UCD sets out plan for autumn trimester

Posted 8 July, 2020

University College Dublin follows the prevailing national and public health COVID-19 guidelines for all campus activities for the safety of all students, staff and UCD community.

Responding to the restrictions imposed by the public health guidelines, the University has prepared a number of teaching scenarios for the autumn trimester, designed to maximise face-to-face engagement between students and their lecturers. 

The University is also planning to maximise campus activities, including sports and societies, so that students can enjoy their college-life experience to its fullest potential, consistent with public health requirements.  In line with national guidelines, the University gym and sports centre reopened on 1 July 2020.

The University residences, which remained open and occupied by students throughout the lockdown period from March to May, will be filled as normal for the coming trimester with some special arrangements in place to mind students living on campus.   If students travelling in to Ireland are required to self-isolate, they may arrive 14 days in advance of the beginning of the trimester.  The University is providing this two week period rent-free to students in campus residence and reducing the annual rent for all students in residence to 36 weeks.

Recognising that larger lectures and classes will not be able to run at normal physical capacity, the University will provide a hybrid model of real-time streaming and recorded lectures and classes in many programmes for students who are not able to attend campus in the autumn trimester.

Across the University, students will have a mix of online, blended and face-to-face classes and tutorials with variations depending on subjects and stages.

By 21 September, when the autumn trimester commences, the University expects Ireland to be well into the final phase 4 (20 July) of the Government’s Roadmap to Reopening Society and Business.  If the public health position changes, the University will implement revised teaching scenarios accordingly.

Announcing the autumn trimester framework, the Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Mark Rogers said:

“From an educational perspective, we are planning for a range of scenarios, each of which prioritises the highest quality of teaching and learning.  As we consider the health and safety of our students and staff, we are deploying a mix of online, blended and face-to-face teaching methods in line with public health requirements.

We expect, complying with public health guidelines, that most undergraduate students will be in classrooms around 40-60% of the normal schedule, with most graduate students having between 75 and 100% of normal classroom time.”

Within UCD there are six colleges and each one is devising a teaching and learning schedule that best suits the subjects in that college. 

At graduate level, the changes are expected to be minimal for most students. At undergraduate level, traditionally large lectures in certain subjects may be limited in attendance or go online. Tutorials will generally still be face-to-face.  Laboratory classes and studios will take place.  The clinical element in professional healthcare training is expected to proceed.

The University has specifically guaranteed that where students missed out on clinical placements during lockdown from March to May, these will be covered over the course of the remaining years so that these students can complete the training required for professional accreditation.

“We are encouraging new and continuing students to plan to spend as much time as possible on campus so that they can experience the benefits of personal interaction and engagement with their fellow students and faculty.” Professor Rogers said.

By Eilis O'Brien, UCD University Relations