Latest updates

Update to students - 27 March at 4.45pm

Dear Students,

We are grateful to our student body for their engagement with my email earlier on today.

I would like to apologise for the downtime on Learn earlier this morning. We have added substantial extra capacity to the system and it is now working significantly faster than it was previously. We hope that this will be of benefit to all students moving forwards.

For those who had coursework deadlines prior to 5pm today, you will hopefully be aware that these were all extended to 5pm as a result of the issues experienced this morning.

A number of students have requested clarification of our approach in terms of undertaking remote assessments. Please note that we are committed to a ‘no detriment’ position for the 2020 student cohort. This means that we will ensure that the outcomes for each year of the 2020 student cohort are collectively no worse than for the outcomes of the previous three cohorts for the appropriate year group.

We will do this by considering moderation of marks for all modules in the end of year boards. Following our normal processes, we will adjust marks where necessary to ensure that the outcomes for our 2020 student cohort are exactly in line with, or better than, those in the corresponding previous three years.

In addition to this, we will be looking at the degree outcomes of every single finalist student extremely carefully on an individual basis.  We will ensure that degree outcomes are in line with the result that could reasonably be expected based on previous achievement. Therefore, before taking decisions on degree classifications for Finalists, we will look at each individual’s prior performance, and in particular the marks obtained in Semester 1, in the context of those obtained under the remote assessment arrangements for Semester 2, 2020. During this process we will also take into account any specific factors relating to individual modules, for example, any impact due to industrial action or any other issues that we are made aware of.

We will also take into account any information individual students raise with us about their specific situation through Mitigating Circumstances claims. We have relaxed the requirements for evidence to support claims, bearing in mind the difficult national situation.

If at the point of the outcome of assessment you believe the University has not followed these principles you will have the opportunity to make an appeal through our normal processes, which will be viewed sympathetically and fairly.

We have thought very carefully about the options for changes to assessment. We do recognise how challenging this term has been for our students. We think this approach strikes the best balance between maintaining rigour, giving individuals an opportunity to demonstrate their learning, whilst ensuring the 2020 cohort of students is not disadvantaged in terms of outcomes to previous years.

I hope that you find this additional clarification useful, and I would ask you to refer to our FAQ page if you have any further questions. We will keep updating this on a regular basis over the coming weeks. Please also do check out our Learning Remotely page which has lots of useful information on it to benefit your studies over the coming weeks.

Very best wishes

Professor Rachel Thomson
Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching