The Higher Education experience is flourishing at @HopwoodHall College and University Centre – with learners believing they’re gaining a strong advantage over undergraduates at other universities.
Based at the college’s University Centre in Middleton, new students are enrolling to find that classes are still delivered face-to-face in a COVID-safe environment instead of online like they are at countless institutions across the country.
This is made possible due to the college’s sprawling grounds which stretch across 70-acres of woodland and can comfortably accommodate learners even with social distancing measures in place.
The students are also praising the small class sizes for allowing them the opportunity to forge relationships with their tutor and easily ask questions in a close-knit environment.
This perk is experienced by all courses, including those doing the Foundation Degree in Early Years and Childhood Studies.
Amongst the small group of learners in the class are Sarah, 31, Chloe, 21 and Melissa, 18 – offering a blend of ages and backgrounds that promotes lively discussion of the material.
A normal day for these students is drastically different from the routine of online lectures that other universities are delivering for their first years.
Meanwhile, opportunities are already abundant for learners about to start the Higher National Diploma in Animal Management.
The course is yet to begin but those enrolled have been undertaking valuable work experience at the college’s wildlife enclosures.
This is giving them daily access to over 700 species of animals, including meerkats and critically endangered Bali starlings.
One of the students is 24-year-old Emma, who is thrilled to be getting hands-on experience in an industry where such opportunities are often limited.
Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College, said:
“We’re proud to still offer a first-rate experience for all our students, but especially those studying Higher Education.
“Our priority has been to ensure face-to-face teaching continues and that it’s carried out in a safe environment so that our learners are able to thrive.
“It’s great to hear that the students already feel the benefit and realise they’re at a distinct advantage because of this.”
Chloe, studying a Foundation Degree in Early Years and Childhood Studies, said:
“I knew I wanted to come to a university where I could sit down and learn face-to-face.
“I know students at other universities who are now working on platforms like Zoom and they are struggling.
“It’s hard for them to communicate with the tutor, whereas I’m getting one-to-one feedback and already know my tutor really well.”
Sarah, studying a Foundation Degree in Early Years and Childhood Studies, said:
“You need that human interaction to progress and enjoy the course.
“I felt apprehensive about the prospect of studying at a place where everything was online, so I couldn’t be happier that my course takes place in person.”
Melissa, studying a Foundation Degree in Early Years and Childhood Studies, said:
“I really think that students at other places are missing out because their lessons have been moved online.
“We’re progressing every week and it’s because we’re in a classroom.”
Emma, currently undertaking work experience ahead of studying a HND in Animal Management, said:
“Covid just isn’t impacting us here like it is with students at other places, and because of that we are still getting the hands-on experience that we were promised.
“In terms of getting a job, I feel like we will probably be in work as a result of this – and that wouldn’t be the case if we had enrolled at another university.”