Help and Guidance for Remote Learning

Following the statement made by the Prime Minister on March 16th regarding COVID-19 and social distancing, Bishop Grosseteste University has taken the decision to move to complete online delivery of learning from Wednesday 18 March 2020. This decision has been made with the health and safety of our community as a top priority.

Please rest assured that the University remains committed to enabling students to complete their programmes and studies. 

Additional announcements will follow with more information on the full list of measures being put into action to support students. Alongside this we will be providing further updates on placements, academic support, assessments and accommodation. 

We understand that this continues to be a confusing and unsettling period for our students and staff, and we are doing everything we can to provide support. Your patience in what is a difficult and unprecedented situation has been incredibly appreciated.

We will be sending daily updates throughout the period to keep you informed of the University’s response to the situation. 

Please continue to look out for regular updates along with checking the student portal and University Coronavirus information page (www.bishopg.ac.uk/coronavirusinfo

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus as soon as possible.

To protect the validity and status of your degrees the University is unable to action any of our proposed regulations until guidance has been provided by The Regulator for English universities and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

Acting without due consideration of this guidance would not only likely cause more confusion for students but also put your degrees at risk. Given how hard you have all worked we have no intention of following that course of action.

We now expect to receive their guidance during week beginning the 6th April. Further details will be communicated directly to students once that external guidance is available to us.

In order to award classifications for taught programme degree completion the University needs to:

  • have evidence for the achievement of the credits (by at least passing the modules) to allow progression to the next level of study and award the degree qualification; and
  • be able to measure academic performance to calculate an overall grade which is used to determine the degree classification.

Until new guidance comes in all universities are required by the regulator to: “make all reasonable efforts to enable students to complete their studies, for achievement to be reliably assessed, for qualifications to be awarded securely, and to enable a fair and robust admissions process for 2020-21 entrants”.

To enable us to do this we need you to continue to engage with the learning and submit assessments to enable you to pass all of your modules.

We appreciate these are exceptional times but the University does believe that both its students and staff should be able to take the opportunity for a break from the delivery of new learning.

Therefore, over the next two weeks there is no expectation for academic colleagues to post nor students to engage with new learning materials on BlackBoard.  Students can, if they wish to, use this time to regroup and consolidate the learning on their modules up to this point.  The summer terms starts on the 20th April and the learning for the remaining weeks of the modules will resume with full tutor support.

If you have already made individual arrangements with your tutors these will be unaffected.

Yes all of our Student Support services remain available to you over the Easter Break:

Student Advice – studentadvice@bishopg.ac.uk

CELT – celt@bishopg.ac.uk

BGSU – su@bishopg.ac.uk

Library Services – library@bishopg.ac.uk

Accommodation – accommodation@bishopg.ac.uk

BG Futures – bgfutures@bishopg.ac.uk

No. Submission deadlines have been moved for all courses across all levels. If your date has not yet been updated please be patient and your Programme Leaders will be in touch with new dates shortly.

Access to internet has been one of our core concerns in modifying our assessments to make them suitable for remote learning. No student will be expected to submit any form of assessment in a live or time sensitive setting. For example:

  • For open-book exams students would download the questions for their exam, which can then be completed either on or offline. Students would just need to upload their answers within 24 hours back into Turnitin. Students would not need to maintain an online presence while completing the exam
  • Students will not be expected to do a live presentation but to instead either submit a video presentation or a narrated power point.

If you have any questions about your assessments please discuss them with your programme leaders or contact studentexperience@bishopg.ac.uk

We are conscious that the move to remote learning has been a source of anxiety for students who find working and learning in a face-to-face setting more natural.

We are also aware that some of you have external commitments, for example being a key worker or caring responsibilities, that will make maintaining your current grade profile extremely difficult.

We would ask students in these extreme circumstances to contact engagement@bishopg.ac.uk to discuss your individual situation and how the University can provide additional support.

All other queries should be sent directly to the teams listed above.

The University will also be actively checking that students are using our remote learning systems to ensure that all students are coping with the new delivery approach and able to engage with on-line learning.

After Easter we will contact those students who appear to be struggling with their engagement to see if they need additional support.

 

 

 

Please be assured that the University is aware that the Attendance tile on the Portal is no longer accurate due to the move to remote learning – this will be removed to avoid any confusion.

Halls of Residence

In light of the latest Government advice we have taken the decision to implement a full closure of our on-campus accommodation (including Crosstrend House) from 24/03/2020. This means that unless you have explicit permission from BGU you will not be able to stay on campus.

To minimise the financial difficulties of our students and their families, BGU will be waiving your final payment of rent (due 6th April 2020).

