UPDATED 6TH OCTOBER 2020
Following the government announcement on October 5th to place the entire country into Level 3 under the Plan for Living with COVID-19 from midnight Tuesday, 6 October 2020 until Tuesday 27 October 2020 all lectures will be delivered online during this period.
Carlow College is committed to looking after the health, well-being and academic development of all our continuing students. We know how important it is for you to have some clarity about what to expect in the academic year. We have prepared the below FAQs to update you on our plans to date. Please remember that we may be required to change these plans in response to HSE and/or government guidelines. We promise that we will communicate any changes to you as a matter of priority.
Information to continuing students on the delivery of academic programmes in Semester 1, 2020-21.
Will I have classes in the college?
This will depend on your stage, programme and module. As you are aware, current information and advice on the need for physical distance and limits on numbers in rooms and halls means that we have had to revise our normal delivery method of having learners on campus for all their classes. We will still be delivering teaching in the college. Modules which require the lecturer to demonstrate practical skills and assess the performance of these skills by learners will be partly delivered on campus. Therefore, learners in Stages 3 and 4 of the Social Care and Social, Political and Community Studies programmes will have some classes in the college. Stage 4 Dissertation and Seminar learners across the programmes will have workshops in the college and be able to meet with their supervisors.
All learners will have some classes delivered via an online learning platform and some learners will have most of their Semester 1 classes delivered in this way. See below for details on what the college is planning in terms of delivery of teaching at a distance.
What will my timetable look like?
On-campus classes for continuing students will be scheduled for one day per week. Condensing classes into one day will allow for potential reduced availability of public transport and simplify arrangements for learners who may opt to commute from home. The on-campus classes for Stage 3 & 4 Social Care and SPCS learners will be scheduled for Fridays. Attendance at these classes will be mandatory. Dissertation and Seminar classes will also be scheduled for Fridays. If it becomes possible to offer other cohorts the option of having some on-campus delivery we will deliver this on specific days. These classes will also be delivered online to facilitate students who prefer to access them in this way.
The timetable for online classes is being worked on at present. These classes will be scheduled throughout the week between 9am and 5pm. Learners will be required to participate in these classes and an attendance roll will be called. Normal absence from class procedures will apply. Learners will not have on-campus and online classes on the same day.
What form will the online classes take?
The college is preparing to deliver the best possible online learning experience. We have listened very carefully to your feedback and appreciate your understanding of our efforts to deal with the sudden closure of the college in March. Now that we have time to prepare for the coming year, we want to reassure you that we will be planning a first-class online experience utilising a platform that allows for live video delivery and multiple opportunities for interaction between lecturer and learner and between learners themselves. All lecturers will attend intensive training in the platform and online pedagogies prior to the commencement of the year and will be fully equipped to deliver online. Delivery will be closely monitored by the Office of the Registrar and the Programme Directors who will regularly check in with class representatives to get feedback from learners.
What about assessment?
We are currently reviewing assessment schedules across the programmes and will be making any necessary changes. All continuous assessment will be submitted online and all feedback will be delivered online. We have not yet made a final decision on Semester 1 exams but it is very likely that they will be take-home exams such as those you had in May.
Will I have access to resources to support my learning and complete my assessments?
Yes. If a module is delivered online then all resources necessary for that module will be made available to you via Moodle and the electronic subscriptions of the library. The library is currently upgrading its e-books and electronic journal resources. JSTOR have opened the gates to all their collections until the end of December 2020 and the library is trialling a new EBSCO database, ‘Academic Search Premier’ for 60 days starting in September. In addition lecturers will upload scanned chapters from relevant publications which are not available electronically. The provision of resources will be closely monitored by the Programme Directors.
Can I access the library even if I do not have classes on campus?
Yes, it will be possible to come in to the college to access the library, use the PCs and printing facilities and borrow books. A booking system will be used.
Should I book accommodation for next year?
In Semester 1 continuing students will only need to be on campus for a maximum of one day per week. Therefore, you may find it easier to commute to college on that day or just arrange for one night’s accommodation. We are hoping that we will be resuming normal delivery in Semester 2 so you may need to book accommodation in January 2021.
I have difficulty accessing a laptop and a reliable WIFI connection. Can the college help me?
We are aware that some learners have challenges with poor connectivity and lack of suitable devices. If you are experiencing any particular difficulties that could prevent you accessing online teaching please contact the Academic Resource Office (email@example.com). The Laptop Loan Scheme will continue to be operated through the Academic Resource Office and the library. Our aim is to ensure that no student is disadvantaged by changes to the mode of delivery on our programmes. As mentioned above, it will also be possible to access the library. We will also be assigning dedicated time slots accessing the library PCs and printing facilities.
What are the arrangements for placements in Semester 1?
The practice placement on the Stage 2 Social Care programme and the Catechetics placement on the Stages 3 & 4 Arts and Humanities programmes are expected to go ahead as planned. Preparation classes for Stage 2 Social Care Students will be delivered in the college and online in the weeks beginning 7 and 14 September. Some workshops for the Catechetics students will also take place in the college during these weeks. Placement coordinators will be contacting students with further details so please remember to check your college email regularly.
What about supports for students?
Once again we remind you that we may be required to change these plans in response to HSE and/or government guidelines.