BUE PRESIDENT COVID-19 UPDATE (7)
Dear BUE Community,
I hope this message finds you all well and safe.
Semester 2 teaching is now complete and I am sure both students and staff are now preparing for their end of Semester assessments. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff at BUE for their hard work and dedication which has made the move to online teaching a success despite the very difficult circumstances. I would also like to thank BUE students and their families for their ongoing commitment to BUE and to commend them on how well they have made the transition to online learning. I wish you all success in your assessments. I know it has been a stressful time for many students and you have been provided with a great deal of information regarding the many changes to your studies over the past weeks and the further changes to come. In particular, I know many of you were very concerned regarding the directions from the Egyptian Supreme Council for Universities regarding repeating students and students with trailing modules and I received many emails from concerned students and their families. I am very pleased to inform you that, following discussions with me and Presidents of other Egyptian universities, the Supreme Council has issued a revised decision for these students. Now, only repeating students and students with trailing modules in their final year will have to wait until campus reopens to sit final exams. All other years’ students will take alternative assessments from 30 May to 16 June. I would like to thank the Quality and Validation team who I know have dealt with a large number of queries on this issue. To help students understand all the changes that have been made a ‘Question and Answer’ document follows at the end of this communication. Please read it carefully as it will cover all the questions you may have about how you will be affected by changes to assessment following the campus closure.
I hope I will see you all again on campus soon.
Professor Ahmed Hamad
Student Q&A on Changes to Assessment
What is the current situation?
As per the President’s communication on 24 April 2020 the campus will remain closed for the rest of semester 2 and any remaining teaching will continue online.
Students must complete all coursework and assessments scheduled for semester 2. The final deadline for the submission of semester 2 coursework and assessments is 15 May 2020 unless stated otherwise by your Faculty. Following consultation with the BUE President and staff, as well as students, the Egyptian Supreme Council for Universities has amended its decision on assessments for repeat year students and students taking trailing modules. This is reflected in the guidance below and differs from what was communicated previously. Please take the time to carefully read through the information below.
What is happening with examinations this semester?
A great deal of attention has gone into thinking about how assessments will be handled given the continued closure of the campus and the move to Virtual learning. This has happened alongside discussions with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Universities and our UK validating partners. As such, for all students apart from final year students, all unseen examinations due to take place at the end of semester 2 will be replaced by alternative forms of assessment. Schedules for the semester 2 final assessments are being published on the SRS. The schedules show the date / time of completing the assessment or the duration for completing the submission based on the nature of the assessment. Any questions regarding the nature or the requirements of assessed submissions should be directed to your relevant department.
When will alternative assessments take place?
Semester 2 alternative assessments will take place between 30 May and 16 June 2020 for all students apart from final year students unless stated otherwise. Practical teaching and assessment for all students will be postponed until the end of the campus closure period. If any students are not able to complete practical teaching or assessments before the start of the 2020/21 Academic Year they will be allowed to progress to the next year and will make up the practical teaching time and assessments to schedules set by their Faculties.
I am a final year student, what is the situation for me?
Examinations and practical assessments for final year students will be postponed until the campus reopens. The intention is for final year practical assessments to take place two weeks after the campus can reopen following an announcement by the Egyptian Supreme Council for Universities. A schedule of final year practical assessments and final exams will be published as soon as a re-opening date is announced.
Will additional support be provided for Final Year students?
Yes, BUE will provide additional teaching and revision support to help final year students prepare for their final practical assessments and exams. Further information will be provided by Faculties in due course.
I am a Repeating Student, what is the situation for me?
Examinations and practical assessments for repeating final year students will be postponed until the campus reopens. The intention is that assessments for repeating final year students will take place two weeks after the campus is able to reopen. A schedule of exams will be published as soon as a re-opening date is announced. Examinations for all other repeating students will be replaced by alternative forms of assessment.
I am taking a trailed module, what is the situation for me?
Examinations and practical assessments for final year students taking trailed modules will be postponed until the campus reopens. Examinations for all other students taking trailed modules will replaced by alternative forms of assessment.
Why are assessments going ahead?
