Teagasc students start blended learning programme
John Mulhern, principal of Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, provides an update on the impact Covid-19 has had on teaching methods at the college
24 September 2020
Teagasc students in the College of Amenity Horticulture have started their September 2020 programme in a blended format. Blended learning combines online education with in-person teaching.
“This year, 120 learners have started a Certificate Level 5 course whereby the theory classes are held online and the practical sessions are held in small social distanced groups, taking full account of Covid-19 regulations, in The National Botanic Gardens and its centre in Teagasc Ashtown,” explained John Mulhern, principal of Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture.
Despite the challenging circumstances, the academic year has kicked off to a good start: “Induction week has gone well and all students are engaged on the Teagasc Learning platform Moodle with practical’s in each of the subjects taking place on a weekly basis with groups of no more than 15.”
Mulhern continued: “All four streams in the QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in horticulture, including Landscaping, Nursery, Food Production and Sports Turf, will now run from January 2021 to August 2021. Each stream will run subject to sufficient numbers. (In the case where a stream does not go ahead a second preference stream will be offered.) The closing date for applications for both full time and component modules for the QQI level 6 in horticulture is Friday 13 November 2020. Offers will then be sent out thereafter to confirm your place.
“The Level 7 degree in Horticulture, which is run in conjunction with Waterford Institute of Technology will start in the Botanics College on the 28 September 2020. The WIT Department of Science, in line with the national and institute guidelines, will deliver all the lectures and tutorials online which students can access remotely off campus. Offers for this program will be made through the CAO process on the 11 September.
“The practical laboratory classes will be held on campus in Teagasc National Botanic Gardens and Ashtown in Dublin. The laboratory space and activity has been reviewed in order to ensure the safe delivery during these pandemic times. Each student group will have laboratory classes every second week (week on/week off). The students will be assigned to laboratory groups and will receive a timetable to instruct them of the schedule of their groups online and on campus classes,” added Mulhern.
“Horticulture programs in the Department of Science that are co-delivered with Teagasc will follow the same delivery with online lectures and on-site practical classes (week on/week off). Again, a clear timetable will be issued to these students to inform them of when they should be on site. A small number of programs contain field trips as a key element, and these will also be delivered in a safe manner with full adherence to PPE regulation and social distancing.”
Note: Applicants wishing to do a placement or PLP before January 2021 must apply before 30 September 2020. For more information, visit: www.teagasc.ie/education/going-to-college/apply-online/horticulture-courses/horticulturelevel6ppsn/