Another exciting year has passed for Oxbridge Academy. Principal Elbie Liebenberg talks us through the year’s key developments, and how Oxbridge Academy has continued to improve the distance learning experience for students across the country.
Can you describe how the year was for Oxbridge Academy in terms of continuing to provide quality distance learning education?
This is something that occurs naturally at Oxbridge Academy, and we always aim to improve the quality of our offerings. In 2017, we launched a new department that focuses exclusively on improving the quality of academic support that we give to our students.
Several new courses have seen the light and current study material and assignments are being updated and improved upon to make them more student-friendly.
Communication platforms have been added as well, with the goal of making it easier to communicate with our students. We have also put concerted effort into making our students aware of the Learner Portal and how to use it.
What were the new courses and offerings developed this year?
Through our partnership with ADvTECH and The Independent Institute of Education (IIE), The IIE endorsed three of our Short Learning Programmes this year, and will be endorsing more of our courses in future. Several have already been submitted for approval.
In addition, we introduced five new Oxbridge Academy Short Courses in the human resources field, as well as seven Oxbridge Academy Skills Certificates in various fields, including a popular shipping and logistics course.
Has Oxbridge Academy been focusing on strengthening relationships with students?
A great focus in our strategic plan this year was the academic cuddle. When we refer to ‘cuddling’, we mean providing proactive support to students. To this end, all department activities were planned with the academic cuddle in mind.
We launched a new department with the sole purpose of ‘cuddling’ students during their studies. Their activities include assisting students with questions about study material content and assisting with assignments, recognising recent student trends and reacting accordingly, creating proactive tutor tips to share with students on Facebook, creating explanatory videos on particular topics, and continuously improving the quality of the study material and assignments.
This department also created timetables aimed at providing students with a timeline by which they should work through their study material and submit assignments.
We always try to make it as easy as possible for our students to contact us. To that end, we implemented a new student communication channel via WhatsApp. This has made a tremendous difference in the number of students we have been able to reach, and has made it much easier for students to reach us, ask questions and send important documentation.
What general end-of-year message do you have for students, stakeholders and staff?
When we look back at the end of an exciting year, we will surely notice both low points and high points that we had to handle on a personal and professional level. Though we sometimes feel that life is too difficult or unfair, at other times we experience that our days go by effortlessly. During these difficult times, we often look for ‘instant recipes’ that will quickly resolve any situation. However, life does not work that way.
Someone once said “Life is like an exam that needs to be written every day; it does not help to copy someone else’s answers, because each person has a unique question paper.”
Let us look back at 2017 and be thankful for every opportunity that came across our paths, and for every lesson we learned that will carry us toward the future.
And to our employees: thank you to every single one of you. Each of you had a unique role in forming part of the team that contributed to such a good year! We pray that you travel safely, and have a blessed festive season. It is a time during which we can truly be thankful for our blessings: families, friends, colleagues; those who walk through our lives with us.
We look forward to seeing what our students and staff will accomplish in 2018, as we truly believe that it will be an even more exciting year!