Term dates

The first half-session of Academic Year 2020-21 for most students will begin with Welcome Week on 21 September, (20 September for students in Qatar). Teaching will start the week beginning 28 September, (27 September in Qatar). Different requirements for some cohorts are noted below. Term will end on 18 December 2020 (17 December for students in Qatar).

Last updated 15th July 2020

1. Does the change of term date affect all programmes?

The change of term start date applies to the majority of programmes of study, but there are a small number of exceptions.

  • Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
  • Undergraduate Medicine MBChB: New year 1 entrants will join the University on the later start date of 21 September, but separate arrangements are in place for continuing students entering years 2 to 5.
  • Undergraduate Dentistry BDS: New year 1 entrants will join the University on the later start date of 21 September, but separate arrangements are in place for continuing students entering years 2 to 5.
  • Postgraduate MSc in Physician Associate Studies: New Year 1 start is still to be confirmed. Return dates for Year 2 student placement will depend on when students are allowed back on wards. More information will be provided as soon as possible by the School.
  • Postgraduate Person-Centred Counselling:
    • PGT Person Centred Counselling 1st Year cohort –will commence ED50NA and will have an induction week first w/c 14th September.
    • PGT Person Centred Counselling 2nd Year cohort - will commence ED50NC w/c 21st September.

Students on programmes and courses that are already required to start at different times of the year will be contacted separately by Schools to confirm their term date arrangements. 

2. How are students being affected by Covid-19?

Continuing social distancing measures and travel restrictions across many countries, including the UK, as well as the closures of Schools and disruptions to the completion and grading of prior qualifications, are all causing concerns for our prospective students wishing to commence their studies in Aberdeen in September. At the current time, it is uncertain whether new and returning students, both from within the UK and internationally, will be able to be on campus in September for the commencement of the academic year.

International students

For our international students especially, the continuing closures of English language testing centres and visa-processing centres present further challenges. As previously announced, we have already delayed the dates of our pre-sessional English programmes, and we are now making preparations for these programmes to be delivered wholly online. We are also preparing for more of our postgraduate taught programmes to have a January start date in addition to a September start.

Scottish and UK students

There is now clearer guidance on how our offer holders across the UK will be assessed, with the release of guidance at the end of last week by the SQA and Ofqual. This follows an earlier confirmation from UCAS that the May decision-making deadline for all UK applicant holding university offers has been extended by two weeks. These changed arrangements will present some challenges, but we are confident of our ability to adjust to the new timescales and the fair treatment of all our prospective students.   

3. What does this mean for Welcome Week and the start of teaching and exams?

If face-to-face activities can take place on campus in September, then Welcome Week activities will commence the week beginning 21 September, (20 September for students in Qatar), and teaching will commence the week beginning 28 September, (27 September in Qatar). We will also begin preparing online Welcome Week activities, in addition to planning those on campus activities, for students that are not able to travel to Aberdeen or face delays in being able to do so. A traditional on-campus examination diet will not take place in December 2020; instead Alternative forms of assessment will take place at various points throughout the half-session.

4. Why have you taken this decision now?

The decision to amend the September 2020 start date has not been taken lightly and has been informed by discussions at an institutional and sector level. The decision also recognises the unusual difficulties and obstacles that our new and returning students will face as consequences of social distancing and travel restrictions measures. Taking this decision now alleviates the additional pressures of an early start date and provides a basis on which returning and prospective students can begin to plan.

5. Will there be any further changes?

We recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic is new and unpredictable, and there may be further reasons to seek additional flexibility in our teaching and learning delivery patterns. We will be responsive to further developments and will seek to ensure maximum flexibility in our provision to accommodate the circumstances of our staff, students and intending students. We will keep you all updated on any further changes, if they become necessary, as quickly and fully as we can.

6. What will the Blended Learning Task and Finish Group be tasked with?

The overall aim of the group will be to support Schools to put in place online delivery for the first half session for academic year 2020/2021. Key areas of activity will include: identifying the scope, scale and timelines for the activity; confirming programme exemptions to the start date changes; ensuring that a model for the development, support and delivery of universal online delivery is in place; and putting in place a transition and induction programme so that new and returning students feel prepared for online delivery of education. The Blended Learning Task and Finish Group will work with Schools to put in place a model of support for staff that will build on the support that the Centre for Academic Development provides.

Blended Learning

Last updated 5th October 2020

1. What is Blended Learning?

The University of Aberdeen Blended Learning approach is a combination of face-to-face on-campus teaching and learning, where safe and possible, and online delivery where teaching cannot yet be in person. As part of our Blended Learning approach, you will have all the usual levels of support – whether you are on-campus or learning online - before joining us in person. We will be following national guidance, for our Aberdeen and Qatar campuses, so that we can ensure your safety when we are able to return to campus.

The specific learning and teaching experience will vary by discipline. All courses will offer students the opportunity to actively engage in the learning process through a variety of approaches that foster a sense of student community, and clearly demonstrate the learning pathways.  Schools will provide you with details of the specific arrangements for your chosen courses in your course handbooks and through induction.

2. Will I have the same number of contact hours of teaching as I would under normal circumstances?

With the move to blended learning, there will likely be adjustments to the way in which your contact teaching is provided, the course schedule, or the type of classes as appropriate to the individual course. For example, a course with an interactive class might instead have a shorter recorded session by the academic and an interactive class discussion board if the students are all in different time-zones and unable to attend a class at the same time.  Course specific information (e.g. your course handbook or information in your course area in your Virtual Learning Environment (e.g. MyAberdeen) will provide more detail.

3. What will a typical week / course structure look like?  Will there be lectures and tutorials?

Your week will look slightly different depending on the programme, the courses you choose, and what is the most effective way to deliver the learning experience.  It might include, recorded lectures, interactive seminars, small group tutorials and lab classes (where applicable). Most courses will offer on-campus small group sessions but the number of these will be limited due to the constraints of physical distancing.  All courses will be able to be completed fully online if you aren’t able to attend the on-campus sessions. 

4. What does a synchronous teaching session mean?

A synchronous teaching session is one which takes place at a specific time.  This can be an on campus session which you attend in person or can be an online session which you attend remotely at a specific time.  The sessions you chose through MyTimetable are synchronous.

5. What does asynchronous mean in terms of teaching?

Asynchronous delivery means your teaching materials are available for you to access when it suits you.  An example of asynchronouss delivey would be recorded lecture material.  You do not have to attend at a specific time to participate in the session.

6. How will assessment work this year?

Detailed guidance around assessment arrangements including Codes of Practice on Assessment can be found here.  Some frequently asked questions in regard to assessment are also available here.

7. Will there be a 2 week exam period in December?

No.  There will be no formal exam diet in December.  Instead of formal exams you will be assessed via a variety of different types of assessment.  This might include open book exams which you can complete remotely, essays and online tests.

8. I normally study fully online, will anything be different for me this year?

As a current online student, the University’s shift of on-campus teaching to blended delivery should not directly affect you.  However, we know that Coronavirus is impacting our online students in a range of ways. You may now be trying to study while having to adjust to working from home, home schooling your children, caring for loved ones, or encountering more day-to-day anxiety or financial worries.

If you are struggling in any way, please get in touch with your School in the first instance to let them know. Our Student Support service is also here for you, and can help with a range of non-academic issues. See our Student Support page.

Deciding where to study - online or on campus

Last updated 8th October 2020

1. I can’t come to campus until later in term, what should I do?

If you can’t make it to Aberdeen at the start of term, don’t worry.  You will be able to study your courses fully online from home.  Please complete the Study Location form in the Student Hub to let us know you are studying online initially.  The form is available here

When you are able to travel to Aberdeen, let us know when you plan to transition on campus before you travel and this will allow us to ensure we can get you space in on campus classes for when you arrive.  A form will be available soon in the Student Hub to allow you to let us know your plans. 

2. I plan to study online in the first half-session who should I tell?

You should complete the Study Location form in the Student Hub to let us know where you plan to study.  The form can be accessed here. You should also let your Schools know  by completing the form available here.

3. Will I be at a disadvantage or be penalised if I cannot arrive onto campus but other students can, and so benefit from in-person teaching?

No. You will not be penalised or disadvantaged if you are unable to return to the Aberdeen or Qatar campuses in September. We will be working to support the teaching and learning of all our students, regardless of where you are based. As part of our Blended Learning approach, you will have all the support that you need whether you need to study online to start with, or whether you are on campus. 

4. Will there be a point in the academic year 2020/21 when I will definitely need to be to campus?

Your health, safety and wellbeing are our primary concerns and have been the most important aspect of our planning for the new term and, of course, that planning is ongoing as the situation continues to evolve. All first half-session courses have been designed so you can complete them fully online if you are unable to join us in Aberdeen though we hope to be able to welcome you to campus as soon as you are able to join us.  As restrictions are lifted, we very much look forward to welcoming all of our students onto campus, as soon as possible into their academic studies.

Health and safety on campus

Last updated 5th October 2020

1.  What systems and controls are in place on campus to support physical distancing and other requirements?

When you come onto campus you will notice signage and clearly marked routes within buildings. Please make sure you follow these to help keep yourself and others safe. Each location will be supported by a Covid Building Coordinator (CBC) and details of the CBC are at the entrance to each building. They are on hand to answer questions about your location and help resolve any issues you are experiencing in that location.

2. Can I arrive come onto campus outwith my teaching sessions?

You are encouraged to come to campus only when you have an on campus sessions or wish to use study spaces or the Library.  Details of study spaces can be found here.  Outwith these times, you are encouraged to study from home. 

3. When will buildings be open?

Buildings approved to be open for teaching will be opened at 0845 and will be closed at 1815.  No access outside these times is permitted.

4. Do I need to wear a face covering?

Unless you are exempt, you should wear your face covering inside all buildings. This is not required if you are in a dedicated catering space and signage indicates you can remove them or you studying in a single occupancy study space.

5. Will I be given a face covering?

All students are being provided with two reusable face coverings and a thermometer testing strip.  If you are in University Accommodation, this will be provided in your welcome pack.  If you are not in University Accommodation, you can collect these from Elphinstone Hall during its operating hours (currently planned as 1000-1400). You can also collect them from Polwarth reception from 0800-1500. Both locations operating Monday-Friday.

You can also collect a Hidden Disabilities lanyard in place of face coverings if you are exempt from wearing them.

You do not have to use the University provided coverings if you have your own that comply with national guidance.

6. What should happen when I arrive for a teaching session?

You shouldn’t congregate in buildings before classes.  Instead, you should aim to arrive just before your class and proceed directly to your class.  Where you are waiting to enter a building or teaching space, you should maintain physical distancing (currently 2 meters) and wear your face covering.

As you enter the classroom, you should:

  • maintain physical distancing;
  • use the cleaning wipes to clean your desk and hard surfaces of their chair;
  • sit in one of the marked seats; and
  • remember to keep your face coverings on during the class unless you are exempt from wearing one.

Please do remember that there may be some people who can’t use the cleaning materials we have provided (for example due to allergies).

7. What will teaching rooms be like?

Teaching spaces have been laid out and specifically designed to comply with guidance on physical distancing. Details of the approved room layout will be at the entrance to each room and the must not be changed.

8. Do I need to clean my space in the classroom?

Cleaning wipes will be provided in each teaching space so that you can wipe down your key touch points. This should include the items you will be touching during class and will include IT equipment (mouse, keyboards and screens) and your desk and chair. Bins are provided in each teaching space for waste.  It is important that you undertake this cleaning at the start and end of each teaching session to supplement the enhanced cleaning regimes that will be in place across campus.

9. What cleaning materials are available for use in the teaching spaces?

Cleaning wipes will be available in all teaching spaces. Hand sanitiser dispensers will be provided across campus and at the entrances to all buildings.

10. Can food or drink be consumed in class?

Food and drinks should not be consumed in teaching spaces, though bottled water can be consumed.

11. What happens if the fire alarm goes off?

On hearing the fire alarm, leave the building immediately, by your nearest safe exit. All exits may be used, and you should observe physical distancing whilst doing so, but only if it is safe to do so. Directional rules do not apply in an emergency as everyone should be moving in the same direction. Physical distancing rules may be broken in order to preserve life.

Go to the assembly point and continue to maintain physical distancing where you can. Once the roll call has been completed and an “all clear” is given, you may re-enter the building. On entry wash or sanitise your hands to remove any contaminants which may have been picked up whilst opening doors. You must not re-enter the building until the Fire Marshal says it’s safe to return and you must follow all instructions from staff supporting the evacuation.