We appreciate that this is an extreme and upsetting step to have to take but it is necessary to ensure the long-term safety of our on-campus community.

We also understand that for some of our students campus is your home and you will need to stay on site. If staying in your accommodation is essential, please get in touch with our Accommodation team as soon as possible so that arrangements for your safe stay can be made. This closure will also include The Refectory but essential support will remain available to any students needing to stay on site. Accommodation team email: accommodation@bishopg.ac.uk

If you are able to leave campus then we ask that you vacate your room within the next 48 hours. BGU staff will be available to help facilitate this and journeys to your home will be classed as ‘essential travel’ under the latest government guidelines. Please note that from 5.00 pm on Thursday 26th March, your access cards will be locked out of your accommodation unless the University has been notified of your need to remain in accommodation.

We’d like to reassure any students needing to leave their accommodation that this does not mean your residence must be completely emptied. You are welcome to leave anything that you don’t need in your room where it will be secured and looked after by our Security Team until we are able to welcome you all back. However, please email the accommodation team confirming that you have left your belongings. We will contact you at a later date about when you can return to collect your belongings. If you have already left campus and not yet notified the team that you have left belongings please do so as soon as possible.

The above decision and advice are only for those staying in BGU accommodation. If you are currently staying in private rented accommodation, we recommend that you liaise with your landlord on their current procedures. Should you need any support, please contact the Accommodation team.

Please continue to look out for updates from our leadership team as the situation develops. This is an unprecedented and challenging situation, throughout which your continued patience and understanding has been exemplary. It goes without saying that we could not be any prouder of student community.

Following the latest Government advice all campus facilities, including the Library, Refectory and the Sports & Fitness Centre are closed.

Security will be remaining onsite 24/7 throughout this period and essential support will be available to those students who need to stay on site.

We will continue to post further updates once we hear more.

As a tenant you should continue to pay and abide by all other terms of your tenancy.  The Government has just released information to those living in the private rented sector and they have taken the stance that the outbreak of COVD-19 will not affect the ability of tenants to pay rent and likewise landlords are not required to stop charging rent.

We would suggest that you arrange to have a frank and open conversation with your landlord at the earliest opportunity, to allow you both to agree a sensible way forward. If you are in a fixed term contract, you can only end this early if;

  • your contract has a break clause
  • you negotiate an early end to the agreement with your landlord

Your landlord may be sympathetic to a request to leave, if they understand your reasons. However, this will be at their discretion. During conversations, we would also recommend approaching a discount in rent to see if the landlord will meet part way or in view of you not presently occupying the property, a reimbursement of the utility fees which are included in your rent.

The University is continuing to monitor Government Guidance and we advise that you also review the support that is available to protect you.  If you are in any financial hardship, please contact our Student Advice support team via studentadvice@bishopg.ac.uk.

Sadly there is no `one-size fits all` approach as each tenant’s circumstances is different within the private sector but we hope this provides you with some direction in the meantime. Should you need anything further, please get in touch. You can email us via accommodation@bishopg.ac.uk

Update 24/02/20

Last week BGU announced that from Wednesday 18th March 2020 it would be suspending face-to-face classes and delivering learning remotely. Since then tutors have been working hard to implement this and are also revising assessments to enable them to be submitted remotely. We very much appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. Since then student feedback, including through the Students’ Union, has highlighted concern about completing assessments due to virus-related illness and self-isolation as well as the hiatus caused by the transition to remote learning.

The University has in response decided to reset all its current submission deadlines for this semester to give an additional 2 weeks for completion. As previously announced on the Remote Learning webpage we are intending to confirm all assessment briefs and submission deadlines this Friday (27th March 2020) and this will incorporate these extra two weeks.

This does mean that the period for the marking assessments by tutors will be extended as well as the release of results, new dates will be provided.

The priority for BGU after the well-being of its students and staff is to enable all our students to complete the learning and assessment of their modules so that we can make clear decisions about progression to next year’s study and degree classification. In moving to remote learning and resetting deadlines we are minimising any negative impact on student performance and of course the context of this unprecedented situation will be taken into account when student results are considered in end of year assessment boards.

If any student feels that they need to request a further extension for reasons, coronavirus-related or not, then they should complete the normal extension request form and forward it to: extensions@bishopg.ac.uk

Unfortunately, BGU has had to close the library until further notice. Full details on how students can continue to access Library services remotely can be found on the Library’s LibGuides site.

Module teams will be using BlackBoard to upload learning materials to enable you to continue learning.  The learning activities will be rolled out weekly and will encompass the learning that would have happened in lectures, seminars and tutorials during each week.

