How will teaching and learning work this year?
For the 2020-21 academic year we have committed to delivering the academic content of lectures through our online learning platforms. These teaching sessions will not be delivered live, and will be made available before any live teaching, so you have the content readily available for your session.
Each module will have a scheduled set of learning activities so that you will progress through your studies on a week-to-week basis. Any learning which requires a particular time of day will be included in your timetable.
Seminars will be a mixture of both online and face-to-face learning. All of these sessions will be delivered live. In an online environment the seminar will be led by your academic tutor through our learning platforms Blackboard Collaborate and MS Teams, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with your fellow students through the likes of a chat box function.
Face-to-face seminars will take place on campus. The student numbers in these seminars will be less than in the online seminar as there will be a need to follow social distancing guidelines.
Any live content will also be made available in a virtual version via DMU Replay or Blackboard Collaborate, for those students who can’t make it to the online session or to campus (for example, students who have caring responsibilities or have concerns about using public transport).
To help you make the most of learning online, we’ve developed our Student Handbook in collaboration with our students. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about studying online at DMU, including:
- A glossary of the types of online sessions you’ll experience
- Top tips for learning online
- Where to go for support
- Self-assessment tools to help you reflect on your skills
We have also developed a new mini module that we’re asking all students to complete to ensure that they understand what it’s like to learn in a blended environment. The module, called ‘Your DMU Future Introduction to Blended Learning’, can be accessed via your faculty Blackboard shell.
The module will take approximately three hours for you to complete and you can do this in smaller chunks, returning to it at a later stage.
How will exams and assessments run this academic year?
Given the ongoing restrictions and physical distancing requirements needed to reduce the transmission risk of Covid-19 locally and nationally, and after consulting with the student community, DMU has decided that we will not be running any face-to-face exams during the 20/21 academic year. Therefore, exams (including resits) are to be held online.
Earlier in the year, the system we had in place was for 24-hour exam periods. However, following lessons learned in the spring and summer, student engagement and feedback and ongoing dialogue with De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU), we are currently reviewing our approach this time round.
We are currently working with faculties and module leaders to determine the optimum mode and process for online exams and assessments for their respective courses. A number of academic, structural and technical issues are also being considered to ensure all of our students receive a fair and robust mode of assessment. It’s our firm commitment you will all get the opportunity to achieve the outcomes you deserve.
Once arrangements are finalised we will communicate the final plans through our regular student channels and issue guidance to support you on the exams webpage. As normal, examination schedules will be published on MyDMU and your module leader or module tutor on Blackboard can also provide information on when you are expected to take your examinations.
We are committed to informing you about the details as soon as possible.
Will I get regular contact time with academics and my personal tutor?
We recognise that is important that students are able to meet with their academic and personal tutors on a one-to-one basis. This will be facilitated via online office hours and, where safety guidelines and social distancing can be observed, we also hope that it will be possible for you to meet one-to-one, in person, with your lecturers by appointment.
You will be able to schedule online appointments to discuss relevant issues with your personal tutor. In addition, where safety guidelines and social distancing can be observed, you will also be able to meet one-to-one with your personal tutor by appointment.
What kind of teaching takes place on campus?
We want to deliver as much teaching on campus as possible and are regularly reviewing how many people can safely be in teaching rooms across the campus and modelling our on-campus teaching based on UK Government and Public Health England social distancing guidelines.
All students will have weekly on-campus opportunities, in a combination of teaching, study support including access to specialist spaces, library access, student support facilities, and social facilities. The actual percentage will differ according to your programme of study.
For practical courses, what are the arrangements for access to workshops, studios and laboratories?
Many of our academic subjects require students to have a physical access to workshops, studios and laboratories on campus. For information related to your specific course, please consult your course leader or personal tutor.
We want to give students on practical courses the access that they need in order to learn. It’s our priority to get students into the practical spaces – it may be at different times of the day – but it will be the most effective way of learning we can offer. Some courses are working on supplying students with the materials they need outside of their study areas, which will also help students who aren’t able to get onto campus.
