We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to Imperial this Autumn. This letter provides information on how we plan to deliver your programme of study, including how we will ensure that it can be delivered safely during 2021-22.  

We will expect you to be in London from the start of the autumn term and for the whole of the 2021-22 academic year in order that you can attend on-campus activities. We plan to deliver your programme through a combination of on-campus and online teaching activities (multi-mode), with a strong emphasis on prioritising your time on our campuses. 

We are planning for the most crucial and engaging learning opportunities to be delivered in-person and without social distancing in place. We anticipate UK government guidelines will support this decision by the time you arrive for the new academic year. Lectures may be hosted online when this method is considered to be educationally beneficial to students, and when it is clear that online mode will reduce the risk of sustained COVID-19 transmission as our community emerges from the pandemic. We will use our experience of our past academic year when deciding how best to timetable your teaching.

It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance throughout the entirety of next academic year, the balance of on-campus and online teaching may be subject to change. However, we share students’ hopes that we will be able to offer on-campus learning activities consistently throughout the coming year. 

Further details on the mix of on-campus and online activities and support available to you in your department are provided in the programme delivery section of this letter. 

Institutional guarantees

General

Our priority is for you to experience everything our campuses and London has to offer.  However, you will be expected to adhere to the safety measures in place for the College. This may include undertaking regular testing for COVID-19 and to report the outcome of this testing to the College. There is also the strong expectation that you will have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or that you will take up the opportunity once in the UK, if vaccination is not available in your home country. By following the latest guidance we can all support the College community to stay safe and satisfy the UK government that we can continue with in-person on-campus activities, wherever possible.

As you can appreciate, it is not entirely clear what circumstances we will be working with for the coming academic year, but we are planning the delivery of your programme on the assumption of a phased return to substantial amounts of on-campus teaching over the 2021-22 academic year. To accommodate this, we may plan to deliver your programme initially through a combination of on-campus and online activities (multi-mode), the balance of which will be reviewed and adjusted as circumstances change. This means you will be expected to attend the College in person from the start of your programme, unless you can demonstrate that you have been impacted by exceptional COVID-19 related circumstances. 

We understand there are some reasons you may be prevented from being able to travel to London for the start of the academic year.  In these circumstances you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience, and you will be temporarily provided with a remote alternative of any on-campus activities which you might miss for a short period. You should contact the Science Communication Administrator (liam.watson@imperial.ac.uk) if you anticipate not being able to travel to London for the start of term and would like to discuss your options with us.

As a community, we have learnt a lot from this past year. Our combination of cutting-edge technology and academic excellence resulted in some new and creative ways of learning and engaging with each other on campus and remotely.  Many of the changes made to the learning experience have worked well, and therefore your programme may retain some of these approaches in the new academic year to enhance your overall experience on campus, and these are detailed in this letter.

In the event of a suspension of on-campus activity due to an escalation of the pandemic, we will deliver some content online and, if necessary, reschedule activities which cannot be delivered online later in the 2021-22 academic year. Depending on the length and severity of any such scenario, if we are unable to deliver content remotely or re-schedule activities requiring in-person attendance [e.g., practicals/presentations etc] within the 2021-22 academic year to meet the learning outcomes of the programme, we may have to extend the length of your programme, with no extra fees being charged.  You will also be given the option to exit the programme and provided with a transcript of the credits achieved together with an exit award, where appropriate.

Safety

You will be required to follow the safety requirements put in place on campus and in all College buildings (including halls) to ensure we keep the campuses and the Imperial community safe and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly in our ability to deliver your degree programme and to offer you a full student experience.  

There will be requirements and expectations placed on you and other members of the College community to follow the safety measures put in place by the UK government and national and local public health authorities. You can view our current guidance for our community on our website. This may vary once we begin the academic year but is likely to include undertaking regular testing for COVID-19 and to report the results of this testing to the College. There is also the strong expectation that you will have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or that you will take up the opportunity once in the UK, if vaccination is not available in your home country. Failure to follow the safety measures and report them to College may result in restrictions being imposed on the delivery of your degree programme and on your access to the wider student experience.  

Inductions

College-wide induction and enrolment activities will operate in a remote format at the start of the academic year.  Departmental induction activities are planned to take place in person but may be supplemented with some online activity. Further details will be provided nearer to the start of the 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. No changes to the module learning outcomes have been necessary.

Scheduling

We are not anticipating changing the outline schedule of when in each term particular modules will be taught.

Programme delivery

Autumn term

In the Autumn term, we anticipate a mix of in-person and online tuition.  Practical sessions will be prioritised for on-campus delivery. If remote teaching is necessary due to safety requirements on campus, these online sessions will be live interactive sessions very similar to sessions taught in the classroom. In the event of a suspension of on-campus activity during the autumn term, all teaching activities will be delivered remotely. 

January 2022 onwards

From January 2022 we will review what we can offer on campus. This will be dependent on official government guidance, and College safety requirements. To comply with College safety requirements, some activities may continue to be delivered remotely for all students on the department’s programmes. 

Projects 

Projects will be designed so that they can be delivered and completed remotely if safety restrictions require. However, whenever possible, students will be able to access the facilities of the Science Communication Unit to support project work with appropriate safety measures in place as determined by College policy.

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 high-bandwidth internet connection and be able to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It is also recommended that you use a headset with microphone during online sessions. Your College IT account will provide you with free access to Zoom and the Office365 suite of tools, and further information about how to use Microsoft Teams is available at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/admin-services/ict/self-service/connect-communicate/office-365/apps/microsoft-teams/. Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules. 

Placements

Our programmes include a work placement at a media company or other science communication organisation, and we expect that this placement activity will go ahead as planned. In the event that pandemic restrictions prevent your participation in person, a remote alternative will be secured, as has successfully happened for students in previous cohorts.

Programme assessment

No changes to assessments have been required to accommodate the possibility of online delivery. Details of individual assessments will be provided in the Module Outlines. 

Length of the programme

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

Additional costs

To study remotely you will be expected to have access to a computer and to a reliable high-bandwidth 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. 

Location

On site in-person teaching will be delivered at the South Kensington campus, or in accommodation within the South Kensington neighbourhood.

Student Experience

Your experience at Imperial goes beyond just your academic studies. With the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), Imperial has been working with the Student 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 Government guidelines as well as a full lockdown, are set out on our website at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/about/covid-19/students/.