When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, TAFE NSW had to act quickly in order to support students’ learning outcomes whilst adhering to new, strict social distancing protocols.
Traditionally a hands-on course, autobody repair, among many other trade-based courses, had to quickly transition to connected delivery; a mixture of online theory content paired with virtual classrooms that would keep students on track in accordance with NSW Health advice.
TAFE NSW Autobody repair teacher Trudy Camilleri said the shift was difficult given the hands-on nature of autobody repair; however, teachers were focused on making sure students could adequately complete their studies during this difficult time and continue to meet their employers’ needs.
“Where Possible, Students Are Continuing To Learn Theory Elements Via Connected Delivery And Controlled Campus-Based Training, With Practical Exercises Adjusted For Social Distancing.”
“When the restrictions came into effect I automatically thought “wow” this is going to be a very interesting next few months,” Trudy said.
“The practical delivery component of autobody repair courses is important, so there was a lot to do to in order to continue to develop our students’ skills and ensure their performance in the workplace.
“We found that a blend of virtual classes, access to online content, and one-on-one meetings with their teachers tended to suit our students best.”
Trudy started teaching her classes online, using MS Teams to connect with her students in real time so they could still enjoy face-to-face interaction with their teacher.
TAFE NSW Team Leader of Automotive Chris Greentree said the major challenge was adapting quickly to the changing environment, but that TAFE NSW teachers were up to the task.
Chris said, “We had to come up with a strategy that would ensure the continuity of learning with as little disruption to our students as possible whilst still maintaining the quality of training, so it was a bit of a balancing act. “You can’t underestimate the TAFE teacher in our organisation. They are innovative, creative, and they’re determined to get good outcomes for our students. And I know with the work that we’ve done and plans we’ve put in place; our staff and our students will remain safe.”
Students coming back to TAFE NSW in Semester 2 have benefitted from the early action to adapt classes for connected delivery. Where possible, students are continuing to learn theory elements via connected delivery and controlled campus-based training, with practical exercises adjusted for social distancing and hygiene practices.
All controlled campus-based delivery is subject to an approved risk assessment that ensures all health and safety impacts have been identified, assessed, and mitigated. So far, students have responded positively to the changes and the opportunity to continue their learning whilst obtaining new skills.
“We Found That A Blend Of Virtual Classes, Access To Online Content, And One-On-One Meetings With Their Teachers Tended To Suit Our Students Best.”
“Obviously I want to see the students back in TAFE NSW facilities but for now students are still learning and their employers are happy with the result,” Trudy said.
“We’re remaining flexible and our approach is evolving as the situation changes. Now we know we can adapt to deliver for our students whilst keeping appropriate measures in place so that everyone stays safe.”