Absence reporting and self-isolation

Last updated 5th October 2020

1. When to self-isolate?
  • Students arriving in the UK are required to self-isolate on arrival at your accommodation for 14 days, unless travelling from an exempt country. 
  • If contacted by the NHS Test and Protect tracing team, self-isolate for 14-days, whether you are displaying any symptoms or not.
  • If you develop symptoms during isolation, you will need to stay in your accommodation for 10 days from the day that the symptoms began.
  • If you live alone and have symptoms of coronavirus illness, however mild, stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started.
  • If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
  • Symptoms are likely to include at least one of: a new, persistent cough; a high temperature; a loss of your sense of smell; or a change in your sense of taste. 
2. How to self-isolate or quarantine?
  • If you are entering the UK and need to self-isolate you will find full details of what you need to do on the Scottish Government website. This includes completing a “Passenger Locator Form” before you travel and ensuring you have your accommodation arranged in the UK.
  • While self-isolating you should not:
    • Go to public places or attend classes or other campus activities
    • Go on public transport or use taxis after you have travelled to your accommodation (if you are entering the UK and need to self-isolate)
    • have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
    • go out to exercise
  • If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 you should speak with your GP or 111 to advise you on testing and care
  • While self-isolating following travel to the UK you are asked not to leave your accommodation unless it is for essential shopping (such as food of medicine) and you should prioritise food delivery services or the assistance of friends to deliver items to you where you can
  • If you are staying with us in halls of residence and need to self-isolate we will make your options clear to you when you arrive and ensure you have access to all the things you need during your period of self-isolation. More details on what to expect when staying with us are available below
3. Accommodation self-isolation information
Detailed information about accommodation and self-isolation can be found on the following link: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/accommodation/faq/index.php
4. Do I need to quarantine when I arrive?

It is best to check the Scottish Government website for up-to-date travel advice. Click here to view current guidance on health measures at borders, self-isolation, and country exemptions.

Please refer to the government website for updates before travelling.

5. I have to self-isolate and so will miss some of my classes on campus, what should I do?

If you are unable to attend your on campus classes because you are self-isolating, you should contact your Schools to arrange to switch on a temporary basis to an online session in place of your on-campus sessions.  The contact details for your Schools can be found here.  If you are unwell and unable to continue studying, you should complete the Absence Reporting Process via Student Hub.  This will allow us to let your Course Coordinators know you won’t be attending your classes.  If you are self-isolating while awaiting a test result and subsequently test negative, please inform your School that you are able to resume on campus teaching.

6. What do I do if I am unwell and unable to attend class?

You should report your absence through the Absence Reporting Process via Student Hub.  This will ensure your course coordinators are informed of your absence.

7. If I am studying online, do I need to report if I am ill?

It is important that you let the University know if you are unwell even if you are studying online.  This allows us to inform your course coordinators so they know not to expect you in class.  You should report your absence through the Absence Reporting Process via Student Hub

On campus teaching

Last updated 5th October 2020

1. Will I be able to attend lectures if I am on campus?

With your safety of the utmost importance, this means that we will not be putting on large group sessions in a face-to-face setting, including in-person lectures because physical distancing is not possible in those circumstances. Lectures will be delivered differently, possibly in smaller bite-sized presentations with associated activities that you will access online.  You will be able to access small group sessions such as tutorials and lab classes on campus.

2. Can I attend an on campus class if I haven’t registered for it in MyTimetable?

No.  You must register for the class in MyTimetable before attending.   Allocation of students to classes through MyTimetable will ensure that the number of students doesn’t exceed the room capacity.  If you haven’t registered for the session in MyTimetable, you should not attend the class and may be asked to leave and to arrange to properly register for an on campus session.  If you need help with MyTimetable, please visit Elphinstone Hall to ask for help.

3. When must face coverings be worn in class?

Face coverings must be worn at all times while delivering or receiving on-campus teaching unless you are exempt.

Anyone exempt from wearing a face covering can collect a Hidden Disabilities lanyard to display this fact while they are on campus from Elphinstone Hall or Polwarth Reception.

4. When should my class start?

Teaching sessions, both online and on campus, are scheduled to start at five past the hour, as usual. You should not arrive early for class.

5. When should my class end and how should I leave the space?

Classes should end 10 minutes to the hour to allow all attendees (students and teaching staff) to clean touchpoints, such as desks and IT equipment, and vacate the room fully by five minutes to the hour. This is to ensure that contact is limited between classes vacating and entering the space and to help support the management of building capacities.  

6. Will attendance be recorded?

Yes.  Attendance will be recorded.  This is important both to allow us to check that you are properly engaging with your studies but it is also important for Test & Protect reasons.  The University uses a monitoring system to ensure students are engaged in their studies.  Failure to attend small group teaching sessions (both on campus and online) may lead to you being reported as ‘at risk’ through the monitoring system. 

7. Will we be expected to share documents or equipment in the classroom?

Sharing of equipment, documents, pens and other items should be avoided. Any equipment should be cleaned before and after each use and should not be shared within a single teaching session.

You should leave the building immediately (unless e.g. you need to use toilet facilities) and you should not congregate in corridors or the foyer or in the immediate vicinity of the exits to buildings.

8. Where can I find a study space on campus?

The University has a number of study spaces for students in accordance with physical distancing restrictions.  Spaces are available in various teaching buildings and in the Libraries.  Some of the spaces are available on a drop in ‘first come first served’ basis while other space is bookable via CMISGo or the Suttie Centre. Bookable space includes single occupancy rooms and quiet shared spaces.  Further details are available here

9. I have an online class immediately after one on campus what should I do?

We have some single occupancy study spaces which can be used if you need to attend an online session.  These can be booked through CMISGo.  Further details are available here

10. Will I be able to attend lab classes?

Yes.  Where there are practical elements in your course, there will normally be opportunity to do this on campus although the number of sessions may be reduced due to the limitations of physical distancing.  In some cases, these may be delivered online whereby you may be able to observe an experiment and then undertake the data analysis.  Your School will be able to provide more information specific to your course.

11. My programme involves placement activity.  How will this work?

Where your programme involves placement activity (e.g. School placements, clinical placements) your School will provide detailed information around how this will work.

12. What will happen with fieldwork?

Fieldwork will be limited due to Covid restrictions.  Some limited day activity may be possible in the immediate local area.  Your School will provide you with specific guidance around the arrangements for your particular course.

Studying online

Last updated 5th October 2020

1. How do I prepare for an online teaching session?

In advance of your first teaching session, please make sure you can log in to all the IT systems that you might need. You should also try any equipment (such as microphones or headsets) that you plan to use so that you can identify issues that need resolved.

2. What IT specification do I need to study online?

Guidance about IT equipment requirements can be found here

3. How will I be able to engage with my class online?

Within the course area for your course in the VLE (e.g. MyAberdeen) you will find all course materials.  Within this there may be a discussion board where you can raise questions or talk to fellow students.  Small group teaching sessions will also be held online (e.g. tutorials).  In these you will be able to engage in discussions with your fellow class members.  Other activities such as group work will provide opportunity for engagement. 

4. If I have questions about my course, how can I get help?

If you have questions about your course, you will be able to ask for help.  Your course coordinator may have specific virtual office hours when you can contact them for help.  Discussion boards or email can also be used to seek advice.

5. Do I need to attend teaching sessions at a particular time or can I choose when to study?

It will vary from course to course.  Lecture material content will normally be available asynchronously – this means you can study it when it suits you.  Other activities such as small group sessions (e.g. tutorials) may happen synchronously.  This means they happen at a specific time and you will normally be expected to attend.

6. My course involves lab work.  How will this work online?

Where you have a lab session, you will be able to participate online.  This may involve observing an experiment online and then undertaking data analysis arising from this.  You will be given specific information about what will be involved by your course coordinator.

7. Can I download and share lecture recordings with others?

No.  The University’s Lecture Capture Policy clearly states that recordings must only be used by the student as a personal aid for study purposes.  They must not be shared, published or otherwise made available in whole or in part to any other person.  Lecture recordings cannot be downloaded for private use, expect with the permission of the lecturer. 

Access to Student Services and Facilities

Last updated 5th October 2020

1. Can I access the library?

Yes, more information can be found here.

2. How will I have access to the library if I have to study online to begin with?
The Library provides a very large number of books, journals and other resources in digital form and these will be available to you online, wherever you are. Advice, support and training will also be provided by Library and IT staff to ensure that you can use our library services effectively. Library staff are available to answer your questions at library@abdn.ac.uk.
3. What safety measures will be in place on campus?
Your health, safety and wellbeing are the most important aspect of the planning that is taking place. We will be following national guidance, for our Aberdeen and Qatar campuses so that we can ensure your safety on our campuses.