The Egyptian Supreme Council of Universities has made the decision, in consultation with Universities across the country that assessments should proceed in various forms. It is not possible to simply cancel the assessments altogether and maintain the academic integrity of our programmes nor would it be in keeping with our University ethos. All reasonable steps have been taken to try and reach outcomes that reduce worry, stress, and uncertainty as much as possible.
Can this approach be altered?
Alongside the information that was made publicly available from the Egyptian Supreme Council for Universities a set of technical guidance for Universities to follow was also produced. This technical guidance specified approaches to assessment and distinguished between different approaches for different cohorts. All Universities are expected to stick to the guidelines as specified by the Egyptian Supreme Council for Universities. We are collecting student feedback and concerns raised through the Q&V team and are finding mutually agreeable and workable solutions wherever possible.
Will I be disadvantaged?
No. We have given careful thought and consideration and have adopted what is essentially a ‘no detriment’ approach. For students taking alternative assessments this approach will recognise your performance so far in the year. Final marks will not be negatively impacted by the alternative assessments that have been put in place. For Final year students additional support will be put in place to ‘bridge the gap’ between the end of term and the assessments themselves. Further information will be provided by Faculties in due course. All approaches, and agreed alternative assessments, have been carefully designed and reviewed, as well as approved by our validating Universities and external examiners.
How will my mark be determined?
For all students apart from final year students marks for semester 2 will not be considered in calculating the year or cumulative averages. The Q&V team is working on further guidance that will be shared in due course.
What about my transcript?
Semester 2 marks for all students apart from final year students will be recorded on the BUE transcript as either pass or fail. Full marks will be recorded on the UK transcript for those students studying for degrees awarded by London South Bank University or Queen Margaret University.
What happens if I fail a module?
Should you fail any modules (up to 60 credits) BUE Academic Regulations will be applied as in the case of a resit and you will be required to take, and pass, another piece of assessment.
What happens if I failed a module in semester 1?
Marks for all semester 1 assessments will be recorded as usual. Students who failed any of their semester 1 coursework or exams will be allowed to resit following BUE Academic Regulations.
How will Academic Misconduct and plagiarism be handled?
It is very important to note that regulations regarding Academic Misconduct and plagiarism will be applied as normal, please refer to sections 13 and 15 in the undergraduate regulations for more information, regulations are available under https://www.bue.edu.eg/quality-validation/
How will alternative assessments work with Turnitin?
Students who are required to use Turnitin.com to submit work must use their BUE email accounts. Personal email accounts will be deleted and that will include all associated submissions found in the Turnitin system. For students who are required to submit their Turnitin papers through e-learning, it’s recommended to allow the pop up feature in your Internet browser before uploading papers to avoid the user agreement message. Remember that it is the decision of whoever is marking your assessment, not Turnitin, as to whether plagiarism has occurred or not. You can find further advice on Turnitin here Turnitin for students and here Turnitin through e-learning If you have further questions you should contact the Library team.
I feel as if my academic performance was impaired, what should I do?
The Q&V team is working to facilitate the submission of Impaired Performance claims and will update students once all the arrangements are in place.
Will these changes devalue my degree?
No, the University has taken great care whilst making these changes to maintain the quality of its degrees and the associated academic standards. All changes have been made in discussion and agreement with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Universities and our UK validating partners. Alternative forms of assessment will still allow you to meet the defined learning outcomes of your specified degree programme.
What support is available to me?
BUE will continue to support students through this challenging time to ensure you achieve your potential. Any questions regarding the nature or the requirements of assessed submissions should be directed to your relevant department. Any other queries should be directed to Quality and Validation through the email Q&Vstaff@bue.edu.eg. For general guidance on the University’s closure, COVID-19, advice on guidance for virtual learning and E-learning as well as Library contacts and queries you should refer to the General Guide for Students webpages. For information on Good Hygiene Practice, Self-isolation, Social Distancing and Mental Health Awareness please refer to the Staying Safe webpages. If you are experiencing IT (virtual learning, virtual interaction or E-learning) difficulties you should contact your Faculty eLearning coordinator, the dedicated BUE IT & software support team firstname.lastname@example.org or your module leader.
What should I do now?
Please stay engaged with your studies and continue to engage with your coursework, all virtual learning/eLearning activities and revision. Please send any questions to your module or programme leader in the first instance.
Please ensure you check your BUE email inbox regularly for further information.