Maynooth University: ‘We are planning for a number of scenarios’
We asked Maynooth University about preparations for the autumn
Maynooth University: ’Students really value the on-campus experience and have missed the live, in-person interaction with their peers and lecturers.’
Q: How ready is Maynooth University for a return to campus?
A: We would like to bring our students back to the campus as soon as we can. Ultimately, the key factor is the public-health guidance that is in place in September. We are planning for a number of different scenarios, in consultation with the Department for Higher Education.
While on-campus, in-person activity remains at the core of what we do in the university, there are aspects of the online teaching and learning environment that we would like to retain to further enhance the student experience. Digital technologies have proven particularly effective in facilitating a flipped classroom approach, for example, where content can be uploaded in advance and in-person time can focus on more interactive, engaged teaching and learning.
Staff involved in teaching had to adapt their teaching at short notice. Researchers had to find ways to continue their research within the restrictions. Administrative and support staff had to work in different ways.
Our students have adapted to these challenges in an exceptional manner. While many have found it difficult, they have proven that they are adaptable, resilient and resourceful.
Q: What were the main things you learned from the last year?
A: Students really value the on-campus experience and have missed the live, in-person interaction with their peers and lecturers. They appreciated the flexibility and accessibility that online content and videos provided, for example, the ability to search within a video for particular words or themes, or to slow down or speed up a video or pause it at certain moments. This was particularly helpful during exam preparation. Our academic staff went above and beyond to support students in the remote learning environment, facilitating ongoing communication and engagement in highly innovative ways.
Q: Do you offer laptops/other equipment to students who need assistance?
A: Maynooth University continues to deliver a very successful laptop loan scheme to students. For many students, this initiative has been the difference between being able to continue with their studies or not.
Q: Do you have any tips for students as they prepare for college?
A: We advise students to study an area that they have an innate interest in as this will sustain them across all the years of their studies. Research the course content on the Maynooth Coursefinder, which gives details on module content, contact hours, assignments, etc. Check in with our students on our ‘MU Ask a Student’ platform. Explore the opportunities available to undertake a study abroad option as well as internships. Attend all our open days where everyone gets an opportunity to get to know the campus. Finally, follow the key CAO advice – place choices in the genuine order of preference – the best way to get the right outcome for every student!