University of Limerick has announced that it is to continue with current learning model for the remainder of the academic year 20/21.
Professor Nigel Healy, Interim Provost and Deputy President/Vice President Global and Community Engagement at UL, said by making the decision early, it will give UL greater opportunity to streamline class scheduling and, where possible, to ensure continuity in online timetables.
“The COVID-19 Academic Monitoring and Planning Group at University of Limerick which includes faculty members, professional services staff and the leaders of UL Student Life and the UL Postgraduate Student Union, has been working for some time now on planning and timetabling for the remainder of the academic year 20/21,” said Professor Healy.
“The group has been in contact with the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and our colleagues across the HEI sector in Ireland as well as our partner institutions within the Mid-West Regional Cluster (MWRC) – Mary Immaculate College and Limerick Institute of Technology – in order to establish the best possible model for academic delivery for the rest of the 20/21 academic year, while keeping the health and safety of our student and staff communities a priority consideration.
“In order to provide students and our wider UL community with greater certainty and to allow adequate time for planning, the decision has been taken to continue with the current academic delivery model for the remainder of the academic year 2020/21.
“This will mean that the majority of courses will remain online, minimising on-campus activity to essential on-campus learning activities, including all research activities, lab-based and practical tuition and certain small-scale tutorials that cannot happen online. The current academic delivery arrangements at UL are consistent with the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID.
“Should the national public heath guidelines be relaxed later in the academic year, the restoration of additional face-to-face activities will be considered. However, students whose classes are currently wholly online and who have chosen to study remotely will be able to complete their modules online.
“We are acutely aware that some students, especially those new to UL, may be finding it difficult to adjust to online learning and others may be feeling socially isolated. We are working closely with UL Student Life and the UL PSU to evaluate student feedback and develop improved supports to help you engage with your lecturers and peers, which we will be rolling out in the spring semester. We also have a range of resources available to support you in your online learning and assessment, which have been developed in collaboration with students. These can be accessed here.
“The current academic delivery model, introduced at the start of Semester 1, is intended to ensure that UL can continue to deliver higher and adult education, deemed nationally essential by the Government, in a way that maintains the quality of the educational experience while protecting the health of students, staff and our wider Mid-West community,” he added.