Eton Virtual

Discover how Eton College has used our technology to create the Eton Virtual platform - a key tool in the Eton Connect partnership and outreach programme.

Originally founded as an educational charity, Eton continues to focus on outward-facing work through the Eton Connect programme, which coordinates over 1,000 cross-sector partnerships to provide extraordinary learning opportunities for young people through research, digital resources, summer schools and more.

James Stanforth, Director of Digital Education, explains how EtonX’s Altius platform will help the College fulfill key parts of its outreach programme.

The objective

A key part of our outward-facing work is the sharing of digital resources with other schools.

The goal of Eton Virtual was to provide somewhere where Eton and our partner organisations could come together to collaborate and share high-quality learning resources.

It was really important that the platform could be used by a community of teachers and students over a wide network of schools, and that it could deliver engaging online learning experiences.

The challenge

 

One of the main challenges we faced was that existing internal platforms such as Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, didn’t lend themselves to allowing access to external pupils and teachers.

We also knew we needed flexible course authoring tools with a wide array of learning types to help us deliver top-quality learning resources, which didn’t exist in any of the systems we were already using.

Why Altius?

 

Altius offered the functionality to easily bring students and teachers from many different schools together in one place, and a comprehensive range of course authoring tools and learning activity types.

In addition, the other platforms we considered were primarily built for businesses rather than education;  Altius was built specifically for education, and we saw that reflected in the platform’s many safeguarding features.

Implementation

 

The implementation process was very straightforward. The EtonX team spent time with us scoping out our requirements and intended uses of the platform, and also provided comprehensive training in the course creation tools, user management, and the virtual classroom.

Their own expertise in developing high-quality course content and delivering live and asynchronous learning means they have a wealth of experience to share, which has proven invaluable.

The virtual classroom

The virtual classroom has a lot of great features which we haven’t found in the other video conferencing tools we’ve used. For example, breakout rooms open instantly, and in one click we can set up collaborative documents for groups of students to work on, without the need for any setup in advance and entirely within the virtual classroom itself.

The in-built whiteboard is also very useful as it’s easy to allow students to write on it or limit this ability, and it’s simple to download the content afterwards.

User management

 

The user management tools provide us with the flexibility we need. It’s straightforward to add a single user or import a cohort from a spreadsheet.

The feature we really value, though, is the ability to create signup codes as this makes it very straightforward to provide access for new groups of students as it’s simply a case of sharing the code with them and they can self-enrol in under a minute.

Feedback

 

Teachers and students have fed back that they like the clean, modern interface, and the fact that it’s easy to navigate through a course and easily track their progress.

A positive, impactful learning experience relies on engaging activities and superb course content, and the Altius platform has certainly enabled us to deliver courses that meet our own high standards, and this is reflected in the very positive feedback we’ve received so far.

Future plans

Sharing quality educational resources is the main goal of the platform for us, and so the platform features, along with the ongoing support from the EtonX team, has really helped us in achieving this aim.

We are planning to develop more high-quality courses in a variety of areas across the curriculum to support teachers in developing and sharing good practice, as well as to provide pupils with engaging, interactive, and impactful learning experiences

Schools can sign up to access current and future digital learning resources here: https://www.etoncollege.com/eton-outwards/digital-learning-hub/

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