High-tech overhaul to woo students

High-tech overhaul to woo students

State-of-the-art facilities will offer video lectures and other flexible learning options

Stockport College is launching a £100m project to renovate its city centre campus, with state-of-the-art IT facilities to support 8,500 students.

The five-year initiative will involve a total overhaul of the college’s communications infrastructure, creating a WiFi-enabled learning environment that will offer versatile teaching techniques such as video lectures broadcast remotely.

A technology-led approach is vital for attracting future pupils, according to deputy principal Keith Alcock.

“At the moment I don’t think we interact with students as well as we could in terms of further education,” he said.

“We have young people aged 16 to 18 who are very technically aware, so we need to make sure that our IT is cutting-edge and that our content can be accessed in a way they want.”

As part of plans to improve the layout of the campus, the college is cutting its total classroom space from 43,000 to 37,000 square metres. And technologies such as wireless internet will play a key role in maximising the use of the available teaching space.

Possibilities include lectures uploaded to a virtual learning environment, according to Alcock.

“It is important to have flexibility of learning, so you don’t have always to sit in a classroom at 2pm on a Monday afternoon,” he said.

“You will be able to view a lesson on whatever equivalent to a BlackBerry exists in two or three years’ time.”

The college is also considering the use of radio frequency ID and wireless payment cards to help monitor the movement and behaviour of students.

The overall refurbishment project is being delivered by building contractor Alfred McAlpine.