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New technology boosts flexible learning, providing students with greater choice over where, when, and how they learn

Technology being installed in every Birkbeck classroom will allow students to participate fully in lessons whether they are physically present in the classroom or joining remotely.

a pic of student studying together
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Thousands of Birkbeck students are set to benefit from a £3M grant from the Office for Students which will enable the university to invest in cutting edge technology that supports flexible learning.

The new technology will help ensure that time poor students, who balance studying with work, can attend and participate fully in lessons whether they are in the classroom on Birkbeck’s central London campus or joining remotely. It will also enable students to catch up by watching high quality recordings of classes they miss, and it will be used to establish a virtual reality and immersive learning environment.

Students will see new ‘HyFlex’ technology that synchronizes learning in physical classrooms seamlessly with online learning installed into every Birkbeck classroom over the next three years. This will make Birkbeck’s learning environment one of the most supportive of flexible learning of any university in the country.

Birkbeck specialises in providing a research-led university education that enables students to work whilst they learn from leading academics. The university’s students are often time poor because many balance study with full-time work. The new technology, which will be installed into over 100 Birkbeck classrooms, will provide students with greater choice and flexibility over how and when they study.

To meet the needs of its busy students, Birkbeck began investing in developing a high-quality online environment to support on-campus learning, before the Covid pandemic. When it was forced to switch to online only provision during the pandemic, the university found that many students welcomed being able to learn online or to catch up on classes that they had missed, and attendance improved overall.

The plans to provide Birkbeck’s students with a connected campus in central London that combines cutting-edge technology with state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities that truly support flexible learning were signalled in Vision 2021-26, the university’s five-year strategy which was published late last year.

Professor David Latchman, Vice-Chancellor, said, “This grant from the Office for Students will help us to continue to develop as London’s leading provider of flexible and part-time higher education, despite the challenging financial environment.

“It will enable us to build on the work we are doing to provide students with the best technology-enabled learning and social spaces in Bloomsbury, and online learning opportunities that truly support flexible learning and student choice.”

Diane Houston, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education said, “We know that providing busy students with greater choice and flexibility over how and when they learn dramatically improves their learning experience and ultimately, their results. Introducing this technology into all of our classrooms will help to transform the way our students engage with and benefit from their time studying with us.”

Further Information

Read Birkbeck's Vision 2021-26 corporate strategy

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