Monday, 14 February 2022 will mark the start of a new semester at the University of Malta. The aim of the University is to adopt the same approach as that of the first semester by ensuring the delivery of in-person teaching for all-day programmes and a balanced hybrid approach of in-person and remote teaching for part-time evening programmes and day courses involving large numbers.
In practice, lectures will be delivered in person where rooms are available to accommodate the numbers while maintaining distance as recommended by the Public Health Authorities. The P-R mode (Physical-Remote) will allow large classes, which cannot be accommodated in suitably sized lecture rooms, to be split into manageable sub-groups so that, in a given week, a group will attend lectures on campus while the rest will follow remotely.
Part-time evening courses will be held following a 50-50% in person-remote mode of delivery. This is intended to help part-time students, who have employment and family commitments, to follow and eventually complete their course programme with success.
The University has now upgraded a number of venues to fully-equipped Zoom lecture rooms and will conduct a Pilot Project during semester 2. These venues allow for interactive sessions between the lecturer and students who are both present at the lecture venue or else following the lecture from another location.
Academics who will be delivering lectures using the P+R mode and who are interested in taking part in this Pilot Project should contact their Faculty Manager/Officer, who will then collate these requests and send them to the Scheduling Office for consideration.
Details pertaining to the use of IT tools during lecture delivery can be accessed on the following link: um.edu.mt/services/coronavirus/instructionalcontinuity. The section pertaining to Zoom Rooms is entitled ‘B. Hybrid Learning Spaces’.
All timetables, including the respective location where applicable, will be published by the end of this week. Furthermore, the UM’s Covid-Guidelines that were published at the start of the first semester and which can be accessed through the following link: um.edu.mt/services/coronavirus are still applicable. Staff is reminded to go through these guidelines to ensure that the required protocols are observed on all campuses of the University, including physical distancing, face coverings and temperature checks.
Professor Alfred J. Vella Dr Colin Borg
Rector Academic Registrar
Given the current situation, UM, following consultations with stakeholders including the public health authorities, has decided as follows:
(i) on Monday 3 January 2022, all lectures will be held online; meanwhile, Faculties, Institutes, Centres and Schools (FICS) will organise the delivery of the remaining lecturing programme, including any practical sessions and will advise students directly about them;
(ii) as from Tuesday 4 January till the end of the semester, lectures that involve large groups of students (of more than 20) shall be held online;
(iii) as from Tuesday 4 January till the end of the semester, FICS will determine whether lectures that involve small groups of students (of less than 20) will be held either in person or online, depending on the exigencies of the course and the study-unit. In cases where there happen to be students in quarantine or the lecturer is in quarantine (but not ill), the mode of teaching shall switch to online in order not to cause disruption of teaching; and
(iv) practical sessions that involve fieldwork, laboratory work and placement etc. shall continue to be held in person (wherever possible).
End of Semester 1 Examinations
The University will be asking Deans and Directors to declare their intention with regard to the assessment mode to be adopted during the January/February 2022 examination session (that is, whether all or some of the exams will be held online or in-person).
Students are being informed that they will have an opportunity to be assessed during this period: those who happen to miss an examination due to quarantine will be provided with another sit or an alternative method of assessment on a date which is approximately three weeks from the date of the main sitting. FICS will send students more details next week.
Any updates shall be communicated as often as necessary.
Meanwhile, administrative and technical employees will continue to deliver core operations as is expected of Malta’s leading tertiary education institution.
Members of staff who result positive for the COVID-19 virus or are in mandatory quarantine are to inform the HRMD office immediately according to the protocols in place. Adhering to these basic regulations will guarantee a safer working place for us all.
I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year and look forward to another successful year at UM.
Alfred J. Vella