Reopening - a hybrid approach

A mock up of our teaching space with additional safety measures and distancing

Find out more about our new hybrid teaching approach, as well as some of the steps we are taking to keep students safe when we welcome our September 2020 cohort.

What’s the big news?

The next Software Engineer FastTrack cohort, commencing 22nd September 2020, will be taking place both in-person and online, in what we are referring to as a hybrid teaching model - bringing the benefits of the remote experience to the classroom.

Our teaching space has been remodelled to be COVID-secure, and is being fitted with advanced video conferencing capabilities, so whether you are participating in-person, remotely, or perhaps a bit of both, you can still be immersed in the classroom experience.

How does this hybrid model work?

If you are joining a session remotely then you just need to join the video conference for the class. You can ask questions using "raise hand" or chat functionality. If you use the raise hand functionality to ask your question then you will be invited to ask it over the conference, and you will be visible to other people on the video conference, as well as to students in the classroom. If you are in the classroom then you can raise your hand to ask a question - remote participants will be able to see and hear you clearly, and should feel almost as they are in the classroom with you.

If you need help then you can request to speak to a tutor or mentor in your cohort chat. If you are participating remotely, then a member of staff will join you on a separate call. If you are in the classroom and a mentor is free in the classroom then you can get support in a dedicated support area in the classroom. If you are in the classroom and a mentor is free remotely, then there will be a call booth you can go to in order to get support.

Note that a lecturer may also choose not to attend a physical session and may deliver their session remotely. The classroom will still be open in this circumstance - with lecturer audio and video cast to the classroom displays - and a mentor will be on hand to help students and relay classroom questions to the lecturer.

Is it better to be in the classroom?

No. The experience is designed to give students the same level of support, regardless of how they choose to participate, and we would still strongly encourage students to study from home where they can in order to limit the risk to themselves and others from COVID-19.

How is this different to what we’ve previously offered?

Up until now - since March - we have been delivering our industry-led curriculum fully online through Zoom and Slack.

We will continue to offer the option to participate online, as students have overwhelmingly given positive feedback, and we’ve also seen a significant increase in attendance and a reduction in dropout rates as a result of the new found flexibility.

Why are we re-opening the classroom now?

We are conscious that as one of the most flexible and equitable coding schools on the market, we want to be able to offer an alternative to those who do not have quiet and constructive home learning environments or might otherwise struggle to study in a home environment, and many potential students are reaching out to us because of this.

What safety measures are in place?

We have implemented significant changes to our teaching space to ensure it is COVID-secure:

  • Students will be sat at least 1m apart from each other. Transparent partitions will be in place where students are directly facing one another.

  • Staff and students will be expected to maintain a 2 metre distance in communal areas.

  • Everybody will have their temperature checked on initial entry into the classroom.

  • The classroom will be naturally ventilated where outdoor conditions permit.

  • Staff and students will have to wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times, unless they have a medical reason which exempts them from doing so.

  • Hand sanitiser stations will be located at the entrance of the building and the classroom.

  • Thorough daily cleaning will take place.

  • A HEPA filter will be in place to filter COVID-19 particles from the air.

  • Students and staff will have to register on the way into the classroom so that we can identify who might need to self-isolate in the event of an outbreak.

  • There will be a dedicated support area when students need help (students can also seek help online). Students should request support over Slack - our community chat tool - and should only come to the support area once instructed to do so (which will also be via Slack). Students will be able to cast to an external display so that staff can point to a student’s code easily without handling or being close to the student’s laptop.

  • We recommend that students should participate remotely if they fall into a high-risk group.

Is there a limit to how many people can attend in-person?

To keep cohorts viable, we anticipate some students will participate online-only for most or all of the course, and that those who chose to attend physical classes will also participate remotely for some sessions. We can gage this from communication with applicants as well as by their geographical location, but we can’t be 100% sure that attendance will always be possible in-person. Therefore a booking system will be in place where students can book to come in for certain sessions. We will guarantee that all students will be able to participate in physical sessions for at least 80% of the course, but we don’t anticipate this being a problem for the most-part as we know from experience that students aren't always able to attend in person, and that many will opt to participate remotely from time to time.

What will happen in the event of a potential COVID-19 outbreak or another lockdown?

We may have to close the classroom for prolonged periods in the event that:

  • one of our staff or students have COVID-19 symptoms

  • one of our staff or students have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19

  • the Government mandates that we must close

In either of these situations, we will move to an online-only format for as long as is necessary to keep our staff and students safe. Everything has been designed as an online-first experience so this won't be detrimental to your tuition.

Still have questions?

Feel free to get in touch. You can email us on [email protected] or give us a call on +44 333 050 7590