University Tips Blog
Image of a teacher arranging an online event schedule
A headshot image of the author, Jessica Cook

by Jessica Cook

Careers Officer at Swindon Academy and a consultant for UniTasterDays

posted on 25 Nov '20

Top tips for schools when arranging virtual university events

School shutdown followed by lockdown #2 has been difficult for everyone. In the careers world, we have had to rewrite our whole school programme to run virtually and still give our students all the information they need to make informed decisions about their futures. However, there are a few silver linings that I have found when completing this task.

Firstly, we can work with universities from different geographical areas who usually, we wouldn’t be able to visit or who would be less inclined to visit us. Secondly, we are able to arrange virtual inputs that more students can access. Previously, we may have only been able to take a coach of say 40 students to a university but with a virtual tour, the whole school can watch it! Lastly, and most importantly for the purpose of this blog, virtual inputs are far easier to arrange.

“Easy?!” I hear you say and don’t worry, I understand... Nothing in schools ever feels particularly easy to arrange. But hear me out, these are the reasons behind my claim that virtual university inputs are easier to arrange in a school setting:

1) You don’t need to book a large hall to accommodate students

All you need is approval from your SLT/Head for the event to take place during X period, communicate this to the teachers that have the year group you are running the input for during that period and all they need is access to the relevant video conferencing software to run the event.

2) You don’t need to take students out of class

The virtual event can take place in the classrooms that students are meant to be in during that period anyway, which means no communicating to students a change of room. By not taking students out of class, this also means that you do not have to find members of staff to facilitate the sessions or cover for lessons as you would if you were running a trip.

3) You don’t need individual access to IT

There is no need to book IT suites to run these sessions, just a standard classroom with a screen at the front is sufficient and will allow all students to view the virtual input. You may even find that the teachers in that classroom get an hour of marking time - win-win!

4) There is no risk of cross-contaminating bubbles

As students are staying in their classrooms, in their year groups, they are in their bubbles. There is no heightened Covid risk at all so your Health and Safety Manager will be sure to give a virtual university input the thumbs up. Whereas bringing a visitor into the building or taking a group of students to a university... They may not be so hot on those suggestions!

Image of a student attending an online event

5) You don’t even need to be in the building when the talk takes place

Let’s think about this - the students are going to their normal classrooms, the teachers are briefed and have access to the virtual input via video conferencing platform, the university is ready and able to give the input. Make sure IT are aware so they can be on hand to support in case anything technical goes wrong. Once all this is set up, you do not need to even be present to facilitate a virtual input. This is great for people working in their careers role on a part-time basis.

To conclude, virtual university inputs are great for careers professionals, teachers, health and safety managers and, let’s not forget the most important people, our students.

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