As Government guidance for Universities continues to be released, we continue to ensure that our two overarching principles guide our approach to your learning and teaching experience in 2020-2021;
- Ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and wider community
- Providing high quality face to face learning and teaching for all of our new and returning students, supported and enriched by online learning.
The University is proud of the ways in which it delivers its learning, teaching and assessment, and is committed to ensuring a high quality experience for all students, one in which you begin to develop your confidence as a University student, develop your core academic skills and of course, your subject knowledge.
Our courses are delivered using an approach called ‘blended learning’. Blended learning is an approach which brings together experiences across any of the environments you will learn in.
The key features of our blended delivery during academic year 2020-21 are:
- All lectures will be delivered online using a tool called “virtual classroom”
- All learning materials will be available via Brightspace (our online learning environment, which includes “virtual classroom”)
- Small group seminars and group and individual tutorials will be delivered face to face on campus
- There will be access to specialist facilities including laboratories, clinical simulation and art studios
- Access to resources and some study spaces in the library.
It is important that all students access Brightspace once they have received their IT credentials, and actively participate in activities created there. If you have a mobile device, we encourage you to download the Brightspace app, Pulse, so that you receive immediate updates and notifications for new resources, release of feedback and any other updates related to your course. You can find more information on downloading the app on our webpages https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/brightspace-student-support/mobile-app
Blended learning, and the use of Brightspace will be central to your experience. In the event of further impacts from COVID-19, such as a second wave or lockdown, we will increase the use of Brightspace for other activities, such as seminars and tutorials. In doing this we are able to ensure that you can continue with your learning, and progress through your course with minimal disruption.
I have been told my course is now block learning. What does this mean?
If you are learning on a block structure, you will have received an email from the University explaining this to you.
On all of our courses students must complete 3 modules each semester. For students on courses with a ‘conventional’ structure, including many courses in the Schools of Health and Sports Science and our apprenticeships, the three modules are delivered at the same time, meaning that you will complete three modules and associated assessments over the duration of one whole semester.
For some of our courses, academic year 2020-2021 will see the use of ‘block learning’. Block learning courses have a different structure from conventional courses, meaning that while you will still complete 3 modules and associated assessments, these will be done consecutively, rather than at the same time.
Our block courses will see each module taught over 5 week blocks. In the first 4 weeks you will focus on a particular subject or topic, learning through lectures, seminars and tutorials, and where appropriate specialist labs and studios. Throughout these weeks your course teams will provide you with opportunities to test your learning and understanding before completing and submitting a final module assessment in the 5th week. In this week you may also begin preparations for the next module. After this you will begin lectures and seminars for your next module, and continue to study it over the next 5 week period. In each week of each block your teaching will be over 3 days.
For all of our learning and teaching, whether it is through a conventional structure or a block structure, you learning should stretch you, and enable you to engage with a number of activities either on your own, or with your fellow students. All courses have the same number of learning, or contact hours, associated with them, although, again these may differ in terms of whether there are delivered as lectures, seminars, tutorials or guided independent study.
Will I learn on campus, or online?
All of our students will experience a significant part of their learning through face to face delivery on campus and online. Our blended approach will mean that in semester 1 your seminars and tutorials will be experienced face to face on campus as much as possible, and your lectures will be delivered online using our Online Learning Environment, Brightspace, and our Virtual Classroom tool, Bongo.
We appreciate many students have devices that will support online learning but if you have any issues with either devices or connectivity please discuss this with your course leader. If you need support to buy IT equipment to support your study, you may be eligible for one of our Digital Technology bursaries. More information will be published on MySuffolk in the first few weeks of term. See this page and announcements for details https://intranet.uos.ac.uk/financial-support-0
Please follow the guidance on the IT Services website https://its.uos.ac.uk/content/students for remote studying from home. This will guide you on how to attend online virtual classes and submit all your assessments from home.
Placements: For students where work based experience is integral and mandatory to achieving professional body requirements and therefore outcome qualification (including health and social care placements) we will be communicating directly to those students.
Where can I find my timetable?
All of the timetables (for Semester 1) have now been released and can be viewed on the applicant portal or in OASIS. This will enable students to see when they are due on campus and to plan their time accordingly. For any queries regarding new timetables please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What will the beginning of term be like? How will I get to meet people?
At the beginning of each academic year we have a Welcome Week and Freshers Week, this follows the induction period which has taken place over the last few weeks, where information has been available to you in our Induction Module in Brightspace. You will have received an email inviting you to join this module. This module includes a range of activities to introduce you to our university, if you are a new student, or to welcome you back if you are continuing your studies with us. These activities may be across the whole university, or may be at course level. This will be available to you throughout your first year with us.
The Students' Union will deliver a Freshers Week which will help you to make friends, it will encourage you to try out new things and to have fun. The SU are planning a blend of in-person and online events, following government guidelines as they become available. The latest information on the SU Freshers events and activities has been published on their website https://www.uosunion.org/
What if I am unable to return to campus?
A number of students have asked what the position is if they feel unable to return to campus, or are not able to make it on to campus due to either travelling from a different country or health related issues. In such situations we will work with the individual to see if we can adapt the plans laid out above to support the students’ own particular needs. If you need to discuss your personal circumstances you should email email@example.com in the first instance so that your situation can be discussed and reviewed on a case by case basis.
Will the Library be open?
Yes, the Library will be open, and will be providing services to you which in full compliance with social distancing measures. This means that you will need to prebook your study space, and you will need to reserve and arrange to collect or return any print books or DVDs using the Click and Collect Service.
The Learning and Teaching Librarians and Academic Skills Advisors will be available to provide you with one to one booked tutorials, which will be delivered online using Microsoft Teams. If you have specific learning difficulties and have a reasonable adjustment which states you must have face to face support, this can be pre-booked, and can take place on campus.
You can find out more about library and support services, including the latest opening hours, how to book tutorials and study spaces and how to find print or electronic resources for your studies on the Library website http://libguides.uos.ac.uk
Will I be able to get support from Student Services?
Yes, our Student Services team is committed to continuing to support you while you study with us. You can find out about their services on our “information for students page” https://www.uos.ac.uk/content/information-for-students
Will there still be assessment and exams?
Yes, there will. We believe that assessment provides you with a valuable opportunity to revisit your learning, and ensure that you have understood and can apply what you have learned. Our approach in academic year 2020/21 will support students to deliver their best work whilst ensuring you are not disadvantaged by any actions related to the pandemic.
Will the current situation affect my results?
No. We have taken steps to modify our assessment regulations to ensure that this does not happen. Information about our the temporary measures for the current academic year is available here: https://www.uos.ac.uk/content/temporary-changes-assessment-regulations. We will publish any temporary measures for our assessment regulations for the coming academic year shortly.
I am struggling to buy the essential items I will need for my studies, will the University help me?
Yes, students joining the University, and those returning to the University are able to apply to our financial support fund. More information will be published here in due course: https://intranet.uos.ac.uk/financial-support-0