“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to ensure that your programme of study can be delivered safely at the highest standards, we will be making some amendments to the way we deliver your programme…our multi-mode delivery means that you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience…”
Staring at the word “multi-mode”, I was confused and curious about how the Business School could arrange “a seamless integration of face-to-face and online sessions.” Swimming in confusion and uncertainties just like everybody else, I still chose to accept the offer and study towards the MSc Strategic Marketing to enhance my practical skills and prepare me to enter the job market.
With a time difference of eight hours between my home country and London, I initially found it difficult to manage a fully remote schedule (an option given to those students not already in London or not wishing to travel), and so decided to join one of the autumn transition points to study on-campus, arriving in London in early October 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic completely changed the way we live, and meant all students in the world became part of the newly formed “Zoom University”. Despite these challenges, I found Imperial’s multi-mode delivery offered the highest possible level of flexibility, while still ensuring the quality of the modules it aimed to deliver.
At the start of the term, the Programme Coordinator would release two timetables, one with two to three sessions delivered on campus and another all-online schedule. The best thing about these two schedules was that there were basically no overlapping time slots, meaning you could organise your own schedule and choose to attend either one to adapt your learning progress. This meant I could arrange my schedule with greater flexibility and be more effective in ticking off items on my ever-growing to-do list!
Online programme delivery also proved to be a positive opportunity for several groups of students. There are many time management pros in the China-based portion of the cohort who have utilised the time difference to great effect, taking online courses and full-time internships at the same time - keeping themselves safe from the threat of the virus while furnishing their resumes to prepare for better job prospects upon graduation.
There were also several other benefits to be gained through remote learning - with a large proportion of our assessments being through group projects, team members were forced to develop cross-time zone communication/working strategies, taking time differences into consideration before the settlement of each group meeting, which also helped us enhance our interpersonal communication and team working skills, preparing us for entry into the world of work.
For on-campus sessions, the School also takes serious precautions to keep students safe. On my first visit to collect my student card on campus, the School had kindly prepared a welcome pack with reusable face coverings, hand sanitisers, and antibacterial cleaning wipes. As someone who would usually prefer studying in the library on campus before project deadlines, during the few times I ventured out to campus, I always feel at ease seeing sanitisers at each door, separators on library desks, and posters reminding people to wear face coverings.
All in all, I’ve found myself adapting well to the multi-mode method of delivery. With the careful considerations and support of Imperial College Business School, I’m glad that I decided to come to London instead of deferring and take a gap year through fear of how the year might have turned out. Time is precious and I really want to make the most of it. With that in mind, studying towards a Master’s at such a prestigious university still feels like a worthy investment to improve my career prospects, particularly in a time where all of us feel somewhat uncertain about what lies ahead.
*Due to the UK lockdown and enhanced government restrictions at the time of posting (19/01/2021), all on-campus sessions have been suspended and students are studying remotely. As the situation evolves it is expected that students will return to campus via multi-mode, in a similar manner to that described by Menghui above.