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Our approach to teaching in 2021-22

In 2021–22, the Faculty of Law will be delivering teaching in-person where this can safely be done, while providing online teaching when circumstances require or where it is considered to be pedagogically beneficial to deliver some of our teaching online. Our approach is informed both by practical and safety-related considerations arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and by experience of blended teaching gained during the course of the pandemic so far.

In the light of the unpredictable nature of the public health situation and bearing in mind guidance issued by the University, some decisions about teaching arrangements have so far been made only in relation to Michaelmas Term. This is particularly so in relation to provision of online lectures in ‘large’ Tripos subjects (on which see below). Where decisions have so far been made only in relation to Michaelmas Term, arrangements for the remainder of the academic year will be announced in due course.

In-person teaching will not be moved online in the event of individual students being unable to attend in-person classes. Instead, students who are unable to attend in-person teaching for a Covid-related reason (ie. a requirement to self-isolate or as a result of being remotely located due to Covid-related travel difficulties) will be accommodated where possible through access to recordings of teaching sessions (subject to any necessary consents and subject to the Faculty’s recording policy for 2021–22) or, in the case of interactive teaching sessions (as distinct from lectures), via the use of hybrid facilities. where such facilities are available.

The Law Tripos

In Michaelmas Term, all lectures in large Law Tripos full papers will be delivered online. By default, these will be pre-recorded lectures, made available to view via Moodle. However, lectures in such papers may be delivered live online and recorded live if all lecturers for the relevant paper agree to adopt this approach before the start of the academic year. Students should assume that ‘large’ lectures will be delivered on a pre-recorded basis unless they are notified otherwise.

For this purpose, a ‘large’ Law Tripos full paper is a full paper that is likely to be taken by 100 or more students, or where there is a significant possibility of that level of student uptake. The following are therefore being treated as large subjects: Civil Law I, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Law of Tort, Law of Contract, Land Law, Equity, EU Law, CSPS, Family Law, Human Rights and International Law. The University has explicitly permitted Faculties and Departments to deliver large lectures online in Michaelmas Term; the Faculty of Law has decided to adopt this approach only after careful consideration and in the interests of formulating plans for Michaelmas Term that will be resilient in the face of ongoing uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected that a decision about the delivery of ‘large’ Tripos lectures in Lent Term will be made by the end of Michaelmas Term. If the public health situation and University guidance permits, it is hoped that in-person ‘large’ lectures will be possible in Lent Term.

Unless contingency arrangements need to be activated, all other Faculty teaching in the Law Tripos will be delivered in-person, save where an individual lecturer has been given permission to teach online for health-related reasons. This means that, in general, lectures in smaller Tripos full papers, Paper 14 workshops, half-paper lectures and Part II seminar classes will be delivered in-person.

Contingency arrangements during Michaelmas Term will be implemented if in-person teaching cannot be appropriately undertaken due to a change in University guidance or a change in public health circumstances, or if a particular lecturer has been given permission to teach online for health-related reasons. Depending on the circumstances and relevant guidance, the Faculty of Law may decide to activate contingency arrangements in relation to some or all forms of Law Tripos teaching. These arrangements will be as follows:

  • Lectures in smaller Law Tripos full papers will be delivered online, in line with the arrangements for lectures in ‘large’ full papers.
  • Paper 14 workshops will be delivered live online via Teams.
  • Teaching in Aspects of Obligations will be delivered live online via Teams.
  • Part II half-paper lectures will be delivered online in the same way as in larger Law Tripos full papers. Where such lectures are moved online, the lecturers will be asked to supplement their lectures with a limited number of online interactive sessions to enable students to ask questions and engage in discussion.
  • Part II seminars will be delivered live online via Teams.

All teaching, whether online or in-person, will be delivered according to the Faculty’s lecture timetable; this means that pre-recorded lectures should always be available on Moodle by the beginning of the relevant timetabled slot. Lectures (as distinct from interactive classes) will by default be recorded and made available via Moodle, whether delivered online or in-person.

The delivery of supervision teaching is the responsibility of the Colleges. In the light of guidance issued by the University, our expectation is that supervisions will take place in-person wherever possible.

The LLM

Throughout 2021-22, LLM teaching in each paper will be delivered according to one or other of two models:

  • Model A: A two-hour class will be delivered on a weekly basis. All classes and any workshops will be delivered in-person unless contingency arrangements are in place.
  • Model B: Each week, students will be asked to view a 30-minute pre-recorded online lecture as preparation for a 90-minute structured discussion class. Pre-recorded lectures will be made available via Moodle at least 48 hours before the beginning of the relevant structured discussion class. Structured discussion classes and any workshops will be delivered in-person unless contingency arrangements are in place.

Students can find information about the teaching model to be adopted on the Moodle pages for each paper, and/or the paper’s subject forum video. If in doubt, students should approach the paper convenor, as indicated on the paper’s Moodle page.

Contingency arrangements will be activated if in-person teaching cannot appropriately be undertaken due to a change in University guidance or a change in public health circumstances, or where the lecturer has been given permission to teach online for health-related reasons. The Faculty may decide to implement contingency arrangements in respect of all LLM teaching or only some LLM teaching. Such decisions will be made in the light of public health circumstances and University guidance. Circumstances may, for example, arise in which smaller LLM classes or workshops can continue in-person, but larger classes need to be moved online.

When contingency arrangements are activated in relation to a given LLM paper or a given form of LLM teaching, they will be as follows:

  • Model A: The whole two-hour class will be moved online and delivered as a live interactive class via Teams.
  • Model B: The 90-minute structured discussion class will be moved online and delivered as a live interactive class via Teams. (The 30-minute pre-recorded lecture will be delivered online in the usual way.)
  • Workshops: Workshops will be moved online.

The MCL

Unless contingency arrangements are triggered, or unless a module instructor agrees with the MCL Director on a blended approach for pedagogical reasons, all MCL teaching will be delivered in-person.

Contingency arrangements will be activated if in-person teaching cannot appropriately be undertaken due to a change in University guidance or a change in public health circumstances, or where the instructor has been given permission to teach online for health-related reasons. When contingency arrangements apply, MCL teaching will be delivered live online via Teams.

MCL students’ teaching for their chosen LLM paper will be governed by the LLM arrangements set out above.

The PhD programme

Unless contingency arrangements apply, the Research Training and Development Programme will be delivered in-person.

Contingency arrangements will be activated if in-person teaching cannot appropriately be undertaken due to a change in University guidance or a change in public health circumstances, or where the lecturer has been given permission to teach online for health-related reasons. When contingency arrangements apply, RTDP sessions will be delivered live online via Teams.

PhD supervision will normally take place in-person unless the supervisor and/or student are unable to meet in-person (eg for health reasons, due to a requirement to self-isolate or because the student has been given permission to work away from Cambridge).