Information for students about changes to teaching and assessment in Easter term.

Dear students, 

These are uncertain and challenging times for all of us. I am acutely aware that you are likely to have concerns about your studies and how you will be assessed. My colleagues and I have been listening to the concerns that have been raised about this and we have been working closely with student representatives. A lot of work has been done over the past few days to consider teaching and assessment next term. We are very conscious that you are committed to your studies and, for those who had exams scheduled next term, that you need to be given the opportunity to complete your degrees or to continue with them in a way that maintains academic rigour, is fair to all, and takes account of the individual needs and circumstances of all students. 

Some guidance about methods of assessment has now been published on our student webpages on coronavirus. This will not be exhaustive, and some areas of detail are not yet covered: I assure you work is ongoing and at pace to refine the plans, and this will be communicated to you by the end of March. I provide a summary below of the main points; all of this information is available on the student webpages too: 

  • There will be no face-to-face teaching next term. Teaching will be conducted remotely, using a range of methods including lecture capture, online/video conferencing and Moodle. The University Library is open online and is making more electronic resources available every day. 
  • Faculties and departments are developing plans for alternative methods of assessment, prioritising arrangements for final year undergraduate students and postgraduate taught students. It is likely that in many subjects and papers for which there will be assessment the usual approach will be for online assessment via Moodle. You will be informed of your method of assessment by the end of March. 
  • The main assessment period remains scheduled to take place in Easter Term. Since the method of assessment will be different, it is likely that the normal assessment period will be extended. You will receive a revised assessment schedule well before the assessment period starts.  
  • Whilst we expect that most students will be able to undertake their assessment in the normal examination period next Term, we realise that there may be legitimate reasons why this is not possible, such as illness, caring responsibilities or technical difficulties. Therefore, for those students whose preparation or assessment is significantly disrupted in Easter Term, a further opportunity to take the assessment will be available once the University is fully operational again. It is, at this stage, difficult to predict when this might be. 

As I have said, a lot more detail is available online and much more will be made available before the end of March. Please keep checking these pages, but if there are significant updates I will email you again. In the meantime, I urge you all to look after yourselves – both physically and emotionally. You can find information about supporting your wellbeing at the following webpage: https://www.studentwellbeing.admin.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus

Although much of the University is now physically closed, the University as a global community remains open.  

I send you all my very best wishes. Take care. 

Graham Virgo 
Senior-Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education)