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Coronavirus

Learning and Teaching Arrangements in 2021/22

We look forward to welcoming new and returning students in September. This page sets out plans for how we will support you next year, based on current advice from the Department for Education and public health advice.

Updated July 2021

During 2020/21, government advice changed very quickly, sometimes overnight and, therefore, we have drawn these plans up with care and caution and with the aim of minimising the risk of disruption wherever possible. We hope that there will not be any future lockdowns or government-imposed student travel windows, but this is not something we can predict.

We will continue to offer a blended approach of online supported learning and in-person classes with:

  • Lectures – mainly online during term 1 for undergraduate students and some on-line for postgraduate and apprenticeship students. Lectures may be available for you to access at a time to suit you (AKA asynchronous) or live streamed via Microsoft Teams (AKA synchronous). Student feedback from the last academic year suggested that there are many benefits of online lectures – including the ability to watch them at a convenient time, to play them back and to benefit from closed-captions (subtitles). You will be advised of the format of each lecture in advance. We will review this approach at end of term 1 to determine whether it is appropriate to increase the number of in-person lectures after the Christmas vacation.

  • Tutorials and practical classes - normally in-person unless there are changes in government guidance or changes are made by individual staff members for safety or educational reasons. During term 1 at least, we will have small class sizes to allow for social distancing around 1M+, as operated successfully in 2020/21. Arrangements for term 2 will be reviewed over Christmas. If you need to self-isolate or are ill, we shall where possible (and with notice) try to help you dial in to join the class remotely. This may not always be possible, depending on the content and format of the class. We may need to change the order and timing of teaching sessions as a result of COVID-19, but if so, we will advise you in advance.

  • Learning Resources - made available via our on-line Learning Hub. Each module has its own page, containing online lectures, weekly activity guidance, supporting resources and details of assessments. You will be given access to other resources for learning and to undertake assessments, such as Turnitin and PebblePad.

  • Assessment based on our experience of supporting our students during COVID-19 we are reviewing the types, size and timing of assessments based on feedback from our students and where we have seen good achievement profiles for student groups. Details will be provided by your module and course tutors. We will operate timed open-book assessments (TOBAs), in place of closed book examinations, in week 11 (the week before the Christmas vacation). Our Learner and Disability team will continue to provide assistance via group sessions and 1-to-1 appointments, providing support for study skills and helping you to prepare for assessments (see student support below).

  • Postgraduate Major Projects – The full range of University facilities and resources should be available for students undertaking independent major projects in 2021/22 (although some facilities will be available on a first-come, first-served basis). However, as part of the project proposal phase, all students will be required to develop a COVID-secure alternate methodology/approach in the event of future government restrictions being introduced.
  • Attendance recording – we expect all students to attend all online and in-person sessions, and to record their attendance at scheduled classes (online or in-person) via our online check-in tool. This helps us support you with your studies and manage Test and Trace requirements set by the government.

  • Block delivery for taught postgraduates and apprentices - taught postgraduate students are normally taught in week delivery blocks, which may be either face-to-face and/or online, depending on the educational content and the COVID-19 rules at the time. Face-to-face components are normally taught on successive days to aid planning and travel arrangements for our part-time students. Our students studying apprenticeships also join us for scheduled week blocks of face-to-face teaching, with some lectures and other classes online.
  • Off-site visits and field trips – the feasibility of planned trips will be considered on an individual basis as we go through the year. You will be advised by your course team about any changes to arrangements, if applicable.

The above arrangements are designed to minimise the risk of infection, particularly in the period running up to and including flu season, to protect the wellbeing of our students and staff. Should infections rates remain low, we will continually assess during term 1 whether we can, in term 2:

  • Run more lectures in-person rather than online;

  • Bring any small tutorial groups together thereby easing social distancing measures.

  • Ease any restrictions that may be in place concerning the use of face coverings, movement through buildings and the configuration of classrooms.

 

Any changes will be communicated to you via your university email and we will give as much notice as we are able to.

Any changes will be communicated to you via your university email and we will give as much notice as we are able to.

Our COVID Academic Assistance Package

  • Types and timing of assessments – we will operate timed open book assessments (TOBAs) in place of closed-book exams in term 1 (with some exceptions e.g. in Vet Nursing and Vet Physio due to professional accreditation). We may adjust the summer assessments depending on COVID-19 rules at the time and based on our current assessment review.

  • Assessment regulationswill be reviewed in 2021/22 and adjustments may be made to provide more flexibility and support your progression if there are more pandemic-related disruptions.

  • Mitigating circumstances – we changed our mitigating circumstances (MC) policy in light of COVID-19: including IT failure/disruption as a grounds for MCs; provisions for possible extensions for a TOBA; self-certification notes as part of MC supporting evidence in cases of local (and national) lockdowns.

  • The Library will deliver its now enhanced online service including online resources, 150,000 ebooks and 45,000 ejournals and bookable appointments with the librarians.  During term 1 we will offer Click and Sit and Click and Collect services.

  • Placement and careers fair – will be online again in 2021/22. Although this is targeted particularly at second years and finalists, all students will be able to attend and meet the 150+ employers we work closely with and find out more about placement scholarships on offer to our undergraduates. 

  • Student Support – we will continue to offer our blended service with bookable appointments, online resources and hardship support. Whether support will be provided online or in-person will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on individual student and staff circumstances. We will continue to undertake daily welfare check-ins if you are unwell or self-isolating, and facilitate meal packages for catered students in halls and/or facilitate delivery of shopping and prescriptions along with other practical support.

What do I need to do? 

  • Bring a laptop computer (with web-camera, microphone and headphones and either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome as your default web browser) because some of your classes will be on-line and learning material in classes will not be provided in hard-copy. Follow this link if you would like to access the discounts for our students offered by Dell. When you are registered with us you will be able to install the Microsoft Office suite free of charge. Contact StudentServices@harper-adams.ac.uk if you think the cost of purchasing your own laptop or tablet will be prohibitive. The Service Deskteam (ServiceDesk@harper-adams.ac.uk) will be available to support your set-up once you are a registered user of our network and if you are unsure about what you need can be contacted before you arrive. 

  • Take a look at the details of any course-specific items you may need to purchase in advance. These will be explained on our Joining Instructions webpages, the link to which will be sent to you within the coming weeks.

  • Make sure you have applied for on-campus accommodation in good time, once you have received your invitation email.

  • Use your university email address as soon as it is set up and make sure your contact details are correct when you enrol online (particularly your mobile number).

  • If you plan to pay your fees with a student loan, make sure you have completed your Student Finance application. Visit our webpages for further information.

  • Make arrangements to have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, to protect yourself and others from the risks of the virus. For further information, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions for students at University on the NHS website.

  • Look out for our Student Life email in August in which we tell you more about what to expect in terms of social settings, living on campus and the latest guidance on face coverings and other COVID-19 related matters at the time.

 

If you have any immediate concerns, please contact our admissions team: admissions@harper-adams.ac.uk.

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