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Update for students - 30 September

Dear Students,

I am writing to welcome you back to campus for the beginning of the new academic year and to provide some important information about your teaching and learning this semester.

Induction

Induction activities for new undergraduate students will take place in all our academic disciplines on Thursday and Friday of this week. All details about these can be found here. Continuing undergraduate students and postgraduate taught students will have returners talks and inductions in your Schools, as advised separately. Please make sure you engage with all that is on offer to learn more about your School, how you will study, and to meet people on your course.

More information about your modules and accessing online teaching

Your lecturers have been preparing their teaching to provide flexible module delivery that is as interactive, engaging and inclusive as possible. There will be a mixture of in-person teaching delivered on campus, on-demand pre-recorded lectures and online live interactive sessions.

Each of your modules will have its own area on Learn, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Your Learn modules should contain a roadmap for you outlining the planned learning activities, on-demand recorded lectures and any other tasks that have been set for you, providing you with a clear outline of what is expected for each module.

We have prepared a Teaching and Learning in Semester 1 web site to support your learning this semester. Here you will find important information about how to access modules on Learn, your timetable and online teaching sessions using Microsoft Teams, including online etiquette, and how to engage with Personal Best.

Please take some time over the next few days to go through the site carefully and ask in your School if you have any questions.

Your timetable

Your timetable will indicate which of your teaching sessions will be in-person (indicated by the number of a room on campus) and which will be delivered online. You can access your timetable online or by using the tile on the MyLboro app.

Make sure you regularly check your timetable as it is possible that details, such as the room or delivery method for some sessions, may have to change at short notice.

Please note that in response to the national rise in the alert level on 21st September we have made some changes to teaching to reduce maximum class sizes. This has had a knock-on effect for the timetabling of in-person classes and has required us to move some additional classes online. It is planned that some of these further adjustments will be temporary for the first two weeks of the semester only, and that we will be able to gradually increase the amount of in-person classes once everyone is familiar with the campus and new ways of moving around whilst maintaining social distancing. Please therefore expect your timetable to change on a weekly basis as we respond flexibly to the situation and balance the in-person and online delivery modes.

End of semester 1 exams – online

We committed to our students that we would let you know at the beginning of the academic year how you would be examined at the end of semester 1. I can confirm that if you have exams at the end of semester 1, they will be taken online and will therefore be ‘open book’ exams. These will take the form of short (typically 3 hour) or long window (23 hour) exams depending on the discipline and/or module and will be accessed and submitted using Learn. You will be provided with more details about the exams and exam period in due course.

We hope to be able to revert to in-person exams at the end of Semester 2, but we will advise you towards the beginning of the next semester whether this will be the case.

Your learning community

At Loughborough, we pride ourselves on listening to our students. I work closely with your School Presidents and the Education Officer at the Students’ Union, Ana-Maria Bilciu. In addition, each year over 400 Course Reps are appointed to be the main points of contact for students who have feedback or wish to raise issues or ideas relating to their courses. Course Reps voice these views at meetings with academic staff which occur termly. The benefits of being a Rep include making a positive change to your student experience, enhancing your employability, and building stronger relationships with staff and students on your course. If you are interested in becoming a Course Rep, please apply by Wednesday 7th October at 5pm. Applications will be anonymised and reviewed by a panel, with appointments made based on the strength of application and suitability for the role.

Student support

If you need any additional help, or wish to speak to anyone, please do contact Student Services by email or phone (01509 222765) and they will advise you on how to access the services you need.

Finally, please be very diligent in following our Seven Golden Rules at all times to play your part in protecting yourself and the entire University community during these exceptional times and to minimise the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak on campus.

My very best wishes as we start the new academic year.

Professor Rachel Thomson
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching)