While the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause disruption and uncertainty both nationally and internationally, we at DMU have been working hard to ensure our students continue to receive the teaching and learning that will allow them the opportunity to progress or graduate as they would have done in any ‘normal’ year.
With their support, engagement and feedback, we’ve already developed comprehensive, creative and flexible approaches to online teaching delivery that demonstrates our commitment to them and their learning. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their understanding and cooperation over the last two months.
Given continuing restrictions and the likely need for ongoing precautions against the spread of COVID-19, we’ve been thinking carefully about what the next steps might be.
Plans for next academic year
As part of this planning process, we are exploring various options regarding the first term of the next academic year. Central to our approach has been the need to follow Government guidance and, of course, the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. This principle will continue to guide our response to COVID-19.
Based on current information, we will at least need to blend online and campus-based teaching, and socially distance students and staff when on campus. The precise details will of course be dependent on the situation throughout the next academic year. Ensuring the highest possible quality of teaching, learning and the wider student experience in the circumstances will be central to our planning.
We have made two important decisions to give the DMU community certainty and reassurance. Firstly, I’m really pleased to say that DMU is going to be open to welcome new and returning students in the next academic year, with term starting on the planned date – Monday 5 October.
Secondly, given the highly likely need for some kind of social distancing, large-scale lectures will be online for the next academic year. We’re continually reviewing what the evolving restrictions will mean for smaller-scale and more interactive teaching – including face-to-face workshops, seminars, tutorials, lab work, practice-based teaching events, etc – and will update you as soon as we’re able to.
In order to ensure the best possible student experience we can offer, we’re also making sure all our students have available a wide range of specialist resources and subject-specific software, collaborative tools and digital platforms, support for peer-to-peer learning, student support around careers and placements, health and wellbeing, finance, library and learning resources, social media to build and develop networks, communities and friendship groups, as well as a wide range of social activities delivered appropriately within the current restrictions, including music, sport and student societies. Please check our website for further updates on the support available to students.
We fully appreciate that your experience of the last few weeks has been challenging and uncertain, and I want to assure you that we are here to support you in all areas of your student life as you begin or continue your lives and study at DMU. Your feedback, emails, questions and comments have had a direct influence on how we have built our online teaching model and transferred our support services. It has genuinely been a joint and collaborative effort.
The DMU community
Campus life is a part of what makes university so special, so rest assured we will do everything we can to keep our DMU community close and together, whatever the coming months will bring.
Please note that if you’re still looking to secure your student accommodation for the next academic year, please contact our Accommodation Office firstname.lastname@example.org, who will be more than happy to help.
Thanks once again for your amazing support.
With best wishes,
Professor Andy Collop
(Originally published Thursday 21 May)
Posted on Wednesday 27th May 2020