Academics

In line with global best practice, Varsity College has shifted away from the ‘traditional lecturing’ method where students sit passively, listening to the subject expert. We believe that this approach to teaching has lost relevance for students entering the world of work today. Internet connectivity, access to information, social networks and mobility have changed the context of learning. To this end, our teaching methods have been adapted to support students with building knowledge and developing skills for the 21st century.

The Varsity College teaching philosophy is grounded in an authentic, modern, blended-learning student experience. We aim to ensure that your academic life is as relevant and participative as possible. Learning, we believe, is a dynamic engagement with others and new sources of information. Our unique, interactive approach means you are able to participate actively in your studies while connecting with others to collaborate, create and communicate in a digitally fluent manner in order to build understanding and develop critical thinking.

At Varsity College our lecturers are highly qualified and, in many instances, actively engage with their professional field. Having lecturers with industry experience provides you with insight into current industry practice and brings your subject’s theory vividly to life, stimulating discussion and creating a sense of what’s in store for you out there.

It's all about having a finger on the pulse of your chosen career. With their experience coming from the outside world, you might be wondering how these industry experts are equipped with sound teaching practices. Good question. Lecturers at Varsity College connect in a dynamic online teaching practice community to keep abreast of new technologies, to enhance learning and to network globally on modern teaching methods. They are further guided by a campus based support team which includes an Educational Technologist and a Teaching & Learning Specialist to stay up to speed with the best teaching practices

The Varsity College teaching team is provided with development workshop/webinar opportunities throughout the year and are further supported by a peer review system, a measure that ensures all teaching methodologies result in quality learning. Investing to such an extent in our academic team might seem like a great deal of effort. It is, but the education we offer is only as good as those who deliver it. At Varsity College we make it our business to ensure that Varsity College lecturers are as qualified and equipped for their role as possible.

In keeping with this personalised approach, your progress at Varsity College is monitored by a Programme Coordinator, a lecturer who keeps an eye on your overall academic performance and who ensures that you receive the support you need, should you encounter difficulties. Simply put, your Programme Coordinator is there to make sure that nothing stands in the way of your academic success.

Over and above formal tests and exams, your lecturers will assess you on a continual basis. This may sound a little intimidating, but all it really means is that we are able to check that the correct learning is taking place. It also means that if you’re having difficulties with a subject, your lecturer will pick up on it before you fall too far behind, and give you the extra attention required to bring you up to speed.

Active Learning and VCLearn

The IIE’s Varsity College has moved away from ‘traditional lecturing’ methods where you would learn by passively listening to the lecturer. We believe that this approach to teaching has lost its relevance for students entering today’s world of work. Our teaching approach is anchored in Active Learning principles with the support of technology to extend learning outside the classroom. The platform used to enable your learning outside the classroom is called VCLearn. Essentially VCLearn is an online learning environment that contains activities developed to drive learning. It also has a number of tools which include discussion boards, online journals and blogs that your lecturer will request you to use at different stages of the semester to support your learning. Your lecturer’s feedback on the activities that you complete on VCLearn will be an indication of how well you have grasped the key concepts. This will ensure that you are not only better prepared for assessments, but that you will, in the process, develop critical thinking and learning skills required for the workplace.

Developing Thinking and Learning Skills

“Smart thinking demands that we do more than just think vaguely about things” – Mathew Allen. Your entire learning experience as a student is dependent on your ability to think smartly. Most students can easily memorise facts, however your ability to formulate an informed opinion based on existing knowledge, will set you apart from “ordinary thinkers”.
To develop thinking skills, you are encouraged to do the following:

  • Fully engage in the activities set by your lecturer, especially the ones that challenge you.
  • Don’t shy away from “group work”. Interaction with your peers will expose you to different viewpoints and broaden your understanding. It will also test and develop your ability to formulate and defend your opinions. A skill that is critical to survival in the workplace.
  • Learn from your mistakes! Use the feedback from your lecturers to understand where you went wrong, and how you can improve going forward.

Our campuses have wireless internet hotspots to enable connectivity inside and outside the classroom for a truly blended learning experience. Students are encouraged to BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) to support this new mode of connected learning.

New digital literacies and fluencies are a focus of development for both students and lecturers as new digital learning media and Web 2.0 applications are incorporated into the learning design. Lecturers will draw on appropriate technologies in class to support a particular learning activity and will engage with students in new online spaces such as Blackboard (VCLearn), blogs and backchannel tools. This ensures that every student has a voice in the learning community and the opportunity to collaborate, create and critically reflect in order to demonstrate learning.

While new cloud based learning media are explored in a variety of ways, we also provide each student with access to a range of other supportive platforms such as our online Career Centre, Ebrary and Ebscohost online research resources and eBooks. You will also have access to the closed Varsity College Student Portal on our integrated academic management system where you can access timetables, programme information, financial statements and online discussion forums with your lecturers. We ensure that students graduate, not only with a qualification, but with an approach towards the world of work and knowledge that will set them firmly on the path of becoming self-disciplined, independent thinkers.