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Update for students - 10 December

Dear Students,

I am writing to remind you and provide further information about the arrangements for study and assessments after the Christmas break, following on from the email you received last week from the Chief Operating Officer. This email also includes details of the re-launch of the four academic Loughborough Safety Nets which are designed to help all students in a consistent way. These ensure that everyone is treated fairly given the changes to teaching, learning and assessment this year.   

First, I want to thank all of you for the way in which you have gone about engaging with your studies this semester. I have talked to many of you, reviewed the feedback from the ‘How’s it going?’ survey, and know that the combination of in person, live interactive online and on demand sessions and materials have allowed you to participate in and progress with your studies, despite the challenging circumstances. Thank you! 

Returning to University in the New Year

The new term starts on Monday 11th January 2021, which is week 12 of Semester 1.

You should check your timetable as it will have the latest information about your classes. Revision classes in week 12 will be online, but some of you will have in person teaching (particularly practicals or studio work) in weeks 12-15.

Semester 1 online assessments (exams) take place from 18th January to 3rdFebruary. Detailed information about these is provided below. Our student study spaces and other specialist spaces will be open and available to you if you wish to return to our campuses to prepare and/or take your assessments. We anticipate that some of the spaces will be bookable in advance and that our adjacent cafés will be open. More information will be provided in early January to help you find an appropriate study space. We will also write to you shortly about Covid testing arrangements for your return in the New Year.

Online Assessment Information

Please ensure that you read the information below carefully. This will help you to understand what to expect, plan how you are going to complete your exams, and test the process out so that you are as prepared as possible when the day comes. The information in this email about online assessments is also available here

Additional and detailed information about the University’s formal examination and assessment processes is also available in the Student Handbook here.

You were informed at the beginning of the Semester that all exams will be online and will be one of the following types:

1a: An open book, long window online exam (23 hours) 

You will be advised of the expected amount of time and effort you should spend on the paper. This is likely to be similar to a normal examination length (2-3 hours) and much less than the 23-hour window available.

All 1a exams will be available for download from 10.00am (GMT) and must be submitted by 09.00am (GMT) the following day.

1b type: An open book, short window online exam

Your exam will either be:

• A downloadable exam paper –You will have a set length of time for you to complete the exam off-line (usually 1-3 hours), plus a further 30 minutes which is for you to download the paper and then upload and submit your answers to Learn. The additional 30 minutes is included in the finish time on your timetable.

• A Learn quiz - You will have a set length of time to complete and submit your answers online (usually 1-3 hours). The exam is set up on Learn so you will not need to download an exam paper or upload your answers afterwards in this case.

All 1b exams will start at 09.30am (GMT). The final submission time displayed on your timetable is personal to you. It includes any extra time or rest breaks you may have as part of a Reasonable Adjustment arrangement.

If you have any queries about your exam timetable or module registrations, please contact your School’s Programme Administrator.

Taking your exams

Although the online exams will be ‘open book’ (which means that you are allowed to use resources to help prepare your answers if you wish, and questions are likely to test the application of knowledge), they will otherwise be as similar as possible to a ‘normal’ exam. You should therefore prepare largely as normal. Detailed information, including our key ‘Top 10 Tips’ is available here.

practice module in Learn is now available for you that replicates how you will interact with your exams during an actual examination session. To access this, you will need to enrol and sign-in to the module. Once enrolled, you will be given instructions on what to do next. Please do practice in plenty of time before your first online assessment!

Preparing your answers for submission

Your answers (except for Learn quizzes) will need to be submitted to the exam submission point on your module page (also available on your Timeline) as a single PDF document. This is a similar process to coursework submission which you will already be familiar with.

Detailed information about how to create and upload a PDF file from your answers is available here. Again, please make yourself familiar before your examination.

How to get help during an exam

If you have any problems downloading the exam paper or uploading your answers during a remote exam, help will be available as follows:

Telephone Hotline (preferred): 01509 222900   between 8am and 6pm UK (GMT) time, Monday to Friday. 

Outside these hours, or if you are not able to make a phone call, please email from your University account including your student ID number and module code: examhelp@lboro.ac.uk

Please note that you will now be given an additional time allowance of 30 minutes to download your paper and upload answers back to Learn. In Semester 2, 2019/20 it was clear that students were able to download the paper and upload their answers to Learn well within this time window. However, if you experience difficulties in uploading by the deadline for your exam you may, as a last resort, email your file to: examhelp@lboro.ac.uk If you have to do this, please ensure you do so before the deadline from your University email account and include your student ID number and module code in the email. If you have no access to email, then please call the telephone hotline number as above.

After your exams

Your online work will be marked and moderated as normal. Please note that the marks awarded in Semester 1 will not have the Safety Nets applied to them until the exam boards which take place at the end of Semester 2. Therefore, the marks you obtain at the end of Semester 1 are provisional and may be subject to further change. More information is available here.

Your Semester 1 marks will be released as usual through the MyResults System from Monday 22nd to Wednesday 24th February 2021. These dates may be subject to change, but we will inform you as soon as we can if there are likely to be any delays. Your School will advise how you can get feedback on your performance in the exams.

Loughborough Safety Nets

The Loughborough Safety Nets are designed to help all students, in a consistent way, ensuring everyone is treated fairly given the changes to the assessment format and the impact of the pandemic this year.

The Loughborough Safety Nets for undergraduate and postgraduate students were used successfully during the 2019/20 academic year and ensured students were not disadvantaged by the impact of the pandemic. Therefore, we are now rolling the Safety Nets forwards for 2020/21.

Some small changes have been made to reflect the fact that Semester 2 last year (2019/20) was affected by the sudden and unplanned closure of the University’s campuses in March as the Coronavirus situation escalated. This academic year, we have largely been able to plan in advance for any changes required, and the University’s campuses have been allowed to remain open. 

Mitigating Circumstances Claims

Mitigating Circumstances claims are there to help students with specific individual circumstances (e.g. exceptional, serious or acute medical, family, personal, or other problems or events beyond your control). 

We would encourage you to seek support from your School (School admin team, Lecturers, Personal Academic Tutors etc) and/or Student Services as soon as possible if you feel you have an issue which is affecting your studies. We are here to help you, and we want every student to have the best possible chance to succeed.

All Mitigating Circumstances claims will be viewed fairly and sympathetically. If submitting a claim, you will need to explain the impact of the circumstances on your studies in as much detail as you can. You should provide supporting evidence if you are able to, but we recognise this might not be possible in some cases. If this applies to you, please do submit the claim anyway. Cases where we recognise that it may not be possible to provide evidence include, for example, medical circumstances where the cost of obtaining the evidence is prohibitive, where you have unfortunately been a victim of, or impacted by, racist incidents, sexual or domestic violence, or because of other sensitive personal and family circumstances. Please check out the further details in the Student Handbook for examples and support.

You may also want to contact LSU Advice for additional help in completing a Mitigating Circumstances claim. You can find further details on the LSU website.

Access to Technology

Please note that if you are genuinely concerned about your access to appropriate technology for your online assessments, please contact us as soon as possible by email to let us know so that we can support you.

Supporting your Wellbeing

We have a range of support available to you. There are online self-help resources here and you can also access support from our mental wellbeing team should you wish to speak with someone about your health and wellbeing concerns. If you ever feel that you are in crisis or need help urgently please see the information here.

You can also access the LU Wellbeing app, which is free to download on any smart device and can be found on the App Store or Google Play.

And finally…

I do hope that you and your families are staying safe at the current time, and my very best wishes for the forthcoming holiday period. 

Kind Regards,

 

Rachel Thomson
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching)