Semester 2 teaching
Last updated: 28 October 2021, 12.15pm
The University of St Andrews has set out its plans for teaching in Semester 2, which begins on Monday 17 January 2022.
In a letter to all students, Vice-Principal Education (Proctor), Professor Clare Peddie, has confirmed St Andrews will increase the amount of in-person teaching it provides next semester.
At present, approximately 80% of teaching at St Andrews is in-person. Next semester, for most students, at least 90% of timetabled teaching hours will be in-person.
The changes – which are reliant on Scotland continuing its managed transition out of the pandemic – were designed following a major survey of student preferences, and consultations with key teaching staff.
St Andrews will:
- Lift the current cap of 35 on maximum class sizes while allowing students to continue to practise 1 metre social distancing.
- Continue to prioritise small-group teaching and tutorials.
- Ensure students continue to have access to recordings of lectures as an aid to study.
- Maximise the amount of in-person teaching time by scheduling classes across the full breadth of the Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm timetable.
- Continue to expect students to wear face coverings indoors, in line with Scottish Government guidance.
- Increased in-person teaching activities
- Some continued use of online activities
- Our decision-making rationale.
A small number of modules which have very large class sizes will continue to have lectures provided only online. Further detail will be provided when the Semester 2 timetable is published in the New Year.
In her letter to students, Professor Peddie said: “So far, we have been successful in ensuring that there have been no cases of transmission of Covid-19 in a teaching setting, and we are keen to maintain this record.
“Since the pandemic is still with us, and we do not know for sure what lies ahead in terms of both Covid-19 and seasonal flu, we had to opt for a prudent course.
“We believe that this approach we have chosen will allow you to benefit from more in-person interactions, whilst retaining some of the advantages of digital learning and continuing to take a responsible approach in relation to public health.”
The full update to students is as follows:
We appreciate that you will be keen to know about our plans for increased in-person teaching in Semester 2. Here is an outline of what are hoping to put in place, however, if there were to be a significant change in the development of the pandemic or in government guidance, we would, of course, respond to that. This email will give you important information about:
We will remove the cap limiting classes to a maximum size of 35 and permit bigger classes and lectures to go ahead in-person in all rooms that are large enough to accommodate the class whilst still allowing for 1m voluntary physical distancing and meeting the applicable ventilation levels. In practice, this means that most lectures to classes of less than 155 in size (the maximum capacity of our largest lecture theatre, allowing for distancing) can be provided in-person. We will continue to focus on offering small group teaching in-person.
This means that the very large lectures that we have in around 40 modules will have to remain online. You will hear more about which ones will be delivered in-person and which will remain online as soon as the Semester 2 timetable is confirmed in the new year.
Where there are competing timetabling slots, we will prioritise tutorials, seminars and interactive teaching and try to ensure that you receive as much benefit from in-person teaching as possible. To maximise the amount of in-person teaching time, we shall be using the full Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm timetable.
You will still be expected to wear face coverings for in-person learning and teaching activities, unless you are exempt.
Continued online activities
You will continue to have access to recordings of lectures (whether they are recordings of ‘live’ lectures or pre-recorded lectures).
Some module organisers may, for pedagogical reasons, retain elements of digital lecture delivery, but this will be complemented by in-person contact time (e.g., in-person discussions or Q&A/feedback sessions).
Our decision making has always been grounded in ensuring the safety of our staff and students as well as in resilience to potential changes in governmental advice. We have also been keen to respond to student demand for more in-person teaching, where this can be done safely. So far, we have been successful in ensuring that there have been no cases of transmission of Covid-19 in a teaching setting, and we are keen to maintain this record.
Since the pandemic is still with us, and we do not know for sure what lies ahead in terms of both Covid-19 and seasonal flu, we had to opt for a prudent course. We believe that the approach we have chosen will allow you to benefit from more in-person interaction, whilst retaining some of the advantages of digital learning and continuing to take a responsible approach in relation to public health.
With best wishes
Professor Clare Peddie
Vice-Principal Education (Proctor)