Back in early February, IH Manchester were watching events unfold in Italy and monitoring how their IHWO colleagues at IH Palermo were reacting. It was evident that the Sicilian school was incredibly busy gearing up to offer online lessons, in the light of school closures, as Italy managed the Coronavirus pandemic. It soon became clear to the IHM directors that early preparation, student training (as well as teacher training) and good communication were going to be key to a successful transition to online teaching in Manchester.
“IH Palermo have always produced really effective and fun news videos which they distribute effectively on facebook. As this innovative school moved rapidly to online delivery, we watched what they were doing very carefully indeed.”
Remarked Peter Hayes, Director of Marketing at IH Manchester.
What was also very clear, right from the start, was that there had never been a better time for close consultation with key agent partners. So, IH Manchester began to contact all their ETOs, who had students still enrolled in school to ensure that they understood exactly what we were planning. Meanwhile, the IHM academic management team were busy consulting with the IHWO teacher training department and training our teachers. The team soon concluded that Zoom was best online platform with which to teach online: IH Palermo use it, it is reliable, even at low bandwidth, and it allows teachers to put students into the break out room for pair and group work.
All this work paid off because at the point when the Uk Government ordered all schools to close, IHM had already completed many pilot schemes and begun teaching all classes online. This was key in allowing the school to transfer and retain all their bookings online, after face-to-face classes stopped. However, IHM saw this as just the beginning.
“We had to start thinking like an online school, if we wanted to thrive, not just a school that had switched to online just to survive. We had to offer the same convenience, ease of access and booking and value if we wanted to do well.”
This was the basis of the new IHM “global timetable”, with the main general English classes starting at 15.00 hrs UK time. A need to accommodate those wishing to just attend classes for an hour, twice a week was also recognised, which is why IHM devised the “Flexi” course starting at 17.30 hrs UK time.
But, more than anything it became apparent that everyone needed to keep positive. To look forward to a time when it will be safe to travel again. This crisis is tough and it is cruel, but in time it will pass. So, this is why IHM devised the FREE online classes offer. IHM want to keep people’s dreams alive. Any fees spent on IHM online learning now may be used as credit for any IHM course taken at their Manchester school in the future.
“This virus has not killed our dreams, it has just put them on hold for a while.”
Peter Hayes, Director, IH Manchester.
Like IHM student, Alicia, aged 20 from France says:
“Online learning is quite useful in this context, but I prefer to travel and go abroad of course!”
For more Information about our courses online and in school please click the links here:
Medical English & OET