Education planning 2021-22
This page is under construction and updates will be added as plans for the next academic year are finalised. Please check regularly.
What are we saying to students?
In our most recent statement to students, we have said we will provide a further update on our education plans after the embargo period ends on 10 August.
UCL is committed to continuing its mission of providing excellent teaching and undertaking and disseminating research during Academic Year 2021/22. To make the most effective use of our teaching spaces and technologies, the Timetabling and Academic Services teams need to receive details of departments' plans for education.
Here we share the overarching principles, what they mean in practice, how we propose to accommodate teaching plans, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).
These plans must be based on the Operating Model for 2021-22, which has five overarching principles.
- A single operating model will apply for the entire academic year, underpinned by scientific advice. Though in-year changes may be necessary and possible, for example if we are able to relax or need to increase some social distancing requirements, we are using a single education model as the basis for planning.
- UCL will expect students to return to campus from the start of 2021-22 and a proportion of core teaching will take place face to face (f2f).
- All programmes will be blended by design for the whole academic year: offering both f2f and online learning activities. A very small number may be offered wholly online (where the pedagogy and student cohort support this and where appropriate and timely quality assurance processes have been met; a light touch approval process will be established for this purpose and will run until June 2021). Departments may choose to offer dual mode for some programmes (where teaching is provided f2f and an equivalent is provided for remote students), but there will be no requirement to offer this. No programmes will be able to be delivered wholly f2f.
- A range of core content, not just enrichment activity, will be delivered f2f. Therefore students will need to attend f2f sessions on campus if they are to meet their learning outcomes.
- We will plan on the basis of normal occupancy levels but, given the significant risk of social distancing measures remaining for some or all of the year, we must build in the ability to begin with, or revert back to, 2m social distancing. For this reason, and for the safety of staff and students, we will minimise the amount of large group teaching and large group co-curricular activities for the whole year.
What these principles mean in practice
To enable the best possible student experience and the best use of our estate, applying these principles will mean:
- Large plenary or lecture activities will normally be taught online; this may be pre-recorded, asynchronous material or synchronous online delivery or a combination of both.
- In planning their respective ‘blend’, programme teams are strongly encouraged to prioritise fully interactive sessions for campus-based activities, including laboratory work, practical classes, studio work and more interactive and smaller class activities. Where cohort sizes are large, space constraints may entail this may require multiple repeats of each of these activities due to space constraints. Individual or group tutorials can be offered online.
- Synchronous online teaching will be supported.
- Scheduling of live events (face to face or online) will need to be mindful of travel time, availability of study space on campus etc. as well as staff availability.
- Additional, new types of student spaces may be required so students can fully engage with a blended delivery model.
- As in 2020-21, invigilated in-person exams will be restricted to practical or practice-based assessments.
How we will accommodate education delivery plans
To provide a high-quality student experience for 2021-22, we need to understand, at programme level, how departments plan to deliver teaching within these principles. Understanding the desired balance and scheduling of f2f, synchronous online and asynchronous online activity is key to ensuring that plans can be accommodated. Some programmes will need special consideration due to their integrated nature, use of practice or practitioners as teachers or very large cohort size.
The central Timetabling and Teaching Spaces team has:
- Discussed the above assumptions with Deans, Faculty Education Leads and Heads of Department to ensure a common understanding of our education delivery model.
- Engaged with Faculties and Programme Leads to understand – in broad terms – how each programme would ideally be delivered within these principles.
- Engaged with our SU, and those responsible for co-curricular activities, to understand their estate and timetable needs.
- Used these forecasted requirements in our timetabling work so that expectations can be managed, departments are supported in planning teaching delivery, use of our estate is optimised and accurate information for staff and students can be shared.
In 2020-21 we achieved significant expansion of study space, and this may need to extend to next year, even if social distancing is eased, especially if there is extensive use of synchronous remote teaching. Demand for study space is best managed by avoiding large group f2f activities that bring students onto campus en masse.