What does Change Makers online learning look like?

Online learning means different things to different people. 

As teachers, our interest is in working with our students - and having the most interactive and valuable experience possible. Whether we are working on campus, in a hybrid class or fully online, we want our classes to be the best they can be – interactive, challenging, engaging, sociable, supportive and stuffed full of great experiences and new things to learn and accomplish.

All our modules are fully interactive. Whether you are learning on campus or online, you will find pre-recorded briefings for class activities. However, you will never be faced with pre-recorded lectures. Our modules do not include lecture format sessions – instead, all of our class time is spent discussing and working together - in teams, as a class and in one-to-one.

In addition to the skills that our modules offer when delivered in person, we pay particular attention to supporting the skills necessary for working online - including advanced team working and collaboration skills. This means that we do work slightly differently when your module is online to when it is on campus. We will always be supporting and building the skills that are relevant to the way that we are working – so that you can take these valuable skills into other types of study and work.

In particular, when we are learning online, we pay more attention to developing social relationships and spending time chatting (as this is tricky to accomplish online, we set this up and make it a critical element of our classes). We spend time working on advanced communication skills for online video collaboration – including body language, expressing emotion, requesting and providing support to each other, building respectful communication, developing confidence to be seen and heard online – and many more things as well.

What does a typical Change Makers class include?

Change Makers Logo

  • Social time - opportunities for you to catch up with your classmates about your week, your studies and life beyond
  • Teacher-led discussion and activity - the whole class comes together to complete work together, discuss assignment briefs, plan our time together and give each other feedback
  • Student-led activity - team rooms, discussion and quiet work rooms are used to give you the opportunity to work collaboratively, complete your own work and share ideas with each other
  • 1-to-1 time - there are always private rooms for individual discussions with your teacher - or for private chats with another student
  • On demand video demonstrations, briefings and Q&A - key moments from class are recorded and made available on demand so that you can review briefings, demonstrations and also the really important questions that you ask in class, in your own time
  • Mix and Match Hours - there are additional classroom hours from 8-9am to give the opportunity to ask you teachers questions, meet up with your classmates, get extra feedback, or even chat with students from other modules.

Online Handbook

Our student handbook is completely online and searchable to help you get the information you need. The Change Makers Handbook introduces students to our modules and the practicalities of studying, including an introduction to our Virtual Classroom – which is used whether we meet on campus or online.

Take a look at the Change Makers Handbook

Our Virtual Classroom

Our virtual classroom is supported by Basecamp (a project management and team communication tool), and is a space where you can mingle with students and staff from your module and other Change Makers modules. 

The virtual classroom is made up of classrooms, team rooms and breakout rooms. Dedicated areas, such as The Interchange and The Campfire facilitate reflective exchanges between you and other students. Exchanges between students and staff can be added and returned to over the course of the module.

If you're interested in knowing more about the Virtual Classroom and how it was set up, you can get a teacher's-eye-view in this blog post: The Virtual Classroom.

What we learned in 2020-22

As we adapted our teaching from face-to-face to remote learning in 2020-21 and 2021-22 we learned many lessons, some surprising. Some students felt that team working was actually enhanced online in our modules.

Lessons from History Student, Dhanya Mahadevan talked about the move to online learning with the Imperial Teaching and Learning Team. Read Dhanya's Change Makers Online Learning Interview.

Feedback from Change Makers Students:

"An actively engaging module that isn't your 'conventional' module. The teacher did a fantastic job with the remote collaboration and you will learn so much from others through their stories, ideas and experiences. It is definitely a highlight of my time here and I am sad it has come to an end. The teacher was fantastic, always pushing and supporting us. Just pick it, you will learn alot - not just from others but yourself."
"This has by far been the best Horizons module I have taken at Imperial! It has been exciting, fascinating and lots of fun, despite the challenges of remote learning. The 'unconventional' structure of the module encourages teamwork, discussion and engagement and is a really enjoyable break from the lectures and coursework in the rest of our degree."

A series of blog posts by Change Makers Field Leader, Dr Elizabeth Hauke, also captures some of the 2020-21 experience: Change Makers lockdown learning experience blog.

9 Students in home-made hats