How did CIT agriculture students cope with Covid-19?

Agriculture students studying in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) were successfully able to navigate the challenges posed by Covid-19 on the Irish education system, according to the Cork-based college.

In addition, plans are well underway to ensure education continues unabated in September when the new college year begins, the institute has assured.

Commenting to AgriLand about how the third-level institution has adapted and overcome the hurdles caused by the spread of the coronavirus, a spokesperson for CIT said:

“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, CIT staff embraced online technologies to ensure that students received materials and instruction remotely for the remaining weeks of term two.

All end-of-semester summer examinations were replaced with either open-book timed examinations or alternative assessments such as projects, essays and other course work.

“Our agriculture and horticulture students quickly adapted to the changes and through the use of smart phones, tablets, laptops and home PCs completed their course work,” the college representative explained.

The institute’s assessments and examinations are currently being processed with a release date to students expected in mid June.

Autumn preparation

Turning to what’s in store for autumn, when classes resume, the spokesperson said: “As regards the new academic year, CIT has set up both strategic and emergency management teams to respond to the ongoing Covid crisis.”

It was noted that, as part of their work, arrangements are being made to survey buildings and office spaces, risk assessments are being carried out and protocols as regards cleaning, health and safety and academic delivery are currently afoot to ensure the safety of all staff and students.

For 2020/2021, it is likely that capacity on all CIT campus will be significantly reduced to adhere to social distancing and government guidelines in relation to same.

Furthermore, a blended approach of both remote and on campus delivery will be required, the spokeseperson added.

It was highlighted that Clonakilty College is “equally working tirelessly to ensure that they will be ready for the new academic year”.

For the new academic year the college will also use a blended approach of online classes and practical instruction on site.

Agriculture at CIT

The Level 7 Agriculture award is delivered between both the Bishopstown campus in CIT and in Clonakilty Agricultural college.

A three-year course, agriculture students divide their time between the two colleges. In second year, students are required to complete a 15-week work placement in an agriculture-related business.

Following completion of the course, students can complete an optional one-year add-on to obtain a Level 8 honours degree in agriculture.