Lecturers also have access to laboratories and workshops on campus to pre-record lectures so that they can do practical demonstrations as part of those lectures. The lecture will still take place online but it will feature a practical demonstration to ensure that students can learn the practical aspect of their course, even if they can’t make it onto campus.
How can I access the Kimberlin Library and other study spaces on campus?
Kimberlin Library and our study spaces are open to students, with reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. You will still be able to borrow books and other materials (including AV) and use library PCs within safe distancing arrangements. For more information, please visit our page on using campus facilities.
The Library is continuing to develop its enhanced package of support and online resources for you to access. You can learn more about this on our teaching and learning page.
A lot of my teaching is online, do I need to attend university in person?
The academic year 2020/2021 will be blended delivery. This is a combination of online and face-to-face, in-person delivery. It is not distance learning.
In some cases, students may encounter difficulties in attending their in-person sessions or returning to campus. The following are exceptions to attending in-person:
- Transport issues that make it impossible; this will apply to international students where airports are not open. Students are expected to return to the UK and campus once restrictions lift.
- Ill with COVID-19, have symptoms and awaiting outcome of a test or having been in contact with someone ill and required to quarantine. This will be a temporary exception with students returning once well.
- Otherwise required to quarantine. This will be a temporary exception with students returning once quarantine period has ended.
- In local lockdown. This will be a temporary exception with students returning once lockdown has been lifted.
We are a COVID-safe campus and have put in enhanced cleaning and additional measures to ensure the safety of all on campus.
Students who are anxious about returning to campus should contact their course team or Student Advice Centre to discuss their concerns.
Students who have health conditions or disabilities which may impact on their return to campus should contact the Disability Advisory Service or the Mental Health Support team who will be able to explore any adjustments which may be needed.
We believe that, with the health and safety measures being implemented across campus and with the opportunities for face to face engagement being put into place across all programmes, students should attend university in person throughout the next academic year unless personal circumstances (such as illness, shielding, care responsibilities, etc.) prevent them doing so, or national restrictions indicate otherwise. We therefore expect all of our students to be on campus in order to gain as full a DMU experience as possible.
All updates will be posted both on Blackboard and, as appropriate, included in the Your DMU Future and Your DMU Safety pages, as well as communicated to you via email.
I’m worried I don’t have all of the IT software to study effectively, how will you support me?
We have reviewed our teaching to consider the IT requirements that are necessary for students to successfully complete their studies. We have expanded the provision of software that we provide to students and developed technical solutions, such as remote access to laboratories. We recognise that some students may have difficulties in accessing an appropriate computing device to enable them to complete their studies. We have worked with colleagues in student support to identify those students with greatest need, and where necessary will work to provide students with access to computing resources.
As lots of my learning is online, why do I have to pay full tuition fees?
We know that university is a significant investment in your future and for you personally, so we work hard to ensure we offer value for money in all that we do.
Our revised planning for this academic year was required by governments across the UK bringing in lockdown restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Central to our planning are two important principles: firstly, the health and safety of our staff and students will be paramount, and secondly, a strong commitment to ensuring that the teaching, learning and support we offer is broadly equivalent to our usual offering, so that all our students are able to receive the education they want and deserve, within the evolving national restrictions.
You will continue to receive a full portfolio of teaching, including lectures (online), online live teaching, and as much on-campus teaching as is compatible with safe distancing requirements (this is what we mean by blended learning). We’re continually planning and reviewing what the evolving restrictions mean for smaller-scale and more interactive teaching - including face-to-face workshops, seminars, tutorials, lab work, practice-based teaching events.
