Today (Tuesday 5th January 2021) your elected Officers took questions to Jane Owen-Lynch, the Pro Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning for the University of Huddersfield. The Pro Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning oversees all education at the University. As the lockdown was only announced on Monday, and the Department for Education is yet to announce official guidance, the University is still putting together all its plans and communications.
The below questions were asked by your elected officers and came directly from students. We've typed up our notes from our conversation and pulled together some extra information we hope you'll find useful.
Over 400 of you have voted on the Big Idea about the Safety Net policy, we’re working on a proposal for this and will keep you all updated as soon as we know more.
Studios and facilities that are not for critical worker courses can’t be accessed due to the current government guidance. As there will be different requirements for different students, specific information will be at a school or course level, please wait for more information.
Practical elements of courses are currently being planned. Some practical elements may be moved to term 3 when restrictions will hopefully be lessened due to the lockdown and the vaccine roll out. This will be prioritised for final years, as first and second years will be returning next year, and practical elements could be completed then.
Guidance for assessments is similar; either they will be carried out at a safer time or they will be held online, it is impossible to give a blanket answer as courses are assessed in different ways and some courses are accredited by professional bodies, meaning that external organisations define the types of assessment required for a degree to be recognised (such as Law and Nursing). You should refer to your Course Leader or the University FAQs if you're unsure.
More emails will be coming out from the University and possibly from your school, but the list in the initial email from Vice Chancellor, Bob Cryan, is believed to be the complete list. If you are not sure if you are due back on campus, please contact your school.
The University stands by the approach that the same learning outcomes are being reached whether you have learning blended or are fully online. They believe that you will reach all your learning outcomes, even if certain elements must be moved to safer times in the year, and that teaching quality is as good as in person. FAQs about the University regulations can be found online.
As learning is online, most of it is flexible. When there are difficulties, there are extensions and Extenuating Circumstances. For individual circumstances please do speak to your academics or the support services. The Students’ Union Advice Centre can give you independent support on this and explain the processes in more detail.
Regulations for assessment in periods of emergency, with specific relatation to Covid-19 can be found in section E2.13 of the Regulations for Awards (Taught courses)
The purpose of the safety net was to ensure that grades achieved during the disruption of Covid-19 towards the end of the 2019/20 academic year wouldn’t negatively impact a student’s overall degree classification whilst at University. This was due to the short amount of time the University had to move teaching and assessments online due to the lockdown. This academic year (2020/21) the safety net will apply in the following way to undergraduates:
Grades achieved this year (2020/21) will be part of your final overall classification.
Any updates we have will go in our FAQ’s here. We want to ensure we are only sending out important updates to students so that they aren’t lost in inboxes. We have been answering all queries students have, please visit the FAQ’s to find a suitable email if you’d like to contact a specific department or University service.
Wellbeing services are available at the University and Students’ Union. The University has to follow government guidance about returning to campus, but the library will be open to any students who need access for as long as possible.
There is information for international students available in the FAQs, alternatively, you could join a drop-in session:
International Student Support Drop-in sessions: Monday - Friday 10.00am - 11.00am (UK Time) Join the drop-in during the times above or use Zoom Meeting ID: 959 642 421 (no password is required).
We know this is a really tough time for you all; whether you’re a first year who has just joined us, or a final year about to finish, we’re here for you. We will not stop trying to help, so please get in touch with us email@example.com or find us on social media.
Adetayo, SU President
Lucy, Activities Officer
Bethany, Community Officer
Tom, SU Education Officer
Nurin, Equalities Officer