Friday 8th May
the first week of lockdown easing is over, and so I can give you a few more details on what's going to happen in the coming months.
Teaching Academic Year 2019-2020
Teaching until the end of the academic year will continue remotely both synchronously and asynchronously, you will have the opportunity to interact with your teachers remotely at all times. I apologize for this but government regulations prevent you from resuming classes in attendance.
Exams and graduation sessions
The exams for the whole summer session will be held remotely, while I hope for the September session to be able to return to exams in attendance, but we are still subject to government decisions.
June's extraordinary graduation sessions will be held remotely, while those of the summer session in July may be in attendance with a limited number of relatives and friends.
But we will have to wait until the end of the month, when a further assessment of the health situation will be made at government level.
If possible, it is our intention to make them in presence, obviously allowing a remote discussion to those who cannot or would rather not reach Piacenza and Cremona.
The internships for undergraduate programmes' students have changed and, given the exceptional conditions imposed by the emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with the consequent impossibility for some students to start or finish their internship, it was decided to define the following extraordinary provisions for the management of the internship, valid until the exceptional conditions that motivate them are overcome:
- in case of internship interruption, prior to its completion but with a percentage of hours already completed equal to or greater than 60% of the total number of hours, all internship ECTS are acquired by integrating the internship report that will be requested and evaluated, based on the total number of hours/credits still to be achieved, by the university tutor already assigned. The following may be examples of integration of the report:
i) a theoretical in-depth study of a topic dealt with during the internship;
ii) the study of a practical case also agreed with the company tutor.
- In case of interruption of the internship in progress before its completion, but with a percentage of hours already performed between 20 and 59 % of the total amount, the recognition of the ECTS is subject to the performance of an integrative activity, subject to evaluation by the university tutor already assigned. The activities that the student may carry out for the completion of the internship are as follows:
- information collection through specific databases and their processing;
- bibliographical and documentary investigations.
The "working method" is based on the development of the scientific and technical path: identification of the problem, examination of the scientific literature, choice of information and methods, production/collection of data, data processing, use of specific databases and software, discussion of the results, conclusions. The paper will summarize the activity carried out during the internship and will be divided into: state of the art; synthesis of studies already carried out on the topic of the internship; motivations and aims of the internship; materials and methods used; results obtained; main conclusions and further working hypotheses; bibliography and sitography.
- In case the internship has not yet started or the percentage of hours already completed is less than 20% of the total amount planned, it is proposed that the student may include "other training activities" in the study plan substituting the internship. These activities may include:
- collection of information through specific databases and their processing;
- bibliographical and documental surveys on a specific single or multidisciplinary topic;
- a methodological investigation related to a specific teaching;
- an activity to be carried out in University facilities (laboratories and experimental companies).
The various activities foreseen will be concluded with a written paper, as indicated in point 2) and its presentation during the final examination.
Research theses can be carried out in the laboratory or in the field with the constraint of compliance with all health regulations valid for open areas, transport, farms, laboratories and the maximum number of people who can coexist in our Campus offices.
I understand that this may make it difficult to carry out all the experimental theses already in place or which should have started in these months.
For this reason, until the health prescriptions are changed, only compilative theses will be accepted in addition to experimental theses. You will have to agree with your supervisors to determine how the dissertation will be completed or finalized. It remains their responsibility to decide with you what to do, within the health prescriptions defined by Università Cattolica.
The teaching for the next academic year
The Faculty believes that the interactive mode is to be preferred and will adopt different approaches depending on the availability of classrooms and government prescriptions with preference to synchronous ones.
- 4.1 - Fixed time streaming mode.
You can then configure two sub-hypotheses:
4.1.1. with the presence of students in the classroom, i.e. through regular lessons held in the classroom at the university, in the presence of a number of students compatible with the restrictions and the rules of distancing that will be in force, and at the same time broadcast live for students who are not in a position to be present.
In order to allow live transmission of the lessons, the classrooms will be equipped with special video recording tools and simultaneous online transmission (it is understood that the lessons will be recorded and therefore made available also for asynchronous use by the students).
This is the typical and absolutely preferred method, especially for professors in the first two years of undergraduate programmes and the first year of graduate programmes. The other options are therefore to be considered marginal.
4.1.2. without students in the classroom. The lesson can be held in the classroom at the university, to use the technical tools present there or elsewhere (e.g. from the professor's room at the department or at home), and distributed live to students.
This mode will be adopted in the case - to be evaluated individually - in which particular circumstances do not allow the presence of students or make it preferable (e.g. courses with very few participants, objective impediment to commuting by the teacher). In any case, it must be ensured that the student will be able to talk to him/her, the lessons will take place at fixed times and will be included in the official timetable of the course.
- 4.2 - Asynchronous mode but with measures aimed at allowing direct communication with the students.
It consists of lessons recorded and uploaded on the portal, but also includes frequent moments of interaction/webinar live streaming with the students (for example once a week). This modality is not preferable, to be adopted only if it is indispensable according to specific circumstances and that, in any case, should not exceed 20% of the teaching hours of each course.
I recommend you to check frequently the e-mail on iCatt address because it is the tool we can use to reach you all, both from Blackboard and from the EVS system for profit exams.
Please, do not hesitate to ask for information and make suggestions.
However, we always miss the direct contact given by the interaction that you can only have in the classroom, or meeting after the lesson in our Campus. Therefore, I urge you not to forget your teachers: every now and then you will receive an email or an intervention during the "live" lessons, I assure you that the gesture will be appreciated.
From me and from all the Faculty's professors, our best wishes.
