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Digital learning: information for UK pathway courses

Our UK colleges are using digital learning solutions for students coming to the UK, as well as for those who need to study with us from their home country. This makes digital learning an important part of our pathway courses, and so we’re here to tell you all about how it works and what you can expect.

On this page you’ll find information about:
How digital learning works
What real-life online classes look like
Progressing to university

And how does it work?

  • What teaching methods are used?

    We’re committed to providing you with the same expert teaching that you’d experience in person at college. Indeed, you’ll have the same teachers, same classes and same schedule as you normally would: the only difference is that you’re attending your course online via digital platforms.

    You’ll still enjoy interactive classes with plenty of discussion and opportunities to improve your English, as well as self-study time to help you become an independent learner. You’ll also be assigned a Learning Adviser who will help you with any challenges you face, so that you stay on track with progressing to your chosen degree.

  • What are synchronous (live) sessions?

    A synchronous session is when you, your teacher and usually also your classmates, are present at the same time. Synchronous sessions take place at some point during UK teaching hours (9am–6pm GMT), and can include the following:

    • live video lectures and seminars​
    • real-time interactive discussions with your tutor and ​other students​
    • individual live tutorials​
    • one-to-one calls with your Learning Adviser​
  • What are asynchronous (not live) sessions?

    An asynchronous session is when you study in your own time. During an asynchronous session, you could participate at a different time from others, and have some flexibility in when you study online. For example:

    • recorded lectures, from which you then answer questions​
    • completing tasks / assignments online​
    • your own research and background reading ​
    • email / instant messaging conversations and collaboration
  • Will I have a timetable?

    Yes. Let’s help you picture a typical week.

    You would be expected to engage with your tutors through live sessions from Monday to Friday during UK teaching hours.

    Typically, you’ll also need to do an additional 2 hours per day (including weekends) of your own study and asynchronous learning. This will help you get the most out of your pathway course online.

    To help you imagine that more clearly, here’s a sample timetable. Remember that these are example modules — exactly what you study depends on your pathway course and university degree. The hours shown are in UK time, so remember fit your schedule around this.

    If you are undertaking blended learning, then you can find out more about teaching and assessment methods here.

  • How do I access materials online?

    There are multiple platforms that we will be using to allow you to quickly and easily access learning materials online from home. ​​

    Typically, these platforms include your dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for your college, as well as online video collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, plus email.​

    In some cases, you might use the learning platform of your college’s partner university, such as Blackboard.​

    In all cases, we’ll help you get set up!

  • What equipment do I need?

    It doesn’t take much to fully engage with your course online. You just need:​ ​

    • a laptop or desktop computer with camera and microphone ​
    • reliable internet access
    • ​a headset
    • ​an environment suitable for effective study without distraction — it also helps to get into a routine so that you get used to your study timetable!​
  • What learning support will I receive?

    We have many ways to help you stay on the right path to your degree.​

    The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or equivalent will record when you take part in or finish a task.​

    Video calls will allow your teachers to see you during live lessons and learning sessions; and teaching staff will follow up with you to check that you understand key concepts and are keeping up with your studies, to help ensure you’re making good progress.​

    Experienced Learning Advisers and College Services staff will give you the support you need and work with you to help you stay on track. And remember, if you need to talk to someone, our friendly team is there for you. ​

  • How will I be assessed?

    Your teachers will set you a range of tasks and assessments and provide feedback all through your pathway course. This will help you to make progress during each term. ​​

    Your assessments will be a mix of:

    • audio and video submissions
    • essays
    • live questions and answer sessions
    • open-book exams (where reference materials are allowed during the exam)
    • projects and coursework
    • adapted presentations (you won’t need to present these live).


    Your college will send you the schedule for these assessments, along with clear instructions for how to upload these to meet important deadlines, and there will even be virtual supervisors available during your exams to provide support.

    We are maintaining a high level of academic quality through our new assessment methods, which have been approved by our partner universities, and align closely with how they are assessing their own students at this time.

    Our new assessment methods have been designed to ensure you’re staying on your path to your degree — we want to see you succeed.

     

  • How do online Art, Design and Media programmes work?

    During your digital Art, Design and Media programme, we’ll ask you to find a mini ‘studio space’ that’s specially designated for this kind of work. It doesn’t have to be big, just somewhere that lets you work on creative projects. We call it a ‘studio’ so that you can recreate what you would experience in person at your college.

    Your work will be based on a project brief or specific task related to a project, and you’ll submit it each week via the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) for feedback. You’ll also share your work live on screen via Zoom and Microsoft Teams with your tutor and classmates — this kind of group review, or ‘crit’, gives you the chance to receive valuable feedback, get inspiration, and improve your creative process.

    You’ll use collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Socrative to record research ideas, creative themes, and technical questions, which your tutor will then cover during your online classes.

    Your portfolio and the support you receive from your tutors will still be tailored to your creative interests and the degree you’re progressing to. And you’ll share your portfolio with your teachers via email and the VLE regularly, so that you can receive feedback and stay on track to university.

    Take a look at the creative work entered into Nottingham Trent International College’s Art, Design and Media Show this year.

  • How do online Science and Engineering programmes work?

    Laboratory and practical work are key elements of Science and Engineering programmes. In order to recreate these specialist skills, a range of simulations and virtual laboratories will be used, letting you recreate the types of experiments you would experience in person at college.

    Your tutors will guide you through the experiments, allowing you to demonstrate your growing knowledge and understanding, while giving feedback on your skills and interpretation of the results obtained.

    Your experiments will be tailored to your chosen subjects and can cover a wide range of topics such as analysing DNA, carrying out chemical titrations or investigating the refraction of light.

  • What if my course isn't delivered by Kaplan?

    Some courses are not delivered by Kaplan and the course provider may have different digital learning practices in place. These courses include:

    • University of Bristol International Foundation Programme
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Foundation Certificate at the University of Nottingham
    • University of York International Pathway College programmes

     
    You can find more information about studying these programmes in Autumn 2020 here.

Download our Digital Learning Guide

Progressing to university

We are committed to helping you succeed and progress to your university degree as planned. By studying online, you can still finish on time, without putting your academic ambitions on hold.

Our first cohort of digital learning students finished their pathway courses with outstanding results, with most students who passed receiving unconditional offers to progress to their chosen degree. These students are continuing to follow their path to university, and you can too!

Get in touch

If you have more questions about how digital learning works, you can contact us and we’ll be happy to help.