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SPONSORED: North East Scotland College continuing to teach during lockdown

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Students and staff at North East Scotland College have been praised for adapting to the new virtual environment, with thousands of hours of online teaching delivered each week.

Face-to-face teaching was suspended in mid-March in response to the Coronavirus outbreak and Friday, March 20, marked the start of the college’s temporary digital delivery model.

More than 400 hours of sessions were delivered to more than 1,700 students on the first day of online teaching alone, using the Blackboard Collaborate platform, and daily delivery has remained consistent since then.

Principal Neil Cowie said: “Students, teaching staff and the support teams can all take enormous pride in the way in which they have adapted to the move online.

“My thanks go to all who have contributed to the transition in what are clearly very challenging circumstances. The attitude and application demonstrated to date gives me great confidence.

“NESCol has a track record of investing in and promoting digital practice as a sector leader in the use of digital technologies for more than 15 years. That has provided a very strong platform to build from.”

Student support payments continue as planned.  This includes EMA, bursary, discretionary, SAAS payments and childcare payments where required.

Neil Cowie added: “Whilst we’re apart physically, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to the social aspects of college life.

“Staying in touch with friends and classmates as well as the teaching and support staff in the virtual environment will be important for students. There are lots of ways that is already happening, with staff also being encouraged to stay connected with each other as we work in new ways.

“Students and staff will face different challenges and I take great comfort from knowing we are looking out for one another.

“Whatever the issue, big or small, it is okay to ask for help or to acknowledge if there is a problem, whether personal or course related. The care we show for each other at this time is vital.”

NESCol is working with Scottish college sector partners to confirm arrangements with awarding bodies for the completion of courses and certification for the 2019/20 academic year.

There are 109 awarding bodies across the sector and discussions with these organisations are continuing to ensure a consistent position nationally. The aim is to ensure no student is disadvantaged and each receives the recognition their work merits.

The college will be central to evidencing and assessing the achievements on behalf of all awarding bodies and work is underway to support the process.

All students are required to continue to engage with coursework using the online tools available and to complete the work set by tutors in the new term. This will be tailored in each course area to ensure it meets the requirements of each awarding body.

Although NESCol facilities are closed, the college’s work is continuing. Application are being accepted for 2020/21 and a full range of support services continue to be offered to existing students.

Further advice for students is available through the Student Advice Centre team by email at studentadvice@nescol.ac.uk.

Find out more at the NESCol website.