Mathematics UG Offer Holders
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to ensure that your programme of study can be delivered safely, we will be making some amendments to your programme.
Your programme would normally be delivered in-person on campus. In 2020-21, we plan to deliver it in multi-mode form.
Multi-mode means that your experience will be a mix of in-person and remote activities. It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance throughout next academic year, the balance in the multi-mode offering may be subject to change. We hope to be able to offer you increased on-campus learning activities throughout the year.
If you are unable to travel to campus you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience, and you will be provided with a remote alternative of any in-person activities.
Further details on the mix of in-person and remote activities and support available to you in your department are provided in the programme delivery section of this letter.
All on-campus provision will be subject to the requirements of the current Public Health advice from the UK Government, College guidelines on social distancing and any additional health and safety measures. In the event that there is an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19 during your programme then, in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government, we may be forced to suspend on-campus activity. This may be in connection with either national or local requirements. Since we will already be delivering the taught elements of your programme remotely to some students as part of the multi-mode format, we will continue to be able to deliver these elements to all students remotely.
The College will deliver your programme to ensure that the approved learning outcomes are met and will take steps to make alternative arrangements in any extreme circumstances where this is not possible. The College is also developing community-building activities to support the multi-mode experience for students.
College-wide induction and enrolment activities will operate in a remote format at the start of the academic year and there will be no requirement to visit the campus in-person to begin your studies.
The Departmental induction activities for your programme will take place online, but these will be supplemented with some in-person induction activities which you may choose to attend. Full details will provided nearer to the start of the programme.
Mathematics Undergraduate programmes will deliver a mixed-mode induction that will involve remote-live orientation and training sessions with the course director and other teaching staff. Student group-activities will be delivered either on-campus or remotely. Any on-campus activities will comply with public health and College guidelines on social distancing. A remote option will be available for all induction sessions held on campus so that any student joining the degree remotely will be able to participate.
Induction events will aim to build relationships amongst the students and academics of the programme through on-campus and remote social events and personal tutor meetings. During the induction period different College services, including library, careers, enterprise, will be introduced. Training courses on different tools, including the virtual learning environment (Blackboard) of the College and MS Teams will run, enabling the students to participate effectively in the degree. The format of these training sessions will be composed of pre-recorded videos accompanied by live sessions and activities. Some of the live sessions might run completely remotely. Live sessions will be scheduled to include as many time zones as possible and will be recorded and made available to all students afterwards. The cohort-building induction sessions will be reinforced by group work in problem classes during the Introduction to University Mathematics module which occupies the first 4 weeks of the programme.
Content of the programme
The College has reviewed the learning outcomes for your programme to ensure these can be taught and assessed in a multi-mode format.
No changes to the module learning outcomes have been made as a consequence of moving to the multi-mode delivery format.
We are not anticipating changing the outline schedule of when particular modules will be taught.
Teaching activities – coming to campus
In Mathematics we are working over the summer period to adapt our modules to the College’s multi-mode delivery. Our planning is informed both by our experience within College and the expertise we have gained in the Department in developing online courses - notably a new MSc in Machine Learning and Data Science that is scheduled to launch in 2021-22. We are designing learning activities to provide you with a great educational experience with multiple opportunities to interact personally both with Imperial Mathematicians and with other students. We believe that personal engagement is central to learning Mathematics.
The first-year programme is usually delivered through face-to-face lectures and problems classes for the whole year-group along with meetings with personal tutors, and a range of other activities, including on-line quizzes, discussion forums, small items of coursework and exams. Some of these will continue in a similar form next year, but there will also be some changes. If you are able to come to campus, your experience will be a mix of in-person and online tuition:
Lectures: Lectures will be delivered remotely. We are producing high-quality, pre-recorded lecture segments, accompanied by typed notes and will mix these with short quizzes and other exercises like those that we would include in interactive, live lectures. These activities will be ‘scheduled’ to provide structure to your learning. Of course, if social distancing is eased, we may be able to provide more live, on-campus activities.
