How will I learn?
CE courses are offered as ‘blended learning’ courses that combine three main ways to learn:
- Core, synchronous, weekly sessions.
- Each of our courses comprises core, weekly, synchronous learning where you join other students and the course tutor.
- For online course this is in an online Zoom ‘virtual classroom’ that you can enter from the comfort of your own home.
- For on campus courses this is in a physical classroom, usually on our City Centre campus or sometimes at another location such as Ness Gardens or Tate Liverpool.
- Additional asynchronoussupport material provided through our Virtual Learning Environment, Canvas, for all courses, whether they are online or on campus.
- Each week, your tutor will upload support materials to Canvas for you to engage with asynchronously, at your leisure. This material could be handouts, links to websites, videos, or anything else.
- some online courses also have optional face-to-face, in person activity on campus or in the city where appropriate, such as museum visits.
- Some classes will blend the core, virtual classroom sessions with opportunities for in-person face-to-face activity on campus or around the city to locations such as museums or galleries. These will normally be optional activities rather than course requirements; the course descriptions will make this clear.
- We will also be offering a variety of face-to-face activities for CE students through the academic year. These include initiatives such as library and campus tours, social feedback events, and academic talks.
I enjoy the social interaction and engagement of learning – how can I do this on a blended online course?
Our core synchronous sessions are taught live in our virtual classroom in real time, enabling you to see and hear both the tutor and other students, who can also see and hear you.
The virtual classroom is simply a Zoom meeting that is unique to each course. We have also made sure that these are available to your class at any time and are not time restricted to the weekly tutor-led sessions. This means that you can ‘arrive’ early and chat to other students, arrange you own study or discussion groups between taught sessions, or just use the virtual classroom as somewhere to meet up for a chat and a coffee.
We know the social aspects of our courses are important to our students and we are working with tutors to make sure their blended teaching styles are interactive, welcoming and engaging for students.
Some tutors will arrange in person activities, but remember that the University campus is also available to you as students of the university. Feel free to arrange your own informal meetings in the libraries, museums or coffee shops on campus. We will also be offering regular tours of the campus, the libraries and museums that you can join—keep an eye on our newsletter for details.
What computer equipment will I need to engage with courses?
You will need to have an email account and an IT device such as a personal computer (PC or Mac), a laptop, or a tablet/ipad that can connect to the internet. If you are taking an online course, your device should also have a functioning camera, speakers and microphone. In many cases a ‘smart’ mobile phone is sufficient, especially to access talks and lectures. You need the facility to open and read documents, and to create and upload files if your course requires that you complete and submit work.
What computer software will I need to engage with courses?
For the core, synchronous, weekly sessions, for online courses, the University favours Zoom: a group video-calling software which will be used for most of our courses and events. When you enrol on a course, you will be sent an email with a link to the Zoom classroom, which you will be able to access free of charge. You simply click this link to join your class at the advertised lecture times. This allows you, your tutor and your group to meet in a ‘virtual classroom’; your tutor will lead you in lecturing, discussions, watching presentations, and using the ‘text chat’ functions to ask questions and make comments.
For the additional asynchronous support material, we use CANVAS: our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This is where you tutor can put materials to support your Zoom lectures, such as handouts, reading materials, slides, videos, links to resources (such as YouTube videos and websites), and a whole range of other learning materials. You can access this at any time, so you can do some of the learning at your own pace and at a time to suit you.
Just as our tutors all have different lecturing styles, they will be able to develop their online course using some or all of these online tools to suit their teaching, and their subjects.
I’ve never done blended or online learning before – how will I know what to do?
You will get an email from us about a week before the start of the course with instructions on how to access the course online.
Rest assured, it is all quite simple. Simply click the link to join the online lecture, sit back, and enjoy from the comfort of your home.
What are Synchronous and Asynchronous learning?
You may hear these terms used about online courses.
Synchronous learning means learning done in real time, and all together as a group; Asynchronous learning is done by you individually at a time that you choose.
Tutors will use a mix of both to varying degrees, in a way that best suits the subject matter. You needn’t worry about any of this. When you sign up to a course, you’ll be informed of when to click into the virtual classroom for synchronous sessions, and where asynchronous resources for your own study can be found.
How will I submit work?
All work will be submitted electronically, either by emailing a file to your tutor or uploading it to a dedicated webspace. You will be given clear instructions for each piece of work on how to submit it.
You may also find this glossary of terms helpful -
ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING: When learners participate in an online learning course at different times, it is known as asynchronous learning. Asynchronous learning allows learners to go through a course at their own pace and on their own schedule.
BLENDED LEARNING: Blended learning is an instructional approach that includes a combination of learning mediums. For example, a course might include some asynchronous learning, some scheduled sessions for synchronous discussions and then some meetings on-campus.
DISTANCE LEARNING: Distance Education occurs when students and their instructors are in different geographical locations. These days that usually means the instruction occurs on an electronic device, such as a computer or mobile phone. But originally it might have been done using printed course materials. The learning can occur in a synchronous environment, in which all participants are connected at the same time or in an asynchronous environment, when participants are engaged in learning at different times.
ONLINE LEARNING: is an umbrella term that includes any type of learning accomplished on a computer and usually over the Internet.
ON-CAMPUS or ON-SITE LEARNING: this is where the participants are all together at the same in the same geographical location. This used to be called face-to-face delivery, but now that distance learning is done mostly online, that can also involve face-to-face interactions on screen.
SYNCHRONOUS LEARNING: When learners participate in an online learning course at the same time but in different locations, it is known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning allows learners to interact with the instructor and other participants. This is done through software that creates a virtual classroom.
VIDEO CONFERENCING: Video conferencing refers to the use of video technology (both hardware and software) to create a virtual meeting between two or more people in different physical locations. Participants can see and hear each other through this technology. Examples are Zoom, Facetime, Skype and TEAMS.
VIRTUAL CLASSROOM: The virtual classroom refers to a digital classroom learning environment that takes place over the Internet rather than in a physical classroom. It is implemented through software that allows an instructor and students to interact.
WEBINAR: A webinar is a virtual classroom in which the facilitator and participants view the same screen at the same time. Webinars typically use video, audio and slides that the facilitator controls and functionality that allows participants to chat by entering text, answering polls, raising their ‘virtual hands’ and asking questions. The participants cannot usually see or hear each other on screen.