In an email received by Sophister English students this afternoon, Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Brendan O’Connell outlined the school’s current plan for the learning experience.
For the first two weeks and last two weeks of the semester, students will meet face-to-face with lecturers, but for the remaining weeks of teaching, weeks 3-6 and 8-10, classes will take place online.
Additionally, “in a small number of cases, modules will be taught online-only”, but O’Connell promised further details in those cases to be relayed to students individually.
The compulsory module for Junior Sophisters, “The Book”, will be taught entirely online.
O’Connell detailed the fact that, “with the exception of the 5 ECTS Junior Sophister Single Honors options, all Sophister options are scheduled for two hours per week”. In weeks when classes are to be taken online, however, the School of English does not anticipate more than one hour of real-time lecturing.
The remainder of scheduled class time is due to be conducted asynchronously, “in which you will draw on the teaching materials provided by the lecturer”. These include engaging with recorded lectures and narrated Powerpoint presentations or participating in discussion boards with classmates.
In cases of in-person learning, O’Connell reinforced the promise of conducting classes in rooms where appropriate social distancing may be maintained, including placing students one metre apart and requiring facial coverings.
O’Connell went on to enforce that when face-to-face teaching has been scheduled, “students are required to attend in person, unless they have been granted permission by the Senior Lecturer to undertake all their learning online for the semester.”
If students believe they should not attend school in person due to health or other concerns, they are urged to make a case with their College Tutors to be presented to the Senior Lecturer.
Students in their final year completing their Capstone project are asked to note that, “while we expect it may be most practical for supervision to take place online, we will in most cases be able to provide appropriate space for face-to-face supervision on campus if that is required”.
O’Connell finished the email by emphasising that “we will do whatever we can to provide a safe and positive learning environment” regardless of the many challenges that he foresees.
He reminded students that there are supports in place which they may seek if they find themselves struggling to adjust.
While these are the current plans for Sophister English students, O’Connell allowed that they are subject to change in line with College and government requirements as the situation surrounding the return to college evolves.
O’Connell indicated that timetables for Sophister English students are due to be finalised by September 14.