 Regular cleaning will be in place across all University buildings. Hand sanitising gel will be available upon entry to all buildings and within each of the cafe and dining areas. Face coverings will be encouraged in line with national guidance. Further information will be provided as we develop the detailed principles and guidance for a safe return to campus.

The University is working closely with Government and the wider University sector to ensure the measures we put in place support us to keep our community safe. This includes robust hygiene measures such as providing of hand sanitiser at key locations, detailed guidance for students and staff on physical distancing, One-way systems will be used where appropriate and measures to ensure that building occupancy levels adhere to national guidance.
4. What Student Support services are available and how will I access them?

Elphinstone Hall will be open during the first half session and will have various services offering support to students in one location.  You should go there is you are need in-person support. Further information about is available here about the variety of online services that will be continue to be available to support students.

5: What facilities are open on campus?

Catering outlets will be available on campus and building facilities (such as lifts and toilets) will be operating with clear physical distancing guidelines. Details on the available catering options can be seen here.

6. Will Student Support and Counselling Services be open on campus?
All of our support services are currently operating virtually offering impartial and confidential advice on a range of issues, including personal, academic, money matters, disabilities and specific learning difficulties, visas and immigration matters, mental health and wellbeing, and more. We are currently offering meetings online and by telephone. All services will continue to be available, through virtual means, in the first half-session and we are currently exploring options for on-campus support in line with national guidance.  You can find more information by visiting the Support & Wellbeing section of the website.
7. Will AUSA Societies and Sport Clubs continue to run, and if so will they hold face to face meetings and events or will they have to be online? Will sports clubs be allowed to train, practice and compete?
AUSA will continue to run face to face on-campus social, society and sport club events within national physical distancing guidelines. Where we can’t do so online alternatives will be available where possible.
8. How can I meet my personal tutor?

Meetings will your personal tutor will happen online.  Your personal tutor should be in touch to arrange to meet with you in the first couple of weeks of term.  However, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with them.  You can find the name of your personal tutor in the Student Hub or by going to your Personal Tutor Organisation on MyAberdeen (Go to “Organisations”, just below “Courses” in the base navigation of MyAberdeen) and “messaging” your Personal Tutor by clicking on their image on the top left and selecting the ‘envelope’ icon. When “messaging” your Personal Tutor we recommend selecting the option to ‘Send an email copy to recipients’ to ensure they receive your message.

9. Where can I find an MFD (Printer / Photocopier)?

Details of the available MFDs on campus are available online here. You should ensure that you use the wipes provided to clean the machines touchpoints before and after each use.

10. What if I have a general IT related issue?

For general issues with your IT equipment that are not urgent you can make use of our myIT portal at myit.abdn.ac.uk Here you will be able to live-chat with the IT team during the working day, report non-urgent issues and view various self-help solutions.

11. Can I use computer classrooms?

Yes.  Computer classrooms are available for you to use, when they are not being used for teaching.  The number of PCs available is reduced due to physical distancing requirements.  Information about which rooms are available can be found here

12. I don’t have access to IT kit what should I do?

If you are in hardship, support may be available to help you access equipment (e.g. funding or access to a loan device).  You should contact Student Support (student.support@abdn.ac.uk) if you need such support.  Access is also available to student spaces on campus – see here

Graduation

Last updated 5th October 2020

1. Will the November and June graduations take place?

We are adhering to national guidelines in regard to all our on-campus activities. A November 2020 on-campus graduation ceremony will not take place and so all students eligible to graduate will do so in-absentia and degree certificates will be sent via post. There will be an opportunity to attend a ceremony at a future point to mark your graduation and we will provide more details about your options for graduation in due course. At this stage we hope to have our summer gradations in Aberdeen in 2021 but we are unable to confirm this at present. We will continue to follow the guidelines from the government as to when we can have large group gatherings.

Inclusion and support provisions for students

Last updated: 27 August 2020

I receive lecture support on campus, what will happen when lectures are delivered online?

You will be able to access the lecture materials such as a video recording of the content and the PowerPoint slides, on the virtual learning environment (VLE). Ideally, captions will be available for video content (in Panopto on the CC icon). 

