A behind the scenes view of The IMM Graduate School in motion.
For five months South Africa has been in a national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has forced the world to adapt, including the IMM Graduate School. The IMM Graduate School has come up with multiple quick solutions to ensure as little disruption to students as possible. Because we are already a distance learning, higher education institution, classes were able to quickly resume online.
This did not come without its challenges, however. While we quickly adopted an innovative approach to moving students online there were a few challenges that our students and staff found, such as technical difficulties and lack of resources. Many lecturers have turned to other creative ways to teach online including other teaching tools and social platforms, which further engage students, ultimately with the goal of bringing students closer to achieving their final qualifications.
We realised that we had to make a few adjustments to accommodate our students such as:
- Extending the submission deadline dates of assignments.
- Finding an alternative solution to assist our students to still write a summative examination by making it a take-home, open book exam as well as the,
- Provision of additional academic support to students on how to approach an open book assessment.
- Adapting the exam timetable and extending deadlines by one week to allow more students to have the ability to complete the academic semester.
- Additional resources being made available while also facilitating online tutorial classes to assist students to better understand difficult academic concepts.
- Specific examination preparation online workshops to alleviate the additional stress levels of students and help them to better prepare for the upcoming summative assessments.
Our CEO, Dalein van Zyl, together with the Student Support team and members of Faculty worked around the clock to develop regular and consistent communication messages to ensure both staff and students remained informed about what was happening, what was going to happen and what was needed in the interim.
The IMM Graduate School created an online space to accommodate activities such as:
- The provision and uploading of the final assessment paper for students to access and prepare for.
- The uploading of a how-to-guide to assist students when they upload their completed assessment documents.
- A check my work for plagiarism space with the same time and date limitations as the actual upload for grading title, and, lastly,
- an upload for grading activity, again with date and time based on the Final Assessment time-table so students know when and where to upload.
We have processes in place to ensure all the variables and challenges throughout this process are addressed. A whole team is available to assist students to address any academic queries during the final assessment session quickly and efficiently. These two teams have to be available to address any queries during the entire duration of the 2 weeks from 8am in the morning until 8pm at night, and to address them quickly and correctly.
To ensure The IMM Graduate School stays on track, we have taken on additional markers to guarantee the marking of the final assessments are completed before the end of the semester so students have what they needed going into the next semester.
The show must go on and we at the IMM Graduate School are going out of our way to ensure all students can continue with their studies with minimal disruption.
Our students had this to say:
“I wanted to take this time to commend IMM on the amazingly progressive and accommodating way that the exams have been amended amid this Codiv 19 pandemic. So, flipping well done guys 😊 us students really owe you one” Caryn – student
“Today I want to share with the whole world how incredibly awesome IMM has been and is especially during this lock down. During this lock down IMM has been at the forefront of online support and making it possible to finish my Honours degree online this semester.” Annelie C
“Well done IMM with being highly innovative and prepared in this uncertain Covid -19 times. As a student based in New Zealand busy with my BPhil Honours course, I have been overwhelmed with what’s going on in society. Your innovative online portals, friendly and helpful staff and wonderful support to be safe and thrive in this time has made giving my best so much easier even from a far. Thank you for making my journey to success and safety so much more enriching.” Chazelle L.
“I started studying towards my honours degree this year. With the COVID.19 outbreak, everything has become a lot more stressful, but IMM has handled everything so well and has offered great support to their students, ultimately reinforcing the benefits of online education. – Honours Degree Student, Catherine H
Written by Riana Prins, Head: Assessments & Learning Management System, Academic Faculty, IMM Graduate School of Marketing