UCD Students' Union claims students telling them their courses will be 'fully online'

The college has not issued timetables yet but its website says it will "aim to provide as much face-to-face teaching as possible"
UCD Students' Union claims students telling them their courses will be 'fully online'

UCD currently says only larger groups will be taught online. File picture

UCD's Students' Union has said it has been told by some students at the college that their courses are going to be delivered wholly online for the coming semester.

The President of the Students’ Union, Conor Anderson, said it follows the college's promise last month that undergraduates would get up to 70% of their course in-person with postgrads to get up to 86%. It also said that the face-to-face element of their courses could be as little as 30% and 20% respectively.

Mr Anderson said it is not a surprise as they suspected the college of "over-promising class time to students".

However, he pointed out that it has implications for overseas students and any students who have rented accommodation in Dublin.

The college's President Andrew Deeks had said in a statement in July: "The guidance issued for re-opening is in line with our own framework for return to campus working."

The college's page of current advice for students around its arrangements for Covid-19, which is relevant up to September 2, says it will "aim to provide as much face-to-face teaching as possible" for the coming college year.

It says: "You will debate topics in seminars, develop practical skills in labs and tackle big issues in workshops. We are putting measures in place to help you stay safe. This may mean teaching in smaller groups, delivering shorter sessions or staggering start times."

However, the college page says that larger groups will be taught online, saying: "Large group activities, like lectures, will take place through digital methods. Methods and systems will vary from course to course. Your School will provide more details closer to the start of the year."

Mr Anderson has said that they are now being told by some students that none of their course will be done face-to-face.

He said: "Students have been contacting UCD Students’ Union in recent days airing their disappointment that their course is now being fully delivered online with no in-person component whatsoever.

"It is unfortunately not a surprise, but it does illustrate how exaggerated the estimates of UCD management have been over the course of the summer. We are now being made aware that some courses will have 0% in-person teaching, just weeks before classes resume.

"UCD Students’ Union were worried that UCD management were over-promising class time to students since the first numbers were released. 

"This leads to two major issues for students; one they have already signed leases in Dublin based on the knowledge that some classes would be face to face and the second major issue is that some students will have travelled from abroad to study at UCD and they will find that their course is now entirely online and they could have studied from their home country."

He said the Students' Union would wait until September 7, when timetables are released to see how many courses are online. 

He added: "It is not fair to toy with students’ expectations like this, and we call on UCD management to communicate clearly how many courses will be fully delivered online and to explain to students why they are not following through on the promised face-to-face time."

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