Trinity College Dublin to resume with as much face-to-face teaching as possible

Online lectures and on-campus tutorials for small groups may continue into 2021

Trinity College Dublin Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said as much face-to-face teaching and learning as possible will be provided under prevailing health and safety requirements. Photogrph: iStock

Trinity College Dublin has announced that the university will return in September with students receiving a combination of online lecture and face-to-face seminars.

New students will begin a week early with an orientation week on September 21st, while the teaching term for all students will begin on September 28th.

Trinity's Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said tuition will follow a "hybrid model" involving online lectures for larger class groupings and face-to-face seminars, tutorials and laboratory classes for smaller groups.

He said as much face-to-face teaching and learning as possible will be provided under prevailing health and safety requirements.


“We are committed to continuing with face-to-face education as a core element of the experience of attending Trinity and our intention is to facilitate seminars, laboratory classes and tutorials as far as possible for all students, while at all times following government guidelines on social distancing,” Dr Prendergast said.

He said these arrangements will continue for the rest of this year, and potentially into 2021.

Last week, Trinity also decided that Erasmus exchanges will proceed in the first semester, should students wish to avail of them.

The first semester of the new academic year will run to December 18th, with end-of-term assessments to be scheduled for the week starting January 11th 2021. These assessments will take place online.

The second semester will run from February 1st to Friday, 23rd April 2021.


Trinity is the latest university to announce that it is combining online lecture with face-to-face tuition, where possible.

In addition, some are planning that students on campus will work together in “pods” or small groups to minimise physical mixing.

The capacity of larger lecture theatres in many colleges cases will have to be reduced by up to 90 per cent in order to comply with 2m social-distancing requirements.

University College Dublin, whose academic year is due to begin on September 21st, said it is planning to live-stream larger lectures, which will be physically attended by a much-reduced number of students.

The university's president, Prof Andrew Deeks, said core modules would have elements delivered in person.

Technological University Dublin, president Prof David Fitzpatrick told students recently that restrictions on numbers in lectures will have a significant impact on timetabling and the mode of delivery, and also on how students experience university life.

Dublin City University has also said it is planning a "hybrid" of online and face-to-face classes, with incoming first years due to begin two week earlier than other students.

Maynooth University, NUI Galway, University College Cork and University of Limerick are also understood to be planned a "blended learning" approach when college reopens.

In a message to students, UL president Dr Des Fitzgerald, said the university was examining the option of allowing groups of students and staff – perhaps 20 per cent – to rotate in periods of on-campus learning with periods of off-campus online delivery.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent