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Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology

Construction Engineering Master's - delivering online

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Cambridge’s Construction Engineering Master’s rapidly actioned contingency plans to adapt the programme’s delivery - turning 5 days of face-to-face teaching into remotely delivered supervisor meetings, feedback sessions and teaching for students around the world. Dr Kristen MacAskill readily directed her team to optimise delivery of the ‘Research and Innovation’ week on Zoom, a software platform with which the team had limited experience.

This part-time degree develops future leaders in the construction industry and is ordinarily structured around 7 Cambridge residential weeks across two years, allowing students to continue their full-time jobs.

Swift adaption was thus critical and no mean feat as the programme draws on multiple speakers from academia, industry and government - over 100 speakers contribute to a typical year’s teaching across multiple cohorts. Many congratulations go to the Centre staff who worked tirelessly through uncertain times to facilitate this continuity, to the speakers who readily agreed to present their material online and to the students for their engagement and focus throughout the week.

Despite the change in format, the course met all the learning outcomes for which the modules were designed, and the week was very well-received. We have drawn up a best-practice guidance document encouraging speakers to tailor material and presentation styles specifically for this new format. We will be putting lessons learned into practice for the next teaching week in July, which we have decided to once again deliver via Zoom due to the ongoing crisis.


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© Construction Engineering Master's degree, University of Cambridge

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