If you choose to download the video, download and install VLC Player from www.videolan.org;  download MP4 video file from Panopto; open the video file in VLC player; and enable subtitles from the Subtitles menu. Where captioning is not feasible, accessible alternative materials will be provided.

Visual content such as diagrams will be accompanied with a text description of the information contained in the diagram. Where this is not available please contact the course coordinator so that they can ensure this text description is provided. See below regarding note-takers.

If you feel that you require further support, please contact the Student Advice & Support Team on 01224 273 935 or at student.support@abdn.ac.uk.

I receive the provision of a note-taker in on-campus lectures, how will I be supported in online lectures?
The Student Advice & Support Team have emailed all students who currently receive the provision of a note-taker in order to set up the support for session 2020/21. If you feel that you will require typed transcripts of your lectures for disability-related reasons and you haven’t already done so, please contact the Student Advice & Support Team on 01224 273 935 or at student.support@abdn.ac.uk.
What about reading materials?
Course coordinators are working closely with the library staff regarding making the appropriate reading materials available in the relevant VLEs in a timely and accessible form.
I have extra time for completing on-campus examinations, what will happen with online assessment?
Unless it is unavoidable, timed exams will be replaced by Schools with an alternative assessments. One example could be an open-book assessment which would usually be available for completion over a period of a minimum of 48 hours (even if it is expected it will take around, say, 3 hours to do the assessment). In these alternative assessment situations, the extended period for completion is provided as an inclusive measure, as this provides the greatest flexibility for all students for planning and time allocation, irrespective of their circumstances (e.g. caring responsibilities, short-term illness, time zones, internet access, learning differences, protected characteristics). No additional time will be provided for students who would otherwise receive it. In some different cases, Schools have decided that the duration for completion of the assessments need to be fixed (say 3 hours), and in most cases it would be appropriate for students to choose when to do this within a longer period (usually 48 hours). In all situations when there will be a fixed time for completion, individual adjustments will then be made for students who require this for disability-related reasons. This is considered more in the next question.
I usually have extra time for completing on-campus examinations, how will that work online for assessments which have to be completed during the same time frames as an on-campus exam?
Schools may consider it necessary for a course to have a timed online assessment, due to Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body requirements or pedagogic reasons. This may typically need to be completed within 3 hours or less once you start the assessment. In such cases you will receive the amount of extra time that you would usually receive in an on-campus exam. Course coordinators will continue to provide you with information on how you will be assessed and can be contacted for further information on the assessment process.
I have more than one assessment for completion wholly or partly within the same period and I usually get extra time for on-campus exams. Will I get more time?
No. The time periods allowed for all assessments should allow you to plan your time and complete your assessments.
I receive the provision of a scribe in on-campus exams, how will I be supported to write my online assessments?
Your school will contact you to discuss your individual support arrangements. If you work with a scribe in on-campus exams, you may be offered the opportunity to submit your answers verbally using Panopto or the ‘dictate’ function in Microsoft Office 365. Students who use this will not be penalised for poor punctation and/or grammar (commas, semicolons, full stops etc. all must be dictated) as long as the meaning is clear. If you have access to voice recognition software, you can use this to produce your answers.
I receive the provision of a reader in on-campus exams, how will I be supported to read my online assessments?

Your school will contact you to discuss your individual support arrangements. Where applicable online assessment papers will be accessible in the form of a Word document where possible.  You will be able to adjust the type of font, font size and line spacing.  You will be able to use ‘Text to Speech’ functions built into Word. If the online assessment paper is in the form of a PDF document and you have text to speech software, please use this.

For some courses, ALLY will be of use to convert the papers to MP3 format on MyAberdeen, for you to download and listen to, please see

If you need any advice with regards to using text to speech software and/or how to access this, please email atech@abdn.ac.uk. If technology cannot be used to read the online assessments (e.g. the paper may include graphs), the School will explore alternative arrangements with you.

