How will teaching be conducted in the 2020-2021 academic year?
How will teaching be conducted in the 2020-2021 academic year?
The 2020-2021 academic year will be exceptional and will be organized around a hybrid teaching model. The model is a hybrid because it will combine face-to-face classes in small groups and in large venues with online classes, and interaction between students and teachers.
The 2020-2021 academic year will be exceptional and will be organized around a hybrid teaching model. The model is a hybrid because it will combine face-to-face classes in small groups and in large venues with online classes, and interaction between students and teachers. Classes involving physical presence will be reduced insofar as possible, and conditioned by the needs of the students, the nature of the subjects, and the availability of premises. The subjects will therefore either be face-to-face (with reduced numbers on different degrees) or online (with no face-to-face classes required but involving interaction and not exclusively with synchronous activities).
Support for students
Next academic year support for students will be reinforced with more intensive actions by tutors. The reception sessions for new students are scheduled between late September and early October, and during the first term, various activities will be laid on especially for new students and those who have no prior knowledge of UPF. Also, virtual spaces will be provided for horizontal socialization and mentoring, both face-to-face and online, as well as via a specific aula global (virtual environment of each subject).
All UPF students are assigned a tutor from the start of their academic studies who will monitor their academic progress, offer advice, support and guidance in the student learning processes, according to the tutorial action plan at their centre. In addition to the tutor, several centres include the figure of the mentor, usually a more senior student who provides academic and extra-academic support, motivates and shares personal experiences to which students, especially newcomers, can relate. Alongside tutors and mentors, all students have the SAP (Psychological Counselling Service) at their disposal, which provides specific support, especially for situations of special needs, and professional counselling, provided by the Career Services, which supports and advises students on employability. Also, the academic secretary of the studies will offer support for students in the form of information relating mainly to academic procedures.
Online monitoring of courses
Although it is desirable for the academic year to develop as initially planned, physical presence at the University may be limited during the year as a result of a general worsening of the health crisis requiring suspending face-to-face academic activities, and also the unexpected absence of lecturers and students. Therefore, the University has established an online support plan for all undergraduate and master’s degree courses to ensure adequate monitoring of and support for students’ academic progress, which can be activated when necessary, regardless of the teaching method with which the subjects are initially scheduled.
Courses scheduled to be taught in face-to-face mode will not, in general terms, be taught simultaneously face-to-face and online, and virtual support will not be activated according to the preference of the student, because the subject teaching mode is established by the centre according to its deployment of face-to-face teaching. But, online monitoring will have the necessary flexibility so that those who are unexpectedly absent may follow subjects online, if necessary.
Teaching at UPF is face-to-face and that means there is regular face-to-face interaction between students and teachers. For online support, this interaction must be duly maintained and adapted to the online context. Maintaining interaction implies that there must be an established channel of communication for use between students and teachers. But student-teacher interaction does not have to be synchronous. For subjects taught online, the recommended frequency of interaction is weekly, and at least biweekly.
Students and teachers will use the tools available at the University to allow maintaining interaction; among others, aula global forums, communication by email, and synchronous student support sessions via video conferencing (using Collaborate or Google Meet, among others).
Course learning plan
All courses have a course plan that envisages both the content and the skills, learning outcomes and assessment instruments drawn directly from the curriculum, but the course plan does not usually include a detailed schedule acting as a calendarized learning plan. The learning plan also allows both the student and the teacher to get an idea of overall dedication to the subject.
Whether taught face-to-face or online, courses will have a learning plan, in addition to the course plan, which will involve at least: a) the weekly distribution of content and learning activities, b) the deadlines and means of submitting evaluable tasks, c) the expected return of evaluable activities, d) the impact of evaluable activities on the final mark if not explicitly indicated in the course plan, and e) the expected dedication by the student to the various scheduled academic activities.
Learning materials in aula global
The courses taught online will include the necessary materials for students available in the aula global. For the subjects taught face-to-face, it is also useful for the main materials to be available in the aula global, especially reading, multimedia learning materials and lists of evaluable activities, in anticipation of having to completely virtualize them at some time during the academic year.
The idea is not for all face-to-face course materials to be available in the aula global, because it is understood that the activities carried out face-to-face do not require preserving. Nothing prevents face-to-face sessions from being recorded and made available to students in the aula global and beyond, but neither is there an obligation to do so. However, initiatives making multimedia learning materials (MLM) produced within the context of courses available to other publics should be understood as good practices.
Continuous assessment adapted to hybrid teaching
The assessment model implemented at Pompeu Fabra University is based on continuous assessment and is student-centred, which means that the student carries out several evaluable activities during the term and receives feedback on these activities, also throughout the term. The course evaluable activities comprise, in equal parts, formative assessment, which allows students to detect possible difficulties during the term and remedy them, and summative assessment, which evaluates the results achieved at the end of a process. To monitor student activity, the teacher is provided with tools and resources integrated in course aules globals.
The University’s continuous assessment model will remain in place and training activities will be adapted to the hybrid teaching mode. If there is a need to do them online, assessment activities should not be modified, but the content of the evaluable activities will be adapted to the situation of students’ potential lockdown. Therefore, the course learning plan will consider which instrument best adapts to the learning outcomes for evaluation, the synchrony of the evaluable activities will be dosed, and to the extent possible, every effort will be made to avoid transposing face-to-face assessment tests to online tests.
Training and support for the digitization of the teaching staff
Training and support for teachers, both regarding the digitization of materials and technical and methodological support, will remain in place. In addition to personal support for teachers who so require, actions for sharing best practices will continue to be promoted as well as virtual seminars on the use of the technological tools available at the University. From the point of view of digitization, support from La Factoria will be reinforced for creating multimedia learning materials (MLM) that have significant potential for reuse.
All teaching facilities at the University are prepared for the teaching of classes with all the necessary safety measures for both students and teachers duly implemented. The capacity of these areas is calculated in accordance with the provisions of Universities Sector Plan and all protective measures established at the time by the health authorities will be implemented. Hand washing, safety distance and the use of the mask are likely to be commonplace throughout the academic year.
Besides the usual teaching facilities (classrooms and laboratories), if necessary the University will incorporate spaces for use as study rooms for students so that they can enjoy a safe work space at the University.
Forced virtualization plan
In the worst case, all face-to-face undergraduate and master’s degree courses must be able to be taught entirely online within no more than three days from the time the authorities might suspend face-to-face educational activities. The forced virtualization of face-to-face courses will also take place when an entire class-group must remain in preventive isolation. Therefore, all courses will have an emergency virtualization plan prepared that includes mechanisms for monitoring and interacting with students.