Update to students - 17 March at 6.30pm
I am writing with a message from the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Professor Rachel Thomson, who begins to set out more detail about teaching and learning at this challenging time, and it is important that you read this carefully.
The last 24 hours has seen significant change to the advice issued by the Government with regard to Coronavirus and as a consequence I am emailing all students with revised advice on the University’s position.
None of us know what further advice might be issued by the Government but I maintain my previous commitment: if this changes I shall email you again with the University’s response.
I am impressed with how the University community has come together to deal with the challenges we currently face. Despite the upheaval, I have seen the very best side of the University in recent days, not least from you our students.
Most importantly, I want to thank you for your support to members of the Loughborough family. It is at moments like this that our values come to the fore and we can demonstrate to others the qualities for which we are respected and so many others envy.
I am writing to provide more details about your studies moving forwards in response to new UK Government guidance on Coronavirus.
We have contingency plans in place to maintain our teaching activities online and for you to engage in learning and assessment remotely. We are committed to providing the best educational experience we possibly can for our students at this difficult time. In return, we would strongly encourage you to engage as fully as you can with your learning through our new arrangements, which are outlined below.
This covers how to learn online, your assessments, current access to facilities and importantly how to keep updated.
- We have now suspended all face-to-face delivery for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and therefore you should no longer attend any classes, including lectures, tutorials, seminars, laboratory classes etc., until notified otherwise.
- Digital registers are suspended until further notice.
Moving on-line and support from staff
- We will make available all lecture material that we can on-line using ReVIEW on Learn in the normal way.
- We have a number of digital tools by which staff can engage with you remotely, both in real time and at any time. These include ‘Chats’ with the teaching staff, virtual seminars which will take place at specific times and Forums in which you can post questions for example. You can of course email your teaching staff, use video methods and even arrange to speak to them on the telephone!
Access to facilities on campus
- We are aware that some students remain in halls of residence and so these, along with our libraries, study spaces and central computing facilities, will stay open with additional restrictions and operate in line with evolving government advice.
- The libraries on both our campuses remain open at the current time but we have limited the building capacity in Loughborough to allow physical distancing. All book loans have been renewed until at least May 4th so you do not need to worry about physically returning a book. Similarly, we have extended the number of books that students can take out on loan to 50 should you require to do so. The library staff are also available to support you remotely and therefore we encourage you to contact them for help by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Central computer rooms with 24 hour access will remain accessible for the time being.
- We are aware that in some cases, students may require the use of specialist software only available on campus. We will ensure that alternative arrangements or adjustments to assessments will be put in place if this is the case.
- We have carefully reviewed the situation for those who require access to other on-campus facilities, such as workshops and laboratories, and have determined that these need to close now for safety reasons. You will still be able to access studio space for private study. We will work with you to ensure that you are able to complete your project work in other ways. Where necessary, staff from your specific discipline will be in touch proactively to provide further details as to how they can support you.
We are currently working through every single module to look at the appropriateness of all assessments. Adjustments will be made where appropriate. We will let you know of the details for each module via the Learn page for the module as soon as we can and any other changes we may need to make.
- Existing coursework deadlines remain in force unless you are told otherwise.
- Please note that if we have to change any deadlines, we will let you know as soon as we can via Learn.
- You should submit your work on-line as normal. We are aware that in some cases there are physical submissions. We are currently making alternative arrangements for each module where relevant and therefore you should not worry about this at the current time.
- Any scheduled in-class tests or in-class assessments will no longer take place in their current form this academic year.
- If you have to prepare/give a presentation for a module, then we are looking to use technology to allow you to do this remotely.
- We are aware that you may need to work in groups for coursework. There are a number of ways in which you can continue to do this remotely, and we will advise on a module basis and on our new Learning Remotely help page. We will make allowances for the fact that you are working remotely in our marking.
- If you have an assignment which requires you to interview people, you should use alternative methods rather than face-to-face. Further guidance will be provided by your supervisor and/or module leader as appropriate.
At this point, you should continue to prepare for examinations as normal. We shall advise your further at the start of next term.
Information specific to undergraduate finalists
- I know from speaking to a number of students that undergraduate finalists are concerned about whether or not they will be able to graduate. Please be reassured that our expectation is that we will be able to award degrees this summer. We will also ensure that nothing we do disadvantages a student in respect of their degree outcome.
- We will also keep under review activities such as finalists Degree Shows and Project Showcases which typically take place towards the end of the academic year.
- It currently remains our intention to hold graduation ceremonies in the usual way, but if we do have to adjust the timing we shall give you as much notice as possible.
Looking after your mental health
Your mental health is a particular concern at this time. More information will be available shortly but for now it is important to note the following:
The mental health charity Mind has created useful resources that you can access.
You may also like to visit the Personal Best web site, where there are a range of additional resources to support you.
As I am sure you will appreciate this is a rapidly moving situation, and it will take a little time for all of our online structures and resources to be put in place, so we would ask that you bear with us over the next few days.
- The Learn page for each module will be the definitive source of information about your learning and teaching opportunities and associated assessments.
- 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.
I know that this will be a challenging time for many students, but please be rest assured that we have your best interests at heart. Please engage with your studies over the coming period as best you can to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed. We are one #Lborofamily and we are here to support each other.
Professor Rachel Thomson
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching