CCA goes on-line… temporarily!

CCA goes on-line… temporarily!

By Paul Johnson

The Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday March 16th concerning Coronavirus prompted the City College of Acupuncture to suspend face-to-face teaching with immediate effect. The College closed its door overnight.

The CCA Acupuncture programme prides itself in being very hands-on and practically oriented. Although we had previously discussed (quite tentatively) putting some aspects of the course on-line, we had never acted on this. Overnight, we were suddenly faced with that very task!!

We looked at a variety of e-learning platforms and decide to use Microsoft Teams as this platform already communicates with our College email system and Sharepoint VLE. The question was – how quickly could we get this up and running? Obviously not the next day, and no classes run on a Wednesday. Could we start using it by Thursday? The race was on!

All staff and students needed to download the app and get it working on their device – desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. Then staff and students needed to get to grips with the basics – how to log on, how to send messages, how to videoconference, how to show powerpoint presentations, how to teach and learn in the interactive way that our classes normally run. Those Tuesday and Wednesdays were incredible busy days.

Come Thursday – we were running our classes on-line! I’m not saying that they were perfect on the first day, but they happened. Since then, we have been running classes each week, and both staff and students have cautiously embraced the new technology that is allowing everyone to stay focused during this difficult time.

Our hearts go out especially to our third-year students. As the CCA teaching clinic is now closed, they are the one group of students who cannot complete their academic year. Once this is all over, they will need to make up the required number of clinical hours before graduating, as this is strictly regulated by our accrediting body, the BAAB (British Acupuncture Accreditation Board).

As the third-year students cannot attend classes on what was their clinical day, the staff have rallied round to produce a series of lectures on specialist topics above and beyond what we normally teach. As a result, our third years are able to continue expanding their knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine on subjects normally only covered at post-graduate level.

I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone involved – students, teaching staff and support staff – this has only been able to happen with everyone pulling together as a team.

Finally, I would also like to bring your attention to a podcast by two of our recent graduates, available on iTunes at

Vanessa Menendez-Covelo interviews Alice Douglas about what it has been like setting up in practice since graduating in September. CCA has a strong business module and we aim to get you into practice ASAP. If you want to know what it is like setting up a business and going from 0 to 90 mph in a few months, this will give you an insight!

Stay safe.