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The Suffolk Learning Experience

Learning and Teaching at the University of Suffolk

At Suffolk, the majority of our undergraduate programmes are delivered as “block and blend”. Block and blend is an innovative way of delivering learning and teaching, and we believe has many advantages for our students. Some of our courses, notably those which are apprenticeships, or co-taught with apprenticeship programmes remain as semesterised learning. The primary difference between these approaches is that in block, students typically complete one module at a time, while on semesterised courses, students typically study 3 modules at a time.

Understanding block and blend

Focussed study

Our block and blend programmes are designed so that you will typically study one module at a time (also known as a block). The block will usually last for 4 weeks, and in that time, you will be supported to deep dive into concepts through learning and teaching which takes place on campus and online in our online learning environment, Brightspace. The amount of tutor structured learning in a block is the same as the amount of tutor structured learning on a non-block programme, but because it is focussed helps you to gain confidence and concentrate your learning in one area.

Learning will be delivered through a blend of lectures, seminars and tutorials and you will also be provided with a range of media rich and interactive activities to enhance your understanding and enable you to test your learning. These activities might include work to be completed before a lecture, seminar or tutorial, or activities to be completed individually or collaboratively with fellow students.

As well as learning through modules, your course may include “Learning Hubs”. These hubs are designed to help you to develop a range of skills which are critical to your success. Examples of hubs include those where you will develop your academic writing, your study effectiveness and resilience or technical skills appropriate to your programme.

Assessment

In block and blend you will normally be assessed at the end of each module or block, rather than at the end of a semester . This means that you are able to test your learning and our course teams can understand how your learning and understanding Is developing throughout the academic year.

Through your blocks, your lecturers might also set you short quizzes in Brightspace, or other informal assessment activities which help them to see where you may need additional support or content to better understand the content in your programme.

As we have adopted a more blended approach to learning we also record lectures and, as appropriate seminars, enabling you to revisit content and follow up on learning outside of the classroom activity.

Advantages of block and blend

Our students have told us that they find block and blend supports them in their studies because it enables them to better manage their time, with learning focussed on one module at a time, rather than the three simultaneous they would undertake if studying full time on a non-block programme. It also helps them to see how they are progressing through their programmes and developing their knowledge and understanding through regular assessment. Our students have also fed back positively on the ability to revisit learning through recordings and other online content.

Learning on non-block programmes

Our non-block programmes are those which are delivered as apprenticeships or are delivered alongside apprenticeships. On non-block programmes you will still experience blended learning, with delivery on campus and through Brightspace, and access to a range of media rich resources and activities as well as recorded lectures and seminars. A full time student will study 3 modules at the same time over the period of one semester. Assessment of these modules is typically towards the end of the semester.

Our Personal Academic Coaches

The University of Suffolk provides all students with a Personal Academic Coach, or PAC. The PAC is a member of your course team, and will, as far as possible, be your coach throughout your degree programme.

Personal Academic Coaching is a tool which helps you to understand your learning progress, and to explore ideas and opportunities to enhance you learning or skills development. You will work with your coach individually or as part of a group with fellow students. You will be asked to reflect on what is going well, and where you may be facing challenges. You will explore where you can access additional support, for example from the Library and Learning Services team or Student Life team. As you progress through your learning you will also begin to reflect on what’s next – and how to make the step into further higher study or your chosen career.

 

Find out more about learning and teaching and the support that is available to students once they start their learning journey at Suffolk:

Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

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Department of Library and Learning Services

University of Suffolk library

Department of Student Life

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