We’re also working hard to ensure all our students have the opportunity to access a wide range of specialist resources and subject-specific software, collaborative tools and digital platforms, student support around careers and placements, health and wellbeing, finance, library and learning resources, social media to build and develop networks, communities and friendship groups, as well as a wide range of social activities delivered appropriately within the current and evolving restrictions, including music, sport and student societies. We have invested in additional resources, including extra electronic databases and book access in the library as well as LinkedIn Learning provision and writing support via Studiosity. We have also significantly increased the number of computers that we have available to students and staff to enable the successful delivery of learning and teaching.
On this basis, all tuition fees will be as advertised on our website. Our central priority is to ensure that the highest possible quality of the student experience we can offer is made available to all students whatever wider restrictions are in place, and to give student maximum value for the fees that they pay.
Will the no-detriment policy apply to 20/21 academic year assessments?
No. The policy was put in place to help mitigate against the unsettling circumstances and sudden disruption all students faced as a result of the nationwide lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. We have been working across all programmes to plan for a safe, positive and effective learning environment through a blended curriculum and a partly online student experience for 2020/21. This includes factoring in COVID-19 related impacts to assessment and marking.
However, the no-detriment policy will still apply for resits and postgraduate assessments from the 2019/20 academic year, including resit boards in September 2020 and postgraduate boards in October 2020 and November. For more information on how the 2019/2020 no-detriment policy is applied, please see our no-detriment FAQ page.
If you have deferred work, please discuss this with your faculty via your student advice centres. For any other specific individual queries you should follow the usual procedures for discussing extensions or deferrals.
What is happening with DMU Global?
While overseas DMU Global opportunities are not currently possible, the university will review government advice, and if travel is permitted, we hope to offer a small number of extra-curricular opportunities in the early summer of 2021.
Provided this is possible and that you are eligible, you will be able to apply the DMU Global High Flyers Award to one of these trips, as it is valid for your entire first year of study. Further information is available on the DMU Global FAQs page.
From term one, students will be able to participate in our full range of campus-based activities. You can learn a foreign language, including Mandarin, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic. Students can also participate in other opportunities such as Teach English as a Foreign Language Training (TEFL) and the DMU Global Intercultural Awareness Certificate. Details can be found on the DMU Global website.
New for the 2020/21 academic year, we will also be launching DMU Global Online Learning which will offer students the chance to engage and learn about a range of global topics in a virtual environment, without the need to travel.
What is happening with placements?
Please liaise in the first instance with your placement tutor.
If you are on a placement year, your main point of contact is your placement tutor. You will already have received communication directly from them. Stay in touch with them if you have questions or need advice. You can also contact the placement team based in your faculty.
Students on HLS placements should look out for information sent by their link tutor or usual placement academic contact, and the HLS placement team.
If you are looking for a placement, we recommend seeking the help of your faculty-based placement team, which can help you with identifying placements you could apply for, writing a good application, and preparing for the specific types of interviews and assessments used by different employers.
It is important to get this personalised and specialist support, rather than try to apply on your own. Employers have moved their application processes onto virtual platforms and therefore you will benefit from preparation and guidance on how to succeed in these online processes.
To get in touch with your faculty-based placement team, contact:
What happens if we are placed in national lockdown and no face-to-face teaching is possible?
Under the new national lockdown (5 November – 2 December), schools, colleges and universities remain open for face-to-face teaching when possible.
As you would expect, DMU is making contingency plans for the possibility of a need to switch to online-only teaching and learning should an increase in infections or instances of lockdown (whether building-based, community-based or nationally-based) necessitate this. Tutors are working hard to plan and prepare so that, should we find ourselves in this situation, you will receive the teaching you are entitled to, to allow you to achieve your learning objectives (albeit in some cases syllabi might require adjusting). In the event this happens, we will inform you as soon as possible about the new arrangements.
I’d like to make a complaint, how can I do this?
We’re sorry if you feel dissatisfied or disadvantaged by anything in light of the current situation. If you’d like to make a complaint about anything relating to Covid-19, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will look into this for you as soon as possible. Find out more about our student complaints procedure