Block teaching success rolled out for more students

The University of Suffolk

The University of Suffolk - Credit: Jason Noble LDRS

More courses at the University of Suffolk are to switch to a new innovative way of learning which was tested during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two thirds or more of students will be on courses utilising the innovative learning style.

During the pandemic, the university trialled a block teaching style , which it said had proved such a success more courses will switch to it.

Traditionally, university courses feature three modules taught in the first semester, with assessments over Christmas, followed by a further three in the spring assessed with the summer exams or essays.

Professor Helen Langton, University of Suffolk Picture: JAMES FLETCHER

Professor Helen Langton, University of Suffolk - Credit: James Fletcher

The block teaching system sees students focus on one module at a time with around four weeks of learning followed directly by the assessment, before moving on to the next module.

Addressing Suffolk’s council, health and police chiefs on Friday, vice-chancellor Professor Helen Langton said it was particularly useful as the university had a lot of mature students who were juggling jobs, parenting, or caring commitments alongside their study.

“Nationally and internationally if you look at the research, it demonstrates that students succeed better, their marks go up and they learn well because they are focusing. We are already seeing that,” she said.

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“We are into the end of year two of block learning. By this coming September probably two-thirds of university students will be all three years on block learning for undergraduate programmes and the following year the health ones behind will also be in the same learning.

“It’s making a big difference to students. Nobody else in the UK has done it until we did. Lots of people are now coming to find out what we are doing, it’s putting Suffolk on the map.”

Survey results published by the university in September found that 68% of students found block teaching beneficial to their concentration for their work, while 72% said it suited their lifestyle better,

Professor Langton stressed that students were back learning on campus, and while online systems were used to “support and enhance learning”, it felt campus teaching was important.