Universities have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic but that isn’t stopping St Mary’s students on our Chelsea Foundation degree programme from studying.

Together with St Mary’s University, the Foundation offers a Coaching and Development programme which provides students with an innovative learning opportunity to enhance your teaching and coaching practice, as well as developing your business and entrepreneurship skills while gaining an in-depth knowledge and understanding of football coaching development.

Despite the difficult times the world is facing at the moment, students on this programme have been able to adapt quickly to resources available to them from their homes.

The programme has been utilising Microsoft Teams to engage with students both on a one-to-one basis, as well as for online interactive seminars, alongside a capture tool that is used to record lectures.

Students are further supported with a weekly ‘coaches clinic’ in which the lecturers are remotely joined by an industry professional to provide discussion content and a form of Foundation engagement including pre-recorded interviews or a Q&A session with a member of staff.

Project officer Adrian Salisbury said: ‘We’re really pleased that the academic team at St. Mary's have been so easily able to adapt to transition our programme to an online format.

‘It has allowed our students to continue to engage with the programme through both lectures and seminars.

‘These are readily available for students to engage with either live or as-live, removing any barriers to our international students who are now operating with time differences, as well as allowing for a flexible learning approach.

‘As a foundation we are looking forward to continuously engage with our students, complimenting the great work that the academic team are doing.’

For student Oli Moore, who is in his third year and due to submit his dissertation soon, the transition has been trouble-free, enabling him to adapt well at a time which is very important for his studies.

He said: ‘The smooth transition to remote teaching has made a really challenging situation into a positive one.

‘As the world inevitably moves towards a more agile mode of work, the support from the programme team well equips us to transition to remote learning.

‘Constant communication and innovative digital delivery has ensured we are able to complete remaining work and achieve deadlines feeling well prepared and supported.’

While it’s a very important time for students, it’s also a demanding period for lecturers who have also had to adapt to a different way of teaching.

Lecturer Patrick Oxenham said: 'The transition to online learning has been an interesting but rewarding process.

‘Within this difficult time, it has been a pleasure to continually support our students to ensure their group and individual needs are met.

‘The change has been relatively easy due to the excellent software the programme has to offer. I have set up forums to ensure all students have access to me for any support at any time. It has been a pleasure to work with them on this and can't wait to see them progress further.’