How will I be able to access online lectures? Will they be timetabled?
For the 2020-21 academic year we have committed to delivering the academic content of lectures through our online learning platforms. These teaching sessions will not be delivered live. We refer to this as asynchronous learning.
While these lectures will not be formally timetabled, each module will have a scheduled set of learning activities so that you will progress through your studies on a week-to-week basis.
Any learning which requires a particular time of day will be included in your timetable, including both online and face-to-face learning. Your lectures will be available at a specific time each week and will not be timetabled. However, we can assure you that your lectures will be available before any live teaching, so you have the content readily available for your session.
Any live content will also be made available in a virtual version, for those students who can’t make it to the online session or to campus. For example, students who are shielding, have caring responsibilities or have concerns about using public transport, can virtually attend a session after it has been delivered live, via DMU Replay or Blackboard Collaborate.
Timetables will be released for continuing students on 28 September 2020 and will be available for new students a few days later.
Is there a chance we will go back to physical lectures sooner if the situation improves in the next academic year?
We have committed to delivering our lectures online for the entire 2020-21 academic year. However, for your other forms of teaching we will of course continue to review advice from the UK Government and Public Health England. The health and safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us.
How will seminars happen if all lectures are going to be online?
Seminars will be a mixture of both online and face-to-face (in person) learning. All of these sessions will be delivered live. In an online environment the seminar will be led by your academic tutor through our learning platforms Blackboard Collaborate and MS Teams.
In online seminars (what we refer to as synchronous learning), you will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with your fellow students through the likes of a chat box function.
Face-to-face seminars will take place on campus. The student numbers in these seminars will be less than in the online seminar as there will be a need to follow social distancing guidelines.
In most circumstances you will have the same tutor for the online seminar of the module that you are studying as you will have for the face-to-face seminar.
We recognise that online seminars require different skills for students and staff than in a face-to-face session. We have provided extensive guidance and training to staff to prepare them to deliver the best teaching experience possible. We will also be providing training to students and guidance so that you can get the most out of your learning and this will be ready for you before term starts.
Will I get face-to-face contact time with academics?
Our plan is that all students will have teaching that is delivered in a face-to-face environment. It is likely that there will be some differences in the amount of face-to-face content depending on the nature of the subject being studied.
We also recognise that is important that students are able to meet with their academic and personal tutors on a one-to-one basis. This will be facilitated via online office hours and, where safety guidelines and social distancing can be observed, we also hope that it will be possible for you to meet one-to-one, in person, with your lecturers by appointment.
Will I get regular contact with my personal tutor?
You will be able to schedule online appointments to discuss relevant issues with your personal tutor. In addition, where safety guidelines and social distancing can be observed, you will also be able to meet one-to-one with your personal tutor by appointment.
What percentage of teaching time will be available on campus?
We have committed to delivering all lectures online to ensure that we can support all our students in their learning. We took this decision because social distancing guidelines from the UK Government and Public Health England meant that this was the only way to deliver teaching to a large group of students in a safe environment.
We want to deliver as much teaching on campus as possible. This means reviewing how many people can safely be in teaching rooms across the campus and modelling our on-campus teaching based on UK Government and Public Health England social distancing guidelines.
All students will have weekly on-campus opportunities, in a combination of teaching, study support including access to specialist spaces, Library access, access to student support facilities, and access to social facilities. The actual percentage will differ according to your programme of study.
For practical courses, what will be the arrangements for access to workshops, studios and laboratories?
We have already developed technical solutions in the 2019-20 academic year to enable students to have remote access to the likes of laboratory computers. This means that students are able to perform experiments and run tests.
We recognise that many of our academic subjects require students to have a physical access to workshops, studios and laboratories on campus. We want to give students on practical courses the access that they need in order to learn. Some courses are working on supplying students with the materials they need outside of their study areas, which will also help students who aren’t able to get onto campus.
It’s our priority to get students into the practical spaces – it may be at different times of the day – but it will be the most effective way of learning we can offer. As soon as the arrangements are clear, we will let you know.
How will online lectures work for practical courses?
We will be giving our lecturers access to laboratories and workshops on campus to pre-record lectures for our practical courses, so that they can do practical demonstrations as part of those lectures. The lecture will still take place online but it will feature a practical demonstration to ensure that students can learn the practical aspect of their course, even if they can’t make it onto campus.
How will I be able to access the Kimberlin Library and other study spaces on campus?
Kimberlin Library and our study spaces will be open to students when the new term begins (with reduced capacity). You will still be able to borrow books and other materials (ncluding AV) and use library PCs within safe distancing arrangements.
The Library team continue to develop their enhanced package of support and online resources for you to access. Take a look here to find out more.