I don’t have access to a stable Internet connection and/or a personal computer in order to undertake online assessments, what are my options?
Contact your School Office to make them aware of your circumstances as soon as possible. The contact details for the School Offices can be found here. Alternative mechanisms for the completion of assessments may be explored based on your individual circumstances. There will also be opportunities for students to access devices and effective broadband on campus.
What are the options if I require financial assistance to study or complete assessments online?
If you do not have the funds available to purchase a computer and/or access the Internet, please contact the Student Advice & Support Team to apply for financial assistance. All students are eligible to apply for this if they are in hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The amount of support available is dependent on your individual circumstances and the evidence you provide. The funds are limited and will be prioritised on a case by case basis. You will need to complete an application form and provide evidence of your full financial circumstances including monthly statements for all your bank accounts and credit cards for 3 full months. It can take up to 3 weeks to receive the payment but, wherever possible we try to complete payments in a shorter timeframe. You can help by providing all the requested documentation with your application.
Can you tell me a bit more? I am worried about the whole assessment process. Also, will all these changes apply, for example, to assessed essays or practical exercise which I complete during the course?
Your School or course coordinator will be able to provide you with more information on the assessment process, timing, the marking criteria and their expectations. For example, there may be a word limit for the course in question and it is not usually expected that it will take students the full 48 hours to complete an open book assessment. If you have provision for extensions to deadlines when appropriate (for example an essay which was released at the start of term to be submitted on a date several weeks later), you should continue to liaise with the course coordinator to discuss what can be done.
I am unwell, or I have experienced extenuating circumstances which have affected my performance in an assessment or have led me to miss an assessment, what should I do?

If you feel that your performance in an assessment has been affected by extenuating circumstances, or you have been unable to complete an assessment, you should report this through the Absence Reporting system, links to which are available through MyAberdeen and the Student Hub.

For further information, please access the Info Hub. You will not be required to provide evidence to support your absence report if this is directly related to COVID-19.

Note that this will not lead to an adjustment of individual marks and the relevant Codes of Practice Assessment will apply.

I have disability support provisions however I am concerned about completing my studies and I do not think that the information provided so far addresses my situation.
Please contact the Student Advice & Support Team at student.support@abdn.ac.uk or on 01224 273 935 and a member of the team will discuss your circumstances with you. This discussion could include exploring further support and adjustments in relation to other forms of assessment and more generally how you are engaging with your studies and your University experience.
I am concerned about completing my assessments and I think I would benefit from additional support.
Please contact the Student Advice & Support Team at student.support@abdn.ac.uk or on 01224 273 935 and a member of the team will discuss your circumstances with you. This discussion could include exploring support and adjustments and more generally how you are engaging with your studies and your University experience.

 

Accommodation

Last updated 26 August 2020

For full details about moving in to University accommodation in September 2020, visit our Accommodation pages.

1. If I can’t start at the start of term due to travel restrictions what does this mean for my University accommodation and the amount I need to pay?

The University appreciated the challenges created by Covid-19 and are working to support our students as they consider their accommodation options. Students are encouraged to apply for their University accommodation, as normal, in preparation for the start of term.

All the support our student body has benefits from in our University accommodation will still be in place within our Halls of Residence, including our Student Resident Assistant time and night management and our campus staff can be contacted at any time 24/7 to respond to a query and/or an emergency situation.

Further information regarding the University Accommodation will be made available shortly.

2. If I can’t start at the start of term due to travel restrictions what does this mean for my privately-owned student accommodation?

It is important you consider all your options in terms of your accommodation. There is a range of privately owned student accommodation throughout Aberdeen.

You can find out more at https://www.abdn.ac.uk/accommodation/index.php. If you are planning on renting privately owned student accommodation, you should liaise directly with the landlord or company and ensure you fully understand any commitment you are making before signing your contract or pay any deposit.

Tuition fees

Last updated 15th July 2020

1. Will blended learning or having to study online initially involve any changes in our SAAS applications, funding or student loans?

No, students should continue to apply for funding as normal.

2. Will my tuition fees be adjusted in light of the announcement that some of my degree programme will be delivered through a blended learning approach?

The tuition fees remain unchanged. As restrictions are lifted, we very much look forward to welcoming all of you back onto campus in September or when you are able to return. In line with Government advice we will continue to provide a high-quality education experience that enables you to achieve your potential while meeting required academic standards through blended learning. There are some things that will not be possible while distancing and related restrictions are still in place, such as lectures and large group sessions.  But you will not miss out on these experiences, instead teaching and learning activities will be available online so that you can engage with all the learning that you need for your studies.

The University is currently reviewing how we can best support our students through our range of scholarships, including the Aberdeen Global Scholarship for self-funded international postgraduate Masters students. This scholarship is worth a minimum of £2,000 and comes in the form of a tuition fee waiver that is automatically applied.

Further Information: