As we move to a new year, The University of Notre Dame Australia is excited to welcome students back on campus. While the University will continue offering lectures online in Semester 1 2021, other classes including tutorials, labs, simulations and workshops, as well as a range of student activities, will be returning to campus.
Student feedback throughout 2020 has highlighted the importance of face-to-face educational opportunities and we will continue to review social distancing restrictions with the view to bring on-campus lectures back as soon as possible.
As the face of universities change across Australia, Notre Dame has chosen to offer a blended learning experience that recognises the benefits of both online and in-person education, as well as the need to remain flexible.
The lecture format offers another point of connection between students and course coordinators and domain experts, and provides opportunity for students to build relationships with their peers and educators. Notre Dame is renowned for its unique tight-knit community and many students choose to study here for the exceptional student experience on offer. The University will continue to facilitate this strong community feel and student experience through online lectures, vibrant campus life, as well as student engagement activities online and on campus.
“Our 2020 experiences have shown us that our students are engaging with lectures and appreciate the opportunity to have key concepts explained, to ask questions, and review learning by listening to recorded lectures when and if available,” says Notre Dame’s Provost, Professor Pauline Nugent.
“In Semester 1 2021, lectures will continue to be offered as appropriate for the particular course and student learning experience, however due to social distancing restrictions, all lectures will remain online, either pre-recorded or live,” Prof Nugent adds.
For teaching other than lectures, such as tutorials and workshops, appropriate arrangements are being made at the School level with national oversight to ensure our campuses are COVID-safe.
Looking ahead to next year, Notre Dame’s Vice Chancellor Professor Francis Campbell said he will continue to monitor feedback from students about their university experience. “At Notre Dame, we believe face-to-face and human connection are vitally important. Conducting lectures fully online will be temporary to ensure the health and safety of our community as we continue to navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Plans are underway for a hybrid online and on-campus Orientation for students commencing in 2021, while the incoming Student Association Presidents are already preparing for a busy year ahead.
“I’m super excited to work with all the clubs and societies on the Sydney Campus, as well as our Fremantle counterparts, to run more events and social activities on campus and online next year,” said Isabella Sheman, President of Student Association University of Notre Dame Sydney (SAUNDA). “We know events will be smaller next year than they have been in the past, but we have some great ideas for getting students involved in uni life; we’ve already gotten to work on setting up a community garden outside our Student Services office.”