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2021/22 Maths Department Teaching and Exam Arrangements

Last updated 15th December 2021

Please see below for the current status of course and module delivery for the academic year 2021/22. We are still largely restrained by University restrictions, and note that if there were a change in this due to government guidelines we may need to make some rapid changes again.

Module Delivery

Term 2

At present we are largely moving towards as much face to face teaching as we can for Term 2 subject to student numbers on some modules and availability of rooms (Timetabling is normally carried out over the summer, so Term 2 timetabling has necessarily been a more streamlined effort due to time constraints). The standard model is that for a module that a lecturer has taught last year they will have two in-person lectures and the remaining material as pre-recorded videos on Moodle, otherwise three in-person lectures. We expect all lectures to be lecture captured (apart from a small number of 4th year modules that are timetabled in rooms without that capacity).

Timetables for maths modules will be uploaded to the front page of the Course Handbook shortly, but in brief:

Year 1: Supervisions will continue to be face to face in the department, lectures will be a mixture of online and in-person (see timetable once it is up) but Linear Algebra and Maths by Computer will be online lectures, the rest will be in person.

Year 2: Lectures will be a mixture of online and face to face. Roughly speaking core modules will be online, optional will be face to face (this is a number of registrations issue). All core modules will have support classes which will be a mix of online and face to face, how to sign up for these will be explained nearer the time (they won't start until week 2).

Year 3: Most lectures will be face to face. Support classes are not timetabled yet, but will be organised by module lecturers and are likely to be a mix of face to face and online. Tour of Maths will no longer be running in Term 2.

Year 4: Will be a continuation of term 1 with almost all lectures face to face.

Assignments

The electronic hand-in of assignments has proved to be a positive to have come out of our experiences last year, and so we will continue to have all assignments submitted via Moodle hand-in pages (years 1 and 2) or submission links on Moodle module pages (years 3 and 4). Links will be placed on module pages, but should also appear on your Moodle dashboard.

Unlike last year, the standard department late policy for assignments will be in place from day one of Term, i.e. any work that is late receives a mark of zero*. If you have mitigating circumstances you should submit a claim on Tabula, and if accepted missing/late work can be discounted from the final assessed component calculation.

*more major pieces of work, i.e. work that on its own counts towards more than 2 CATS, receives the University late penalty of 5 percentage points per 24 hours or part thereof. For example Second Year Essay, Programming for Scientists.

Personal Tutors (Maths students)

Subject to both tutor and tutees being comfortable with it, tutorials will remain being face to face for Term 2. These will either be held in staff offices or larger booked rooms depending on the numbers involved. First years will continue to get weekly one hour tutorials, second years at least fornightly tutorials.

Building

Please remember that currently it is still a requirement to wear a mask as you walk around the public areas of any University building, but we are gradually moving back to normality. For Term 2 we hope to revert more of the Undergraduate Workroom back to a workroom: as always, this space is only for students from the maths department, this may still be subject to some reduced capacity so please don't rely on being able to use this space whenever you need to.

The Staff Common Room wis now back to a common room rather than teaching space, please remember that this is for staff, postgraduates and 4th year MMath students only.

Supervision areas are opened up again as you will have noticed, and over the Christmas vacation we expect those areas that had reduced capacity to go back to something closer to their non-Covid set-up providing more space for supervisions and private study.

Exams

The first year January exams (MA131, MA137, MA132, MA138) will be online. An email will be sent to all students taking these exams with more information, but briefly MA132 and MA138 exams will be at 09:30 on Monday 10th January and the MA131 and MA137 exams at 14:00 on the same day. These are fixed time exams each of 1.5 hours duration and must be accessed through the Alternative Exams Portal.

All other exams, in Term 3, will be back to sitting in exam halls as normal ('in-person exams'), this has now been approved by the University (of course, in the event of further Covid disruption this could in any case be changed nearer the time). Note that just because our exams are reverting back does not mean that all your options from outside departments will. We understand that subjects such as Stats, Physics and Computer Science will also have in-person exams, but other departments may well continue with online exams as this is the Universities "preferred option".

The format of these exams will be mostly 2 hour exams (1st and 2nd year modules) or 3 hour exams (3rd and 4th year modules) with some exceptions for a small number of modules. Some will consist of all compulsory questions, others a compulsory question plus choice of 3 out of 4 optional questions. You will be made aware of the precise nature of each exam nearer the time.

If you have concerns then please address these to the department SSLC so that they can be raised through the correct lines of communication. We do know that some of you may prefer to have kept online exams, but for the past two years there has been consistent opposition, and indeed anger, from students towards them and we believe that, for the mathematical sciences in particular, in person exams are a far superior mechanism for testing understanding of material whilst maintaining the integrity of those exams.

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Dr David Wood, DUGS.