We are looking forward to welcoming you onto our programme at Imperial College London at the start of the academic year. Further to our previous correspondence sent on 5th June we would like to update you on our plans for the autumn term and beyond. 

As outlined by the College and also during our virtual Open Evening event on 20th May, we will be delivering multi-mode teaching in the Autumn term. This means that you will have the option of an on-campus experience which, for example, will include lectures and tutorials, as well as a remote teaching component, for example, live webinars. If you are unable to attend campus in person or choose to study remotely, all on campus teaching will also be delivered remotely and where possible will be synchronous with the attending students, so you have an opportunity to work with all of your classmates. The majority of resources for remote learning will be embedded within our Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard Learn. We are designing these resources to ensure they will be clear, easy to navigate and follow a logical plan throughout your modules. 

Institutional guarantees 

All on campus provision will be subject to the requirements of the current Public Health advice from the UK Government, Imperial College London 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. 

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 NHLI induction for all Master’s programmes in the institute will take place online on 8th October 2020 and further details will be provided nearer to the start of the programme. 

Programme content and delivery 

The MSc Medical Ultrasound is a specialised programme which aims to deliver both an academic and vocational degree. It is academic as you need to demonstrate sufficient academic undertaking in terms of project development and dissertation writing but also vocational along the lines of the Society of Vascular Technology of Great Britain and Ireland. 

We have carefully planned our Autumn, Spring and Summer terms teaching to ensure you will have the opportunity to meet your module and programme learning outcomes. 

We have reviewed the programme’s learning outcomes and can confirm that no changes will be required as a consequence of moving to the multi-mode format of delivery for the year ahead. Please refer below to details on each module’s delivery. 

Modules overview 

  • Experimental Design 

Module Lead: Dr Jennifer Quint 

This component of the module will run remotely in the Autumn term and will involve designing appropriate research methodologies, understanding statistical principles and acquiring the proper investigative tools to help you progress with your individual project. Assessment for this component will be an analysis of a statistical dataset, submitted online. 

  • Individual project 

Module Lead: Dr Mohammed Aslam 

We appreciate you may be concerned about your research project plans. The individual expectations for projects will vary. However, the vast majority of projects are typically prospective based on clinical scenarios and patient data collection. Data collection should normally commence in January 2021 in the vascular laboratories. We have a planned contingency in case of changes to College access to laboratories. Once you begin to discuss your project options with prospective supervisors, you will gain a clearer understanding of your project plan, which may revert into retrospective data collection from existing patients’ data, should on campus study be suspended for public health reasons. 

During term 1 you will make formal contact with your project supervisor and confirm your project plans and submit a formative assessment. In Term 2 you will, through continued contact with your supervisor, continue to develop your research project; a number of formative assessments will be required along with a project presentation to allow you to check your progress. Term 3 will see your final draft project and final submission. 

  • Physics of Ultrasound 

Module Lead: Abigail Thrush 

The ultrasound physics module will be based on a core textbook which will be provided by the programme. The module will take place over 9 weeks, from 12th October to 11th Dec 2020. Each week will cover a selected aspect of physics and equipment with recommended reading, short online lectures, online equipment demonstration, practice questions and group exercises to be completed online. At the end of each week there will be a whole class online tutorial at which students will present their group work and be able to ask questions that have arisen during the week’s work. In week 8 of the module, there will also be a 1-hour face-to-face lecture (on ultrasound elastography) and a 1-hour face-to-face group tutorial. The mock exam and assessed coursework will take place in the Spring term. The final exam will take place in the Summer term. 

  • Ultrasound Specialism: Vascular Ultrasound 

Module Lead: Dr Mohammed Aslam 

On campus teaching for this module is planned for the Spring term. This will be in the form of lectures in two blocks, with additional monthly journal clubs, tutorials and the expected self-directed study time. Asynchronous learning will include activities such as reading journal articles or completing an e-learning activity prior to timetabled taught sessions. Mock examinations will be held in April/May with final examinations held in June. If UK Public Health and College guidance changes in the Spring term, we will deliver the module and its assessments remotely. 

  • Clinical Studies: Vascular Ultrasound 

Module Lead: Dr Mohammed Aslam 

This module will run in the Spring term and will entail you learning to perform a complete vascular examination. This will require practice through face-to-face examination of patients in the relevant hospital departments. Assessment will include a logbook of scans and a practical clinical examination. In the event of the Clinical Studies module not being able to run, due to Government or College regulations, we may need to postpone the module’s start. 

Computer requirements 

Digital literacy skills will be required for online study by using the following software (which is provided): 

  • Blackboard Learn 
  • Microsoft Office 365, including Microsoft Teams 
  • Panopto 
  • Turnitin 

To access the above, you will need a mobile or desktop device with a camera and microphone that has internet access. However, we do not foresee expectations for these skills as being more complex than normal and at the departmental induction on 8th October, we will introduce you to the tools we will be using. If you require further guidance, such as in using Microsoft Teams for class discussion, we will direct you to the relevant College supported resources. Further College learning resources are available, for example, library or graduate school academic skills training and we will also direct you towards these. 

Please also be assured that in addition to our programme specific plans, the College is developing community building activities to support the multi-mode experience for students. 

Programme length and location 

Any scheduled on site teaching will be delivered at our Hammersmith campus while the clinical components of the programme will take place at the Charing Cross and St Mary’s hospitals. We anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised. 

However, as this is a clinical programme, should access to NHS facilities be suspended in the Spring and Summer terms due to a further lockdown, the programme will have to consider an extension to the academic year. The College will not charge any additional tuition fee in respect of completion at a later date, however you will be responsible for your own living/maintenance costs. Where you are living in College accommodation, we are unable to guarantee your accommodation beyond your original completion date. 

Please note: If you are an international student and require a Tier 4 / Student visa in order to study in the UK, you will be responsible for any visa application fees which may be incurred should your programme length be extended. Full support and guidance on visa and immigration issues is provided by our International Student Support Team (www.imperial.ac.uk/study/visas). 

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.

We look forward welcoming you in the Autumn and in the meantime we are happy to address any queries or concerns you may have. Please contact the team on medultrasound@imperial.ac.uk 

Prof Edwin R. Chilvers , Head, NHLI 

Dr Mohammed Aslam, Programme Director, MSc Medical Ultrasound