Dear Law and Criminology students,
The 2020-21 academic year is going to be a strange one for you and for us. I appreciate that many of you will be anxious and confused (we are too!), but we have done our best to put together an outline of how semester 1 will look for you. Although we are all struggling with the restrictions, we are determined to provide a high quality of teaching for you, and we will try to ensure you have an enjoyable and fulfilling learning experience.
We know that you want as much clarity as possible about the year ahead. We have tried to provide this for you, but we must all recognise that the national and international picture is constantly changing. This is what we see as possible right now, under the current guidelines. If things change, we’ll work with you to manage the change as best we can.
We are trying to organise a blend of online and on-campus teaching across the modules and programmes. There will be a variety of approaches, as we must recognise that there are lots of factors impacting how we teach, including:
The number of students taking the module;
The size of the room;
Local and national public health guidelines (particularly the limit of 50 people that can be in a lecture hall);
The teaching strategy of the module;
The circumstances of the lecturer.
As the year goes on, we may find we must adjust our approach. At every stage, we will take decisions quickly and efficiently, and communicate these clearly.
You will find an outline of the four main teaching styles we will use, and a list of semester 1 modules, arranged by year group at the link below. You will also see an estimate of face-to-face/ on-campus contact hours for students in each module. Tutorials for core subjects will be a mix of online and on-campus meetings (roughly a 50/50 split), and students will opt for which mode they prefer. Postgraduate teaching will be almost exclusively on-campus, in the usual manner.
We are encouraging students to come to campus when scheduled. As the President has pointed out, you do gain from physical presence on campus, not just in hearing the lectures live, but in the opportunities to meet other students, and build a peer group. These are vital parts of the university experience and will help you to complete your studies successfully.
However, we recognise that, for a range of reasons, this will be difficult or impossible for some students. Our approach is to provide as much back-up as possible for the on-campus teaching, so that students who miss out on some of that teaching will have online supports (including streaming and recording of many lectures and workshops, and provision of other online materials). Core material for all modules will be available in some recorded or other online format.
We will provide further information about schedules, and groups for lectures and tutorials, over the coming weeks, and the timetable will be published by the University on September 11th.
Things are unlikely to run completely smoothly all of the time, so we ask you to bear with us while we try and adapt to the new environment. There are many student supports offered by the University, and we encourage you to avail of these. You will also have named contacts in the Law Department (based on your programme of study) that you can contact.
It will be a strange and interesting journey, but please keep in contact with us, and keep supporting each other.
All the best,
Michael and Claire.
Professor Michael Doherty, Head of Department.
Professor Claire Hamilton, Professor of Criminology.