How you’ll be taught

Discover the different ways you will learn throughout the academic year.

Studying in-person and online

We aim for the majority of teaching to happen in-person and on campus.

Sometimes you may be taught online and your independent or group study will often involve using online resources.

If you are unable to arrive in-person for the start of your course we may put in alternative arrangements so you can still learn while preparing to join us.

Although we will aim for in-person teaching, we may need to make changes in response to events in the world, such as a pandemic. In such an event, the health and safety of our students and staff is our priority and will be informed by government advice.

Different ways of teaching

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, there were various methods of learning.

We aim to provide a level of consistency while ensuring access and support for students who need to temporarily study remotely.


We are planning a return to large lectures, where this is a feature of your course.

This will only happen:

  • once permitted by Government requirements, and
  • following an updated risk assessment.

If there are restrictions on numbers of people, you will find out from your lecturer in advance whether you’ll attend in-person or view a live stream.

Seminars and tutorials

We are planning for small group teaching to be primarily in-person, wherever possible. It may be necessary for some classes to be offered online and your tutor will plan groups depending on the needs of all students.

Practical sessions

We are planning that practical work in laboratories and workshops will fully resume on campus. As always, this is subject to responding to any changes in government advice.

Dual-mode teaching

This teaching method (sometimes called “simultaneous teaching”) will vary depending on the situation.

It means that some students turn up for a lecture or seminar while other students on the same module engage with it through a live stream.

Teaching terms defined

Throughout your course, you may hear your education or “mode of delivery” referred to in the following ways:

  • asynchronous learning – learning that isn’t accessed at the same time by students on the same module. You can access resources (such as lecture recordings) and communicate at any time
  • blended learning – an established educational approach that includes both in-person teaching and online learning opportunities
  • contact – scheduled hours where you meet your tutor
  • in-person teaching – a teaching session delivered to a group of students on campus in a timetabled slot
  • dual-mode – sometimes referred to as “simultaneous delivery”, this is a teaching session delivered both in-person and online at the same time
  • synchronous learning – a teaching session delivered in real time.

Regardless of the delivery modes above, you will be able to achieve the samelearning outcomes for your course.


We have adapted all assessments including exams, so that they will not normally require in-person attendance and will be conducted online.

If there are any exceptions to this, we will tell you what this means for you.

Find out more about exams and other types of assessment.

Equipment you may need

Make sure you have equipment which is suitable to study and prepare for assessments, and to access online teaching and assessments should government advice change.

Find out more about the technology you need to study with us and the systems we use for online teaching (Canvas module).

We also advise you to download the SussexMobile app to your smartphone.

See our guidance about assistive technology for students, such as support for learners with literacy difficulties.

Recording of teaching

Some teaching activities involve recording lectures or seminars to support students' learning. We do this in line with our policy on the recording of teaching activities and other uses of Panopto.

All recordings are stored securely for only as long as necessary, then deleted. See how we process personal data for education purposes.

If you have any concerns about your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer. Email

If social distancing measures increase

We will always prioritise the health and safety of students and staff, and will adhere to government advice – this may mean that changes to teaching have to be made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic if necessary.

These could include, for example:

  • the requirement to wear face coverings indoors
  • a mix of online and in-person lectures or seminars if there are social distancing requirements
  • pre-recorded lectures.

In these circumstances, please expect to receive a mix of live interactive learning, either in the classroom or online, for each of your modules across the semester. You may hear this referred to as “dual mode” or “simultaneous delivery”.


If there are restrictions to the number of students that can attend a lecture in person because of social distancing requirements, we will use a booking system that enables some students to attend in person and for others to experience the lecture either via live-streaming or via a recording.

The booking system will be operated to allow equal access to in-person lectures and aims to ensure that no student misses out on attending a “live” class.

Seminars and tutorials

It may be necessary for some classes to be offered online and your tutor will plan groups depending on the needs of all students.

Practical sessions

Work in laboratories or workshops is dependent on government advice. If there is a requirement for social distancing, we will carefully assess how many staff and students can be in a lab or practical space.

All our spaces have been risk-assessed and we are now very experienced at working safely in these sorts of spaces.

If necessary, we may use the booking system to enable students to book time in a lab or practical space. The booking system will be operated to allow equal access to in-person practical work and to ensure that no student misses out.

If there’s a lockdown

If there is a further national or local lockdown, we are ready to move all teaching online for that period, using the experiences of the past 18 months to continue to deliver an excellent teaching and learning experience that meets all learning objectives.

We’re pleased to report that our students have told us they’ve enjoyed many elements of online learning over the past year.

If there is a further lockdown period, we will communicate directly with you to let you know what this means for you and your course.

Lectures, seminars and tutorials

If we need to move to online teaching and learning, you will experience a mix of live online interactive sessions accompanied activities you can follow and complete in your own time – this is sometimes referred to as “asynchronous” teaching (see definitions above). You may find that this happens more in some weeks than others and will happen alongside other ways of learning and reading.

This means you will continue to be able to fully engage with your tutors and other students.

Your tutors are strongly committed to ensuring you receive the highest quality online experience.

Practical sessions

If we are required to go into full lockdown, in-person sessions in laboratories and workshops would need to be suspended. Over the course of the past 18 months many subject areas have developed innovative online methods to enable lab work to continue. Where this is not possible, we would make adjustments to enable you to access a lab or workshop as soon as this was permitted. If access was restricted for a significant period, we would contact you to let you know what this would mean for you.

If you need to self-isolate or quarantine

See information on what to do if you need to self-isolate.

If you’re a student arriving from abroad, see how we are supporting students who need to quarantine.

Staff availability

The trajectory of the pandemic may mean that staff are unable to deliver teaching at some points in the year – for example, if they have to self-isolate because they have tested positive for Covid-19 or have come into close contact with someone who has.

All schools in the University have a series of actions which they will put in place if this occurs and will seek, where possible, to provide a substitute tutor.

Changes to your studies

If you are thinking about a change to your studies, our Student Life Centre has a wealth of knowledge and information about issues, groups and services both on- and off-campus.

It can also provide you with advice on your studies, helping you deal with any concerns and providing information if you are considering making any changes.

You can also find out about:

Studying abroad, placements and field trips

If you are due to go abroad, start a placement or embark on a field trip, check our study abroad coronavirus information.

Research and supervision on a PhD

Check our pandemic information for doctoral students and supervisors for the latest guidance.

Staying up-to-date

See how we will communicate with you during your studies.

You’ll receive important updates to your Sussex email address. You can also check Coronavirus guidance on the Student Hub.

Complaints, appeals and feedback

If you have a concern about an aspect of your student experience at Sussex, you can let us know.

Check our: