UCL News


An important message about your UCL Education in Terms Two and Three 2020-21

9 November 2020

Message to UCL students from Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs), Ayman Benyati, Education Officer, Students’ Union UCL and Jim Onyemenam, Postgraduate Students Officer, Students’ Union UCL.

UCL Portico

Dear Students,

We are writing to confirm the overall plan for your education over Terms Two and Three. 

You will be contacted in the next few days by your faculty with more details about how this will affect your programme.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment in Terms Two and Three will be similar to Term One:

  • all core teaching and assessment will be online (by core teaching, we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully);
  • activity that must be delivered face-to-face for you to achieve your learning outcomes will continue;
  • some further educational activity will be offered on campus, where feasible;
  • where face-to-face sessions are no longer feasible, the content will be transferred online.

Our ambition is, of course, to move towards more face-to-face teaching when it safe to do so and when UK Government restrictions allow. We are monitoring the regulations and guidance closely and will keep you informed.  

Studying remotely or on campus
In Terms Two and Three, you continue to have the option of studying wherever you are based, according to travel restrictions and your personal circumstances. You will still be able to engage fully with your modules online and receive the same teaching of core module content as students attending UCL in person. Please be assured that whether you are studying remotely or in-person, you will not be at any academic disadvantage to complete your degree. If your study intentions change please keep us updated by going to Portico – My Studies – Study Intentions 2020/21 and amending your status. 

On campus, your libraries and study spaces will remain open, and your Students’ Union will continue to offer a range of face-to-face activity through clubs and societies, as far as UK government guidance and social distancing requirements will allow. 

To make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the pandemic, we continue to follow UK Government guidance, and draw on the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention. A range of measures protect everyone on campus, including social distancing measures, compulsory face coverings, deep cleans of our buildings, a one-way system onsite, soap and hand sanitiser widely available as well as Connect to Protect, which helps us monitor and respond to coronavirus cases at UCL and our Covid-19 antigen testing facility.  

What we are doing to support your learning

Your lecturers and support staff are doing all they can to provide a rich academic experience for you. Our Connected Learning approach seeks to make sure you have high-quality, collaborative and engaging online learning.

We have increased the number of people involved in teaching and supporting learning alongside your regular teaching teams, with roles including learning technologists, content developers, student success advisors, graduate teaching assistants and student interns.

We have invested more in our digital infrastructure for teaching and assessment, meaning that core platforms such as Moodle have greater resilience, and we have invested in remote-access computing labs, interactive tools like Mentimeter, and platforms where you can raise issues, meet others and interact for academic and social purposes.  
We have sent out lab kits, clinical skills kits, visualisers and graphics tablets to support teaching that involves writing, drafting and drawing. Virtual exhibitions have been created to showcase student work and virtual fieldtrips have been developed. More than 13,000 UCL students have already enrolled on the Connected Learning at UCL moodle course, and we continue to develop resources to support your learning and assessment as the year progresses.  

Your broader education experience

We hope that you are getting involved with the clubs and societies, careers, enterprise, volunteering and other skills development opportunities and events. The coronavirus pandemic may be affecting your education in ways that you perhaps had not anticipated and your department will be happy to talk to you about your studies and to help you work through some of these challenges. If you need further support: 

  • The Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) team are on hand to help if you’re experiencing any difficulties related to your mental health and wellbeing or a disability. You can also contact SSW if you are worried about another student. We know that it can be difficult to reach out if you’re having problems, so if you see someone who you think is struggling please let us know.
  • You can also get in touch with the Students’ Union’s Advice Service on a wide range of issues, academic, social, financial and personal. 

Wherever you are reading this message, we hope that you, your families and friends are safe and well.  

Best wishes, 

Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs)

Ayman Benyati,  Education Officer, Students’ Union UCL 

Jim Onyemenam, Postgraduate Students Officer, Students’ Union UCL