University College Dublin (UCD) has drastically slashed the amount of time postgraduate students will spend in class, compared to previous estimates that the university has published.
On July 8th, UCD Registrar and Deputy President Mark Rogers said that postgraduate students would be spending between 75 and 100 per cent of their learning time in classrooms.
However, in light of the new health guidelines published by the government this week, postgraduates will now be spending between 20 and 86 per cent of their time in classrooms.
The new guidelines, published on Wednesday, state that students will have to socially distance by two metres, but that in cases where two metres is not feasible – such as during tutorials and lectures – students must wear face coverings.
In an email to all students today, Rogers confirmed the new estimations for time spent in classrooms, adding that undergraduate students would be spending between 30 to 70 per cent of their time in classrooms, depending on the programmes that they are studying.
Large group lectures will take place via digital methods, Rogers said, and some lectures may be streamed so that a smaller number of students can attend lectures in person while others can watch them online.
UCD came under fire from the University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) for its estimations.
UCDSU President Conor Anderson said in a press statement on July 15th: “We echo the concerns of academic staff regarding the proportions of in-person learning vs. online learning that management have promised.”
Anderson said that “based on a cursory look at the proposed timetables for some of UCD’s master’s programs”, the figure “seems to be an exaggeration”.
“I am worried that UCD has been over ambitious in the hopes of attracting international students and filling on campus accommodation”, he added. “This, alongside plans to increase both fees and the number of enrolled students, belies a total lack of concern for student welfare and the public good.”
“We call on UCD to be completely transparent with all its prospective students and to respond to our requests for clarification. Students deserve to make informed decisions on whether they will need accommodation near campus or if it will be safe to return to campus, and if they should travel from abroad to UCD”, he said.