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Preparing teaching for autumn 2020

Intensive and comprehensive efforts are being made to identify the opportunities for teaching all students physically on campus in the autumn semester. A great deal, however, will be taught online to ensure that not too many students are on campus at the same time.

These are the situations that must be avoided in the autumn. The infection prevention guideline of maintaining one metre distance reduces our capacity significantly.  (Stockphoto)

These are the situations that must be avoided in the autumn. The infection prevention guideline of maintaining one metre distance reduces our capacity significantly.  (Stockphoto)

“Our two main challenges are to facilitate collision-free lectures and to ensure that all students can have sessions physically on campus”, says Rector Sunniva Whittaker.

Collision-free in this context means that schedules must work out for our students and that time is allowed to clean between lessons to ensure good infection prevention – and to make sure that common areas, such as Gata and Vilhelm Krag’s hall (‘Vrimlehallen’), are never crowded.

The room capacity is significantly reduced due to the one metre rule. In addition to the one metre rule, other infection prevention measures must be followed – see UiA’s transmission prevention guide.

An example of reduced capacity is Henrik Ibsen’s lecture hall (B1 018) on Campus Kristiansand which has 418 seats but now only seats 110.

Close cooperation

  • The crisis management team works closely with deans, administrative managers, the Student Organisation in Agder and union representatives to find workable solutions. Not everything is clear yet, but here is a preliminary status:
  • The goal for the autumn semester is to offer attendance-based teaching to all students in their study programmes, such as lectures or group work sessions.
  • For most courses, a combination of attendance-based and online teaching must be planned for, like for example having lectures on campus and group work online, or the other way round.
  • Efforts are being made to find premises in our university towns that will allow for more attendance-based teaching in larger groups than we can accommodate on our campuses.
  • For the largest courses, we plan physical lectures for up to 200 students and the option of streaming and/or recording for students who do not want to be in the lecture room or who cannot get a seat.
  • It is intended that lectures in the smallest courses with less than 30 students will be conducted physically, mainly on campus, room capacity permitting. In these courses, streaming cannot be guaranteed.
  • UiA does not plan to duplicate lectures, to deliver the same lecture on the same subject several times.
  • Students with special needs to be taught on campus and first-year students of bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes will be given priority if we have to choose which courses to prepare physical lectures for.
  • The programme coordinators will be involved in the planning to ensure that every aspect of each individual programme is taken into account.
  • Lessons will be scheduled up to 5pm to make the most of the capacity we have. In this situation, there will be less opportunity to take the individual wishes of lecturers into account.
  • Planning for a different semester start is well underway. Together with our university cities and partners, we must clearly communicate that our students will be well received by us after the summer.

More information to come

“We will have to live with coronavirus restrictions for a long time. Now we have to adjust the framework conditions to be able to give the students good education, and to enable all of you who are teaching to plan for the autumn”, says University Director Seunn Smith-Tønnessen.

More information and guidelines around planning the autumn’s teaching will be made available as soon as possible next week. There will be dialogue between the faculties and the Division of Student and Academic Affairs in the further planning process, within the overall framework laid down by the crisis management team.

We must also prepare for suddenly going entirely online again should there be a second wave of coronavirus cases which would force us to limit contact or ultimately shut down campus again. There are many theories about when a second peak of infection will arrive.

We must ensure we are as well prepared as possible.

UiA has two main priorities in all the planning:

  • Health and safety
  • The students' progression