What is happening with DMU Global?
While overseas DMU Global opportunities are not currently possible, the university will review government advice, and if travel is permitted, we hope to offer a small number of extra-curricular opportunities in the early summer of 2021.
From term one, students will be able to participate in our full range of campus-based activities. You can learn a foreign language, including Mandarin, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic. Students can also participate in other opportunities such as Teach English as a Foreign Language Training (TEFL) and the DMU Global Intercultural Awareness Certificate. Opportunities will be launched from late September 2020 and details can be found on the DMU Global website.
New for the 2020/21 academic year, we will also be launching DMU Global Online Learning which will offer students the chance to engage and learn about a range of global topics in a virtual environment, without the need to travel.
I’m worried I won’t have all of the IT software to study effectively, how will you support me with this?
We have reviewed our teaching to consider the IT requirements that are necessary for students to successfully complete their studies. We have expanded the provision of software that we provide to students and developed technical solutions, such as remote access to laboratories. We recognise that some students may have difficulties in accessing an appropriate computing device to enable them to complete their studies. We have worked with colleagues in student support to identify those students with greatest need, and where necessary will work to provide students with access to computing resources.
As lots of my learning is online, why do I have to pay full tuition fees?
We know that university is a significant investment in your future and for you personally, so we work hard to ensure we offer value for money in all that we do.
Our revised planning for the next academic year was required by governments across the UK bringing in lockdown restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Central to our planning are two important principles: firstly, the health and safety of our staff and students will be paramount, and secondly, a strong commitment to ensuring that the teaching, learning and support we offer is broadly equivalent to our usual offering, so that all our students are able to receive the education they want and deserve, within the evolving national restrictions.
You will continue to receive a full portfolio of teaching, including lectures (online), online live teaching, and as much on-campus teaching as is compatible with safe distancing requirements (this is what we mean by blended learning).
We’re continually planning and 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.
We’re also working hard to ensure all our students have the opportunity to access a wide range of specialist resources and subject-specific software, collaborative tools and digital platforms, 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 and evolving restrictions, including music, sport and student societies. We have invested in additional resources, including extra electronic databases and book access in the library as well as LinkedIn Learning provision and writing support via Studiosity. We have also significantly increased the number of computers that we have available to students and staff to enable the successful delivery of learning and teachin. Please check our website for further updates on the support available to students.
On this basis, all tuition fees will be as advertised on our website. Our central priority is to ensure that the highest possible quality of the student experience we can offer is made available to all students whatever wider restrictions are in place at the start of the academic year, and to give student maximum value for the fees that they pay.
Some universities in other countries have committed to distance-learning for their first semester to ensure safety and save on students’ accommodation costs. Why haven’t DMU students been offered a choice? Especially for subjects that could be transitioned to 100% online study?
We have committed to providing students with a package of blended learning over the next academic year. While we recognise that there will be a significant amount of learning delivered via online platforms, we are also committed to ensuring that we can provide as much face-to-face teaching as possible.
How can I find out more details about exactly how my course is going to be run from the autumn in terms of the mix of online and face-to-face teaching?
We are adding information to our DMU Future page as we update our policies in line with UK Government policy and advice from Public Health England. We are presently working through our timetable schedule for the next academic year.
Timetables will be released for continuing students on 28 September 2020 and will be available for new students a few days later.
If large scale lectures are going to be delivered online in the new academic year, will I need to attend university in person?
At DMU, we are currently assessing how our degree programmes can be taught in the coming academic year – we are committed to giving students as much advanced notice as we can of any changes that may be necessary.
At present, we can confirm that all large-scale lectures (that is, where the group size is large and there is no expectation of interactivity) will be online for the full academic year. Most of these lectures will be asynchronous, i.e. pre-recorded, not delivered as a live stream. As soon as decisions have been made about the lecture delivery on students’ programmes, we will update them.
We’re continually reviewing what the evolving restrictions may mean for smaller-scale and more interactive teaching - including face-to-face workshops, seminars, tutorials, lab work, practice-based teaching events, etc. This is a complicated and evolving process that will take into consideration evolving UK Government guidelines, but we will keep our students updated as soon as further information is available.
We believe that, with the health and safety measures being implemented across campus and with the opportunities for face to face engagement being put into place across all programmes, students should attend university in person throughout the next academic year unless personal circumstances (such as illness, shielding, care responsibilities, etc.) prevent them doing so, or national restrictions indicate otherwise. We therefore expect all of our students to be on campus in order to gain as full a DMU experience as possible.
All updates will be posted both on Blackboard and, as appropriate, included in the COVID-19 information pages and communicated to you via email.