FER plans for the new academic year

How will the classes be carried out in the new academic year?

Faced with the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic that has changed the way classes have been carried out since March 2020, FER's strategic goal has remained the same: ensuring the high quality of student education based on combining teaching, research and innovation, with regional and European recognition of study programmes from the fields of electrical engineering, computing and information and communication technology and related multidisciplinary fields.

Our first concern is the health and safety of our students and employees, with a complete commitment to achieving our strategic goals and ensuring that classes are carried out on the Faculty premises as much as possible. Our wishes are limited by the guidelines and recommendations of government bodies, but in order to reduce uncertainty, we list the plans and expectations for the winter semester of the upcoming academic year.

FER's approach to teaching is based on three principles:

  • the safety and wellbeing of all students and employees is of greatest importance,
  • preservation of the integrity of the teaching process (transfer and testing of knowledge),
  • flexibility in carrying out classes, so that we are able to respond to the upcoming challenges which are changing every day.

Regardless of all our efforts, the key to success is the cooperation of students with respect to all the rules and recommendations. There is no epidemic police at the Faculty that would enforce social distancing and usage of protective masks - we rely on your conscience and responsibility towards yourself and your colleagues, as well as towards your teachers.

Beginning of classes

Classes for all undergraduate and graduate students will begin as scheduled, on 28 September 2020. The class schedule will be announced during September.

Information on the start of postgraduate studies will be published at a later date, and classes will not start until 1 November 2020.

Freshmen

An introductory class for freshmen will be held in Hall D1/D2 with live streaming via the online platform on Friday, 25 September 2020, at 11 a.m. All freshmen will receive an invitation to the event. Up to 90 students who register in time will be able to attend the introductory class live in the hall (with a distance of 1.5 m). Notices of applications will be published at a later date.

We believe that the first generation of undergraduate students, our new freshmen, should generally attend classes as much as possible at the Faculty premises, in lecture halls and in laboratory tutorials, in compliance with all prescribed measures. The first year is crucial for the university study and introduction to the concepts of higher education and studying at the university, especially following the school year which posed a great challenge to high school seniors almost from the beginning (strikes) to the end (pandemic). Without the timely adoption of important habits related to university study, the entire study may be compromised. Therefore, we advise all freshmen to enrol in the online bridge course "Elementary Mathematics" in September, so that they will be ready to follow the materials from mathematical courses when the classes start. We would also advise the enrolment in the bridge course "Introduction to Physics" in the winter semester.

Our intention is for freshmen to attend classes in the same group and in the same classroom, in order to avoid any unnecessary circulation of students in the hallways. This will significantly reduce the risk of the need to isolate a larger number of students in the event of a virus outbreak. Groups will consist of 40 to 70 students, depending on the size of the classrooms. It is certain that classes will be held in shifts, but without alternation (some groups will always attend classes in the morning and some in the afternoon). Between shifts, the premises will be disinfected.

Senior undergraduate students and graduate study

Classes for senior undergraduate and graduate students will be organized in a hybrid form, live and remotely, depending on the needs of the courses. Details will be defined in collaboration with course lecturers and students will be notified about them during September.

Class schedule

During September, we will define a class schedule which will be subject to changes, depending on the development of the situation regarding the pandemic. The aim is for students to attend approximately half of the classes of most courses at the Faculty. We will try to ensure that students do not spend more than three working days a week on the Faculty premises.

When creating the schedule, we will try to avoid gatherings of larger groups of students and minimize the number of days that the students will spend at the Faculty, in order to reduce the need to travel by public transport. It is certain that different groups will start with classes at different times, in order to reduce the number of students who are in the Faculty hallways at the same time.

Student accommodation

Given the planned way of carrying out classes, we believe that it is best for students living outside Zagreb to come to Zagreb, in dormitories or rented apartments, to follow the recommendations and to come to the Faculty premises for classes which are carried out in lecture halls and laboratories, and to listen to lectures from their homes when they are carried out online. That way, in case of tightening measures, we will prevent possible problems related to travel, especially from other countries, and at the same time achieve flexibility in case of relaxation of measures, when classes would be carried out online only exceptionally.

Principles of carrying out classes

In principle, classes will be carried out as a mixture of live lectures and tutorials in the Faculty premises and online classes. Classes at the Faculty will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations of the competent government bodies.

Online classes will be carried out via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Moodle and the like.

Safety and health measures and recommendations

The basic recommendations prescribed by the Croatian Institute of Public Health are also valid on the Faculty premises. Here we emphasise the following:

  • the classrooms where students have classes will be disinfected during group changes (shifts),
  • disinfectants will be available at various points around FER, in front of classrooms and toilets,
  • students and employees are required to wear protective masks in larger groups (which includes all lectures and tutorials),
  • students must avoid physical proximity with people outside their usual social circle,
  • the number of students in classrooms and the library will be limited,
  • if necessary, we will provide a reservation system for spaces for which there is great interest.

The measures should also be followed in the Cassandra student restaurant. Those will be prescribed by the owner, who is responsible for them.

Author: Petra Škaberna
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