Moving Online: The Succeed Programme

Outreach Activities Co-ordinator, Francesca Plom, shares her experience of moving the Succeed Programme online during lockdown

The Succeed Programme is an annual programme designed to encourage year 12 students to think about what they might do when they leave school and whether university could be the right path for them. The programme provides students with space to explore the opportunities and challenges offered by Higher Education in a safe and inclusive environment with the support of a team of university staff and student ambassadors.  It normally takes place from January to July and is taught through Saturday sessions and a four day residential, all held on campus.

Following the implementation of national measures to keep people at home and reduce the rate of infection of Covid-19, it was necessary to adapt the Succeed Programme so that students who had embarked on the course in January could continue studying from home. This proved to be an interesting challenge.

How has it been adapted?

Early on, it was agreed that it was essential to keep the key elements of the programme. These include providing unbiased information about university through student guided learning, consistent engagement between succeed ambassadors and students and maintaining a wide variety of programme delivery approaches.  A mixture of live sessions via zoom and self-guided learning through Moodle were considered the best way to meet these different elements.  However redeveloping resources for online delivery and transferring everything to Moodle has been both time consuming and, at times, a technical challenge.

On a positive note, since being converted into an online format, staff and ambassadors have delivered two full days of activities to 44 students from a variety of schools across Kent and Medway. It has been really encouraging to be able to continue to work with the learners and provide opportunities for the programme to adapt and develop to a new environment.

We will be continuing to work with participants throughout June and July to cover all of the topics which would have been covered in the original version of the programme. This includes an adapted version of the residential week which was scheduled to take place in mid-July.

How are ambassadors contributing?

As always, the Succeed Ambassadors have been integral to the success and sustainability of the programme. In keeping with the original version, ambassadors have committed to working on all of the dates and continue to mentor and support a small group of participants. They assist their mentor groups by answering questions, sharing experiences and asking questions of the students to help them explore and reflect. In addition, the ambassadors have been contributing to the development of online materials by creating voice notes and videos to embed within PowerPoints and display on Moodle.

The programme, would definitely not be as valuable to students without the hard work of these ambassadors and as a department we are very grateful for the contributions they have made to the programme.