</BCU and Microsoft collaborate to pilot LaaS>
For 18 years BCU has been at the forefront of delivering research informed and industry led Problem Based Learning (PBL) courses of study that prepare students for employability. Specifically, the Cloud Computing staff at BCU have led the way in embedding vendor resources in to modules from year 1 so that learners are immediately immersed in the learning materials. These modules compliment and supplement other modules across the year and under pin next year’s modules.
Each year the modules contribute to a project that is presented at year-end to the public and academic staff through ‘InnovationFest’. In this module of 350 students (2018), a team of 4 students collaborate over 14 weeks to bring a product through ideation to full realisation. The module is enriched with the teamwork, soft skills, business skills and project management skills needed for the whole degree and also for the world of work.
In year 2, there is a similar module called Industry Project, which is an industry informed or industry led project, this may even be a micro-placement-project where the student attends the industrial partner for 4 hours a week. The idea is the company provides the mini project specification and the student actively works on the solution with the company. The final output is presented at ‘InnovationFest’.
In order to fulfil the requirements for the academic study and support, BCU have devised an innovative curriculum supported by industrial partners that can be scaled and rolled out easily. The curriculum is Web hosted and there are online support materials, summative as well as formative tests and simulations. The flexibility of the hosting allows for specialisation and bespoke resources to be added or removed on a per course basis. In 2018, through the IoC & BCU collaboration, Microsoft donated Learning as a Service (LaaS) platform to pilot on-demand learning. This complemented the learning in the module and gave the students a learning path and certification route. These LaaS modules are of varying duration and difficulty allowing all students to benefit.
As can be seen from the 2018 ‘InnovationFest’ video the materials provided by Cisco and Microsoft have been well received and provide the basis on which students have gained certification and eventually employment.