EDUCATION PROCESSES IN 2020/21: SUPPORTING WORKLOAD MANAGEMENT

 While the University must continue to assure the quality of its provision, particularly as we have adapted to blended learning we have given careful consideration to our Education processes and how we can streamline them for the remainder of 2020/21 in order to support Schools, particularly as Scotland finds itself in a second lockdown. 

 

PROPOSING CHANGES TO ASSESSMENT FOR SECOND HALF SESSION COURSES

 As a consequence of the extensive planning undertaken as part of the blended approach to learning, suitable alternative assessments have been quality assured and are in place. As we approach the start of teaching, you may wish to make further changes to assessment. All assessment changes must be considered and approved by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) and listed in the Course Catalogue; however, we will expedite this process quickly in order to support Schools in making last minute changes, so that students are able to be provided with the required information about assessment at the start of the second half session.

 Schools should return the following brief information in respect of changes to assessment to academicservices@abdn.ac.uk as a matter of urgency and no later than Friday 29 January 2020:

 

Course code

Current assessments

Proposed assessments

Proposed resit for students taking the course in AY20/21

Comments for QAC

Proposed resit (and timing) for students who failed the course in AY19/20 or for C8 students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MODERATION

 The University must continue to appropriately moderate assessment to ensure outcomes are fair and reliable and that assessment criteria have been applied consistently.  Schools are, however, reminded of the requirements of the Moderation Procedures and should note that it is not expected that Schools will undertake moderation in excess of that prescribed in these procedures.

 

COURSE EVALUATION

 Obtaining student feedback on our courses remains of the highest importance to the University. This is further heightened by the move to a blended/online approach to teaching. Schools are therefore asked to continue with the Course Evaluation process. 

 

ANNUAL COURSE AND PROGRAMME REVIEW

 The University is required, by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to ensure that all taught provision is monitored annually. In practice, annual monitoring is undertaken through our Annual Course Review (ACR) and Annual Programme Review (APR) processes. APRs will be required for submission, in line with published timescales.  However, it will be at the discretion of Heads of School as to whether or not ACRs are completed in 2020/21. Schools are, reminded of the importance of reviewing their provision at course level and the resources (including a short ACR form) available for doing so. Should a School choose not to ask for completion of ACRs this academic year, an alternative approach will be required to enable review of all courses prior to completion of their APR(s) so that student feedback can be addressed. One such approach could be the use of minuted programme-based structured discussions with course-coordinators.

 

EXTERNAL EXAMINING

 The role our External Examiners play in assuring our provision remains of the highest importance. The engagement of and with our External Examiners, including the requirement for them to submit an annual report and for this to be reviewed and commented upon by Schools and the QAC, should continue without change for the remainder of 2020/21.    

 

INTERNAL TEACHING REVIEW

 Internal Teaching Reviews (ITRs) planned for the second half session of 2020/21 will be postponed, if possible. Discussions with the QAA will be taken forward in this regard and Schools affected by this have been contacted directly.

 

TERM DATES AND HOLIDAYS

 It is recognised that to support staff, our term dates should align, where possible, to Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire School holidays. While a piece of work will be undertaken to look at the possibility of this for future years, staff are reassured of the following position with regards holidays for 2020/21 and 2021/22. Regrettably it is not possible to change the 2020/21 spring break dates at this stage.

 

Spring Break 2020/21:

Spring break does not quite align with the Aberdeen City holidays or Good Friday, with the City Schools breaking up a week earlier, as follows:

Aberdeenshire Schools:               5 to 16 April 2021

Aberdeen City Schools:                29 March to 9 April 2021

Published University:                    5 to 23 April 2021

Good Friday:                                  2 April 2021

 

Spring and Winter Break 2021/22:

Spring break does align with the Aberdeen City holidays or Good Friday, as follows:

Aberdeenshire Schools:               4 to 15 April 2022

Aberdeen City Schools:                4 to 15 April 2022

Draft University:                            1 to 25 April 2022

Good Friday:                                  15 April 2022

 

Christmas/Winter break will again align with the Schools in December 2021. Term in December 2021 will close on Friday 17 December. The City and Shire Schools will break up, as follows:

Aberdeenshire Schools:               21 December 2021

Aberdeen City Schools:                21 December 2021        

 

EDUCATION COMMITTEES MEETINGS 

 The frequency of meetings will be considered and, where appropriate, reduced. Agendas will be circulated, where possible, at least a week in advance of a meeting. Members should feel comfortable to leave meetings early, should they need to.

 

LECTURE CAPTIONING

 Lecture Captioning remains a legal requirement and, as such, the University must comply with it. Information on our approach to making digital learning materials accessible, including a disclaimer statement for automatically generated video captions, is now available for students. This can be found on the login page of MyAberdeen and in the Key Resources web pages for students in MyAberdeen. Please note that in situations where no video captions are available, we have stated that suitable alternatives will be provided. An example of this could be a detailed handout on the topic of the video or a full set of slides which set out the substantive points made (or a combination or the two).

 

If you have any queries regarding any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact academicservices@abdn.ac.uk.