Academic advice to students

Teaching will be online for the rest of Trimester 1. Campuses are now open for study and social activities. Examinations are replaced with online assessments.

This page was last updated on 9 July 2020.

Teaching during alert level 1

All courses will remain online for Trimester 1. In addition, there will be a range of safe on-campus activities for students, including, but not limited to: additional special interest lectures, seminars to enhance academic skills, tutorials and other learning activities for some important courses in the curriculum, face-to-face office hours to connect one-on-one with academic staff, and social activities for students to re-connect with each other.

Trimester dates and university operations

Because the mid-trimester break is extended by three weeks, there will be an extended teaching period between 8–26 June. These additional three weeks of teaching will replace the study and exam period at the end of trimester. As a consequence, all teaching and assessment must be completed by 26 June—within the teaching period. There will be no exams. The trimester will end on schedule. The break between Trimester 1 and 2 will now be two weeks long.

Trimester 2 will begin on Monday 13 July, one week later than previously advised. This decision has been made to decrease pressure on staff and students and increase your wellbeing after nine weeks of teaching.

The examination period scheduled at the end of Trimester 2 has also been replaced with a one-week assessment period, with no face-to-face exams.

Revised trimester dates:

Monday 13 July: First day of Trimester 2

Monday 17–Sunday 30 August: Mid-trimester break (remains the same)

Friday 16 October: End of Trimester 2 teaching

Monday 19 October–Saturday 24 October: Assessment period for Trimester 2 (replaces the exam period)

Trimester 2 operations

The University has been working through a careful process of adjustment as we transition back to a normal teaching and learning environment. We have had to balance many complex factors that impact on academic quality considerations as well as the overall student and staff experience. We are well aware through survey information and feedback that a return to normal campus life is important to many within our academic community.

The University will offer a world-class on-campus experience for the remainder of the year. In Trimester 2 all undergraduate courses that normally have face-to-face lectures will be offering face-to-face lectures this year too (unless the course coordinator is unable to return to Wellington). Many of those lectures will be more interactive as our staff follow what has been shown to be best practice around the world. For every course you take, you will be able to meet with academic staff involved with the course and, in addition, most courses will offer additional in-person teaching experiences, such as tutorials, labs, workshops, and placements. At the same time, students who are unable to come to campus will be able to enrol in and complete their courses remotely through an online delivery option.

To find out more about the way individual courses will be delivered, please look at the course outline or the announcement on the Blackboard course page. Staff have been asked to ensure that course outlines are up-to-date and that Blackboard courses are available for students by early next week.

Download the list of exceptions, approved by the relevant Dean.

Trimester 2 answers to frequently asked questions

Why are courses still being delivered online?

As part of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19, it is a government requirement that universities be able to transition to a higher alert level within 24 hours. For this reason, our courses need to be able to be fully delivered online. We also know that some of our students need to continue studying remotely. Ensuring we can effectively deliver courses online is an essential part of the University’s long-term resilience strategy.

How and when will I find out the details of how my course is being delivered?

To find out more about the way individual courses will be delivered, please look at the course outline or the announcement on the Blackboard course page. Staff have been asked to ensure that course outlines are up-to-date and that Blackboard courses are available for students by early next week (week commencing Monday 29 June).

Can I take any courses fully online?

Yes you can with the exceptions being a small number of courses that contain an essential face-to-face/in-person component (such as a lab or workshop). These courses won’t be fully online and will require students to attend the University in person.

Online learning

Online learning is flexible but requires good self-discipline and motivation. Check out some skills and advice to help you learn online effectively.

If you are unable to study from home because you do not have access to a computer, specific software or a wifi connection, you can apply to the laptop loan scheme.

Read tips from Dr Cathal Doyle on how you can make learning online work best for you.

The University has created these online learning tools to help you refresh your study skills.

IT help for online learning

The University will provide online lectures (or alternative online engagement activities) from Tuesday 28 April. These will be provided in the manner agreed with your course coordinator on Student Engagement Day.

Students who have technical issues with Blackboard can get in touch with ITS by phone +64 4 463 5050, email servicedesk@vuw.ac.nz, or via webchat.

Courses

Assessment and exams

All assessments will need to be submitted online. No assessment item should be submitted on campus. This means that courses with a scheduled exam will need to offer alternative assessments. Your course coordinators will have told you more about these assessments at the Student Engagement Day and will ensure you have the information you need about assessments as we resume teaching.

Disability-related needs

If you have disability-related accessible assessment arrangements, these will be adapted to suit the new format of the assessment. If you are registered with Disability Services and have not yet heard from them, please contact them on disability@vuw.ac.nz, and they will ensure your needs are met.

Grade scaling

Victoria University of Wellington is not planning to introduce a blanket policy to scale up grades in all courses for Trimester One 2020. The University will ensure that robust moderation procedures are in place for all courses this year, and that scaling of grades in an upward direction will occur in courses where appropriate.Our approach is to look at grades once assessments are completed to see what kind of scaling is actually needed. We will compare grades to those of previous groups of students taking the same course and see if there is any difference. This may result in a scaling up of grades and may in some courses lead to scaling up of grades by more than a 5 point raise. In no case, though, will the comparison lead to scaling down of grades.

In recognition of the impact COVID-19 has had on students this year, the University will be adding a statement on all transcripts indicating that every student enrolled in 2020 was impacted by the global pandemic.

Help at exam or assessment time

Due to COVID-19, changes have been made to course assessments for trimester 1, 2020. Your options will depend on the type of assessment, the assessment due date, and the work you have completed for your course so far. Options could include:

  • an extension for your assessment
  • re-weighting your assessment
  • applying for a form of ungraded pass known as an aegrotat.

Your faculty office can explain each of these options and connect you with the right person who can help. Before applying for an aegrotat, it is also advisable to speak with your course coordinator about the best options for your situation.

Extensions and due dates

Students are able to ask for extensions for up to two weeks on any assessment item, please approach your class coordinator.

Aegrotat applications

An aegrotat pass is an ungraded pass awarded to a student who is not well enough to either (1) take or prepare for a test or (2) complete a piece of assessment due in the last three weeks of teaching. The cause may be illness, injury, or other factors beyond your control. To be granted an aegrotat pass, you need to show that you were on track to pass your course when you experienced exceptional/serious circumstances.

Serious circumstances

For Trimester 1 2020 these do not need to be verified by a health professional.

The aegrotat process is only used for situations that are serious, acute, and beyond your control such as:

  • disproportionate effects of COVID-19 relative to other students
  • adverse personal circumstances unrelated to COVID-19 such as illness, bereavement or trauma.

If you have an ongoing impairment or condition, contact Disability Services as early as possible during the trimester to discuss your situation.

How aegrotat passes are approved

To approve your application, the associate dean for your faculty needs to be sure you have largely met the learning outcomes for your course, which involves looking at completed assignments. If you have missed much of the course or done poorly, the application may be declined.

There are exceptions to courses for which you can apply for an aegrotat pass:

  • Teacher education students have an alternative process available. Contact your faculty office for further information
  • School of Music performance students can’t apply for an aegrotat for courses that have performance assessments. This varies by course, so contact your faculty or school office for details.

For Trimester 1 or 2 and full year courses, you must apply for an aegrotat pass during the last three weeks of trimester. For Trimester 3 courses, you must contact your faculty office. You must submit an aegrotat application is 10 working days after your last test or assessment submission date.

Please go to the aegrotat information page to find the aegrotat pass application form, and to find out more about the application process.

Update to course withdrawal policy

The University has made some changes to the course withdrawal policy in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students.

Students will be able to withdraw from courses up until the final day of teaching in Trimester 1, 26 June, without requiring the approval usually needed from their faculty. Note that a refund may not be applicable.

Students were able to withdraw from a single Trimester 1 course and receive a full refund, if they did so by Friday 8 May. While this offer has closed, if you are considering withdrawing from one or more of your courses, visit the Fees reconsideration page to determine if you may be eligible for a refund of your fees. Before withdrawing, you should consider implications for any StudyLink support you may be receiving or check with Wellington University International if it may affect your visa.

If you are unsure, or have further questions,  email fee-reconsideration@vuw.ac.nz for advice before you withdraw.

Placements

The University is working to ensure that, wherever possible, all students enrolled in a practicum, placement, internship, or some other form of civic engagement or work integrated learning through the curriculum can complete. Under level 1 restrictions, placements will be able to go ahead without restriction. Please contact your Faculty for further information.

Subject and Degree requirements

Before Trimester 2 starts, make sure you contact your faculty office to ensure you are on track to complete your degree requirements.

Resources

Libraries

The Library will now be open on all campuses between 8 am and midnight,  Monday to Friday, and 10 am to 10 pm Saturday and Sunday, as per their usual timetable.

The click and collect/courier service will cease on Monday 15 June. If your books are at another campus, you can get them delivered to your campus library using the Intersite Delivery Service. If you are currently living outside of the Wellington region, we can still courier your books to you. For further information check out library services at alert level 1.

Full details, including how to access click and collect and click and post will be available on the Library website.

Faculty offices

Faculty SAS team

The Faculty Student and Academic Services team remains available to assist you with enrolment advice and processing, degree and course planning, withdrawals from courses, graduation, and processing of student administration letters and forms.

We will continue to provide e-transcripts however will not be able to process any requests for hard copies. Email your faculty office or student adviser should you require help with any of the above or related matters.

Contacts for Faculty offices:

Take a look at the Faculty office opening hours page for more information.