RGC Online

Robert Gordon’s College has brought together some of the country’s smartest minds to launch RGC Online, a ground-breaking education programme designed to support the future growth of the Scottish tech ecosystem and respond to “a major talent shortage” in the industry.

Championing a collaborative approach from within its global alumni network, Robert Gordon’s College has worked alongside tech industry experts and academic leaders from Robert Gordon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to develop RGC Online, which offers SQA accredited Higher Computing Science and Higher Applications of Mathematics.

It also offers additional tech-focused modules, designed to equip young people with the skills required for future roles in the sector. Certificates are awarded upon the completion of each module, which include: Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Cybersecurity, Game Design, and Entrepreneurship. A new Quantum Computing module is also currently in development and will be launched this year.

RGC Online has been established in response to the Logan Review to assist young people across Scotland who don’t have access to study Higher Computing Science in their local school. Commissioned by the Scottish Government, the review identified weaknesses in the tech ecosystem originating from a skills and talent shortage being stimulated in schools and universities. 

Students signed up to RGC Online study any of the Higher courses and can add any additional modules they would like to explore. Live online lessons are taught twice weekly where students have regular one-to-one support and personalised feedback from their teachers. Live teaching is held on the same days each week and scheduled for early evenings to ensure it does not clash with students’ studies at their usual school. The RGC Online student experience has been designed so students can interact with their teacher, just as they would in a classroom, and online resources are updated throughout the week, with students completing the work through Google Classroom.

Scholarships are available and open to anyone applying for a place to study Higher Computing Science or Higher Applications of Mathematics to ensure that the service is accessible to all.

Robin Macpherson, Head of Robert Gordon’s College, said: “RGC Online was created to offer students across Scotland opportunities to learn National Qualification courses that they might not otherwise be able to study.

“This is to create pathways into a career in the ever-expanding world of technology. Our own diploma programme courses sit alongside the Higher course and add value by teaching students about everything from Artificial Intelligence to Quantum Computing to Game Design. It’s a brilliant chance to think about what you want to do in life, and how to get there.”

Alistair Forbes, Founding Director and CEO, Scottish Tech Army, commented: “The talent challenge for companies in the tech sector is well-known and there is a strong consensus that improving computer science education at school age is crucial. I believe that the approach that underpins RGC Online is a very innovative and exciting contribution to this. In addition to providing access to Higher Computing Science courses for pupils for whom this is unavailable in their own school, the addition of the Diploma modules offering more advanced topics such as AI and Quantum Computing will help to prepare students better for further learning and ultimately for exciting and rewarding careers in the tech sector."

Alan Duncan, Gartner Research, highlighted: “The possibilities for young people to participate in the tech sector continue to grow apace. There is currently a major talent shortage – some would say a crisis - for people with science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths skills (STEAM), and the tech industries offer lots of opportunities for creative thinkers with interest and knowledge of humanities areas such as language, arts and social sciences. These  skills are also sorely needed if the tech sector is going to be more human. 

“RGC Online is providing new opportunities for students to learn subjects via the diploma modules that help them discover areas of personal potential that are not accessible through traditional local schooling. That’s an injection of innovation and new thinking that the education system in Scotland sorely needs.”

Chris Bain, Player One Consulting, said: “After a decade of leadership at Microsoft Xbox, and now as an advisor to numerous fast-growing games companies, I’m constantly aware of the huge importance of the video games industry to the UK‘s economic and cultural life. With this in mind, I am incredibly excited by the RGC Online project and its potential to position Scotland as a key source of young emerging talent in this rapidly growing field.”

Jess Power, Head of RGC Online, shared: “We are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of students studying Higher Applications of Mathematics alongside the current class of Higher Computing Science students as we continue to develop new SQA qualifications to meet the needs of 21st Century learners in Scotland. 

“The RGC Online Diploma programme has been developed from our vast and experienced alumni who are supporting the College in adding new modules to this catalogue each year and through a number of strategic partners the college can provide student introductions to various tech industries looking for an enthusiastic talent pool to draw from.”

Applications to study with RGC Online from August 2023 are now open.