Herald digital award for app which simplifies the pathways from college to university
Queen Margaret University is part of a winning education partnership which has developed digital technology to help people more easily navigate a pathway into college and university courses.
Last night at The Herald Digital Transformation Awards 2021, a partnership led by Edinburgh College, Fife College and Queen Margaret University (QMU) was announced as the winner of the Best Use of Technology in Education Award. The top award recognised the partners’ use of digital technology to simplify the varied and often complex routes that are available to help young people and adult returners to education who wish to secure a place on a college or university course.
The development of a new website simplifies the often confusing and complex progression routes through to education that are now available, making it far easier and clearer for people to understand the most suitable routes available to them. The result is a website which allows students and career advisers to see what qualifications are required or accepted, and what educational routes they can follow to help them achieve their academic goals. For example, the new website can help a young person with aspirations to become a psychologist identify which college provides a suitable qualification and where there is an articulation route from that college course directly onto a degree in psychology at a university.
Karen Cullen, College Partnership Manager at Queen Margaret University, explained: “In early 2019, a sub group of the Regional Learner Passport Partnership (RLPP) was created to develop a new digital resource. The aim was to create and promote learner pathways for students with SQA Higher National qualifications and help students and their careers/academic advisers to identify options to progress through the Scottish education system. In the past, trying to understand what is available to people with various qualifications has been overly complicated. But by working together, we have been able to create a new website and app ‘Pathways’ which has taken complex information from a wide range of sources and compiled it into one clear digital resource.”
Pathways has been visited by over 12,800 users, from South East Scotland, wider Scotland and across the world. Karen confirmed: “By providing an articulation ‘one stop shop’ to enable people to look up tertiary education pathways in one location, Pathways is clearing the confusion by reducing the number of institutions, websites and documents students need to consult to decide their path to academic success. Pathways is an example of a traditional process and system being transformed through use of digital technology.”
Karen concluded: “We are delighted that the Herald Digital Transformation Awards has recognised the importance of the work we have done to create a highly successful and user friendly digital resource. The power of partnership working is now ensuring that we harness the enthusiasm and talent of far more people from a diverse range of backgrounds, ensuring that they don’t fall through the cracks. In short, Pathways is encouraging and supporting more people to maximise their educational opportunities and reach their potential.”
Mackenzie, a senior year pupil, who used Pathways said: "The new Pathways app is so easy to use I was able to find the courses I wanted to study so quickly that I could carry out more in-depth research into the university and college providers as well, without feeling stressed. It has made it easier to narrow down my university choices and allowed me to plan whether I am able to apply straight to college or if I need to complete 6th year at school."
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