Problems classes: These will be run in small groups of about 10-12 students for about 50 minutes four times a week. Some groups will meet in-person on campus and others will be run ‘live’-remote (not pre-recorded). We expect all students will be able to join in-person, on- campus sessions for about half of their problems classes. Students will have the option to participate remotely in all of their problems classes. Should social distancing ease, more on-campus problems classes will be available. Should government increase restrictions on gatherings, transportation, or social distancing, fewer on-campus problems classes will be available.
Some of the time during problems classes will be spent working on questions and material from the lectures; sometimes you will be exploring new ‘unseen’ material that is related to your lectures. You are expected to work together under the guidance of a lecturer or graduate teaching assistant. These groups will be varied over time, providing a way for you to meet new people in your year-group, and several lecturers and teaching assistants. Modules will also be supported using office hours and discussion forums.
Meetings with your Personal Tutor: subject to government advice, College guidance on social distancing and access to campus, these meetings will be conducted on-campus if this is convenient for you and your personal tutor, otherwise they will be conducted remotely. These meetings will focus on discussing how your studies are going, study skills, well-being and general discussion about Mathematics, university life, and being a Mathematician. There will be a mixture of individual meetings and meetings alongside other first-year students.
If you are unable to come to campus, problems classes and tutorials will be delivered remotely.
Students joining mid-way through a term may be expected to continue with remote activities for the remainder of the term, though the Department will try to accommodate such students in on-campus sessions where requested and if possible.
Along with module-specific support from lecturers and graduate teaching assistants, you will have regular peer tutorials, where you meet with a smaller group of students from your cohort and an older year student to work together on your mathematics in a more informal environment, learning from each other and from the older student. These peer tutorials may be on-line or on-campus.
To access the content of the programme remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer, reliable internet connection and be able to use Microsoft Teams. Your College IT account will provide you with free access to the Office365 suite of tools, and further information about how to use Microsoft Teams will be provided. Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules.
In addition to your strictly academic activities, the Imperial community is enlivened by a wide range of activities offered, for example, by student-led activities like the Undergraduate Colloquium, Women in Maths, our student Mathematical Society – MathSoc, the Student Union, and numerous other clubs and societies, as well as the many opportunities afforded by living in an international city like London. MathSoc, for instance, runs the Mathematics “mums and dads” programme, providing integration and community building across student cohorts in the Department. While the form that all of this takes will be impacted by social distancing, much effort is going into finding new and innovative forms of engagement that maintain health and safety as the first priority.
Year abroad programmes
Your year abroad may be cancelled or rescheduled. The College will need to adhere to partner institutions’ requirements as well as to UK travel advice during the period of your year abroad. You will be entitled to transfer to the version of your programme without the year abroad option.
The College has agreed that the default alternative arrangement for any on-campus formal written examinations is to provide a timed remote assessment. This means that all assessments, including the main exams in term 3, will be taken remotely in 2020-21. For other types of assessment, the method may be amended to accommodate the multi-mode arrangements. All students participating in a piece of assessment will do this in the same way, whether they choose to come to campus or study remotely. Details of individual assessments will be provided in the Programme Handbook.
Length of the programme
We anticipate that you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised.
To study remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer with webcam and microphone and to a reliable internet connection, and you will need to cover any associated costs for these. A separate headset/ microphone is desirable, but not essential. Students will also require equipment for digital writing and annotation, such as a graphics tablet and stylus. This equipment will be required for on-campus and remote sessions. Coursework and remote examinations will need to be scanned (using a scanner, document camera or smartphone). There are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme during a period in which you may be studying remotely.
On-site, in-person teaching will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus, or in accommodation within the South Kensington neighbourhood.
College Student Experience
Your experience at Imperial goes beyond just your academic studies. With the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), Imperial has been working with your Union to ensure that we are able to provide, enhance and facilitate all areas of your student experience under all eventualities. We identified key pillars of the wider student experience: academic experience; research culture and environment; amenities and accommodation; student community; wellbeing support; co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities. Information on how we will deliver these, along with information on our Library Services, considering current social distancing restrictions, as well as a full lockdown, are set out in the COVID FAQS on our website.
Professor David A. van Dyk, Professor of Statistics and Head of Department of Mathematics,
Professor David M. Evans, Professor of Pure Mathematics and Director of Undergraduate Studies.