Remote study options for next academic year
Important Information for All PGT Offer Holders for School of Environment, Education and Development
We wrote to you in April to outline our plans for teaching and learning in Semester 1 of the next academic year – we are now writing again to provide further information about your specific programme. Thank you for your patience in this uncertain time.
We are planning for 2021/22 based on our long-term commitment to creating a more effective blended learning environment. Guided by our students’ feedback about positive teaching and learning experiences from this last year, we’re applying the valuable lessons we’ve learned.
We have listened to what our current students have told us in unit surveys about how much they value face to face discussions with academics and other students. We want you to feel part of a diverse community of learning where you can meet and converse with the people you will be in touch with for life! We pledge that our on-campus programmes will remain an experience that is built on in-person learning communities. Unless you choose remote study, our ambition is to ensure that at least 70% of your teaching takes place on-campus if no social distancing requirements are in place. We are committed to facilitating a vibrant and fun on-campus experience. We’ll make sure to adapt and tailor our teaching activities, so whether you’re on campus, or learning remotely you’ll be able to get the most value out of your studies. We are also currently preparing for a safe reopening of on-campus facilities such as libraries, gyms and communal study spaces, laboratories and PC cluster areas, and the many social spaces our campus has to offer.
We are currently planning for both a socially distanced and a non-socially distanced timetable. This is so that we can be responsive to any new government guidance and keep any disruption to a minimum. We will keep you updated on this closer to the start of the semester.
Whilst we expect to welcome most new and returning students onto campus next semester, we appreciate that ongoing travel restrictions and other safety measures may make it difficult for some students to travel to campus. To support these students, we aim to make remote study options available in Semester 1 wherever possible.
What to expect on your programme in Semester 1
If you need to choose the remote study option, your teaching will be delivered through online platforms (for example Microsoft Teams or Zoom) and our university virtual learning environment, Blackboard. Your option will include plenty of interactive, flexible and personalised learning; a combination of real-time, live and engaging teaching, peer-to-peer group work and directed self-study. You will be fully supported to access and use the digital resources you need.
Your initial offer of a place on your programme will have included an overview of the structure – below we have highlighted any key changes to this structure. We have also indicated below whether these changes are intended to be permanent as part of our ongoing blended learning strategy, and those which are in place temporarily as a response to the pandemic and ongoing government guidelines.
Optional and mandatory units remain the same as those advertised for the next session, we will let you know if there are any changes.
As part of the university’s plan to facilitate a blended learning environment for our students, some units on your course have been enhanced to celebrate the educational benefits this mode of learning brings. If there are any long-term changes to mode of delivery that align with our commitment to the Flexible Learning Policy, we will let you know.
The School of Environment, Education and Development aim to run advertised fieldwork in the 21/22 Academic Year and we very much hope that students will be able to enjoy the fieldwork experience in the usual way.
The ability of fieldwork to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork might be necessary, will remain subject to the current global situation and factors such as the:
- rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
- outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
- educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
- availability of appropriate insurance cover; and
- availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.
We will therefore assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any decisions to our students at the earliest possible opportunity. Any fieldwork that does go ahead will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all of our students and staff. If the fieldwork does not go ahead as planned then the School’s focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.
If your programme offers you the opportunity for international study, professional placements or any other type of placement, we will try to accommodate this, subject to health regulations and risk assessments due to the global pandemic.
The duration of your programme remains the same and we have also mitigated against any further lockdowns so will not be impacted by changing government advice.
As part of our commitment to blended learning, all studies will be a mixture of in-person on-campus activities, synchronous and asynchronous online lectures/seminars, and recorded video content and other materials from your lecturers. Opting for remote study will mean that the in-person on-campus activities have been replaced with an alternative to support your needs.
Unless you choose remote study, our ambition is to ensure that at least 70% of your teaching takes place on-campus if no social distancing requirements are in place.
Some of your activity will be “synchronous”, where you learn live with your lecturer/peers and can interact as appropriate – helping you get support and feel part of a community. This can be facilitated both in-person and also online (online only if opting for remote study). At other times it will be “asynchronous”, where you access materials like presentations, video content, online discussion boards or collaborative documents in your own time (within a framework provided by your programme).
You will receive a suggested timetable for asynchronous activities to help you structure your study time.
If studying remotely, you will be fully supported to access and use the digital resources used by your programme and you will receive a suggested timetable for asynchronous activities to help you structure your study time.
There have been no changes to the costs of your programme. Please see the university policy on additional costs.
The methods of assessment for the units on your programme remain unchanged, but the way that you submit or undertake these assessments has changed.
You may be expected to be on-campus to sit scheduled assessments for this programme subject to government guidance permitting.
The remainder of your assessments will be facilitated and assessed remotely for example via coursework submission, and/or online examinations.
We will guide you to access such assessments so that you are fully supported.
The accreditation and award title remains unchanged on this programme. We have ensured that the ways we have had to change the programme provide an equivalent quality learning experience to ensure that you meet the intended learning outcomes and competencies to graduate with the same award.
The location of all teaching and learning activities remains unchanged and will take place in Manchester or via online/remote methods.
Equipment for online access and advice
All students, studying on campus, remotely or in their Manchester accommodation, will require a laptop/PC with an i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. It is advisable that students use a laptop/PC that runs Windows 10, and we wouldn’t recommend Chromebooks or tablet computers.
There may be requirements for software on specific programmes that might require more processing power or a higher standard of graphics card, which we will inform you about directly.
If you have concerns about this or are having difficulties accessing the University network and need support with accessing online services, we have specific guidance available on our student FAQs.
You can also email: for help with accessing online learning and assessments and we have updated our guides to accessing learning online.
Tell us which option you intend to choose
If you haven’t already, you must let us know by 1 August 2021 whether you intend to study remotely or on campus in Semester 1 next year. This is important so we can make plans to keep everyone safe, and so we can send you the correct information and updates through the summer.
If you initially choose remote study but later change your mind, you can notify us that you wish to switch to on-campus study. If you notify us by 1 September (again, using this same form to record any changes to your plans), you will be able to attend on-campus teaching activities from the start of Semester 1. If you notify us after this date, we’ll make every effort to integrate you into on-campus teaching as soon as possible – however, this will be dependent on your specific programme.
You will still be able to travel to Manchester and use other campus facilities at any time (government regulations permitting). Please be aware that there will likely still be additional procedures and requirements in place to keep everyone safe, depending on government safety guidelines at any time. We will keep you updated as we approach the return to campus in the autumn. You can read more about our current safety measures here.
International students (including EAA)
If you are an international student, you will have additional considerations related to visas when deciding whether to study remotely or on campus.
UK government guidance does not currently allow for remote study for international students who are studying with us on a student visa. Concessions were made for the 2020-21 academic year, but these have not yet been finalised for 2021-22. Students who intend to start their course remotely should check with the guidance online before submitting a visa application.
At this stage we’re asking international students to indicate their initial preference for remote or on-campus study in the same way as other students – follow the instructions above in this email. We will then keep you updated with any changes in government policy that may affect the option you’ve chosen. For further information see our student FAQs.
We know there are still lots of uncertainties about next year and the possible return to campus. Please rest assured that we are following government guidance closely and planning intensely for next year.
We’ll keep you updated with further information as and when it’s available – including any specific changes to your programme. We always try to keep changes to those that are necessary and will impact positively on your learning experience.
Our student FAQs cover general advice for all students. If you have specific questions about your programme or individual circumstances or want to discuss other options, please contact
In the meantime, with all going to plan with the easing of government restrictions, we look forward to seeing you on campus in the near future.
The School of Environment, Education and Development