Published on April 15, 2020 by lauraduckett

We spoke to our TLP university ambassadors to see how their universities are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to find out how they’ve adapted!

Find out more about The Lawyer Portal’s Ambassador Programme.

The University of Law

“In terms of what the University of Law has been doing during these times, these are the main points:

  • All teaching is online: The University is clearly trying its hardest to keep teaching up to a good standard and staff are being very supportive going above and beyond in many cases
  • Library sessions are being provided remotely by the librarian via tutorials, using collaborative software, etc
  • Student Services is ‘open’ on Zoom, students just need to login and can ask anything you wish
  • The University has kept communication regular but only with the necessary information so I haven’t been overwhelmed
  • The University of Law has set up a specific Coronavirus information page detailing information for current students, prospective students and have been very keen to promote counselling and welfare initiatives

Overall I think the University has responded as best as it could have done and is giving as much help and support to students as possible.”

Phoebe Mather

Glasgow University

“Glasgow University has been very good at keeping us informed on the impact of COVID-19 on our studies and overall well-being.

The president of the Student Representative Council has been doing a great job of gathering all the views and ideas from the study body (mostly from social media, especially petitions, etc.) and presenting them to the chancellor and other important figures at the university. We feel our views have been properly represented and all petitions have been responded to positively by the university.

All exams for third and fourth years will be online and open book. Most subjects (particularly arts subjects) are having 24-hour exams, but will be marked as if we had taken them under the usual exam timings. I have been assured by my tutors that they are not going to make them ‘harder’ because of this new format.

I am not graduating until 2021, but those who are have been reassured that when it is safe to do so, they will have a proper graduation experience with all the usual ‘trimmings’ – gowns, photos, ceremonies, etc. They have not given an exact date but that’s to be expected!”

Rebecca Willis

University of Aberdeen

“After a difficult few weeks following the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Aberdeen has taken some significant steps to ensure the safety of all staff and students. All staff are now encouraged to engage in a ‘work from home’ schedule – where necessary administrative, pastoral and academic support must still be in place for students. Moreover, first and second-year exams have been cancelled, excluding a few accredited courses (such as law and medicine) which will have examinations online.

The online exams will be easily accessible, and the head of schools have provided great support where it is needed by any student in these circumstances. As for other students: graduations have been cancelled, and any celebratory events have been postponed in order to put the health of UoA members first. Weekly support messages promoting health and safety advice continue to be emailed to students as well as any updates such as rules and government advice.”

Amy Connell

University of Nottingham

“On 13th March Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West announced via email that UoN would cancel face-to-face lectures, seminars and tutorials due to COVID-19. The following ten days saw the move to online teaching, the postponement of graduations and the suggestion all students return to permanent addresses.

Two weeks later, the university communicated a plan to ensure students can succeed. This saw the extension of the examination period to 12th June. Students were told they would be assessed with fewer questions in ‘time-limited open book assessments’. UON also acknowledged students’ concerns by adopting the ‘no academic disadvantage policy’ on 1st April, promising that no student will be academically disadvantaged in these unprecedented times.

The Law School published an Exceptional Assessment Regime on 10th April to answer questions and allay anxieties. While effective, questions about the practical effects remain unanswered and we anxiously await further details.”

Rachel Rotimi

The University of Exeter

“The University of Exeter has done a tremendous job dealing with the pandemic. They have introduced a ‘safety net’/ ‘no-detriment’ policy for examinations. This means that provided students pass their summer online exams, the university will make sure that their final year average is the same or higher than their current average on assessments up to the 15th of March 2020.

With regards to accommodation, the University has included an option to allow tenants to be released from their contracts. This means that students will not have to pay the last installment. The university also aided me with releasing students from our private sector accommodation.

Furthermore, the University has allowed students the option of deferring their examinations for the summer of 2020, or the next academic year and they understand the difficult situation we have all been placed in.

The University is doing a great job dealing with the pandemic.”

Vithujan Sivakumar

University of Birmingham

“As second years, all of our exams have been cancelled. They were originally moved online however they were eventually cancelled.

We have been told to complete our outstanding coursework assessments. However, we have been given extensions on these. We are unsure of the form these bridging assessments will take at present but I assume they will be coursework style assessments and they will be operating a no detriment policy to my understanding.”

Evie Haywood

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