Newsletter April 2014 – Distance Mode of Delivery
- 25th September 2014
- Posted by: Cranefield-College
- Category: Newsletters
During March 2014, Cranefield College was informed by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) that the mixed-mode form of programme delivery was being terminated with immediate effect for all institutions operating in accordance with this mode. In the light of inter alia Cranefield’s substantial capacity for reaching students nationally and internationally via its Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS), the College’s revised official mode of delivery was subsequently approved by the CHE as distance learning.
Although the distance learning mode of delivery compels an academic institution to limit class-based contact to a certain percentage of the total learning engagement time, ample scope remains for conducting live face-to-face classes, and the College can aptly continue its activities within its paradigm of blended learning (combining in-person or virtual class contact with enhanced distance learning). This development in respect of Cranefield’s official mode of delivery will accordingly change very little in the way that the College operates, but does offer substantial advantages in the flexibility and agility of its programme delivery to students. As alluded to, Cranefield’s Blackboard LMS enhances the entire process of programme delivery, also enabling students to attend classes interactively online from the office or home. The live classes conducted on campus will continue, but students are no longer compelled to be physically present. Of course, students may still choose to attend these classes on campus where this is convenient for them.
With the distance learning mode in place and, since all classes are streamed live on the Internet, students may now choose to participate in any or all of their classes online, thereby saving time and travel. However, students are compelled to notify the administration and receive the Blackboard link at least one day before the class. For case discussions in syndicate groups, students are also able to meet via the Internet in a dedicated online collaboration room where they can see and hear each other in an organised fashion, using Cranefield’s Blackboard Collaborate system.
A further welcome development, in pursuance of the total engagement percentage and in the interests of enhanced efficiency, is that Cranefield’s formal lecture sessions will in future span five hours on a lecture day: commencing strictly at 08h00 and ending at 13h00, thus eliminating the dreaded short after-lunch session. Trial runs conducted in the live classes thus far have proved that, with good time management, all topics can be effectively covered during this time. The number of contact days will remain three per module for the Advanced Diploma and upwards.
After the formal lecture session, the auditorium facilities will be at the disposal of students who wish to have syndicate group discussions, and the lecturer will also be available to assist with individual or group matters, if requested. Lunch will still be served to students who wish to make use of this time to engage further with each other and/or with the lecturer. However, for food security purposes and prevention of waste, students will need to indicate before 09h00 their intention to stay beyond 13h00.
The Cranefield Newsletter Team