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COVID-19 update: RUSU round up 2

Here is your next round up of what RUSU has been doing to make sure your voice is heard. We want to thank anyone for sharing their constructive feedback with us, it is really helpful so please keep it coming.

Communication beyond exams

We understand that dealing with exam concerns is a priority, but we wanted to highlight the other work we continue to do that supports you.

  • Q&A session – Details are being finalised this week so please continue to submit your questions online. These can be to do with anything related to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Blog posting – The University would love for you to contribute to their communications. Whether that be tips for revising, coping with your wellbeing at home to your favourite Netflix shows! If you are keen to get involved message Daisy at activitiesofficer@rusu.co.uk.
  • Officers – We have been trying our best to carry on our planned work next to everything else. Keep an eye out across our social media to see what we have been doing!
  • Open letter update – The University FAQs should be out today so we will make sure to go through them and look for any missing gaps between the concerns raised in our open letter and the answers they have provided.

Exam Concerns

Here is a summary of your exam concerns and what we have raised with the University at the Major Incident Team meeting:

  • Communication – confusion by the information sent on Friday. Concerns academic staff aren’t receiving this information so don’t know how best to advise students and haven’t been consulted on decisions. Students want a justification as to how the University have met the guiding principle of aiming to be fair to all students. Students continue to feel as though they haven’t been listened to.
  • All grade safety net – Some students want an all grade safety net. They feel a module grade safety net positively impacts the minority and protects those more who have the least exams. They feel this is an unfair advantage – STEM students seem to be particularly concerned about this.
  • Inconsistencies – Still concerns that the Universities decision is going to disadvantage students against Universities who are adopting an all grade safety net or scrapping exams completely.
  • Masters students – Has any specific attention been given to Masters students as their experience may be different to Undergraduates? They feel the information released around exams isn’t compatible with the academic year of a Masters student. Additionally, has consideration been given to the dissertation and the fact research will not be of the same standard and access to speaking with supervisors has been severely reduced due to internet quality and time differences?
  • Special circumstances – Lack of support in place for those with poor IT equipment and internet. Lack of understanding for students with caring responsibilities and a sense that no reference to this is made in the safety net policy. Lack of consideration to students with vulnerable family members who won’t be able to support them during their exams.
  • Timing – Concern from some students that exams are, in some cases, at the end of the month and that isn’t enough time to prepare. Coursework was extended which is now cutting into revision time. Why do exams need to be this early when the University are not having to deal with logistics such as room bookings?
  • Coursework – Coursework that has had an extension is now not included in the safety net and that is unfair.
  • Resits – Concerns that students can’t make an informed decision without knowing the details of how resits will work. The option to defer doesn’t support those who are graduating with jobs lined up that are dependent upon them receiving their results.
  • IT capabilities – Will Blackboard be able to cope with using it for take home exams as RISIS crashed on Friday?