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UK: Coventry moves to mobile-first LXP

The UK’s Coventry University has announced it is moving its courses to Learning Experience Platform (LXP),  Aula, to position its students and academics at the forefront of the next evolution in teaching and learning.   

The move makes Coventry the first university of its kind to commit to a learning experience platform which embraces the next era of digital learning as active, collaborative and mobile-first. Photo: Coventry University

76% of students said that  Aula easily connected them to their learning community

From September, approximately 40,000 students from courses across the Coventry University Group will be using Aula – a move which makes Coventry the first university of its kind, globally, to commit to an LXP which embraces the next era of digital learning and is mobile-first, it stated.

Associate pro-vice-chancellor (Teaching and Learning), Andrew Turner, said that pausing face-to-face teaching because of Covid-19 and moving all teaching and learning online accelerated that need for the switch.

Learners will gain insights into the experience of studying at a UK university and will familiarise themselves with British academic culture

“ Aula  is mobile-first, making it easily accessible for students, especially those who may not have access to laptops at home,” he said.

“It is also simple for our academic staff to use and will help us recreate the feel of face-to-face teaching, to strengthen students’ learning communities.”

Given the current global public health crisis, the partnership is expediting the change process by transforming up to 100 modules to be online-ready on  Aula for May 2020.

This is part of a digital offer that the university is shaping for the May 2020 intake of students, in addition to its existing portfolio of courses via Coventry University Online.

Coventry University moved all of its teaching and learning online during March when face-to-face teaching was suspended.

The Aula platform will continue to support and enhance face-to-face teaching when campus life returns to normal. 

The roll-out will include Coventry University London, CU Coventry, CU Scarborough and CU London (Dagenham & Barking and Greenwich), as well as the main Coventry University campus.  

The successful  Aula  pilot project involved 1,800 students across all faculties at the Coventry University campus.

As part of the evaluation, the number of students logging into  Aula  more than doubled in comparison to Coventry University’s existing VLE.

Some 76% of students said that  Aula easily connected them to their learning community, which is in contrast with the  Jisc benchmark of 41% for student connectedness through a traditional VLE.      

Provost at Coventry University, Ian Dunn, said the fact that  Aula  more than doubled student engagement in the pilot year made a compelling case for moving away from the traditional VLE completely.

“Our students are looking at their learning lives in a similar way to their social media lives. But that’s not the way many current VLEs are built – they’re more like filing cabinets,” he said.

“Our commitment to the institution-wide adoption of this learning experience platform is a commitment to building learning communities which engage and excite today’s students in their academic experience at university.”

Anders Krohn, who co-founded  Aula  in 2016 and is the company’s CEO, advocates for the need to provide technology which supports high-impact educational practices.  

“We are building a learning experience platform which does not seek to replace the VLE with a new shiny interface, but instead resolves the underlying pedagogical problems – the need for collaborative opportunities, ease of use and mobile accessibility,” added Krohn.

“As a new category of learning solution,  Aula  scales high-quality digital learning to increase access and improve student outcomes.”   

Earlier this week Coventry University also launched an online pre-sessional English program on FutureLearn to help international students build the English language and academic skills needed for successful university study in the UK.

Learners will also gain insights into the experience of studying at a UK university and will familiarise themselves with British academic culture.

The PSE Online Award is delivered over 14 weeks and is made up of a series of short online courses.

During the program, students will have the opportunity to engage with students around the world while earning a qualification that provides a 0.5 IELTS uplift.

The PSE Online Award aims to equip students with the English language skills required for university study in the UK.

Pre-sessional courses director at Coventry University, Mary Forbes, said that it is the first wholly online pre-sessional course to be delivered anywhere in the world.

“The sound pedagogic principles underlying the course have delivered excellent outcomes for learners since its pilot delivery in autumn 2018,” she said.

“We are looking forward to welcoming and working with our newest cohort of learners from around the world this May and helping them to achieve their educational goals.”

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