College uses digital pandemic response to broaden curriculum

Remote learning has been right at the top of the education agenda throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people are trying to innovate and create ways to help keep students involved, not only in lessons but in education as a whole

For one London college, boosting its digital learning offering has meant a lot more than introducing online learning for existing programmes. Rather, it has meant helping the students have as many skills as possible when going into such unknowing times.

Regent College London, which has five campuses across the capital, has used digitisation to launch a range of new learning opportunities for its students. The focus of much of this expansion in the curriculum has been on equipping students with skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the challenges of a post-pandemic world.

For example, last summer the college launched a brand new programme called Thinking Into Character, an innovative personal development course aimed at helping students set and achieve aspirational goals, overcome challenges and barriers, improve their self-image and build leadership skills.

In keeping with the times, the programme is accessible via a flexible range of options. The complete course is available to enrolled students for free as an asynchronous e-learning package comprising 22 video-based digital lessons. There is also an enhanced blended learning option which includes 12 or 24 hours of class-based workshops, while the course has also been made available to third-party providers to offer outside the college.

Akosua Bonsu, director of studies for Thinking into Character, explained the rationale behind the programme. “Successfully teaching subject knowledge is not enough for students to achieve the success that they desire as it is the ability to apply subject knowledge that leads to those successes,” she said.

“This ability to apply subject knowledge has to do with a students’ imagination, the capacity of their will, their ability to spot opportunities and so on. It is these ingredients, often missing from the taught curriculum, that we are aiming to deliver by means of these new digital programmes.”

Material success in a post-pandemic world

Since its launch last July, the Thinking into Character initiative has grown steadily with a number of satellite courses being added under the general umbrella. A notable focus of some of these courses is financial management and personal success.

In December, the college launched a course titled Think and Grow Rich, based on the classic best-selling book of the same name by Napoleon Hill. This was followed in January by a Wealth Creation Programme, which aims to transform thinking around wealth and enterprise to help students view wealth and success as a product of mindset rather than success.

While open to all interested parties both in and outside the college, the Wealth Creation Programme has been developed with the cohort of students leaving education in 2021 in mind, facing as they do the most challenging labour market and financial circumstances in a generation.

Notably, the course takes a broad view of the nature of wealth and success, expanding the normally narrow definition based around money to include concepts such as health, family and community relations. The aim is to put material wealth into context and, in doing so, shift ideas around its acquisition to highlight the importance of personal development and having the right mindset.

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