CREATING A PLATFORM FOR EFFECTIVE ACADEMIC AND PASTORAL CARE IN BORDERLESS TEACHING
This paper presents UCL’s Bartlet School of Graduate Studies (BSGS) experience in translating a traditionally delivered face-to-face Masters programme into borderless teaching including a special focus on pastoral care. BSGS’s MSc course Facility and Environment Management was established in London in 1992, to cover the provision and management of facilities and support services that sustain high performing organisations. Since 2010 it is delivered in two locations: London and Singapore, maintaining parity in terms of the course content and its assessment. The delivery in Singapore utilises blended learning methods including concentrated periods of block teaching and live video conferencing. The students in both locations share the same virtual learning environment (VLE) that supports the course modules by providing readings, seminar presentations including still and video, a discussion forum and coursework hand-in.
So far there is little difference in student results and satisfaction between the different locations or between the different modes of delivery making this course an important example of successful borderless teaching. Nevertheless, the area where we considered that course delivery could improve was in providing improved personal academic and pastoral care. Initially, the course director was available for virtual office hours for one hour a week via Skype and maintained regular email contact with the whole Singapore cohort. However we believed that a better student experience and greater parity in academic and pastoral care for the two cohorts would be delivered by embedding the possibility of real-time, visual, face-to-face contact with the course director as well as with all module tutors within the existing VLE. This has now been developed. The students will themselves evalute the success of the concept via a bespoke questionnaire study. The paper will describe the tools and their use, and the feedback available to date.