Online learning: your questions answered
- What is the value of an online pre-sessional course?
- What is an online classroom like?
- Will I have enough contact with teaching staff?
- How will you monitor my attendance?
- How will you monitor my engagement?
- Which online platform will the University be using?
- Will I be able to access the online course from overseas?
- Will the time difference affect my studies?
- How will I be assessed?
- Will I still get a cultural experience?
What is the value of an online pre-sessional course?
Our pre-sessional courses will develop your academic language and prepare you for your degree course. Our online courses offer the same high-quality experience as our ‘on campus’ courses.
Find out more about course content.
What is an online classroom like?
In virtual classes, you will be taught live by an experienced teacher. You will be able to send messages and files, interact via audio and video link, and work in groups on shared notebooks. Your class will consist of up to 16 students, but you will do some tasks in smaller groups.
We will record these live classes. If you are unable to attend a session, you can watch the recording.
Will I have enough contact with teaching staff?
Yes. You will take part in live sessions. During these sessions, you will get individual attention from your teacher.
Outside of class time, your teacher will provide regular feedback on your work. You will also have weekly live progress reviews with your teacher.
How will you monitor my attendance?
We will monitor your attendance to the live daily sessions. In these sessions, you will get to know your teacher and your classmates.
If you ever can’t attend a class, you will be able to watch a recording afterwards.
How will you monitor my engagement?
Each day you will add work to an online portfolio. Once a week, you and your teacher will review your portfolio. Together, you will discuss your engagement and development.
Which online platform will the University be using?
The course will be delivered through Microsoft’s OneNote Class Notebook and our online learning system, which is called Blackboard. Live sessions will take place on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra – a video conferencing system that will run in your browser.
We also have several backup platforms in place, just in case we have any technical difficulties.
Will I be able to access the online course from overseas?
Yes. The online course will be accessible from everywhere, including China.
For students in China, we will provide access to a VPN (virtual private network) connection through Alibaba Cloud. Students will have access to a VPN corresponding to their region. These VPN connections went live in May 2020 and are approved by the Chinese government.
Using a VPN is not essential, but using it will ensure you have the best connection possible. A VPN will improve your connection speeds with our online systems and reduce network latency.
For the best experience of live sessions, you should use a wired connection to the internet and a standards-compliant web browser, such a Firefox or Safari.
Will the time difference affect my studies?
No. We will consider time zones when timetabling classes. For students in some time zones, live sessions will run until 7pm.
How will I be assessed?
Your online portfolio will be assessed on an ongoing basis. This ongoing assessment will help you develop and meet your targets. At the end of the course, you will give a video presentation about your development.
You will also be assessed on your participation in a group task. This task will involve reading, presenting ideas and evaluating each other’s work.
Will I still get a cultural experience?
Yes. You can still learn about UK culture, meet local people and attend events virtually.
As part of the course, you will collaborate with your classmates in real time. You can also attend online events hosted by the University. These experiences will prepare you for arrival in Bristol.