The UPC has planned the start of the 2020–2021 academic year and has approved a range of initiatives to adapt activities to new needs

The Governing Council of the UPC has approved a document that specifies a face-to-face teaching model that is also flexible and hybrid for the first semester of the upcoming academic year, depending on the demands of the pandemic and the requirements of studies. The UPC will prioritise first-year undergraduate students and mainly face-to-face academic activities, such as laboratory activities, clinical and field practicals and some assessments. In total, it will invest an extra amount of 1.5 million euros to prepare the academic setting for the upcoming academic year.

Jul 09, 2020

In its extraordinary meeting on 3 June, the Governing Council of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) approved the general criteria for the 2020–2021 academic year planning, which has already been defined as “exceptional” by the Interuniversity Council of Catalonia. The UPC aims to stick to the mode of delivery specified in the validation reports of each degree and to achieve the maximum normality possible. However, schools will plan the teaching activities of semester S1 of the 2020–2021 academic year providing for some activities to be carried out remotely, in order to comply with the guidelines that health authorities may issue following the COVID-19 crisis.

Face-to-face teaching in Catalan universities is subject to the limit of 50% capacity inside buildings, which requires providing for a flexible and hybrid semester. In any case, the UPC has decided to plan activities according to the requirements of studies, giving priority to first-year students (new students) and those mainly face-to-face activities that are more difficult to carry out remotely, such as laboratory activities, clinical and field practicals and some assessments.

UPC schools have made decisions on the planning of first-semester teaching activities and on which activities can be kept face-to-face and which activities will be carried out remotely.

During the first semester of the upcoming academic year teaching is expected to be face-to-face but limiting capacity inside buildings and student commuting. Teaching will be planned considering all this and the uncertainties of the evolution of the pandemic over the coming months.

Initiatives to support an exceptional academic year
The UPC has set out a range of support measures that add to the tools and resources for adapting to non-face-to-face teaching that have been deployed since the beginning of the crisis. In total, 1.5 million euros will be allocated to better prepare the University for the start of an academic year that is expected to adopt a hybrid approach.

The Governing Council has approved the allocation of a budget item for schools to adapt facilities to remote teaching. Traditional classrooms for face-to-face teaching will become hybrid classrooms that will allow teachers to deliver face-to-face and remote lectures at the same time. The Governing Council has also approved funding several initiatives to support activities at the UPC, including a call for grants for bachelor’s and master’s degree students to support face-to-face teaching during the first semester.

Support for first-year students
There are other initiatives especially designed for supporting first-year students to adapt to university studies and the UPC following the general criteria for taking the first semester at the UPC. The first action is to promote mentorings for first-year students in all schools through a call for learning grants.

The second action is to issue a call for grants for bachelor’s and master’s degree students to support organising induction courses to UPC studies. Induction courses, which already exist in some UPC schools, will offer new students activities to reinforce academic concepts of basic subjects. The initiative aims to help adapting to UPC studies.