Student Q&A

30 Jun 2020

Student Q&A


Q:         When will the university be opening for students again?

A:         (Loretta Brady) Term starts on 28thSeptember. (There is a link to the key dates for 20/21 at

We will commence online orientation for undergraduate students on Wednesday 16 September 2020.  University College Cork is committed to you. We will provide you with the best opportunities to ensure that you make a successful transition to university life.

We will commence online orientation on Wednesday 16 September 2020.  The biggest benefit of online orientation is that you will be able to transition at your own pace for a number of activities.


You are not alone and you won’t be alone in your first year. We are very excited and can’t wait to welcome you to campus.


Q:         Obviously we’re in such uncertain times but have you got any general idea/ plan for when we will be able to physically be on campus and in lectures?

A:         (Jools Gilson) We're hoping that this will be possible in the Autumn in a blended process of online and in person teaching


Q:        Can you defer this course – CK104?

A:         (Ian Wallace) Yes, deferrals are possible. It's a simple enough procedure but there are no guarantees as deferrals are decided on a case by case basis.  If you receive an offer in round one of the CAO you can then not accept that offer and put in an application for a deferral. You will receive word on whether your deferral application has been successful within a matter of days.  You can view the UCC deferral policy here.


Q:         I was wondering how long will we be learning mostly online? Will things go back to normal after a few months or a year or so? Thanks.

A:         (Laura Rascaroli) It is impossible to say, unfortunately, but we all hope that on-campus teaching will become fully possible again within the academic year.


Q:         With these courses, what are the hours/ days in the week like? Are they quite full? Are they full days? 5 days a week? Just wondering as I’m interested in getting a part time job :) thank you!

A:         (Fionn Woodhouse) The times that you will be in college very much depends on your modules choices. With Theatre, as it is Joint Honours subject in in first year, you will have Theatre classes 4 days a week (2/3 hrs a day) then you will have classes with your two other Arts subjects. Depending on your subject choices this could mean that you have classes every day OR that you have a four day week.


Q:        I have another family member in college, I'm not certain our internet would be able to handle the demand for lectures onlines. Is there anything which will help this?

A:         (Jools Gilson) There will likely be blended ways to access materials for learning - not only lectures, but pre-recorded materials and e-books / e-journals. We are very mindful of the challenges of internet and will meet these head on.


Q:        If the course goes online for the year, will we get some of our money back for the course?

A:         (Barry Monahan) It's our job to deliver the best possible programme that we can. As a result of Covid-19, we've been challenged considerably but we are still delivering a top class programme. Although there are going to be changes, we will be as creative as possible to maintain the standards that we always deliver.  The course that we're going to give you in First Year is going to be as fun as it always is and as challenging and demanding as it always has been.  


Q:         I'm worried about missing out on the whole college experience. Should I defer?

A:         (Ian Wallace) In terms of college experience, and as a graduate and now working here, I massively hope that there won't be an impact.  It doesn't seem to be looking as if Clubs & Societies activity is being cancelled for this year - that was a question that came up in a Q&A earlier on this week.


The gym is reopening again at the end of this month so hopefully normality will return in that sense so that students will actually be able to have the classic UCC college experience.  However anything in relation to gatherings will always be taken with the health and safety of staff and students as a paramount concern.  The prevailing public health advice will be what determines activities whether on or off campus, whether organised by Departments or Clubs & Societies.  Hopefully we can return to some semblance of normality but there is just a hint of uncertainty at the moment in relation to those things.


Q:         As someone who would be moving from the UK, would you recommend me still to move into student accommodation in September regardless of if the whole course is online?

A:         (Ian Wallace) This is something that our Office of Accommodation & Community Life would be best placed to answer given the consideration of blended learning.  They'll give the fullest and frankest advice about accommodation in the particular circumstances but it's going to be a personal choice for the student.



Q:        I would like know if there will be any changes to the course subject wise due to recent events surrounding the pandemic.

A:         (Barry Monahan)  What we will be doing is pulling to the front of the First Year experience as many of the modules that can easily be delivered online and postponing until slightly later in the year modules and work experiences that require more face to face interaction.  Our ideal is that by the end of First Year you will have experienced everything that you need to – it’s just that the order in which you experience it will be slightly different.


(Laura Rascaroli) I could add that there will be some changes unavoidably, but in ways that is not a bad thing.  Film worldwide has been challenged by the pandemic.   The global film industry is finding new ways of functioning and the pandemic itself has thrown up so many issues and problems that have to do with the media - with communication, with the use of technology, with audio-visual and visual technologies.  So we will do our best to understand things together as well.


Q:         How much of the course will be on campus as opposed to online?

A:         (Laura Rascaroli) It's very difficult to answer this question very precisely. At this point we are awaiting for guidelines from the government but we will certainly do our best to accommodate as much as possible of the First Year experience.  We have the tools!  We taught online for the last three weeks of Semester 2 and responded creatively to the challenges of teaching online.  Our students have also responded wonderfully and have made beautiful films, which you can view online.


Q:        If there is a practical element to the film course, is it possible to have more of a behind the scenes role in the making of short films?

A:         (Dan O’Connell) We get asked that quite a lot from students who are nervous about undertaking practical work for the course.  There are producer / production design roles when you’re working with teams that aren’t necessarily very technical but at the same time we do encourage you to get as much technical skill as you can from the course.  Actually quite a lot of the time students find that they start to enjoy it when they realise that there's no pressure on them from the very beginning to know anything.  You really don't need to know anything before you start and you'll be guided through the process of filmmaking and all of the technical requirements.


Q:         If I don’t get the points for the media course is it possible to take the arts course and transfer over, maybe after a year?

            UCC Undergraduate Admissions would be able to advise you on this.


Q:         Will we need an external hard drive for our editing work/projects?

A:         (Dan O’Connell) Yes, we encourage all of our students to have their own personal hard drive.  Not only that but we also encourage students to pair up with another student to have a backup buddy so that you always back up that hard drive to another person's hard drive and therefore you never have to worry about losing your projects.  The idea behind that is that you can very easily move from one machine to another.  When you're working with video and screen media, it's very, very data heavy so a one terabyte hard drive is what we recommend.


Q:         I understand that Final Cut Pro will be available to the students. Will Final Cut Pro be available exclusively on the computers in the editing lab or could students use Final Cut Pro on their personal laptops?

A:         (Dan O’Connell) We have Final Cut Pro installed in our labs but we don't license the software to students. So either you work with the labs or you have to get your own version.  We're looking into alternative editing software at this time such as DaVinci Resolve or Creative Suite or other software that you may already have access to. But the short answer to that is that we do not provide Final Cut pro software to our students off campus.


Q:         Is experience needed/recommended in film for this course or is interest enough?

A:         (Dan O’Connell) We assume no prior knowledge nor prior technical abilities in film to be able to undertake the practical components of this course. Of course an interest in film is always going to be a driving force for anything to do with filmmaking.  So yes, we do obviously require you to have an interest but you do not need to have any technical background


Q:         Do you think the film/theatre industry will recover by the time 2020/2021 students finish their degree?

A:         (Laura Rascaroli) Yes! Film/TV sets are already opening now, applying new protocols. The value of the arts was never more in evidence as during the lockdown, when the need for content (film, TV series etc.) has grown exponentially. Not to mention the role of audio-visual communication, information, journalism.(Do you think the film/theatre industry will recover by the time 2020/2021 students finish their degree )


A:         (Yvon Bonenfant) The theatre world is responding very, very creatively to the challenges it faces right now. Theatre Forum (Ireland) has emitted guidelines that help with socially distanced creation and spectatorship. We do expect that theatre will be somewhat transformed by this time and set of events, but our programme is future facing - and we are well placed to explore what theatre will now become. Liveness will ALWAYS matter to people.


Q:         Are the on campus computers for Film and Screen Media macs?

A:         (Barry Monahan) Yes, they are!


A:         (Laura) Yes. You can read more about our equipment and facilities here: (Are the on campus computers for Film and Screen Media macs?)


Q:         Is it possible to change from a film and screen media course to an arts course after first year?

A:         (Barry Monahan) It depends on the programme to which you are interested in transferring... Certain conditions exist for having covered modules in other subjects in order to change over so you would have to check these. There is an option to change within the first few weeks without too much difficulty as long as you can be accommodated in the new department and subject...


A:         (Loretta Brady) Yes. It is possible to apply to transfer from CK105 Film and Screen media at the end of first year. You need to pass first year and there will need to be places in second year Arts. You will continue with the two Arts subjects you did as part of first year CK105 if your application to transfer is successful.


Q:         Will students be penalised for missing online lectures in film and screen? I ask as come September I will be living in a poor Wi-Fi area and may not be able to connect to all online lecturers on time?

A:         (Barry Monahan) No, there will be a flexible approach to "live" attendance for, and participation in, on-line seminars. For face-to-face seminars and lectures -- when they are up-and-running again -- attendance is required.


A:         (Laura Rascaroli) One of the positives of online teaching is that it allows for more flexibility in learning. We're aware that some of our students may have difficulties accessing the internet and we will adopt solutions that will facilitate as much as possible students with poor connections.


Q:         What computer/PC is recommended for students of film and screen media?

A:         (Dan O'Connell) We recommend Mac computers and Final Cut Pro X. However, you will have access to mac computers via the Film & Screen Media Computer Labs if you do not wish to purchase your own machine.


Q:        Film and Screen Media: if we are editing off campus should we try to get final cut pro or can we use any editing software such as sony vegas pro etc?

A:         (Dan O'Connell) Hi There, Thanks you for your question, We teach Final Cut Pro but you are not limited to this software. You can edit on any software that you like or are comfortable with for any of your practical assignments.


Q:         Will there be any filming required for film and screen for the portion of the year that we will not be able to come onto campus?

A:         (Dan O'Connell) Filmmaking will only commence where possible and where teaching/tutorials have been implemented. You will not be asked to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.




Q:        How many hours ensemble or instrument tuition will there be a week, approximately?

(Kelly Boyle) For 1styears, Ensemble is scheduled for 2 hours a week ​for the full academic year. However, depending on the numbers taking a particular ensemble, students can arrange to book the practice rooms or the ensemble room (within the new studio) to get together outside of official class time and practice if they wish. Again, this would have been prior to Covid 19 and so we will be thinking of how best to arrange ensemble classes bearing in mind social distancing and safety of our students for the year ahead. ​Also, all 1st years take one hour of Gamelan ensemble (our set of Javanese bronze instruments) for one semester each - so that will be another hour of ensemble tuition in either semester 1 or semester 2, depending on what group you are in (the groups are allocated in the first week of the semester). The Gamelan ensemble will be run in the coming year in full compliance with public health guidelines, which may mean smaller class sizes.


In addition to this, our students continue their private tuition on their own instruments in their own time, so this can be worked out by individual students according to their own schedules and won't be timetabled in your university hours. For some students, it is possible to continue with their current teachers (students from Cork, for example, or those who travel home at the weekends often continue to see their instrumental/vocal teachers after they start university); for others, it will be necessary to find a new private teacher when you move to Cork.



Q:        Will it all be online? or will we be socially distancing in lectures?

A:         (Tríona NíShíocháain) We are putting in huge amounts of preparation trying to foresee what the next academic year is going to look like.  At the moment the university is hoping that there will be some face to face teaching.  However it is an evolving situation and so at this point we can't say with certainty what it will look like exactly but I would predict that there will be a lot of online learning involved in this year but I would say with the caveat that this does not mean that we can't do practical courses.


Q:         What is the process for taking the Arts-Music international route? Do I need to pay the fees of the college abroad or do my UCC fees cover it?

A:         (Loretta Brady) You will register for the International Pathway when you are registering for second year. You pay normal UCC fees for your study abroad year and do not pay fees at your host university.


Q:        How is it possible to do online classes in this course? / How will the music department work if there is restricted access to UCC?

A:         We actually have experience of that now.  Due to the lockdown we had to move our practical courses online and actually it was very effective.  You could receive your tutorial by a variety of means, e.g. Zoom tutorial / consultation with your instrumental tutor, they might put up short videos or other resources online, etc.  Our students continued to develop their performance skills even during the lockdown period and in fact some of the work that was submitted was just incredible. Feedback from students has been positive and the external examiner recently commented on the quality of the performances submitted (recordings).


We're trying to make the learning experience as effective as possible be that online or be that in a socially distant situation.  We are committed to the learning experience being really positive for students and we have been encouraged by the response during the more recent crisis period.


Q:         Do the modules cover the requirements to continue on to further studies of a PME?

A:         (Tríona NíShíocháain) Yes, there's no elective option in First Year and our core modules are designed in such a way to correspond very closely to the requirements of the Teaching Council.  After your degree you would need to then do the Professional Masters in Education. However for people who have this on their radar, I would also advise them to be very mindful of their elective choices in second year and subsequent years so that you actually choose the modules that correspond to the requirements of the Teaching Council.  Members of staff will be happy to give you advice when the time comes.


Q:         How many people are in the course CK104?

            The intake for the course is approx. 58.


Q:         How do you access the music department from UCC’s main campus?

Walking from main campus to the Music Department takes between 20 and 25 minutes. You can check on the following link that shows the walking routes to get to Music:

Walking directions and map to Music Building


Q:        What areas of music will we be studying?

A:         (Tríona NíShíocháain) In First Year you'll be studying music theory, performance (including ensemble performance), Irish traditional music, western music, media and culture which would include classical music and popular music; you’ll also be studying music technology and composition. So you get a spread!  After First Year you have significant elective choice and so you get to tailor your own degree to a large extent.  We have people who might be particularly interested in composition and that would then direct their choices and we might have somebody else who is particularly interested in Irish traditional music.  From second year we have a variety of performance courses and if you're a fiddle player you could get to do a whole module on fiddle with the legendary Connie O’Connell, if you're an accordion player you might have Bobby Gardner as you tutor.  You might choose to take up a new instrument as well.  We have incredible ensembles – jazz, pop, early music, chamber music, etc.


A lot of our students tend to combine rigorous scholarly academic study with specialist performance / composition.


Q:        Is this a good course if you want to be a musical therapist?

A:         Yes, a degree in Music from UCC is an excellent pathway towards further study / career in Music Therapy.


Q:        What is entailed in the Music course theory wise?

A:         (Tríona NíShíocháain) In Music at UCC when you come into First Year everybody does a compulsory music theory module taught by Dr Mary King in the first semester.  it is structured in such a way that students who have very little experience of music theory might be assigned into one tutorial group and others who maybe have significantly more experience will be assigned to another tutorial group.  We also have music theory modules in second year and an option that you can do in 3rd year also. 


            In terms of delivery, we are considering blended and online approaches.  It is possible to teach music theory effectively even online if that is what we have to do.  It's an evolving situation so you might be having some class time and having some online time with your lecturer. 


Q:        How is the practical side of the music course effected by the regulations put in place by the government? The facilities in the music building didn't seem suited to allow social distancing between students, an example that comes to mind is the new recording studio.

A:         (Tríona Ní Shíocháin) So we know that there are other ways of approaching these things that can work very well and the basic principles would be that we're just trying to make the learning experience as effective as possible, be that online or be that in a socially distant situation.  For example, it might happen that some ensemble work would be possible in a very large room with a small number of people. These are the technical things that we are figuring out at the moment and it will be a year no other of course because of the COVID19 situation.  But we're really committed to the learning experience being very positive for students and we have been encouraged by how we had to respond during the more recent crisis period.



Q:         Are there many performances for music/how will they work and is there a lot of paperwork for music?


A:         (Kelly Boyle) As regards to the performances and Tríona referred to this earlier there are performance modules of course as part of the first year program, and as Tríona outlined we are working on ways to deliver those either online or with a combined and blended approach. We have found ways in the past semester to use the technology available so that performances can work. Generally there's a choice of one or two performance modules in first year and so the choice of those really will kind of dictate the form that the performance modules will take. As regards paperwork I guess with any programme of study and any courses that involve lectures and doing lots of reading and writing essays then absolutely there would be paperwork expected.


Q:         Will the first year music students get to be on main campus at all?

A:         (Tríona Ní Shíocháin) A number of First Year Music modules take place on UCC’s main campus as opposed to the Music Department building.  However, this year that is going to be contingent on the Covid-19 restrictions that are in place.  Unfortunately I can't answer that with certainty as yet but there is a precedent in normal times that there would be Music lectures taking place on main campus.



Q:         Just wondering for the Music with arts course, when is the time that we will pick our other two arts subjects?

A:         (Finola Horgan) Students will select their subjects/modules when they are completing their registration. This may have to take place online this year and if so you will be advised of this in advance.



Q:         Would we require a laptop for the music course? & if so, is there any particular laptop recommended?

A:         (John Hough) could you email me at and I will answer this after the Q&A




Q:        Will we be able to do performances in the Theatre course?

A:         (Yvon Bonenfant) If we're able to work in studio that will probably mean working with social distancing measures in place.  It may mean working with masks or screens or guards.  There are all kinds of things that might come into play but relationship and liveness matters and we will be following the industry and wider social regulations and ideas about how we can do relationship best and performative relationship in this time.   


So that leads on to the other big concern which is around performances. How do we do performances if for example we have to go into full lockdown again next year, which might happen if there is a resurgence.  How do we do full scale performances?  Well, the Department of Theatre is already exploring for next year hybridized ways of working with performance, so that you might be able to work with video, audio or liveness in different kinds of combinations.  Frankly, we know that performance has been hybridizing with the digital for a really long time in wider culture.  Most of you who might be listening to us today will have been consuming Youtube performances, some of them pretending to be live, some of them live, and some very ‘stagily’ live.  Since you're at quite a young age, you've probably been watching them since you were 11 or 12 years old or a Facebook live or other things.  There are really creative and interesting ways for us to create performances together and for you to have a voice through either working directly with performance through digital means, combining the live and the digital or using live and totally new ways.


Right now It looks as if outdoor events and experiences have less transmission rates than indoor ones and it may well be that some performance experiences are outdoors.  In fact we have a module that's been working with outdoors performance experiences for a very long time by collaborating with the Dragon of Shandon Parade.  You can trust us to work with you to make performance come alive in all the ways that it can given the restrictions we might be facing next year.


Q:        How can you teach Theatre online?

A:         (Yvon Bonenfant) Let me talk about how we taught online during Semester 2 and how we might be doing it next year if that's something we need to do in order to cope with government recommendations.


This spring we used many different techniques for teaching online that included live streaming practical teaching through UCC’s very reliable virtual learning environments, tools and infrastructure including the Canvas system and the software system Panopto among other tools.


We also did Lectures via a streamed direct engagement, with students taking questions live.  If we are able to get into classrooms and teach in Studio, which we are planning as long as government and University guidelines allow, we can live stream teaching to students who might be at home so that they can follow classes.   So for example if we are able to do some live teaching and if there was a student who can't come in, that student would be able to follow a class from home via mobile broadcasting systems that we’re exploring for our studios.


But there are other ways of teaching practically too.  In my voice class this spring because there were students that were having trouble with Wifi connections, I largely taught through video messaging with students.  I sent out video tutorials to students with instructions on how they could copy me, what they could do, how they could work to develop the techniques.  Then they were able to send assignments back.  Because our groups are relatively small in size we have a wide range of ways that we can work with you, but it requires us to be flexible, it requires you to be flexible and it requires all of us to use all of the adventurousness at our disposal.


Q:         How is the theory and practical side balanced for the theatre course?

A:         (Yvon Bonenfant) It is approximately 50/50. This depends on your module choices after the first year, and it also depends on whether you are single or joint honours. A rough guide, however, is 50/50, though there are more theoretical and more practical modules. Most of our modules involve both thinking and doing; though there are some theoretical modules that ground you in theatre history and dramaturgy in the first year.


Q:         How many performances are there in the theatre course and are agents invited and do people generally get them?

(Yvon Bonenfant) The number and type of performances completely depend on your modular choices after the first year. There is at least one performance-inclusive and focused module in the second and third years. In the third year, there is a major, very large group performance project where you make and perform your own work in small groups.


It's important to note that we are not an acting conservatory, though, and this is not an acting-only programme, so we don't generally do showcases for agents. That being said, we have had many students go on into either performing or to MA or further training in focused on performance skills.


Our programme focuses on giving you skills that include performance but that go beyond performance. We see you as creative thinkers and doers.


Q:         If all universities have to close, how will UCC react in terms of teaching the theatre course? Especially if you live in an area with not great wifi etc.?

A:         (Yvon Bonenfant) One of our principles for next year is 'flexibility'. We are hoping to be able to teach live much, but we will be able to very quickly move teaching online, and back off again - including for practice! To work with weaker wifi signals this spring, we delivered some teaching via video links that you could upload or download more slowly, in order to work with your wifi speed.


Q:         I want to be an actor, what practical teachings do you offer e.g Stanislavski etc are they on your course?

A:         (Jools Gilson) Students in Theatre at UCC have a rigorous introduction to theatre practice in their first semester, this includes physical and vocal training for theatre, devising practice and collaborative performance skills. Theorists we cover in this first semester include Richard Schechner, Peter Brook, Mnouchkine etc. In the Second semester there is a specific course on acting theorists / practices. I hope that's helpful.


A:         (Yvon Bonenfant) This depends on your module selection. This programme is *not* the kind of programme that 'teaches Stanislavski' or 'teaches Grotowski' in style as a department, rather, we want you to learn how to select the techniques that matter most for your unique physicality and personality. We have expertise in the department in a range of acting, voice training and physical training techniques and we combine these with inventiveness and creativity rather than teaching you to be or do one thing. We find this approach is much more conducive to the range of personalities, bodies and learning styles of students. If you discover a passion for, say, Linklater voicework while in our course - you can move to post-graduate training afterward!


Q:         As I understand, choosing an arts course requires you to choose three others, having 4 arts courses. As Theatre and Drama is not an arts course, what exactly does it mean to be a joints honours course?

A:         (Fionn Woodhouse) In first year of the Theatre course student will take 50% Theatre modules with the remaining 50% split between two other subjects that you choose.


At the end of first year students can select to continue as Joint Honours or move to Single Honours. If you select Joint honours you will continue with 50% Theatre and choose one of your Arts subjects for the remaining 50%. If you select Single Honours you will focus Theatre with 85% Theatre and 15% from Arts subject you selected in first year.


If you select the Theatre with Music - you will have 50% Theatre and 50% Music for your whole degree. If you have any further questions please do get in touch on




Department of Film and Screen Media

Scannánaíocht agus Meáin Scáileán

O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Ireland