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Teaching plans for first year undergraduates in 2020/21

Autumn term

We are planning to start our teaching as we originally intended, with classes expected to start in the week of October 5 following an induction programme for new students. Over the course of the academic year the face-to-face teaching experience Warwick is renowned for will be integrated with online learning. Through this blended approach you will develop a flexible range of skills and an extended mindset, enabling you to succeed both in your course and in the complex, diverse environment you will encounter after graduation. More details and updates can be found on our advice page for prospective students.

The Department of Statistics’ approach

University learning, particularly in Mathematics, Statistics and related subjects has traditionally focussed on the lecture for delivering ideas to students. A typical first year lecture would involve an expert lecturer presenting key ideas to a class of 200 or more students. As it will clearly not be possible to deliver such lectures (at least in Term 1), we are replacing them with something we believe will be at least as effective – video content to match the content of the lectures which we would have provided under normal circumstances. These will not (usually) be live, rather they will be in shorter chunks, more suitable for remote learning, available to watch over and over again if you want. Additionally, students will have access to the same printed resources (lecture notes etc) that we would have provided normally, and in many cases these are being enhanced for 2020-21.

As you will know from your School studies, learning Mathematics and Statistics is not simply a question of absorbing content. One needs to practise by attempting questions, alone or in groups, getting feedback on those questions and discussing with an expert. This has always been an essential part of our degree courses and will remain so in the coming academic year. All of the opportunities to practise Mathematics and Statistics that are normally available will be included in our modules and some new methods for obtaining feedback on your understanding will be introduced.

Our traditional approach, one that has proved effective over many years, of small class teaching groups meeting face-to-face is planned to continue in 2020-21. Safety of students and staff is our primary concern and so, to meet social distancing requirements the groups will need to be smaller than in previous years with the advantage that more personal feedback will be possible.

For students who cannot attend face-to-face sessions, alternative online sessions will be provided, with the same opportunities for interaction. All module lecturers will host an online discussion forum and have weekly “office hours” where students with any kind of question about the subject can drop in. These office hours will be online interactive sessions which we hope will increase their accessibility to all students.

We are also fully aware that our first year cohort in 2020 will have had a very different experience at the end of their School studies than previous years and this is informing our planning for our first year teaching in 2020-21.

So we hope that you can see that your learning experience at Warwick in 2020-21 will not be diminished. In fact we believe that in many ways it will be enhanced. Of course, should restrictions start to ease more quickly than we anticipate then we will be able to adapt our plans during the year.

Visit also our website about teaching and support for students in 2020/21.