Update to postgraduate taught students - 27 March at 10.10am
Today marks the last day of the Spring Term, the end of which has been rather different for all of us. I would like to thank you for the positive attitude, support for others and tremendous fortitude which you have all shown at this time. Loughborough students never cease to amaze me, and now is no exception. Thank you!
I am now writing to provide details of the Remote Assessments which we will be asking you to undertake as replacements for traditional face-to-face exams, and any other assessments which originally required students to be physically present on campus.
We have considered both the exams and coursework for every module very carefully in order to provide you with accurate and useful information. We have also considered the requirements of the Professional Bodies who accredit many of your degrees. On the basis of this detailed review of ~1000 modules we have put in place a variety of remote assessments, depending on your course and its requirements. We have also changed the nature of some assessments where this is appropriate in your subject.
Types of Remote Assessments replacing traditional face-to-face exams
The Remote Assessments will comprise of a mixture of the following:
1a. An open book long window timed assessment (23 hours), or Remote Exam
You will be advised of the expected amount of time and effort you should spend on the assessment during the permitted time window. This is likely to be similar to a normal exam length (2-3 hours) and much less than the 23 hours available.
1b. An open book short window timed assessment (normal length + 1 hour), or Remote Exam
You will have the normal amount of time to take the paper as if it were an exam, plus a further 1 hour. The additional hour will be provided in order for you to download the paper, complete the exam off-line and then submit your answers to Learn. Students with extra time allowed for Reasonable Adjustments will have this extra time added to the normal exam paper time, plus the additional 1 hour described above.
2. The exam has been replaced with a piece of coursework
Details will be provided to you of the coursework brief. You will have a specified period of time in which to undertake the coursework, which will typically be a period of at least several days, although it may be shorter than you have previously experienced.
3. Existing coursework has been extended in scope to replace the exam
Planned coursework has been extended in scope and the weighting of the coursework altered to reflect this. Deadlines may have also been changed, where appropriate.
4. The exam is no longer required
Your marks will be calculated on the basis of the assessments which you have already been set and/or completed for this module, which will have represented the vast majority of the planned assessment.
You should be able to view the Remote Assessment type on the Learn page for each module where changes have been made from 10.30am.
Details of the Remote Exam Period for 1a and 1b above
The Remote Exam period will run from weeks 13 to 16 in the normal way, starting on Tuesday 26th May and ending on Wednesday 17th June 2020. We are currently working on a revised exam timetable, which will now be released no later than Friday 1st May. Please accept our apologies that this is later than normal. We hope you understand that we have a huge number of changes to work through as a result of the move to the Remote Exam period.
Each Remote Exam will be released on a specific day at a specific time in the morning via Learn during the exam period. Each student will only have one exam per day. We intend to release the papers between 9 and 10am so that students in different time zones have the best opportunity to complete this at an appropriate time. We are making every effort to ensure that the number of exams for students on consecutive days is minimised and that they are as appropriately spaced as possible for each of you.
We intend to run a test of the Remote Exam system in the Summer Term prior to the exam period so that you can familiarise yourself with the process.
In some cases, we have already moved back existing coursework deadlines where it was appropriate to do so, and these changes have already been communicated to you. Please note that existing coursework deadlines remain in force unless you have been told otherwise. If you have a deadline coming up, you should submit your work on-line as normal. Details for any new coursework assessments will be communicated to you via Learn as usual.
Results and Feedback
It is possible that our exam board dates will be slightly later than planned and we will keep you informed as to when you can expect your results to be available.
Feedback on coursework may not be available as specified within our normal policy due to possible staff absences – please bear with us if this is the case. Where an exam has been replaced with coursework, your marks and feedback will be available on the same basis as usually provided for exams.
We are reviewing the arrangements for Reasonable Adjustments to ensure that the new assessment formats are accessible for students who normally have these. Student Services are currently working very closely with colleagues in the Academic Registry and your Schools to ensure that the right support is in place for every student.
You should not normally need to submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim in respect of the current Coronavirus situation because we will take this into account for all modules in the end of year boards. However, if you have specific individual circumstances (eg genuinely exceptional, serious or acute medical, family, personal, or other problems or events beyond your control) which have affected your studies then you should complete the Mitigating Circumstances form in the normal way. You will not be required to provide supporting medical evidence for any illness, and you should not seek such evidence from the University Medical Centre, or from any other medical service, at the current time. Further details can be found on our FAQs.
With the above arrangements in place for taking Remote Assessments in May/June as described above, we hope that the majority of students will be able to complete the year successfully in the normal timeframe, despite the exceptional circumstances.
Reassessments will then be available in the Special Assessment Period if required. Please note that any changes made to the assessment for a module for May/June 2020 will be the same in the Special Assessment Period for consistency. We currently anticipate that Remote Assessment will also be available in the Special Assessment Period for students who are unable to travel. We will keep under review whether we will hold a face-to-face Special Assessment Period and let you know about this as soon as we are able to.
We do understand that some students may be experiencing significant disruption which affects their ability to study at the present time and/or may have concerns about undertaking Remote Assessments. Therefore, we are also exceptionally offering each student the following two additional options to progress with their studies:
- Defer all remaining Semester 2 assessments until the Special Assessment Period, where you can take them as a first attempt. Please note that if you then need to undertake Semester 2 reassessments, you will have to do so in the following academic year. You will also need to consider workload alongside your dissertation/project during the summer;
- Return to the University for Semester 2 in the academic year 2020/21, attend classes in person (providing this is possible) and then take your Semester 2 assessments in summer 2021 as a first attempt. You will not need to pay tuition fees twice for your studies if you choose this option, however, you will need to pay for your living costs.
If you would like to apply to take options 1 or 2 because of your specific circumstances, then please see the further information here.
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 access to appropriate technology in order to undertake Remote Assessments. If this is the case, we will do our very best to help. Please contact us by email to let us know.
Many of you will soon be embarking on your final projects/dissertations and we hope you’re looking forward to doing so - as this marks another significant milestone in the completion of your masters degree. In preparation, and in light of the current situation, colleagues across Schools are working hard to put appropriate arrangements in place to ensure that all students will still be able to complete a substantive and worthwhile project and thereby complete their studies within the same or similar time frame.
In the external environment, some students’ projects/dissertations may need to be adapted and conducted differently than we might ordinarily have planned this year. For example, projects involving data collection using the physical facilities on campus and/or face-to-face contact with human participants. Given it is likely that this work may no longer be possible, we will be proactive and plan contingencies now to avoid delaying your progress with your project. In such cases, please be reassured that we are committed to giving you all a positive, supportive and valuable project/dissertation experience which will still give you the opportunity to meet the relevant aims and learning outcomes for your respective programmes.
Keep up to date
The Learn page for each module will continue to be the definitive source of information about your learning and teaching opportunities and associated assessments. Please look at it frequently!
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 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 check out our new Learning Remotely web page which has lots of information for you about making the most of on-line lectures and study support, access to resources (including new off campus access to our campus computer rooms and our Virtual Library), enhancing your skills and all the other support which is available to you with your studies, future careers and mental wellbeing.
I hope that this email provides you reassurance that we are doing our utmost to support you at the current time. We have thought very carefully about the options, and we know that Loughborough students will want the opportunity to earn their degree and demonstrate their best work. I hope that you are able to focus on your studies as best you can and can take advantage of the huge amount of support for you across the whole of the #Lborofamily.
When the time is right, we look forward to welcoming you back to our campuses, and to celebrating your achievements. In the meantime, please take care of yourselves, your friends and family, and your communities.
Professor Rachel Thomson
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching