deliver remote learning because there is a risk that:
- Colleges may need to close because of Covid outbreaks
- Students may not be able to attend because they are ill
- Staff may not be able to work because they are ill
- Some students / staff may fall into shielded groups and may not be able to attend
Pauline has already written an article here about how the Travel Training Academy can help support remote delivery and you can read that here. However, I wanted to focus in on one thing; helping you plan a remote induction should the need arise.
You probably already know that induction is a critical part of the student experience. Good inductions lay the foundations for getting students settled, orientated and ready to start learning. Bad inductions, well, at best it means a poor first impression for your students, in extreme cases you’ll lose the student before they even start.
It’s far from ideal but we need to consider that there is a possibility you won’t be able to deliver a face to face induction. If this is the case, then it’s even more important to be able to provide a really strong, well planned and welcoming induction session for your students. Good online inductions consist of two main elements.
Element 1 – Welcome and ice breaker
You could do your welcome using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. You’ve probable already used this technology before the summer and are now familiar with it. However over the last few months I’ve seen some terrible Zoom/Teams meetings where the lecturer is struggling with their basic setup
I highly recommend watching this 4 minute here called How to look good on Zoom. I know it sounds vain and trivial but I’m afraid it’s back to that old adage about making a good first impression
It could also be worthwhile watching these videos which have some great tips on how to deliver professionally online
After the welcome the ice breaker usually involves some sort of student participation. When doing a traditional face-to-face induction the tricky thing to get right was involving all of the students whilst at the same time avoiding putting shy students on the spot. This problem is often exacerbated during a remote online induction (think talking into a web cam).
Don’t put your students on the spot
I think one of the worst induction things I’ve seen done is to ask students to talk about themselves, in front of a group they have never met, with the added complication of it being online.
A more subtle way to get students involved is to run an online icebreaker quiz but build the quiz around travel and aviation questions and your curriculum. So for example, a question like “What is the 3 letter code for London Heathrow? Allows you to do the following:
- When giving out the answer you could say something like “It is LHR and you are going to be learning all about airport codes and how airports work during the subject Airline and Airport Operations which you’ll be doing with Laura on a Monday morning. It’s a really interesting subject and Laura is excited about meeting you – she’s such a great teacher”
- On that one LHR question you get individuals talking by asking “So has anyone flown from Heathrow?” and this could lead to further question and answer sessions about what they liked about LHR? What was the last airport you flew from? Who wants to work in an airport? etc, etc, the list is endless
So you could imagine developing a travel quiz of say 30 questions which would a allow you to talk about the subjects your students will be studying, introduce their lecturers, tell them about their timetable and allow them to talk about themselves and to each other.
All of that could take around an hour and could be fun and really informative
Element 2 – Disseminating information
This is a difficult thing to do even with a face to face induction. Essentially you need to impart information that is important to the running of the college e.g. Health & Safety or how to report absences but that information is often mind numbingly boring for most students.
Don’t bore your students to death
It’s bad enough when a lecturer reads from a PowerPoint in a class but when it’s done on Zoom or Teams it’s a disaster. There is loads of evidence that suggests students become bored and switch off incredibly quickly when they are forced into this type of activity.
My advice for ensuring that students understand critical information that relates to their time at college is to give them it away and test them on it at a later date.
Need to know v good to know
So put everything that needs to be covered during induction on a PowerPoint and then save it as a pdf (this means it can easily be sent as an email and opened at home by your students – it will even open on their phone).
I think in the current circumstances (where we might not get a face to face induction) it’s important that you cut back and include essential information only. After the induction send the student the pdf and then tell them that you’ll be running an online quiz about it the following week. Run a Zoom/Teams quiz the following week to gauge if your students have understood the relevant induction information.
Setting up Technology is now critical
Before Covid many Lecturers were quite relaxed about getting their students set up with the relevant technology – it was something that could happen over the first few weeks of the course. However, as we face the prospect of lockdowns and closures throughout the year, it is now critical that students walk away from inductions familiar with the technology that they will need for remote learning.
Set up online storage
Your college will probably offer your students an online cloud based storage solution. The most commonly used systems are Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive. Make sure your students know how to access and save their work to these systems. If your college doesn’t offer this then get your students to set up a free Dropbox account https://www.dropbox.com/ The two big advantages of your students using a cloud based storage system are firstly, their work is safe, and secondly, they can easily share it with you.
Check your students know how to access their college email
If you intend to communicate with your students using their college email address make sure they know how to access it and ask them to set it up on their phone (if it’s on their phone there is a higher chance that they will respond to you)
Check your students know how to access your college’s virtual learning environment (vle)
Most colleges typically use Moodle or Canvas to provide access to online learning but that won’t happen if your students don’t know how to access the system. Make sure that you cover this in induction and check one week later to see if everyone has accessed the vle
Set up access to other online teaching resources
The courses and resources provided by the Travel Training Academy are perfect for remote delivery. They cover the curriculum you deliver, your students can access them from any location and you can easily track student progress. From an induction point of view all you need to do is give your students a simple website address and they can sign up from there. That’s it, no complicated sign–ups or hassle
To see a short video about how the Travel Training Academy can help you deliver remotely click here .
To get a curriculum map to see where Travel Training Academy online courses support your curriculum click here
I’d love to hear your ideas about what works for your students during induction. Please feel free to leave your comments below.