The new college experience

Students reflect on alternative college reality due to ongoing pandemic.

The new academic term at City of Glasgow College is underway, with a usually buzzing super campus giving way to predominantly online learning and reduced on-campus practical classes.

With Coronavirus restrictions and guidelines firmly in place, for new and returning students it is an experience which may not match expectations - or is very different to before.

Iona Gibson is Student Vice President for Diversity and Wellbeing at the college. Currently completing her HND in Business Management, she shares her thoughts on returning to college for the blended learning experience.

“In the few classes I have had since the start of term I have been responsible for my own learning. I need to navigate the website myself and complete assignments, but the lecturers have been helpful in offering any assistance they can. Technical issues will be an inevitable part of virtual learning, but I think most of these are foreseeable and can be prevented.

“I’m glad that Fresher's was held virtually instead of being cancelled. For first year students though, I’m not sure there’s enough opportunity for them to meet and get to know their classmates. It can be intimidating to be put into a class of 25 new people, and this may pose an issue to students who are not outgoing or confident.” 

A class of new students studying NQ Level 5 Beauty and Make-Up said: “We are all really enjoying being on campus, meeting new people and learning new skills. The Beauty and Make Up kit is very good and allows us to practice at home. We all feel very safe in the college and the treatment COVID Protocols make us all feel secure and comfortable in the salon.”

Bernie Savage is Student Vice President for Learning and Teaching at the college, and in her second year studying HND Business. Bernie’s course is all online so starting has been very different as it was all done via Zoom.

“I do feel it is less enjoyable than being on campus and meeting new students face to face. It’s unfortunate that students are missing out on this aspect, but it’s good to see the college trying to actively encourage engagement between students online, with events such as Freshers’ being adapted to suit the times. I am concerned that some students will feel disconnected, first year students especially may feel they are missing out on the whole college experience and opportunity.” 

Holly Johnston is in her second year doing NQ Bakery and is one of a number of students who will come onto campus for practical classes. She said: “I'm enjoying being back at college again. It's different to last year, having a smaller amount of students in the bakeries but I like it, it feels a lot calmer than I thought it would.”

And HND Professional Cookery student, Sam Scott, also in his second year, is equally positive about his experience, adding: “I've been really impressed at how the college handled the Covid situation, both at the beginning of lockdown and also coming back into campus. I feel very safe.”

The safety and wellbeing of students and staff continues to be the college’s top priority. Our twin site campus is open with a range of strict health and safety measures in place, in line with current government and expert medical advice. Information on what students can expect in session 2020/21 can be found on the college website.