The past year has been dominated by online learning and chatting to your fellow students through Teams calls. Now, things are looking up – and in-person teaching on campus is looking likely again.
From September, our plan is that most seminars, tutorials and small-group teaching will be face-to-face on the SOAS campus. The excitement of finally sitting together in one room, taking part in meaningful discussions; exploring Bloomsbury and the local area; and chilling out in the JCR are all within arm’s reach!
We’ve learned a lot over the last year about the benefits of offering lectures online. Students can watch these from the comfort of their home, without having to be on campus to sit in a large lecture theatre taking notes. As lectures are more an exercise in listening and taking in information, there is little bonus to all watching/listening at the same time, in the same place. Therefore, whilst seminars, tutorials and small-group teaching will be in-person, larger lectures will be provided online and recorded – which means students can rewatch the content at a time that suits them.
How exactly this ‘blended learning’ plays out day to day, however, is hard to imagine. That’s why we’ve created a sample timetable of a fictionalised SOAS student, to give you an idea of how the online lectures and in-person teaching would work together. Let’s call this student Russell.
There is no such thing as a typical SOAS student. Our diversity is our greatest strength. But below is a general guide to what a typical week might look like, which includes 12 hours of teaching time, made up of lectures (online) and tutorials and seminars (on campus).
A week in the life of Russell, SOAS student
10:00am: Two hour online lecture from the comfort of my bedroom in my student accommodation.
1pm: Head onto campus for a seminar (1 hour), then make my way to the library afterwards to find some of the books from the recommended reading list.
3pm: Whilst on campus, I have my one-to-one appointment with my academic advisor.
4:00pm: A one hour tutorial for my favourite module! Great to have some in-depth discussions with fellow students.
8pm: Go to our weekly Cuban Big Band society rehearsal.
10am: Seminar (1 hour) online discussing yesterday’s lecture.
12pm: Grab some lunch from a nearby cafe and read in the sun, preparing for this afternoon’s tutorial.
1pm: Tutorial (1 hour) on campus.
2:30pm: Meet some fellow students to prepare for our presentation next week.
4pm: Head to the library to do some reading.
9am: Listen in on a very interesting online lecture (1 hour). It’s great that I can always re-watch again, as it’s recorded.
10:30am: Attend a careers workshop on campus, which is really useful!
12pm: Take part in a one-hour seminar on campus. I’m really glad I did that extra reading yesterday, so I’m prepared.
1pm: No lessons this afternoon, so decide to go to the nearby British Museum for an explore.
10:30am: Go to the library to start doing some research for an essay we have due. Bump into a friend and we decide to study together in the Paul Webley Wing whilst having coffee.
12pm: Head back to the Main Building for my favourite tutorial (1 hour) of the week!
1pm: Swiftly followed by another tutorial (1 hour), but it’s just one floor up so easy to get to in the break.
2:30pm: Chill out in the JCR with some coursemates, and discuss our tutorial.
7pm: Basketball practice this evening – training hard for an upcoming tournament!
9pm: Head to the student bar for a drink post-practice
10am: Walk over to campus for my final seminar (1 hour) of the week. I really enjoy our small group, and everyone gets involved in the discussions!
11:30am: Decide to take a wander around the Brunei Gallery to check out their new exhibition.
12:30pm: Crack on with my essay preparation in the library.
4pm: All done – now time to relax! Head back to my halls of residence.
7:30pm: Dinner with my flatmates, followed by live music in the JCR!
This timetable is just a guide, and each student’s personal timetable will look different. In-person teaching is subject to change should any future lockdowns arise, when all teaching would temporarily be moved online.