In March 2020 we introduced a package of measures designed to ensure that students experienced no disadvantage due to the rapid movement to online teaching and learning necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have since invested in developing a blended approach to teaching and learning to ensure the quality of the student experience which will allow individual students to achieve successful outcomes, no matter where you are in the world.
Circumstances this year are therefore different to last year in that we are all better prepared for online learning and assessment. Nevertheless, we recognise that the continuing pandemic, and particularly the recent move to a further lockdown in the UK, may be impacting on you and your studies. Taking account of an agreed set of principles across our Russell Group peer institutions, and in consultation with and support from the Students’ Union, a package of support has been agreed. This is specific to the structure of Warwick degrees and the volume of assessment undertaken by students and reflects the circumstances of the current academic year. The summary below provides an outline of the measures for the academic year 2020-21.
- For all Postgraduate Taught students: As a Postgraduate Taught student, you will have the right to remedy failure once in an initial assessment for all failed modules. This is with the exception of professional practice modules and where there are specific PSRB accreditation requirements.
- For all Postgraduate Taught Students: We will be introducing a new borderline category when classifying postgraduate taught awards, which will permit greater discretion when considering a student’s final award classification. The following borderline category will apply to all current students in 2020/21, both new and continuing, and in future years:
- For a postgraduate taught student, where the weighted average for classification is within 2 percentage points of the borderline for the Distinction or Merit category, students should be promoted if at least 50% of the weighted credits counting towards the classification are above the class boundary and this should include the compulsory dissertation/project where applicable. (This rule will apply to Masters courses, Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates).
- This discretionary borderline zone also gives Examination Boards more discretion on promoting candidates due to mitigating circumstances.
- For Postgraduate Taught students on Masters and Postgraduate Diploma courses in 2019/20: Measures introduced last year will remain for students who were registered in 2019/20 and are continuing on the same course of study this year (eg those who may be returning from a period of temporary withdrawal/deferral, and part-time students) and further information can be found on MyWarwick. These measures included:
- The calculation of the award of Merit and Distinction for Masters Degrees being based on the best 120 credits achieved and Postgraduate Diploma classifications being based on the best 90 credits.
- The suspension of the rule that postgraduate taught students would only be eligible for the award of a qualification if they achieved at least 40% in all failed modules on Masters degrees and Postgraduate Diplomas
Degree Apprenticeships are to be advised separately and information will be provided by the Work Based and Professional Learning team in due course.
- We introduced in October the ability to self-certify on two separate occasions in the academic year and so allowing extensions to assessment deadlines of 5 university working days. Find out more about self-certification extensions and how to request an extension.
- In addition, for TERM 2 we have provided an automatic blanket 1-week extension for eligible assessments where submission deadlines have already been announced and are currently scheduled between the 11/01/2021 – 1/02/2021 (this does not include time dependent assessments such as tests, examinations and weekly homeworks). If you need to make use of existing self-certifications, they can be used on top of the 1-week extension if needed. These arrangements do not apply to Degree Apprenticeship students and where discipline specific limitations or PSRB requirements apply in some departments, it may not be feasible to make use of the automatic extension arrangement. However, your department will be able to confirm where this is not possible.
- If you are a student with a reasonable adjustment from Wellbeing Support Services which allows flexible deadlines, you will still have this additional flexibility on top of any self-certification or blanket 1-week extension.
- If you have submitted an assessment late, but have appropriate mitigation (e.g. if there was a failing in IT or there was a need for childcare which affected submission, and other Covid related issues), it is possible that through the Mitigating Circumstances process, a recommendation can be made to Examination Boards that any late penalties be removed.
- The mitigating circumstances portal (found on Tabula in the personal circumstances tab or MyWBS), allows submission of general mitigation and COVID-19 specific mitigation claims. The Mitigating Circumstances Student FAQ webpages contains up to date information on the submission and consideration of mitigating circumstances, including clear guidance on what evidence may be required. For 2020-21, your academic department will continue to be sympathetic to claims where it has not been possible to obtain evidence but where sufficient explanation has been provided.
- Lack of, or failings in, IT equipment (including broadband capability) are included as legitimate mitigation claims. Specific time allowances will be provided in online examinations to cover any issues with IT equipment. Issues with accommodation that impact on study, the need to prioritise childcare, or other issues arising due to lockdown are also legitimate mitigating circumstances.
- You are able to defer an assessment period (normally an examination period), where a Senior Tutor is satisfied that it is in the your best interest (and if you agree). The examination board will allow a resit (or first sit) at the next available opportunity (normally the September examination period). Students should contact the Departmental Senior Tutor in the first instance if they wish to be considered for a deferral.
- Dissertations and Projects: We know that your dissertation or project forms a significant and intrinsic part of your Masters degree. Given the ongoing constraints arising from the pandemic, you will need to take this into consideration when developing your topic and research methodology for your dissertation or project. If you have already begun to undertake research for a dissertation or project and it has been impacted by Covid-19, (e.g. a lack of access to relevant resources, the impact of library and archive closures, lack of access to laboratories, difficulties in undertaking fieldwork or a lack of internet access due to working from home) please discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible. There are also opportunities to apply for extensions or to provide evidence of mitigating circumstances (see above).