Mode of Teaching Delivery and Timetables 2020-2021
The safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us in the School of Microbiology. We have been working hard to establish how best to deliver teaching to our students and we are committed to providing a high quality educational experience, offering our students as much face to face time as possible whilst keeping students and staff safe. To comply with government guidelines and to ensure the safety of both our students and staff, the majority of our degree programmes will be delivered in a blended fashion in 2020-2021. This means students will engage in both online learning (live online events and pre-made online content) and on-campus learning (in-person sessions at UCC). The exact on campus hours will very much depend on a number of factors including the programme being studied, the class size, external accreditation requirements and of course on the NPHET guidelines, and may be subject to change during the semester in line with public health advice.
All on-campus learning sessions will be recorded and made available online through the University's Virtual Learning Environment, Canvas, to be accessed by students on the days when they are not on campus and to facilitate students who cannot be physically present.
It is important for students to note that regardless of where students choose to reside for the 2020/21 academic year, it is imperative that they have access to good quality broadband and appropriate IT equipment to allow them to participate in online classes.
Biological and Chemical Sciences 1 (CK402)
The Biological and Chemical Sciences degree programme will be delivered in a blended fashion in 2020/2021 with semester 1 being mainly on-line. All lectures and tutorials, as well as most analytical training, will be fully on-line using the University platforms such as CANVAS and TEAMS. It may be possible to attend some lectures on campus but this will not be obligatory. Depending on NPHET guidelines, it is hoped that a small number of practical sessions (3-5) will be offered on campus and physical attendance at those would be required. It is hoped that it will be possible to offer an increased amount of on-campus activity in semester 2. Further details will be provided in student timetables after registration and at student orientation following registration.
Genetics 1 (CK405)
The Genetics degree programme will be delivered in a blended fashion in 2020/2021 with semester 1 being mainly on-line. Most lectures and tutorials, as well as most analytical training, will be fully on-line using the University platforms such as CANVAS and TEAMS. It may be possible to attend some lectures on campus but this will not be obligatory. Depending on NPHET guidelines, it is hoped that a small number of practical sessions (3-5) will be offered on campus and physical attendance at those would be required. It is hoped that it will be possible to offer an increased amount of on-campus activity in semester 2. Further details will be provided in student timetables after registration and at student orientation following registration.
A message from the Head of School
I hope you had a good break this summer and that you are looking forward to the coming academic year.
As indicated in communications you will have received from the UCC Vice President, the new academic year will start on September 28th and the Web Timetables are available online
These are draft timetables; they are labelled as such because only modules that ran last year are included; specific module lecturers may make different arrangements for tutorials; at the moment tutorials and lab times have rolled over from last year. However, there is sufficient detail here to help you plan next semester. Your detailed timetable will be made available to you through Canvas after you have completed programme and module registration.
Modules (lectures / tutorials / practicals) will be delivered in different ways:
- Online: delivered via recording/stream; no physical attendance possible
- On-campus: in the timetabled lecture theatre; physical attendance may be possible
- Blended: some content online and some on-campus
- Synchronous: Live delivery from lecture theatre or another location
- Asynchronous: Pre-Recorded content
The latter means that you may find less slots in the timetable than the number of lecture hours in the Book of Modules – however you still need to take time to go through the material provided online and we strongly recommend that you do so weekly, to make sure you can understand all the material, and can interact with lecturers if you do not. You may also find that some lecturers that use asynchronous and online teaching may also include elements of continuous assessment e.g. regular quizzes or tests that are designed to ensure that you keep a normal regular pace of learning.
As in previous years, you as an individual will not be attending all the slots listed; you are already used to labs and tutorials where the class is divided and each student only attends one per week (in the weeks indicated), according to that grouping. What is different this year is that lectures with a blended and live mode may follow a similar pattern, whereby some students may be attending in class at some times and others will be following online (or asynchronously, as all classes will be recorded in Canvas/Panopto), in some alternate sequence that the lecturer will organise.
At the time of writing, based on National Public Health guidelines, we are planning for MB3 and MB4 students to be in the laboratory classes up to 50% of weekdays averaged across Semester 1, and hopefully similar for semester 2. We therefore recommend all students to come to Cork and come to campus. As you can see from the timetable, there are physical events that will take place e.g. labs, tutorials, lectures, etc. - not everything is online even though all lecturing material will be available online. If you do not come to Cork, the reality is that you may be able to follow the lecturing material, but you will miss labs and tutorials and your ability to cooperate with your peers for continuous assessments, etc. may be impaired. Some elements of continuous assessment (like lab attendance reports) may be impossible to do if you are not here, and they may be compulsory, and they nearly always carry marks.
However, student safety is of paramount importance, and we are well aware that some of you that may feel particularly at risk of COVID-19 infection. Your specific health situation is your own personal affair and we do not need to know any details, but if coming to Cork and to campus is something that you are medically advised to consider as an overwhelming risk, I would advise you to consider your safety first, and ask me as Programme Director if there is anything that can be done to ensure both your safety and your ability to fulfil the requirements of your specific programme.
For those that will come to campus, you will be receiving more specific information from UCC regarding what you need to do, and to be aware of, before coming to campus so that you can play your part in this shared responsibility to protect our society from the serious impact that a widespread infection of COVID-19 would have.
We are planning the coming academic year in accordance with the guidelines issued by the government, which include that whereas 2m social distancing requirements continue, there will be some tuition where 2m is not possible, and in those cases there will be a 1m distancing requirement with the use of Personal Protecting Equipment (PPE). When you will be using common equipment (like computers throughout UCC) you should also always remember to clean before AND after use (there will be sanitising materials for that – use them). Also, in order to enter one of the Science or other buildings to access any of its rooms/labs, you have to help us out with contact tracing – UCC will be issuing more specific instructions in this regard, but let me recommend straight away that if you have not yet done so, please download the HSE COVID-19 contract tracing app, and remember to have the location on whenever you access the Campus.
We look forward to seeing you on September 28th,
Professor Paul O’Toole