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Education / UHI’s autumn term dates remain on track

The NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway, one of the colleges earmarked to merge into one organisation. Photo: Shetland NewsThe NAFC Marine Centre UHI. Photo: Shetland News

THE UNIVERSITY of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) says it plans to start its autumn term as planned using a blended approach of remote learning and face-to-face teaching where possible.

The UHI, which oversees Shetland College and the NAFC Marine Centre in the isles, said the majority of students will begin their studies on 7 September.

Further education students will also start at the times they usually would through their individual partner colleges and institutions.

The UHI said it will “draw on its experience in blended learning to run courses in line with Scottish Government public health guidance”.

“The approach will combine video conferencing and remote learning technologies as well as face-to-face teaching where possible and appropriate,” it added.

The decision was agreed by all 14 principals of the UHI partnership at a meeting last week.

Last week it was also announced by the Scottish Government that schools would reopen in August with a mix of home learning and in-school teaching.

Professor Crichton Lang, the UHI’s principal and vice-Chancellor, said: “We have been developing and delivering our courses to students across our partnership and the world for over 20 years, connecting our students and our communities.

“We have established proven ways of learning through technology, delivering an active and personalised experience to our students who are supported through our university partnership of colleges and research institutions.

“We will continue to draw on this experience and knowledge to deliver courses in the autumn term using our blended approach to teaching. This includes using video conferencing, inventive remote learning technologies and some face-to-face teaching where it is safe and important to do so.

“We will be working hard to share our existing expertise, knowledge and practical learning to enhance the delivery of all courses across further and higher education, while still adhering and adapting to changing government guidelines. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all of our staff and students.”

It has also been confirmed that there will be no UHI graduation ceremonies, either in person or virtually, in 2020.

Students who finish their courses this year will still receive official confirmation of their awards from the awarding body, with higher education students having their awards conferred and graduating in absentia.

The university partnership is planning to organise events for 2021 which will enable graduates and guests to celebrate when it is safe to do so.

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