Virtual Reality: The positive and lasting impact of online learning on University engagement
An important part of the Higher Education programme at Alice Smith School is the connections that we have with various top universities across the globe. In 'normal' times our students are lucky to be able to meet senior academics and other university representatives during their school visits and participate in various in-school university fairs that we host.
Due to COVID-19, we were no longer able to physically welcome university representatives and academics to our school this year. However, as we move to virtual learning environments, it opens up more opportunities for us to virtually host them, as we forgo the cost and travel time that it would have taken in the past.
In November 2020, the Higher Education team organised our first online Academic Lecture Series, where we invited senior university lectures and university representatives from a rich variety of universities across the UK, Australia and Malaysia to talk about academic, research and career opportunities in different specialist subject areas.
From STEM-related degrees like Medicine, Engineering and Data Science, to creative degrees such as Animation and UX/UI Design, our students were able to learn more about what each degree would entail and the potential career pathways that will be available for them after graduation.
For instance, Dr Kingsley Sage from the University of Sussex shared with us on how Computer Science and Machine Learning were used to teach a program to learn how to play the Go game by playing against itself and learning how to differentiate the good/bad moves. Students were also exposed to how machine learning can also be used in other industries, such as in medical applications, where we can use machines and programs to recognize the differences between cancer and non-cancer cells.
In some of the sessions, we were able to host academics from more than one institution, which allowed students to see the varied approaches and content used by different universities. For instance, we were able to bring academics from University of Dundee and RCSI-UCD Malaysia Campus to talk about studying Medicine in Malaysia and the UK. This allowed the students to explore various opportunities available to them based on their interests and preferences.
The HE department at Alice Smith is committed to finding the best possible fit university for all students and events like these really help students to understand what they want from their university study.
The sessions ran everyday at 5pm for three consecutive weeks, with a total of 272 participants across all 12 sessions. Parents and students from Years 10 to 13 were invited to be a part of the sessions, and we even had an external participant from Destiny Academy in Johor joining us for some of the sessions!
All sessions were recorded and are available for viewing on the School’s Youtube channel, and the lecture series will be returning for a weekly series for Term 2, with sessions on Accounting, Marketing, Seismology, History/Politics, and more!