We are looking forward to welcoming you to Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering this Autumn. We are writing to update you on some amendments to your programme which we will be making in order to ensure that it can be delivered safely, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Your programme would normally be delivered in-person on campus. In 2020-21, we plan to adopt a multi-mode approach for the delivery of your education. 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 the entirety of 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. 

Key components of our MSc degrees include a variety of taught modules (some with a lab-based component) and an extensive research project. We have designed the programme so that the learning outcomes can be met either through in-person lab-based activities or equivalent remote offerings. 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 the Department are provided in the programme delivery section of this letter. 

Institutional guarantees 

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 Departmental health and safety measures. In the event of 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 adjust or even suspend on-campus activity. In the event of suspension of on-campus activity, activities pertinent to specific learning objectives that require presence on campus will be rescheduled for later in the academic year, whereas all other in-person activities will be delivered using remote equivalents that ensure that the learning outcomes are met. 

The College is also developing community building activities to support the multi-mode experience.  

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. 

Departmental induction 

All departmental induction activities for your programme will take place remotely. Further details will be provided nearer to the start of your programme. 

Content of the programme 

We have reviewed the learning outcomes for your programme to ensure these can be taught and assessed using a multi-mode format. 

No changes to the programme or module learning outcomes have been made as a consequence of moving to a multi-mode format. 

Scheduling  

Some modules’ (or parts of modules’) teaching and/or assessment(s) have been rescheduled to be delivered in a different term than originally advertised. 

Programme Delivery  

Autumn term 

All teaching activities will be delivered remotely in the Autumn term. There will be a substantial number of real-time teaching activities including lectures and study groups that you will be expected to attend remotely. You will receive timetabling information shortly before the start of term. 

January 2021 onwards  

From January 2021 we are hoping to review what we can offer on campus, but this will be dependent on official government guidance, and College social distancing requirements. In order to assist with social distancing, some activities may continue to be delivered remotely for all students on your programme. 

Support for remote learning 

To access the content of the programme remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer with a webcam, 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 is available on the ICT website

Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules. 

MSc project 

From January 2021, College access will be granted to students who require access to laboratory or College facilities for their project, subject to official government guidance, and according to the health and safety rules at the time, such as appropriate respect of social distancing, booking of laboratory space in advance for a set amount of time, etc. 

Potential suspension of on-campus activity  

In the event of a temporary suspension of on-campus activity due to an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19, we will deliver some content remotely and seek to reschedule activities which cannot be delivered remotely later in the 2020-21 academic year. 

Programme assessment 

The College has agreed that the default alternative arrangement for any on-campus formal written examinations is to provide a timed remote assessment. 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.  

During the Autumn term 2020-21 all assessment will be completed in a remote format. Details of individual assessments will be provided in the Programme Handbook. 

Length of the programme 

We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised.  

Additional costs 

To study remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer with a webcam and to a reliable internet connection, and you will need to cover any associated costs for these. There are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme if you choose to study remotely. 

Professional accreditation  

Professional accreditations for this programme remain in place even though it is being delivered in multi-mode format for next year. Professional accreditation bodies recognise that adjustments to the delivery and assessment of engineering degree programmes are unavoidable to protect the health and well-being of their staff and student communities or to follow the advice of government bodies in mitigating the spread and impact of the virus. Adjustments may include delivery format, order in which modules are delivered, assessment methodologies, re-scheduling of learning and assessment into alternative periods, and possibly extension of end dates to enable work that has had to be suspended to be completed and assessed. 

Location 

In-person activities will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus, or in some circumstances at the White City campus. 

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 on our website.