It has been a surreal number of weeks since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of our world and lives. The past few weeks have been challenging for everyone and in the Centre for Adult Learning & Professional Development we had to make some rapid adjustments to working arrangements and our teaching plans to ensure that our adult learners could successfully complete their studies this academic year.
In the midst of a move to remote working, we were very fortunate that the majority of courses at the Centre were delivered via blended learning so we quickly moved all remaining face-to-face workshops to online mode. Our tutors are experienced in online teaching and were supported by our multi-media content developer along with programme coordinators and course administrators to guide learners through this transitionary phase and ensure a quality learning experience for all.
Since completing our teaching term, we have been busy planning alternative assessments for courses where formal written examinations were part of the original schedule. We have planned for open books exams, online exams, online presentations and continuous assessments to ensure that students can complete their course of study this academic year. Our adult learners have shown incredible resilience. They are balancing home-working with childcare responsibilities and study – not an easy task, but they have responded well to these changes and have the assurance of support from the team in Adult Learning.
Over the past month, we have learned new skills and have adapted to communicating with colleagues and students remotely through video conference calls, emails and other collaborative tools. It’s certainly tiring and communicating remotely requires a lot of extra effort and can challenge our communication skills in new ways.
Within the wider University campus, we have seen many changes too. For the first time in its 175 years, NUI Galway conducted virtual conferring ceremonies for its medical and postgraduate research students. Our researcher community continues to shine during these challenging times, and are involved in a range of research projects relating to Covid-19 health and social issues. We are very proud of the University’s response to this health and economic crisis.
Looking forward to the summer, the team will be busy planning for our courses which will commence in late August and early September. While we can’t guarantee that everything will be back to normal in September, we can however assure our learners that we are well equipped to handle whatever comes our way. In Adult Learning, we are accustomed to being agile and providing flexible learning pathways to our students.
We have just launched our new 2020 prospectus and look forward to welcoming new and continuing learners to the University.