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‘Sup dudes!

The weather outside is nice, isn’t it? It goes without saying that everything has changed due to the current situation we are in. We hear and we understand how concerned you all are about the uncertainty that the future holds and we are still working, more actively than ever to clear everything up and ensure that the chips fall in a place that’s beneficial for you.

The Sabbatical Officers are involved in all of UCL’s coronavirus response groups, ensuring that your voice and your perspective drives all of UCL’s decision making in the current situation that we are in. I myself am part of the groups focussing on Examination and Assessments, the delivery of Remote Teaching, and the impact on Research. As a result of our involvement, the following updates can be shared:

  • Postgraduate Taught students should have the details on all their alternative assessments by 6 April.  
    The new examination period has been pushed back to 11 May - 24 June.
    The revised timetable should be out by 8 April.

  • If you have timed online examinations, the exam paper will be released 24 hours before your submission deadline. Submission deadlines for timed, online exams will be set as 12:00 or 15:00 (GMT). There will be no timed 24-hour online exams at weekends: ie there will be no Sunday release of papers or Saturday submission deadlines.

  • UCL is committed to implementing a ‘no academic disadvantage’ policy, mitigating any potential adverse impact that the current situation has for postgraduate students. For taught postgraduates, this means:

    • Provided students have met the completion requirements (i.e. passed or been condoned for all modules) then their classification will be based on the average of their performance in their best 90 credits.
    • This does not apply to MRes students. We are still working with UCL on this as the above policy clearly does not have the same effect for MRes students due to the different credit structure of MRes degrees.
    • Condonement rules remain the same for taught postgraduate students - if students have at least an overall average score of 50%, students will be allowed to have 30 credits condoned and carry over up to a further 30 credits of failed modules into a later assessment period.
    • More information about this can be found here.
  • Students will be able to submit a self-certified claim for any valid Extenuating Circumstance (not just those related to COVID-19). Whilst automatic approval will be granted, the decision on the most appropriate form of mitigation will be determined by the Faculty or Departmental EC Panel. Refer to the UCL Academic Manual Chapter 4, Section 6: COVID-19 Extenuating Circumstances Procedure for further details.

  • The Late Summer Assessment period will only be used for deferred assessments. Reassessments, where necessary, will take place in January (although departments may run the re-assessments earlier if convenient).

  • As noted in the Provost View update on Friday, there will be a blanket extension of the writing up (CRS) period for all PGR students for the full period of closure, with further extensions relating to COVID-19 considered on request.

  • Furthermore, the Hardship Fund has been expanded to better support those postgraduate students in need for the duration of the crisis, with an increase in the amount claimable to £3,000. A new fund, Emergency Assistance Grant, has been set up in response to COVID-19 to provide quicker assessments for short-term fees, and you can also submit a request to defer fees for the period of closure. 

  • We are still working with external funders – such as UKRI and Wellcome – and, through UCL and the aforementioned response groups, are in active discussion with these bodies and lobbying in the interests of our students. As soon as we are able to confirm further support, we will update you all accordingly.

  • All ‘no-cost’ extension requests to grants administered by UCL, UKRI, or the Wellcome Trust and impacted by coronavirus will be allowed. As noted above, we are still lobbying all funders, including these groups, to implement additional mitigatory measures.

Nonetheless, there are still issues yet to be fully addressed that we are driving forward in these groups. For example:

  • Fundamental Learning objectives that cannot be captured by remote learning/online teaching (e.g. clinical training).

  • Ensuring that students are guided to access new and existing online resources and maximise their use to support the learning experience for programmes delivered remotely in Term 3.

  • Consider the remote/online learning needs and challenges of specific student cohorts to ensure that remote delivery options are accessible and so not disadvantage any student group.

  • Support for students with disabilities re: the administration of multiple different software platforms being used for online teaching.

  • And, as noted above, funding extensions for PGR students.

Please keep an eye on your email as most updates would be communicated to you through there. Also consider visiting the following links which will have more detail on the updates provided above, and will also be updated accordingly as the situation, and UCL’s response to it develops.

Useful links: