Online information session
Parents, supporters and current students were invited to an online Q&A session on Wednesday 25 November.
The online session included updates from senior members of staff and our student representatives. Attendees also had the opportunity to ask the panel questions.
We received a high number of questions submitted prior to, and during the online session. While we answered the majority of these questions during the session, not all of the topics could be addressed at the time.
We have taken all of the questions submitted, split these into themes, and collated answers for the most pressing topics. You can view these answers below. We will share further responses to your unanswered questions on this page soon.
How different will next semester be in relation to face-to-face classes?
Will there be more in-person teaching provided?
All plans shaped for Semester 2 will need to be made in line with Scottish Government guidance.
We aim to continue our hybrid learning and teaching approach, and will expand our in-person provision where it is safe to do so, particularly with a focus on labs/studios/practical courses where this is essential.
We have received strong feedback from students directly, and through Students’ Association engagement, focusing especially on ensuring synchronous, real time activity, and this continues to be a major shift in some Schools.
We will soon share information on any further adjustments that may need to be made to our teaching and learning, research and on-campus activities.
I/ my child has not received any face-to-face tuition. Why are some students receiving no in-person hours?
The University is currently offering a Hybrid provision of teaching and learning, which is a combination of on-campus and online experiences. So far, we have delivered more than 95,000 hours of teaching this semester with more than 35,000 hours of this scheduled to be on campus.
We have never set out to provide an online Semester for anybody but there have been a number of courses which have decided to go fully online. For some students, that means that experience is predominately online. While some courses may offering digital only teaching, this is not the norm and we are happy to investigate any instances of this further.
We urge any student, or their parents/ supporters to reach out to the University to provide us with more information if they/their child has received no in-person hours so that we can address this with the relevant School and programme.
You can contact us via our Covid-19 mailbox.
I am not happy with the quality of teaching.
We are really sorry to hear this. We've had feedback from a lot of students who have noted and appreciate the efforts our teaching staff have gone to in order to deliver hybrid teaching and the improvements made over the semester.
Student School and Course Representatives are also able to provide feedback on their specific teaching and learning experience and we would encourage any student to get in touch with these representatives if they feel they are not experiencing the quality of education that they expect.
My online classes are all pre-recorded.
Online software, such as LEARN keeps crashing.
We’ve invested – and continue to do so – in new mechanisms, new media and new software to support online delivery.
We have recently experienced a number of IT and network issues which has caused disruption to many of our students and staff. We sincerely apologise to all those who were affected and are working to ensure that these outages don’t happen again.
If you are having issues accessing any online software or applications, please contact our EdHelp team.
We have also been addressing specific network and Wi-Fi issues at our student accommodation which is currently provided by an external supplier. Given the critical nature of service to you we have now brought forward the replacement of the network with a brand new, high speed University network and Wi-Fi service. This network replacement will take place throughout Semester Two.
If you are still experiencing Wi-Fi issues in University accommodation, please take a look at our Information Services website for more information on how to report this and what you can do:
Will the university be considering refunds/lowering fees for students on courses that are not being delivered at the quality that would be reasonably expected?
There are no planned reductions in tuition fees and we are seeking to increase the amount of on-campus provision where we possibly can next Semester. We are delivering more than 95,000 hours of teaching this semester and more than 35,000 hours of this is scheduled to be on campus. Our libraries and other study facilities are open, and we have created new spaces for students to meet and interact during this challenging year.
The University’s view is that online and on-campus teaching is equally expensive to deliver. We’ve invested in new mechanisms, new media and new software to support online delivery. We’re also continually reviewing and improving this based on feedback.
If you are studying predominantly online and are reviewing the overall costs of your studies, please be reminded that should you decide to no longer live in Edinburgh, you may exit from your University accommodation lease at any time without any notice period.
There are no planned reductions in rent within our University-managed student accommodation.
We've made significant improvements to our student accommodation since the start of the Semester, and are continuing to address student concerns in every possible way that we can.
If you wish to permanently leave University accommodation, we will be flexible and will not hold you to the 28-day notice period. If you would like to give notice and leave your accommodation please log into MyEd.
- Select Student Life
- Select Accommodation.
- Select Term Time 2020-21
- Click Request Lease Termination and follow the steps.
Once your lease break has been approved, you will be asked to let us know when you have departed, cleared your room and handed in your key. Once we have received confirmation of this, we will end your lease and you will receive any refund due.
There appears to be a lack of contact from personal tutors.
Every undergraduate and taught postgraduate student has a Personal Tutor, a member of the teaching staff who provides academic guidance and support. Your Personal Tutor is there to help you make the most of your studies as you progress through your university career.
Personal tutors are expected to meet their tutees for a number of scheduled meetings per Semester. If you feel you are unable to contact your personal tutor or have not had any scheduled meetings, please contact us and let us know the specifics of your situation (including your School and programme) and we will follow this up.
What will the university do to address isolation and loneliness?
Your mental wellbeing support is reactive – we need it to be proactive.
The University has a range of services to support your health and wellbeing, including counselling appointments, self-help resources, mindfulness sessions and live streamed exercise classes. Our full range can be found on our Student Health and Wellbeing webpages, however the majority of these services do require students to access / sign up for this. It is not automatic, nor do all students want it.
Our teams working in our student accommodation have a pro-active support approach and are reaching out to students to engage with them, as well as responding to situations when mental health support is required. We also have a pro-active system in place to support students who need to self-isolate.
- We are providing meal deliveries to students staying in University-managed accommodation and our ResLife team are checking in with self-isolating students on a daily basis
- Our Covid-19 Support Service helps students in private accommodation. Students can expect two phone calls to check if they need help ordering food, know how to access healthcare and to provide advice on Covid testing.
We are further enhancing our services and are spending an extra £1 million on mental health over the next 24 months and that includes £460k extra this year. That's more counsellors, more mindfulness, more Listening Service and additional wellbeing services.
The lack of access arrangement is having a very bad impact on my daughter's mental health.
For students, the first point of contact is the Student Disability Service.
Our professional staff work with disabled students on a 1:1 basis delivering specialised types of support such as Manual or Electronic Notetaking, Specific Learning Differences Tuition, Mental Health Mentoring or Proofreading. You can find more information about the support provided by Mental Health and Autism Mentors here.
We are also working closely with AccessAble, the UK's leading provider of access information, to provide details about the accessibility of our buildings and facilities. The “AccessAble – UoE” app is available on both iOS and Android, and uses symbols, photos and descriptions to give our students and staff instant access to information about ramps, lifts and accessible toilets.
We understand that the Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly hard for disabled students. One important change we have made based on disabled student feedback is an increase in the number of accessible study spaces specifically reserved for disabled students. These are available in the Main Library and other Libraries.
How is the University ensuring it is looking out for autistic students at this difficult time?
The Student Disability Service runs a weekly social and information group for students with a diagnosis of, or who are undergoing assessment for, Autism/ Asperger’s Syndrome. The group acts as a social space for students with ASC, and meets once a week throughout the academic year.
We also have Autistic Spectrum Mentors within the Student Disability Service to provide support to students with Autism. The focus of this support is on student academic progression (including perfectionism, procrastination, time-management) as well as well-being strategies including sleep hygiene, healthy eating, exercise regimes and relaxation techniques.
Will you be doing more to promote socializing between the students in an outdoor environment so it is safe?
This Semester, we have introduced student villages on campus and we're actively looking at the moment of ways to improve social contact and ways we can encourage people to come and meet in a safe and managed way. We really hope that we will be able to facilitate more society activity in-person soon, in line with Scottish Government and educational activity guidance.
We’re also looking to increase our offering of on-campus activities over the Christmas break and are working on a programme of activities to welcome students back after the New Year.
From early-December, any student who wishes to travel home in the UK for the winter break will be able to be tested as part of the Scottish Government’s asymptomatic screening programme.
The Scottish Government is advising all students who wish to travel within the UK for the winter break to get tested. Tests are available from Monday 30th November to Wednesday 9th December, between 10:00 and 20:30.
Students can book their tests via our website:
Please note that this test is not sufficient evidence for a ‘fit to fly’ note for international travel. International flights for those students travelling home for winter can still be taken, as 'travel for students returning home from university or college at the end of term' is an exception to travel restrictions currently in place. This also applies to travel within the UK and across 'Levels'.
You will be able to travel to another country outside of the UK subject to any travel restrictions in place. You should also note any quarantine rules which may apply in the country you are travelling to.
Further information can be found on the Scottish Government’s Returning Home and Asymptomatic Testing FAQs.
How are you getting students back safely in January?
We are awaiting a further announcement from the Scottish Government on plans for students returning to campus in January, and will update our students as soon as we have further developments.
We are offering flexibility to allow some students to travel in Semester 2. This means that students on mandatory or optional study/work placements overseas can be considered for travel in Semester 2 of 2020/21.
Approval will require an assessment by the Study and Work Away (SWAY) Service and is subject to a number of elements including the completion of a risk assessment, travel advice from the FCDO and whether the activity forms a mandatory or optional component of a degree programme.
We have communicated further advice to any students undertaking work/study placements in Semester 2 any have also published detailed FAQs on our website.
All students are subject to the Code of Student Conduct. The Code sets out expectations which include behaviour on campus, online and off campus where the safety, interests or reputation of the University, its students and others are concerned. The Code also sets out the procedure for investigating and taking disciplinary action where there is an allegation that an individual student has breached these expectations.
The Code outlines (at Section 12) the kinds of behaviour which would be considered unacceptable within the University community. These include:
- behaving in a way likely to cause injury or to impair safety;
- failing to comply with any University rule, regulation or policy
A small number of students have caused some incidents of unacceptable behaviour. We have issued warning letters to a number of students so far this Semester, and have imposed fines and taken disciplinary action towards more serious offences.
We are also continuing to promote our Good Citizen Guide which outlines the expectations we have of our students during the Covid-19 pandemic and are asking any students who have been affected by the unacceptable behaviour of other students to let us know.