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South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has recently been commended for the Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards in three categories for their commitment to support its students, staff and local communities.

Now in its 24th year, the AoC Beacon Awards showcase best practice and innovation in colleges. It is designed to promote the interdependence of colleges, businesses and professional and voluntary organisations. The awards also highlight excellence and helps share best practice across the sector.

SERC was nominated in three categories of awards: The Award for effective use of technology in further education, the Edge award for excellence in the practical delivery of technical and professional learning and for the British Council International Award.

SERC’s Bangor campus was commended for the Award for effective use of technology in further education for its outstanding example of the use of technology carefully designed to improve the student experience - in a digital age. This was achieved thanks to SERC developing Rating Activities and Interactive Student Engagement (RAISE), an in-house MOODLE plugin and course badge system, to improve online provision.

Learners rate MOODLE resources and activities through an innovative SERC developed plugin giving a rating of bronze, silver, gold and platinum giving both learners and teachers a voice. RAISE has encouraged students to improve the design of their online learning they become autonomous, self-paced, independent learners. Using the student voice to inform learning design and supporting teachers to evaluate their online courses has increased MOODLE use and student retention across SERC.

Secondly, SERC’s Downpatrick campus was commended for the Edge award for excellence in the practical delivery of technical and professional learning which recognises examples of excellent practical teaching and learning. This was achieved thanks to SERC recognising the evolving needs of employers resulting in the development of its Project Based Learning (PBL) model within Catering and Hospitality.

The initiative has facilitated better workplace preparation through active engagement; employability, professional knowledge and technical skills development; learning from working with students from different qualification levels and curriculum areas; and increased confidence through interaction with employers, experts and the public.

Finally, SERC’s Lisburn campus was commended for the British Council International Award which recognises, celebrates and promotes excellence in international collaboration. This was achieved by preparing learners with the skills, knowledge and competences to succeed in an international context through well-managed international partnerships.

SERC’s commitment to sustainable international growth has been shown through its many partnerships with other colleges/companies in other countries across the globe. SERC’s premise for innovative cross-fertilisation approach encompassing personal contacts, funding, partnership projects, networks and internationally focussed organisations to develop mutually beneficial relationships. This has facilitated collaborative work in over 20 countries.

SERC Director of Curriculum and Information Services Dr Michael Malone said “We are delighted to receive these commendations. They prove that SERC is meeting the industry standard in these areas and identifies our commitment to not only our students, but our staff and local communities as well. It has been a great opportunity to develop new innovative ideas with our highly skilled staff and our students will ultimately benefit from their hard work and dedication.”

SERC provides a wide range of full and part time courses. Visit us at our Full-time Open Day on Wednesday 6 March from 2pm – 8pm at our Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards campuses. For more information or to apply please visit www.serc.ac.uk, call 0345 600 7555 or find us on Facebook, search: SERC

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