Standard banner-LSE_Library_3343

Teaching and assessment

How you'll be taught and examined in the 2021/22 academic year

LSE is committed to offering you the best possible teaching and learning experience within the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our expectation for the 2021-22 academic year is that all LSE students will be in London and studying on campus, where we will provide flexible teaching and learning which blends both in-person and online elements. This flexible approach has been informed by our student and academic community and builds upon the innovations and improvements we have put in place over the past year. 

Quality assurance

Experts in our Eden Centre for Educational Enhancement have guided the development of our flexible approach to teaching and learning to ensure that you benefit from LSE’s high standards in a safe environment. Our flexible teaching approach will be subject to our stringent quality assurance processes, ensuring that there is no compromise on the rigour or standard of LSE degrees. We will continue to apply our validation, monitoring and review mechanisms to assure the quality of our courses and programmes.

Your degree

In almost all our undergraduate degrees, you will normally take the equivalent of four courses in each year, made up of full and half-unit courses, plus LSE100 in your first year. 

Teaching style

In each course, teaching will consist of a mixture of lectures and smaller group sessions such as seminars, tutorials, workshops, classes and Harvard style teaching sessions, running in parallel. During these smaller group sessions you will work through questions and problems raised in the lectures and present and discuss your own papers or essays.

Smaller group sessions, with usually no more than 15 students, will run on campus. These will be held in socially distanced environments if this continues to be government policy. We are hopeful, however, that social distancing requirements will be eased for the 2021/22 academic year.

We expect all students to take part in face-to-face small group sessions on the LSE campus from the beginning of term.

Lectures will be delivered online, either asynchronously or synchronously. All lectures will be recorded and made available for you to access off-campus. It may be possible to deliver more lectures in-person in the Lent Term.  

Lectures are not compulsory but are strongly recommended. Smaller group sessions, however, are obligatory and you will be expected to prepare and fully participate in every session you attend.

The format for smaller group sessions varies considerably depending on the subject and level but you are usually expected to submit two written pieces of work per course during the year. Teachers report each term on your attendance, work in the session and written work submitted. Your academic mentor will receive these reports and although they do not contribute to your final degree result, they can affect whether you are allowed to continue on the course and to take the examination.

Course office hours

Our academics will be available for course office hours either face-to-face on campus or online.

Peer study groups

All programmes will continue to maximise students’ ability to work together, both online and on campus, and contribute safely to your learning community. All students will have the opportunity to work together between lectures and smaller group sessions in Peer study groups on tasks or activities (academic and social). These groups may contain only students on campus, students off-campus or may consist of a hybrid of students both on and off campus.

Community building activities

We know your experience at LSE is shaped outside of the classroom too, and we will offer you a range of exciting opportunities to develop skills and try new things. These include giving back through volunteering, developing your entrepreneurial ideas via LSE Generate, shaping your community through LSE Students’ Union activities and societies and our new online public lecture programme. All activity will start from Welcome 2021, which will be delivered digitally and in-person. You can also access thriving regional alumni groups too, which operate across the globe.

We will also undertake a range of additional community building activities for our students such as quizzes, online debates, community programme Moodle pages, community blogs, and community events.

Independent study

We expect that in addition to formal contact time, you will spend at least double the amount of contact time pursuing your own studies and research. A typical undergraduate timetable involves 8 to 14 hours of teaching per week, but the associated reading and writing of essays, projects and other course work assignments make up a full working week.

The Michaelmas and Lent terms include space for departmental reading weeks, which allow those in participating departments to read around the subject, engage in project work or attend course events.

Individual degree programme pages contain specific details on teaching methods for each programme.

Examination and assessment

In almost all of our undergraduate degrees you will be examined at the end of each year in at least some of the courses taken in that year. In line with our increasingly diverse curricula, however, there is a growing use of alternative ways of assessing progress, such as in-year essays and projects, that complement exams and contribute to end-of-year grades. Our assessments aim to enhance broader skills development to prepare students for life beyond LSE.

Some variation to mode of delivery and/or format of assessments may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. Students will be notified about any changes to assessment plans at the earliest opportunity. You can view changes on our Calendar.

Individual degree programme pages contain specific details on examination and assessment for each programme.

Monitoring our teaching and assessment arrangements

We will monitor and review our teaching and assessment arrangements regularly throughout the year and follow government guidance to keep our LSE community safe. We will keep you updated via email as to any changes to our current arrangements that may need to be made.  

More information about LSE’s flexible approach to teaching and learning and how we are keeping our community safe can be found on our website.  

What will LSE do if the government announces another 'lockdown' in London? 

LSE is putting in place comprehensive health and safety measures on campus to keep you safe and secure while on campus and in the halls of residence.

We hope that London does not experience another lockdown in the 2021-22 academic year. However, we are also preparing for a range of scenarios that will allow us to flex our approach to teaching and learning swiftly with the minimum disruption to our community, should we need to respond to changing health advice over the winter months.

If we are required to reintroduce social distancing we could pivot a minority of in-person classes and seminars online to ensure the majority of face-to-face teaching can continue in a safely distanced and secure environment.

If we are no longer permitted to teach in-person on campus for a period of time, all teaching and learning will pivot online, similar to Lent and Summer Terms 2021 where we kept campus open as much as possible.

A key aspect of planning for all scenarios is keeping lectures normally online in Michaelmas Term.

Below is a summary of the actions the School could take in the event of further COVID disruption:

  • Issue clear guidance from the School and your department regarding the plans for teaching, learning and support;
  • Implement government advice regarding student and staff access to campus;
  • Provide lectures online;
  • Pivot in-person teaching to synchronous and asynchronous online provision using the mechanisms in place in 2020/21 to support those students unable travel to campus;
  • Deliver departmental teaching materials via Moodle;
  • Provide support services remotely, via Zoom, Teams, email, telephone, Livechat, etc. 
  • Provide support and guidance for your health and well-being via Zoom appointments and web-based information;
  • Continue office hours with class teachers and academic mentors online;
  • Maintain access to the online Library materials;
  • Deliver department-appropriate assessments online, taking into account the specific needs of quantitative and qualitative programmes;
  • Provide support and advice to students resident in LSE and UoL halls of residence; 
  • Make available hardship funds for vulnerable students adversely affected by the pandemic;
  • Offer practical guidance and adopt a sympathetic approach to students seeking to interrupt or defer their studies.

July 21 2021