Monday 16th March
We are going through the fourth week of emergency today. We are in a tunnel, but I encourage you to see the light at the end of it and appreciate the positive aspects of this experience, which is new for you and for us, your professors and instructors.
The teaching has begun for all the lessons planned for this semester and each teacher has done his/her best to use the tools that they considered more appropriate and congenial to their course.
To date, 54 professors have submitted material for a total of 313 hours of teaching.
In general, lectures are recorded using BlackboardCollaborate Ultra (302 hours) and made accessible through the links on Blackboard. For those of you who have not yet done so, I would like to remind you that without enrolling in the specific course on Blackboard, it will be impossible to receive messages and therefore you may miss important information.
In some cases "live" lectures were held (11), some professors have chosen other ways: shared documents, audio comments, Power Point presentations with a running commentary and thus enhanced our level of biodiversity, which as you know is a must-do in our Faculty.
I am also pleased to see that many of you, promptly and proactively, have followed the telematic indications of their professors and instructors, by downloading lectures, studying, carrying out the exercises: your collaboration is now more crucial than ever to ensure the effectiveness of the teaching and to maintain the team spirit that has always distinguished our Faculty.
However, we always miss the direct interaction that you can only have in a classroom, or meeting after the lecture in our Campus. Therefore, I invite you to not forget your professors and instructors: every once in a while you will be contacted by e-mail or you are very welcome to intervene during "live" sessions, I assure you that this will be much appreciated.
Report any problems you may have; if a professor, in the heat of the moment, floods you with video lectures and you feel overwhelmed, tell him or her. If you feel abandoned, live and agree on a more effective way of dialogue.
For their part, professors will still try to make the material available regularly and continuously, but also not to overload you. I have given an indication to respect the timetable of the lessons and not to increase the load during these weeks. We are looking for a solution for the recovery of lab practice and to make up for the impossibility of didactic trips. We'll see what we can do. A solution could be concentrate them all in the final part of the semester.
I recommend you to check frequently the e-mail on your iCatt address because it is the tool we can use to reach you all, both from Blackboard and from the SVE exam system.
Please do not hesitate to ask for information and make suggestions.
Exams and Graduation sessions
I think you have received a document describing the remote process for graduation sessions. I believe that both exams and graduation sessions throughout April will be held this way. For those who are carrying out an experimental project for their final dissertation and will not be able to complete it, we will see whether it is possible to organise a further graduation session, or to ensure that the summer ones are free of charge, for those who are graduating in April.
The Dean Marco Trevisan and the Faculty
Friday 6th March
A further update in view of the decisions taken by the Faculty after another week of suspension of teaching activities, and the possibility of yet another extension of this suspension until the end of the month.
From Monday 9 March and for all our courses we are adopting online teaching tools, as indicated by the University, to continue our activities until the resumption of frontal lectures.
Please consider that not all professors are free to come to our campuses to record video sessions, and therefore for some courses there could be more difficulties as the material will not be available immediately. I hope that you will understand the critical situation in which we are currently operating, which is two-fold. On the one hand there are health issues, on the other hand, there is the difficulty in using a new teaching resource.
The transition to online teaching, even with the doubts about an impersonal way of teaching, seems essential considering also the uncertainty about future trends and the requests received by many of you.
The system adopted is Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, according to the modalities that each professor and lecturer will communicate to you for the specific teaching. I remind you to register for the course on our Blackboard platform.
We can have streaming courses, recorded video courses or courses with slides accompanied by audio descriptions. For Cremona campus, I do exclude the possibility of streaming tuition.
The lectures will be available according to the calendar that has been made available to you, so you only have the lectures scheduled for that date for each day. These lectures will remain available on the Blackboard page until the end of the course.
Recovery of lectures already suspended
From 9 March you will start with the programme from the point where lessons were suspended. We will use the two weeks from the 6 to the 17 April to upload some of the lost lectures, in order to start again with our frontal tuition with a smaller number of lectures to make up. For the recovery in the classroom of the remaining suspended lessons, you will receive a calendar that will be prepared by the offices when this emergency is over. As communicated in my previous message, the recoveries will be in June, in the two weeks already scheduled for recoveries.
Recoveries of educational trips and labs
These activities cannot be rescheduled until we return from quarantine, so I will reserve the right to inform you later on how we are going to manage the situation.
Exams, graduation sessions and student reception
As far as exams, graduation sessions and student reception are concerned, the instructions given in my previous communication remain unchanged. At the moment there are no postponements of any kind.
I wish to emphasise that you do not have to worry since we will ensure that all examination and graduation opportunities are maintained as planned.
Wednesday 4th March
As a consequence of the health emergency connected to the cases of infection by Coronavirus COVID-19, as announced on the Università Cattolica website, and of the resulting suspension of all teaching activities scheduled for the week 24-28 February 2020, the Dean has ruled that from Tuesday 3 March 2020 until courses return to normal, all classes of the undergraduate degree programme in Food Production Management / Sustainable Agriculture for Food Policy will be available online on the Blackboard platform.
To access the lessons recorded by the professors/instructors, you must be enrolled (or complete enrolment) on the particular course on Blackboard.
You are therefore advised to enrol on all second semester courses for your programme year.
You must be enrolled on the related Blackboard courses in order to access the material uploaded by the course professors/instructors.
Recordings of classes will be available for a limited time only, although no less than 24 hours after publication.
Practical sessions will be suspended unless your professor/instructor informs you otherwise.
Off-campus academic activities are suspended.
Assessments for course work are suspended.
When the return to normal classes has been announced, the class recordings will be guaranteed for a further week in order to give students time to get back to the campus.
Preside della Facoltà di Scienze agrarie, alimentari e ambientali