We are writing to you in our capacity as the Course Directors of the MSc Healthcare & Design programme. You currently hold an offer from us to commence study on our MSc in October 2020 and we would like to welcome you to the programme. We are contacting you today with the final plans for delivery of our 2-year part-time MSc programme, for the Academic year ahead. Your programme would normally be delivered in-person on campus. In 2020-21, we plan to deliver it in multi-mode for the Autumn term in the first instance. If you are unable to travel to campus for the Autumn term multi-mode means that you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience over the course of your programme.  

 

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 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 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. 

 

Introduction to the programme 

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. Your MSc online induction session is an opportunity for you to meet us, your fellow students on the programme, and some of your tutors in our virtual session. This session will also be an opportunity for you to familiarise yourselves with the online platforms and tools we will be using in the year, and for all of us to set expectations around the programme and online/on campus learning and teaching. 

 

Autumn term 2020 

Lectures, workshops, and presentations will be delivered remotely. 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 is available here. Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules. 

Your first two modules delivered in the autumn term will be: 

  • Introduction to Design and Innovation (19 – 23 October 2020)

  • Design Led Innovation in Healthcare (26 – 30 October 2020) 

 As you are aware, the MSc programme is co-delivered by the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Together, these teams have created a range of exciting and dynamic online learning materials, such as pre-recorded videos, readings and case studies, live-streamed sessions, mini activities and discussion forums, which will be delivered both as pre-sessional material (asynchronous delivery) and through the module weeks (synchronous delivery).  Synchronous sessions will be delivered between 9am and 5pm (UK timezone). During these sessions you will have an opportunity to interact with the module leads, guest speakers and your peers. Our Design workshops are fully interactive and you will be provided with the required materials by post (if appropriate), enabling you to work on practical projects alongside our tutors, using our virtual learning environment. Importantly, this approach will provide you with opportunities to develop your knowledge and skills, individually and in teams. We understand that this form of teaching and learning may be new to you and want to allay any anxieties you may have. Having run a similar set of Design sessions in March and April 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we received excellent student feedback.  

 

Spring/Summer term 2021 

We are currently planning for Module 3 (A Health Research Toolkit 15 – 19 March) and Module 4 (Design Dash 22 – 26 March) to be delivered through a blended multi-modal learning model, with a combination of online and on-campus teaching. The on-campus teaching will be based at our St Mary’s campus. In the event of a suspension of on-campus activity at this time all teaching activities will be delivered remotely. 

 

Assessments 

The assessments for the year are designed to be varied and authentic, teaching skills that are useful in academic, design, industry, political and clinical environments. The assessments will be undertaken as individuals or amongst teams and are submitted online through Blackboard Learn, our virtual learning platform. The assessments will be a chance to expand knowledge on theory, principles and examples taught in each module, and a chance to explore further topics of interest. 

 

Dissertations 

As you are joining us for an MSc, we appreciate you may be concerned about your research dissertation plans. The individual expectations for projects will vary depending on your chosen pathway, however a significant proportion of projects will be able to be conducted fully or partially remotely. Once you begin to discuss your project options with prospective supervisors during Year 1 (2020/21) you will gain a clearer understanding of your project plan. We will as always teach research skills and project planning throughout the MSc, supplemented by research clinics, dissertation presentations and special lectures on dissertation planning. Each student will also be paired with a dissertation tutor to discuss research ideas, before you begin your research project in Year 2 (2021/22). 

 

Length of the programme 

We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the 2 year timescale previously advertised.  

 

Additional costs 

To study remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer 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. 

 

Digital literacy skills 

Digital literacy skills will be required for online study, however we do not foresee expectations for these skills as being more complex than in previous years, for example using Blackboard Learn. If you require further guidance such as using Microsoft Teams for class discussion, we will direct you to the relevant College supported resources and will also run a test call in week one to identify any issues. Further College learning resources are available, for example, library or graduate school academic skills training and we will also direct you towards these.  

 

Cohort cohesion 

We are offering some on-campus face-to-face sessions based at our St Marys campus, which will be entirely optional.  These 3-hour sessions run on Fridays during October and will focus on your dissertation planning. For these optional on-campus sessions, we have secured space and put in place procedures to ensure you and our staff will be as safe as possible at all times. If you are unable to attend campus in-person or choose to study entirely remotely, this is not a problem at all. We will ensure that all core teaching is delivered online, and the on-campus activities are optional extras!    

Throughout the year, we will strive to provide a rich programme that offers everything that the previous in-person course had to offer, through varied learning exercises and tasks. We will also provide opportunities to socialise (virtually) and feel part of your MSc cohort. Please also be assured that in addition to our programme specific plans, the College is also developing community building activities to support the mixed-mode experience for students.  

 

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

As always, should you have any questions, please contact us (healthcardesign.msc@imperial.ac.uk) and we will be delighted to talk to you and clarify, to all, any point that might still lack clarity. 

Thank you for choosing Imperial as the institution to undertake your postgraduate studies. We are enthusiastic about you joining our outstanding student body, and look forward to welcoming you in the Autumn, online! 

  

Mr Daniel Leff, Mr James Kinross 

Programme Directors, MSc Healthcare & Design Policy, in the Department of Surgery & Cancer