Dr Sarah Grant, Associate Director and Head of Operations, Imperial College Business School

“Altogether, my team has successfully blended over 100 classes this summer, and I’m proud and humbled to have led an initiative like no other.” 

I am the Associate Director and Head of Operations for Imperial College Business School’s Edtech Lab. I am responsible for overseeing and managing the smooth running of the entire portfolio of online programmes for the School, and for building expertise to ensure the School is at the forefront of innovation in technology-enhanced education. I lead a dedicated team to deliver approximately 180 online modules every year, including modules for our award-winning online Global MBA programme and our MSc in Business Analytics.  

Before joining the College in 2017, I worked as a designer and commissioning editor for Epigeum, an Edtech start-up and leading provider of online professional development for higher education institutions worldwide. Before that, I earned my PhD in Philosophy from the University of Otago and worked as a Research Scholar at Boston University.   

While responding to COVID-19, we quickly recognised that only relying on virtual lectures was going to be unsustainable beyond the spring term and would lead to low engagement and satisfaction for our students. With that in mind, we immediately implemented measures to assist faculty in enhancing the learning experience for the summer term.  

Our aim was to change the approach to learning through the addition of structured, supported, social and interactive elements. We created a series of templates to scaffold virtual classes within a larger learning narrative, held 1:1 consultations with our faculty, and rolled out a weekly workshop series – including Zoom and media training and a masterclass in online course design. Altogether, my team has successfully blended over 100 classes this summer, and I’m proud and humbled to have led an initiative like no other.   

We are now looking ahead to prepare for a multi-modal scenario for the autumn term, where students and faculty can move seamlessly between being on campus and online throughout the year. This new model of learning will require adaptations to our current classrooms and new, innovative pedagogies for delivering a consistently high-quality experience to all our students, wherever they are in the world.  

It’s exciting to be at the epicentre of a  shift in education, and as a team we are optimistic that the changes we are making now will extend beyond the current crisis to inform a new and improved model of education that puts the students’ learning needs at the very centre. 

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