How Aston Online Creates an Outstanding Student Experience

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How Aston Online Creates an Outstanding Student Experience

In a digitally connected world with advanced online learning platforms, internationally recognised programmes, and competitive markets — students are looking for an online experience that will meet their evolving needs. Professionals who decide to study online demand flexibility, support, networking opportunities, and exceptional programme features. The online studying experience has rapidly become one of the greatest determinants of student satisfaction and performance. 

Aston Online offers innovative programmes that exceed expectations, from enrolment to graduation and beyond. Recognised as University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian, Aston is ranked among the elite 1% of business schools worldwide. In this blog we detail what makes Aston’s online learning environment unique and why aspiring and current business leaders regard Aston Online as the obvious choice for their continued education. 

Why Study Online with Aston?

What do students want from the online studying experience? At the very least, students expect the teaching staff to be responsive, the information to be up-to-date, and the technology to be accessible. Aston Online goes the extra mile by delivering a global experience, prioritising accessibility, offering innovative programme features, transmitting real-world skills for the rapidly changing job market, and supporting students every step of the way.

group of students online learning

How Does Aston Online Deliver a Global Experience?

It takes an international team for Aston Online to successfully recruit and host a wide range of professional learners from around the world. All Aston’s programmes, from the online MBA to the online DBA, approach business theory and practice globally. Aston’s global team is responsible for producing captivating online interactions, intuitive web design, and developing innovative learning technologies. 

Not only are Aston’s web developers and programme creators based worldwide, but the support team is also available for students globally. A global team makes learning materials relevant to the international student cohort. A professional studying online in Germany will receive the same support and content as a student enrolled in Australia. 

In response to Aston’s global offerings, the QS Online MBA World Rankings 2021 announced that Aston University ranked 7th in the UK and 26th in the Global Top 30 based on teaching, class profile, employability and class experience. 

What Cutting-edge Programme Features Help Aston Stand Out?

Online learners want their programmes to be engaging, exciting, and interactive. It’s not enough for universities to post module material and expect students to teach themselves. Aston’s online platforms use cutting-edge technology to make online learners active participants. 

For example, Aston students enrolled in the MSc Business Analytics suite can engage in activities where they share their coding projects with others and receive constructive feedback from teachers and classmates. Rather than waiting for feedback from tutors, coding becomes a collaborative process. In other Aston online programmes, students can share their findings and collaborate to reach the best outcomes. “The commercial world involves individuals working effectively in teams; managing, collaborating, mentoring and sharing. Nobody works on their own. AstonOnline programmes are designed to allow individuals to develop these essential transferable skills that they can then readily translate into their professional practise,” says Anmoal Thethi, an Aston Senior Instructional Designer. Aston offers a wealth of innovative collaborative learning tools, including instant chats embedded in the virtual learning environment, live debates, live taught sessions, opportunities to provide and receive constructive feedback and custom interactives designed to meet specific module objectives.

Rigorous module development processes allow Aston to deliver engaging, relevant content and the best possible experience for students. Each module undergoes a comprehensive quality review process internally. This process incorporates student feedback, ensures the technology is working correctly and evaluates the quality of each module. 

Anmoal acknowledges the power of module optimisation in saying: “There's no such thing as ever having a perfect module. We know there's always room for improvement, and we're always looking for those improvements to be made.” 

Why is Accessibility a Core Value at Aston Online?

Education should be available to everyone, regardless of their geographic location, physical or mental abilities. Aston’s programmes are an excellent option for students who live in remote areas or have additional learning needs. The instructional designers on Aston’s team ensure the learning experience is flexible and evolving with a student’s individual needs. 

Aston’s accessibility team is responsible for regularly reviewing the accessibility of module content. Modules are designed to provide clear content that is accessible to everyone, for example by ensuring images have written descriptions, videos have closed captions and transcripts, interactive elements are keyboard accessible and, where necessary, alternative versions are provided.

Additional advice and support for students are available from Aston’s Enabling Team.

Emma King, Director of Instructional Design and Academic Strategy, recognises the importance of accessibility in areas that are easy to overlook. She shares one example concerning how colours on a page can be visually accessible to some and inaccessible to others. “Some of our early tools used varying shades of blue to differentiate content. It's small things that you just don't immediately think about, but when you improve them, they're better for everyone,” Emma says. 

