The global pandemic has had a profound impact on the education sector. Lecturers, students and staff have all been deeply affected by lockdowns and social distancing rules. But one college prioritised reaching out during 2020. This is their story.
In March 2020, like many educational institutions, Oxford Business College suspended face to face classes, and students were swiftly introduced to online tuition. Although originally expected to last only a few weeks, the College’s remote learning platforms have been developed to provide students with as much support as they’ve needed throughout the pandemic.
By seeing online learning as an opportunity, not just a stop gap, the College has been able to accept new enrolments throughout the pandemic. Given many of the College’s students are from international backgrounds, they’ve seen an impressive uptake in spite of global travel restrictions.
Online learning has also been welcomed by the College’s mature students. Leaders of the College conducted research on how mature students responded to the technology, and found that the majority were excited by the flexibility of remote learning. The College hope that this key finding will improve long term access to higher education for adult learners.
During the pandemic, Oxford Business College also invested in its content outreach in order to stay connected with students and staff via social media.
Alongside regular posts with insights and advice from the world of business, the College collaborated with companies across Oxfordshire on a series of video interviews. These interviews helped to promote local companies during a difficult time, while also providing valuable information for students on management and business development during challenging economic conditions.
Content has also addressed key social subjects, including diversity and inclusion, charity, sustainability and mental health. The College’s proactive approach to marketing saw it rank first on Edurank’s college social media tracker for 5 consecutive months, between July and November 2020.
Mental health has been a priority for the College throughout the pandemic. As an ongoing part of its outreach programme, the College has been focused on supporting students. For example, the College recently hosted a virtual weekend of events which included comedy, music and cooking – bringing students together at a time when the academic community was working and studying apart.
The College’s growth has been demonstrated through a significant rise in student numbers, and seen the opening of a second campus – a space in London to complement the institution’s main campus in Oxford.
It’s been a year of development and expansion for Oxford Business College. Rather than seeing the pandemic as a roadblock, the College chose to take action to support existing students and reach out to prospective new ones.
The College’s experiences are a reminder of the important words once spoken by Sir Winston Churchill, that, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
Despite challenging conditions, Oxford Business College was optimistic throughout 2020, and is benefiting from new opportunities in 2021.