We are looking forward to welcoming you to Imperial this Autumn. We are writing to update you on arrangements which we will be making for your programme 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 deliver it in multi-mode format. Multi-mode in our case means that all teaching activities will be delivered and supported online, but the Department premises will be open, with access managed according to the public health guidelines of the time. On-campus activities will also be organised where possible. The College is also developing a range of community-building activities to support the multi-mode experience.  

It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance throughout the entirety of the next academic year, the balance in the multi-mode offering may be subject to change. Our hope is to be able to offer you increased on-campus learning activities throughout the year, as the situation evolves. 

If you are unable to travel to campus you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience, because there will be a full remote offering.  

Further details on the teaching activities and support available to you 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 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 all on-campus activities. In the event of such a suspension, all teaching and learning will operate remotely, but in a manner that enables us to deliver the same learning outcomes. 

Departmental induction and enrolment 

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 induction activities in the Department include the following: 

  • Introduction to degree programme structures and regulations  

  • Introduction to Departmental systems and remote teaching platforms  

  • Introduction to online systems for Q&As and discussion forums 

  • Introduction to online laboratory programmes  

  • Introduction to support services 

  • Introduction to College library and career services 

  • Meet-and-greet opportunities for you to meet your cohorts 

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 in a multi-mode format. 

The learning outcomes of some modules have been amended for the multi-mode delivery. The link to the webpages with the updated module information will be sent to you prior to the start of the programme. 

Scheduling  

Some modules’ teaching and assessment(s) will be rescheduled to be delivered in a different term than originally advertised. 

Programme Delivery 

All teaching activities throughout the year (Autumn, Spring and Summer terms) will be delivered remotely.  

  • All the taught modules will include live online sessions allowing Q&A and interaction with the lecturers. 

  • All supervised lab sessions will be conducted online. Face-to-face supervision of lab sessions will be considered only when it is safe to do so. 

  • All pastoral care and personal tutor meetings will be provided online. In some cases it may be possible for such meetings to be arranged on campus, in which case full details will be provided at the time. 

  • All departmental and relevant multi-disciplinary seminars, with expert internal and external speakers, as well as all presentations by industrial guests will be delivered online. (One example of this is our long-running Applications of Computing in Industry programme which last year included guest lectures from Google, Amazon, ARM, Microsoft, Amadeus, Betfair, Ocado, Facebook, and many others) 

Where possible, and subject to Health and Safety guidelines on campus, our labs, student common room and lecture theatres will be open and available for you to use for socialising, self-study and to participate in the remote teaching activities listed above. 

Please also note the following: 

All our teaching materials, notes, exercises, recorded lecture videos, coursework specifications will be available on our Department’s long standing and tested bespoke systems, all of which are accessible remotely.  

All project specifications will be available on our project portal for viewing and shortlisting. All assessments will be submitted electronically through our Department’s systems that have been in continuous use for several years.  

All interactions with academic and teaching support staff will take place using well-established online Q&A forums such as Piazza, and ‘live’ meeting platforms such as Microsoft Teams.  
We have already delivered one full term of teaching activities using these platforms, so you can be reassured that the systems we have in place are well tested, robust and fit for purpose. 

The Department’s student society, DoCSoc, also provides a host of social and technical events throughout the year, all of which play a big part in adding value to your educational programme and enhancing the student experience generally. We are working closely with them to ensure that your induction into the Department goes smoothly and that you are welcomed as a valued member of our community. 

Equipment requirements 

To access the content of the programme remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer and a good internet connection. You may also need to be able to generate pdf images of hand-written work, so it is recommended also to have access to a modern smartphone, or other scanning device capable of generating good-quality pdfs. This is all you need be able to follow the programme and complete all coursework, projects and assessments remotely. 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 and any other platforms to be used for teaching can be found on the ICT website

Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and, where needed, as part of specific modules. 

Project work 

All projects that will be available during the year can be supervised, delivered and completed remotely, if necessary.  

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.  

Suspension of scheduled teaching activities  

In the event of a suspension of any scheduled teaching activities due to an escalation of the current outbreak or a new outbreak of COVID-19, we will seek to reschedule or modify the affected activities, while still meeting the learning outcomes.   

Location  

Any in-person activities will still be delivered at the South Kensington campus, or in exceptional circumstances within the South Kensington neighbourhood.  

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 need to cover any associated costs for your computer, internet connection and pdf generation device. There are no other expected additional costs beyond these in order to be able to participate in the programme, should you choose to study remotely.  

Professional accreditation  

Because the learning outcomes have not changed, any existing professional accreditation for the MSc programmes remain in place even though they will be delivered in multi-mode format for next year. 

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.

Further enquiries

For any enquiries regarding your programme please contact: doc-mscadmissions@imperial.ac.uk.