Accessibility is about being proactive, identifying inaccessible features before they present challenges for students, and being responsive to learners’ needs to provide the best experience for everyone.

student studying

How Does Aston Online Transmit In-Demand Skills?

One of the most notable real-world skills garnered from Aston’s online format is the ability to collaborate with others. Aston’s MSc Business Management suite is especially concerned with collaboration. At the Master’s level, like-minded business professionals from all industries support and learn from each other. Whether you’re a middle-level manager or a senior executive, a collaborative environment presents lessons for business professionals at all stages of their careers.

In addition to collaboration, Aston Online motivates students to synthesise their learnings through practical business applications. Students learn in-demand skills, whether it’s learning software packages, machine learning algorithms, text analytics and predictive modelling in the MSc Business Analytics programme or learning theories, principles, concepts and practices of successful management in a global context in the MSc Global Business Management online programme.

Over the last 20 years, Aston University has consistently been ranked a top university for graduate employability. With a curriculum focused on tangible outcomes and building in-demand skills, Aston graduates have found success in lucrative jobs, from Strategic Project Leaders at Rolls Royce UK to Management Consultants at Deloitte India. Graduates have gone on to enter a variety of positions and industries across the globe, including human resources, strategic management, operations, marketing, accounting, and more.

How Does Aston’s Student Support Enhance the Online Experience? 

Aston Online is dedicated to personalised student support. Every module includes a tutor, whose role is to facilitate effective learning in an online space, provide feedback to discussion forums or feedback on ongoing projects, and answer questions. Students are also able to offer their feedback about how module content and structures might be improved.

Student support at Aston University goes beyond the online classroom. With over 100,000 alumni around the world, Aston grants graduates an entryway to fruitful networking opportunities. “We're working with academics who have accumulated a wealth of experiences by working as middle or senior managers in a diverse range of commercial settings. They have worked as consultants and are able to draw on these experiences when explaining the strengths and limitations of the tools, techniques and concepts when applying them to solve a range of business problems,” says Anmoal. “That is invaluable because you can’t readily access that interactive, discursive narrative in a book and that's the main reason why the MBA, for example, is triple-accredited. Not only because of the content but because of the people who deliver it and that wonderful mix of commerce and academia.”

Module materials are built into the virtual learning environment. As a student, you are guided through structured modules and assessed in a variety of ways, including knowledge-based quizzes, group assignments and individual projects. Your own personal Student Support Advisor will work with you every step of the way to ensure you always have the support you need.

Join an Exceptional Student Experience with Aston Online

An exceptional student experience goes beyond module content or technological capabilities. Business professionals around the world are attracted to Aston’s contributions outside the classroom, whether it’s through direct employment opportunities or environmental sustainability initiatives. Aston University’s ranking as the University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian was awarded based on several factors: 

  • Graduate employability and earnings - Aston University graduates are among the highest paid in the country five years after graduating; the 2021 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) found Aston Business and Management graduates earn over £11,000 more than the UK average in the five years after graduation.
  • Outstanding student support - Aston has a suite of support services for students, including counselling, peer mentoring, maths tutorials and study skills workshops. We’re ranked 11th in the UK for Continuation, which measures how well we support students (Guardian University Guide, 2021).
  • Closing attainment gaps - Aston University strongly believes that diversity strengthens business for employers, employees, and organisations at large. “As a university with the highest percentage of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students in the country (68%), we’ve had a commitment to ensuring that all our students get equal opportunities and that’s not just about admitting them, it’s also about ensuring they’re supported to remain at the university and get good results,” says Professor Alec Cameron, vice-chancellor of Aston University.
  • Outstanding Entrepreneurial University award - Aston is one of the best universities in the world to thrive as an entrepreneur. The Times Higher Education (THE) Awards — widely referred to as the ‘Oscars of higher education’ — recently recognised the university’s innovative spirit with the selection of Aston as 2020’s ‘Outstanding Entrepreneurial University.’ This prestigious recognition was based on Aston’s ‘strategic’ and ‘inclusive’ cross-institutional approach to supporting businesses, the West Midlands region and student entrepreneurship.

In addition to The Guardian’s award, Aston University’s exceptional student experience has earned a plethora of accreditations and rankings, including a triple accreditation from AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS — the leading accreditation bodies for business schools in the UK, the US and Europe.

Are you ready to elevate your career? Take the next step and discover more about Aston University Online.