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Update to postgraduate taught students - 3 April at 4.45pm

Dear Students,

We understand that many of you want to know more about your forthcoming remote assessments. I am therefore writing to provide additional details about the Semester 2 assessment process for students.

The information below also sets out further details of Loughborough’s Safety Net Policy. Please take the time to read it carefully because it explains not just what we are doing, but why we are doing it.

The Loughborough Postgraduate Student Safety Net

The Loughborough Safety Net is for all postgraduate students and ensures consistency, equity and fairness. We have already committed to:

  • ensuring nothing that we do disadvantages a student in respect of their degree outcome;
  • giving students the opportunity to undertake remote assessments to demonstrate their learning and graduate with a degree which they can be proud of;
  • upholding the standards of Loughborough University, as required by our regulatory bodies, and to ensure that employers will continue to recognise the quality of your degrees.

Here’s how the Safety Net works:

Safety Net 1 – Marks for every module will be reviewed and adjusted if necessary

We will examine the marks for every module in Semester 2 and compare them to those for comparable modules for the last three years. If necessary, we will adjust the marks to ensure that they are no worse than in the previous three years to take into account the current situation, any effects of the recent industrial action, and to ensure that pass marks reflect that students have achieved the module learning outcomes being assessed.

Safety Net 2 – Students with mitigating circumstances can have these taken into account

Any student can continue to claim Mitigating Circumstances in the usual way if their situation presents particular difficulties which we have not been able to adequately address in advance working with them. No supporting medical evidence is required in respect of Coronavirus-related claims or for any other illness. All claims will be viewed fairly and sympathetically.

Safety Net 3 – Overall grades for cohorts will be no lower than in previous years

We will examine the overall outcome obtained on comparable programmes, and ensure that the marks are consistent with, and no worse than, those obtained, in the previous three years.

Safety Net 4 – Degree outcomes will be in line with prior performance

On an individual basis, we will ensure that degree outcomes are in line with the result that you could reasonably have expected based on previous achievement. We will consider, in particular, the marks obtained in Semester 1, in the context of those obtained under the assessment arrangements for Semester 2 and Semester 3, 2020.

You will find further details of how the safety nets will work in our FAQs and you should read that information carefully.

Other Safeguards

The four steps above have been designed to provide a level playing field for all students. If an individual at the end of the process believes that they have not been treated fairly, they will as usual, have the full right to appeal.

Opportunities for reassessment will be provided in line with our normal procedures to enable any student to gain the credit that they need. We will be offering Remote Assessments in the Special Assessment Period this year.

Students can choose to defer their remaining Semester 2 assessments to the Special Assessment Period (currently expected to be 24thAugust to 4th September 2020) or re-join in Semester 2 in 2021 with no additional tuition fee liability as set out in my email on 27thMarch. If you would like to apply to take one of these options because of your specific circumstances, then please see the further information here.

Key Points about Remote Exams

Timings and General Guidance

  • The Remote Exam timetable will be released no later than Friday 1st May.
  • The Remote Exams will be ‘open book’ but otherwise will be as consistent as possible with a ‘normal’ exam. We have prepared additional guidance for you on how to prepare in our FAQs. 
  • We know that there are a very small number of students, primarily those in time zones west of the UK, for whom a start time between 9 and 10 am UK time for a short window assessment is genuinely problematic. Once the exam timetable is released, we will contact those students to make suitable arrangements for them to sit their remote exams.

Technology

  • Please be aware that we are currently load testing the Learn system extremely thoroughly prior to the Remote Exam period. We plan to run large scale tests with students in the summer term. There will be opportunities for each of you to familiarise yourself with the process in advance so that you know what to expect, which we hope will provide additional reassurance.
  • For the majority of assessments, you will only need an internet connection to download and then later upload your work within the appropriate time window.
  • Technical assistance will be available during the remote exam period, and a backup email address will be supplied in case you have any difficulties uploading your assessment to Learn on the day.
  • You will not need access to a printer or dedicated scanner. Where answers are handwritten, they can be photographed or scanned with devices such as a mobile phone. We will provide further details in due course.
  • We are aware that a small number of students would ideally wish to take their exams in May/June but may be genuinely concerned about their access to appropriate technology in order to undertake Remote Assessments. If this is the case, please contact us as soon as possible by email to let us know so that we can support you.

Reasonable Adjustments

  • We are currently working through the Reasonable Adjustments for those students who have them to ensure that the right support is in place for every student.

Academic Misconduct

  • We are putting in place additional measures to secure the assessment process and you will be asked to sign a declaration prior to your examinations in the same way that you do for coursework. Please see our FAQs for further information.

Results

  • We will let you know when you can expect your results to be available.

Other Support

We know it is a challenging time for everyone, and that you might be feeling worried or stressed. Your mental health and wellbeing are of utmost importance, so the University has made available a set of resources and guidance to help support you.

The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity team have launched a webpage with practical tips and advice on managing your mental health during this time. Each section is available in text and video format, with topics including working and studying from home, maintaining a healthy routine and staying connected with others.

The Yellow Book (log in with your university username and password) contains a wealth of tools for students (and staff) – in text and audio format – to help you manage your response to stress using a range of different methods, including breathing exercises, spoken affirmations and creative activities.

Additional information is also available to you on our Learning Remotely web page about making the most of on-line lectures and study support, access to resources (including off campus access to our computer rooms and Virtual Library), enhancing your skills and all the other support which is available to you for your studies and future careers.

Keep up to Date

Our remote delivery of teaching will formally resume in week 9 after the Easter break on Monday 27th April when there will be virtual seminars, tutorials and other sessions for you to engage with in addition to your lecture materials.

Please keep checking our Coronavirus web pages, Learn, and monitor your University email account. If you have a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs, please email Notifications@lboro.ac.uk.

Please note that the University will be closed for the Easter vacation period this year from Friday 10th April and will reopen (remotely as currently) on Monday 20th April. This will not affect students still staying in halls of residence. However, it will mean that staff are unlikely to be available to respond to any enquiries in this period.

This email should provide you with the additional reassurance you need. Our intention is to support every single one of our students at the current time.

My very best wishes for the forthcoming weeks, and most importantly, please take care of yourselves, your friends and family.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Rachel Thomson
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching