Last night the government urged the UK population to seek to avoid unnecessary social contact. This is a significant escalation in a rapidly changing situation. In light of this announcement, the College has taken the decision to suspend face-to-face teaching with immediate effect, meaning that all classes and lectures will be conducted online.
Teaching will be scheduled according to the timetable. From today, you should not attend your class in the lecture theatre or room as usual. Instead you should go to Moodle where you will find out how to access your class online. While lectures will be available via Moodle, smaller group teaching and even individual appointments will use MS Teams.
Using MS Teams
We wanted to take this opportunity to clarify how to join classes online, using Microsoft Teams.
- Your lecturer will share a link to the MS Teams live video conference session. The link will be shared through Moodle. Some lecturers may also use calendar invites for ad-hoc MS Teams sessions.
- You should click on the link that says ‘Join Microsoft teams meeting’ which will open in a web browser. You should join the meeting as a guest when you are presented with the options.
- You may be placed in a ‘lobby’ until the lecturer starts the session. Please activate your camera and mute your microphone.
- You do not need to download the MS Teams app to attend online classes. Note: you will not be able to log in to MS Teams with your College username and password and you should join all sessions as a guest.
While we can provide teaching and learning support online, running practical work, such as labs and performance related activity is more of a challenge. Therefore, at this time, it is necessary to suspend these activities. We are looking at how we can support the learning outcomes of this work, and ask you to please be patient while we work through the options. We will provide more information when it is available.
This closure has come a few days earlier than we would have wished but it was not un-anticipated, and so staff in many departments and in professional services have worked hard to move as much material online and to provide training and support to accelerate this process. The library is working to provide as much of the nearly 1,000 reading lists we have available in digital forms or find alternatives. Some departments and some formats will take a few days to be fully online, but please contact your tutors or your School Office for further information and keep an eye on your course Moodle page and the intranet for updates.
Exams and assessments
The situation is developing and may require alternative arrangements for examinations and assessments. You should continue to prepare for these on the assumption that they will go ahead. If there is a need to make alternative arrangements we will contact you with the necessary information.
Our priority is to seek to ensure that students are not disadvantaged and we are exploring ways to make sure everyone can access assessments with ease and in a fair manner. Our decision-making will be guided by government and expert advice. We will provide an update on examinations and assessments by Friday 3 April 2020.
Living on campus
I would like to reassure students living on campus that despite the suspension of face-to-face teaching and even if the government moves to announce the closure of schools, colleges and universities, you will be able to continue living in your room and, if you live in catered Halls, your meals will continue to be provided for you.
If you are an overseas student and you decide to go home you must inform student-administrationroyalholloway.ac.uk so that we are aware you have left the country which will help to reduce any possible visa issues on your return to the UK.
If you are UK student and you wish to go home before the end of term (27 March) you must inform student-administrationroyalholloway.ac.uk.
If you are a student living in Halls, as well as checking out at your Hall Reception, please also email student-administrationroyalholloway.ac.uk to let them know that you have left your room.
All students should be prepared to return to campus for the start of summer term which is 27 April. Whether you remain on campus or choose to go home you must continue to engage with your studies as far as you are able until the end of term
Support for you
We are living through events that are unprecedented in our lifetime and each day the situation changes. I appreciate this is worrying and confusing and that you have many questions that we do not have answers for. Where we do have answers we have included these in a section on the intranet about coronavirus (Covid-19).
If you are anxious or concerned and would like to talk to someone, please email supportingyouroyalholloway.ac.uk.
We will work hard to keep you up to date with developments that affect your studies and so please continue to check your email, the intranet and remain in contact with your lecturers, your department and school. Each week we will send a Coronavirus (Covid-19) newsletter and provide updates on Twitter and Instagram @RHCampusLife.
Professor Paul Layzell