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Email from Directors of Student Experience | Wednesday 8 July 2020

Subject: Update for Students

Hi everyone,

We hope you and your family and friends are all safe and well.

As you will have seen in the University Student Newsletter on May 19th teaching is expected to start week commencing October 5. As we have emphasised throughout this very challenging period, our primary aim is to provide a safe environment in which we can continue to deliver the highest quality teaching and learning and the best possible student experience. In normal times, our main mode of delivery would be face-to-face and we intend to incrementally return to this mode of teaching and learning as and when circumstances permit. Given this, we have developed a set of flexible teaching and learning arrangements which are outlined below.

1. Flexible Blend of Face-to-Face and Online Delivery

From October 2020, we will be delivering a blend of both face-to-face and online learning. Our provision will be flexible enough to allow us to switch delivery methods if required due to health reasons or a second wave of the virus.

Your learning will be supported in the following ways:

  • Lectures in term 1 will be delivered online (asynchronous pre-recorded lectures) to allow everyone to take part no matter where they are located. Slides and recordings will be made available on Moodle.
  • Seminars will be delivered either face-to-face, while respecting social distancing, or online with as much scope for interactivity as possible. Whether seminars are held face-to-face and/or online will depend on a number of factors including the specifics of each module, student and staff personal circumstances, and the availability of teaching spaces.  
  • Online Learning Resources and Platforms
  • Teaching will continue to be supported through a range of online platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Moodle and Talis Aspire reading lists, essay writing guides, opportunities to provide module feedback, and a host of other supporting materials will be available online. 
  • Online Returners’ Information Sessions will be provided by Dr Gioia Panzarella and Dr Peter Dwyer at the start of term. These will give you vital information for the year ahead.


2. Academic Support and Student Wellbeing

We will continue to support you on a one-to-one basis (either face-to-face or online) through advice and feedback hours and personal tutor meetings. In Term 1, Personal tutor meetings will take place on Teams, but if you need to meet with your tutor face-to-face, arrangements will be made in order for this to be possible.

Dr Gioia Panzarella and Dr Peter Dwyer will also continue to provide dedicated pastoral support.

3. Skills and Employability

We will continue to develop your employability and other study skills enabling you to flourish in your degree, and become more prepared for the complex, diverse environment you’ll encounter after graduation. This will be led by Dr Gioia Panzarella and our Employability and Placement Manager, Bodrun Nahar, and they will draw on other experts from across the university.

4: Student Experience

The need for social distancing – and the safety of our students – means we will need to adapt our usual programme of events for 20/21. However, we will continue to deliver a high-quality student experience and ensure that you feel part of a strong community of students and staff.

We aim to deliver an engaging programme of events -- if you have any suggestions for activities you would like to participate in, and have ideas for how we could run them safely, please do let us know.

5: Further Updates

Please do continue to read your emails carefully and regularly over the summer, for further updates from both the University and the Department.

Please also keep up-to-date with the University Guidance for New and Returning Students.

If you do have any questions in the meantime, however, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We hope you all have as good a break as possible given the circumstances.

Take care and stay safe.

Best wishes

Gioia and Peter