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Students struggle to log on at college

Coatbridge College has been criticised by HMIE for weaknesses in the teaching of computing and ICT courses.

Inspectors found "learner progress and outcomes" to be "unsatisfactory", and rated the learning and teaching process as only "fair". Students were at times unable to complete learning activities because of technical problems and had persistent problems logging on to the college network.

Other criticisms of computing and ICT included lack of sufficient challenge in a few classes, insufficient encouragement to use online resources or flexible learning, very low retention rates, poor assessment planning, unsystematic recording and monitoring of learner progress, and insufficient evaluation of learning and teaching approaches by staff.

By contrast, hairdressing and special programmes were rated as "very good"

for the way they were taught and for students' progress and outcomes.

Science was considered very good for the learning and teaching process but only fair for learners' progress and outcomes. Some students who had been enrolled on Higher National programmes did not have the necessary background in science to support study at that level. As a result, a significant number did not progress at the pace required to complete their programme successfully.

Overall, the verdict is a mixed one. The inspectors' report praises "committed, enthusiastic and inclusive leadership" which has led to substantial recent development and improvement activity across the college and the effective collaboration with key local interests that has been instrumental in informing college plans and curriculum direction.

However, the college needs to improve arrangements for planning and evaluating the delivery of services; specific aspects of guidance and support for students; cross-college arrangements for delivering core skills; access and safety; and equalities training.

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