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Message from Undergraduate Director of Teaching and Learning

The School offers two undergraduate programmes (the two-year Level 5 Certificate in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice and the four-year Level 8 Bachelor of Music Education) with the latter being jointly taught and assessed by the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Technological University Dublin.

Last March, although we were coming to the end of the teaching year the rapidly changing COVID 19 situation required us to respond in a way to ensure continuity for both students and staff. The pedagogic needs and off-campus wellbeing of the students were paramount to the School and required the development of creative and appropriate interventions to ensure the last few weeks of the semester would segue from our usual practices with the minimum of disruption to students.

In particular the two programme co-ordinators, Dr Marita Kerins (BMusED) and Dr Mary-Ann O’Donovan (ASIAP) and their respective teams (academic and administrative) worked very quickly and adeptly to put in place structures and mechanism to ensure continuity in both subject content and quality of student-lecturer engagement. For all concerned it was a rapid learning experience and one which was highly fluid, as teaching and learning practices which usually took place in small face-to-face groups now had to be re-imagined and re-configured to fit within the parameters of Trinity’s online platforms as well the students’ own home situations. The students in particular had little experience of this mode of working and similar to the lecturers, adapted very quickly and positively to this new environment. In short they engaged with us with great aplomb, dedication and patience. We encouraged ongoing feedback from students and any comments and observations made by them was discussed and where pedagogically and technologically feasible incorporated.

As decisions at College level have now been made regarding the academic year 2020-21 and how we will proceed as an institution, the School has undertaken detailed planning in relation to its own work. For our undergraduate programmes, continuing students will begin on 28th September, with a start date of 5th October for new CAO entrants. Our timetabled activities will remain much the same as in previous academic years. However, in line with College policy there will be a mixture of face-to-face and online teaching. Face-to-face sessions will of course strictly adhere to College and HSE guidelines and be rigorously monitored to ensure compliance. Our experience of moving to online teaching has generated within the School a wealth of experience from which to utilise. We are very confident that any planned online provision will seamlessly merge with the face-to-face to ensure that quality of the students’ experience is to the high standard we always endeavour to provide. The platforms used during March to May proved very robust, reliable and flexible enough to create high quality pedagogical experiences. So from an ICT perspective we are equally confident of offering students a relatively problem free environment. New and returning students will of course be provided with a full induction into how we plan to work together over the forthcoming academic year.

Lastly if you are a new, returning student or just interested in how we managed and plan to manage the COVID 19 situation on our undergraduate programmes over the coming months please feel free to contact me.

Professor Andrew Loxley

Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning