Impact Story

Supporting our learners through the pandemic

Published on 19 June 2021

We remain as committed as ever to transforming development knowledge, action and leadership through our teaching and learning programmes. During the Covid-19 crisis a huge range of new measures were put in place to continue this work while adapting and responding in the best interests of our students and wider learning community.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, our focus has been to balance safety, quality education and equity. We know that many students have responded positively to our online teaching which, while not the same as face-to-face, has in many cases exceeded expectations.

While the past year has been different, we wanted the IDS experience to be as valuable as it has always been. With this in mind, we focussed on providing a full range of activities to complement learning and encourage students to build the connections that are so important to feeling part of our vibrant community, and to their future lives and work. Examples included a student-led TEDxIDS session that explored ‘What does post-COVID development look like?’ and a popular and hard-hitting online debate series.

Alongside, we maintained regular contact with our postgraduate students through weekly email updates, monthly all IDS Community Fora and a series of online social activities. These were well received, helping students and staff feel part of the community despite being remote.

During the year, it became clear that mental health support was a particular area of need for our learners. We responded by highlighting the Mental Health First Aider scheme with volunteers on hand to speak to anyone struggling.

IDS Alumni Network instigated Virtual Connections, a project to connect IDS master’s students with alumni in order to practice networking and informational interview skills. For alumni it was a chance to support IDS without a significant time commitment and increased their awareness of the alumni network online mentoring and advice service. The project was a huge success with 361 alumni, students and PhD Researchers taking part. Students commented they on how helpful it was to find out about alternative career paths and hear alumni stories.

For more information about our alumni and how you can stay connected, get involved and change lives, visit: alumni.ids.ac.uk

For more information on our postgraduate degrees and professional development opportunities visit: www.ids.ac.uk/learn