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callum perry

undergraduate education
callum.perry@uea.ac.uk

A new normal: Preparing for the new academic year

We are beginning to enter a period where the new academic year seems so far away but, this year; there is lots of worry about how to prepare for a new experience of learning and teaching. Since lockdown, we have been working hard with the university to make sure there are arrangements in place, which mean you can still receive a quality experience when you come back or arrive at UEA. As we move into the summer and more of these plans take shape, I wanted to share some of the places/things you can visit to begin preparing for the next academic year.  

‘This is learning’ 

UEA has prepared some video content that aims to explore some of the changes and let you know what to expect when you return to or start your journey at UEA.  In case you have not seen it, here are some of my key takeaways:  

  • You may see changes in the timetable to make sure you can move around the campus’ one way system with plenty of time.  

  • There will be NO large lectures this academic year. Instead there will be small face-to-face workshops, seminars, labs or fieldwork where possible.  

  • UEA will use a mixture of both online and face-to-face teaching methods; called Blended Learning.  

  • Face-to-face teaching will be done where possible but all students will have access to the virtual learning environment through Blackboard and other practices that your school might choose to use.  

  • Overall, you will have around 37.5 hours a week of studying. This incorporates learning that is done by staff and then learning you do on your own.  

‘Student Preparedness Course’  

UEA has prepared a new course in Blackboard. It is an interactive and informative short course, which you can dip in and out of to learn about some of the changes for September and prepare yourself with practical solutions to managing time and adjusting to new types of learning method. With a message from me on how we can support you with changes, as well as messages and tutorials from academics about what to expect and how to plan; this is a great first step into thinking about returning to campus in September. Some of the key areas to look at would be:  

Creating a learning portfolio  

  • This looks at the how you can map out where you learn and how you process information in different areas. With online content, face-to-face teaching, seminars, podcasts, journals etc; there are lots of places that you can go to find your information. It is useful to keep track of this and academics on the course will guide you through how to do this effectively.  

Making sure that your bandwidth, network security and software is up to date  

  • This includes practical step-by-step guidance on how to make sure you have the best connectivity that you have and that you can access the correct software for your learning in September.  

Keeping motivated  

  • This includes practical tips like taking breaks in your learning. ‘Teams Tiredness’ is a REAL thing (trust me) and so it is all about making sure you have plenty of opportunity to take a break from the screen or working out small goals for you to achieve if you are struggling to work from your home or your room.  

Understanding what the ‘learning week’ will look like 

  • This includes understanding what Synchronous (Learning that happens in actual time, like a lecture) and Asynchronous (Learning that can take place at any time, like catching up on a podcast or watching a recording or doing some planning work) are.  

Your safety and wellbeing is the biggest priority to us, and we understand that you might be concerned about returning to campus and studying. At advice(su) we are committed to helping you through difficult periods with your studies. Whether you have an issue with the delivery of teaching and learning, need support with your studies or have concerns about assessment; we can help you through that journey. Many of you will have had to change modules or will have seen changes to your learning and we want to make sure you are satisfied as a student. If you have any issues or concerns about your teaching in the next academic year you can email me on callum.perry@uea.ac.uk  

Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you in September.  

Cal x 

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