I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing Winter break and are settling well into the Spring term. Wherever you are accessing your learning, we are working hard to help you achieve a transformational education while keeping you safe and well. Please remember that we are here for you and we want to do all we can to support you.
We know this continues to be a difficult time for many of you. This email is to update you on the measures we are taking to support you to progress to the next stage of your studies or to graduate. We care about you and your future and want to do all we can to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic does not affect you unfairly.
In 2020-21 to ensure the disruption caused by COVID-19 does not impact on you unfairly, we are operating a No Detriment Policy in all Departments and Schools without exception. It will be applied through the Board of Examiners for all taught students and all programmes of study and all assessment you have or will undertake in this academic year, including coursework and dissertations, as well as online exams. We have worked with the Students’ Union to develop the policy.
All decisions by the Board of Examiners will take into account the impact of the pandemic and you will not be disadvantaged by the difficulties created by COVID-19.
There are three safety nets to support you:
We are continuing our streamlined extenuating circumstances process for students and removing the need for you to provide evidence to support an extenuating circumstances claim. We recognise that, in many COVID-related situations, obtaining such evidence might be difficult or impossible. This will provide you with greater certainty about the outcome of your claim.
If you cannot take your assessment, for whatever reason, we will offer you another opportunity in September with no penalty. All taught students who fail a module will be offered automatically an uncapped reassessment, with no requirement to submit an extenuating circumstances claim. Voluntary reassessment will be offered to all students who pass a module but have submitted an extenuating circumstances claim. This means that if you cannot take your exam, or do take it but cannot perform to the best of your ability, you can have another opportunity to sit the exam at a later date.
If your module cohort as a whole performs more poorly than we would expect based on the last 3 years of students taking that module, the Board of Examiners will consider the marks and take action to ensure that you are not disadvantaged.
Full details of our No Detriment approach will be available in the coming weeks on our assessment webpages. If you have questions about the deadlines for coursework submission, please contact your Department or School.
We will not run examinations that require you to be physically present on campus during the summer term 2021. This applies to all groups of taught students, both undergraduate and postgraduate.
We will use remote assessment methods, for example, using ‘take home’ examinations. All methods of assessment will give you appropriate opportunities to demonstrate your learning and will meet our rigorous academic standards in line with our commitment to excellence in education.
We recognise that some courses and modules have external accreditation requirements. We are working with relevant accrediting bodies to ensure that accreditation requirements are managed through this process.
For some modules, the nature of the assessment and/or accreditation requirements may mean that assessment on our campuses will be necessary at some point. Where this is the case, we will ensure that any assessment undertaken will be carefully managed in line with advice from Public Health England. Please be assured that your health and wellbeing will be our top priority in all decision-making. Your Department or School can provide more information for you.
Details of your assessment arrangements for summer 2021 for each module will be published through your examinations timetable in March.
We understand that you are continuing to be affected by the pandemic. You may have caring or childcare responsibilities, other personal commitments, or may find it difficult to access IT facilities, all of which might affect your academic performance. The pandemic itself may also be causing you to worry. We have a range of services available to you, including to support your mental health and wellbeing.
Ensuring your success remains our priority and we want to support you. If you have any questions about your course or modules, please contact the professional services team in your Department or School.
Our Student Services Hubs for Colchester, Southend and Loughton are operating phone, email and live chat facilities; and our Library team can live chat via the website or you can email them enquiries at email@example.com.
Finally, please remember we are always here to help you. We will keep you updated regularly so please keep an eye on your Essex email and all our usual communication channels. Support each other as much as you can and do not hesitate to get in touch if you need us.