Dear Graduate Student, I look forward to welcoming you to UCD in September, whether you are commencing a new postgraduate course or returning to complete your studies. As you will expect, there will be changes in the way the programmes are organised this year, due to the restrictions on social distancing related to COVID-19. The purpose of this letter is to update you on plans for the Autumn trimester.
While we plan to have some face-to-face teaching, the majority of teaching and learning will be online. To do this we will use Brightspace, the University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), to provide online teaching and learning services. The Brightspace VLE is for use both on and off the campus and can be used across multiple mobile devices. You will access Brightspace via your UCD Connect account. All of your modules will be managed through Brightspace, which will provide an online environment to learn and interact with your lecturers and peers in live virtual classrooms. You will also use Brightspace to complete self-directed online learning activities, using a range of online educational resources, which will enable you to learn at a time and pace that best suits you.
To help you engage to the fullest, it is recommended that, at a minimum, you have access to reliable broadband and an appropriate device, ideally a PC or Mac computer with a microphone and a web browser, preferably Google Chrome. You may consider availing of an audio headset, and while video is optional, access to a camera will enhance your learning experience. Having a quiet and private space to study and engage online, especially for live classes, is important. Where permitted, certain lectures will be recorded to facilitate viewing at a later time. Should you plan on attending live classes from your place of work, you should ensure that access to your UCD Connect account is possible.
You may have already received your timetable, but if not, you should receive this in the near future. You are expected to attend all face-to-face teaching and live virtual classes. The forthcoming UCD Orientation event will be your first live virtual experience, at which you will receive guidance on student registration, Brightspace, UCD Library access and an opportunity to meet with your Programme Director. In the context of the ongoing public health challenge presented by COVID-19, we will aim to ensure your health and safety while you are attending the campus, and through the University protocols, we will work with you to ensure that you are in full compliance with public health guidance on social distancing and related health protection measures.
In the meantime, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or your Programme Director. On behalf of all at the School, I wish you every success in your studies.
Dr Timothy Frawley
Associate Dean for Taught Graduate Studies