Learning materials will not include videos of ‘live lectures’ but will include power-point presentations, voice-overs, directed tasks and activities, links to on-line resources as well as sign-posting references.

Tutoring will be conducted through a combination of asynchronous discussion boards, frequently asked questions, posts and email.

You will appreciate that tutors might be delivering learning across a number of modules and so enquiries about modules might not necessarily be responded to straight-away.  In the first instance tutors are being advised to use the scheduled class times for remote tutoring – responding to emails and postings on discussion boards etc.

We no longer require you to declare non-attendance unless you are on a QTS course. If you are a QTS student please continue to follow your usual procedures.

We will replacing our usual attendance monitoring procedures with monitoring of engagement with virtual learning systems (e.g. Blackboard).

Students can continue to access academic support through the Blackboard system, alongside the Student Advice and CELT portals.

Lecturers will also be available via email and Blackboard, particularly during periods where lectures were scheduled.

Given the announcement from the government on the 18th March, all QTS placements on ITE programmes are on hold until schools reopen and are ready to host trainees. Updates will be sent to students as and when further guidance is available so please keep checking your University e-mail addresses and Blackboard. Your tutors will give guidance on useful activities you can complete until then.

Placements which form part of all other programmes have been cancelled and students affected will have received guidance (please check your University email and BlackBoard) on how this will be mitigated for the completion of programmes. If you have any queries about the cancellation of these placements please contact your Programme Leader or Module Tutor.

If you have any queries about placements then please contact the Placements Service on placements@bishopg.ac.uk.

You can continue to access Blackboard and OneDrive along with your University emails through the student portal.

To access the portal you can download the ‘myBGU’ app, click the portal link at the bottom of this page, search ‘portal’ on the website or by visiting bishopg.ac.uk/portal

Online support will be available via https://helpdesk.bishopg.ac.uk

Log in with your B number and password to raise IT issues (if required, set domain to BGC).

You can also receive support from the CELT team by contacting celt@bishopg.ac.uk

The IT team have also prepared the following guidance on setting Mobile Hotspots for anyone struggling to connect to Wi-Fi at home.

Mobile Device Hotspot

As a reminder to those studying/working remotely, your mobile phone, subject to the terms and conditions of your provider contract can provide you with internet connectivity for other IT device(s). By ‘enabling ‘personal hotspot’ on your mobile phone you effectively turn it into a mini Wi-Fi access point, connecting your device(s) wirelessly to the phone. Please note that data usage is measured and taken out of your mobile provider’s data plan, be careful not to exceed your data plan limits.

To set up a personal hotspot on Android phones, follow the guide here.

To set up a personal hotspot on iPhone, follow the guide here.

Whilst the University has changed its mode of study this does not affect SLC funding.

We have received additional confirmation from Student Finance England that summer term maintenance payments will be paid in full and on time. They are in regular contact with our Student Advice team who make sure that you are informed of any further developments. 

We understand that being in a foreign country and away from family in these uncertain times can be a worry and we would like to reassure you were closely monitoring the situation.  Some countries have advised their citizens to return home at the earliest opportunity.  We are keen to stress that whilst the University has moved to remote learning, we are still open and you are more than welcome to stay and use the University’s facilities such as the library, CELT and student advice, if you choose to remain in the UK. If you are an EU or International student and travel bans mean you are unable to go home, then continue to follow the latest advice from Public Health England.

If you decide to leave the UK, we will, of course, do all we can to support you but to do this we you to inform us of your decision leave as soon as possible.  We will then be able to agree a study plan with you in order for you to complete your studies.

For students studying in the UK on Tier 4 visas it is very important that you tell us before you leave, as we have a legal responsibility in relation to your visa and well-being to know where you are studying and how you are interacting with the remote learning.

Students who are planning on returning home should do the following:

  • Email the international office @ international@bishopg.ac.uk confirming your name, student ID number, the date you plan to leave the UK and the date you plan to return, if known.
  • Email your programme leader and let them know you are returning home and arrange to have a discussion with them, to agree a study plan, to allow you to complete your studies.  This discussion can then be done remotely, via telephone, skype, facetime or other electronic means.
  • When you return home, keep checking the student portal, your BGU email account and BlackBoard for updates about your studies and the coronavirus situation.
  • Should you have problems accessing Blackboard from your home country you should contact the international office @ international@bishopg.ac.uk at the earliest opportunity.

Should you have any other questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us @ international@bishopg.ac.uk.

UPDATE 24 MARCH 2020

On Tuesday 24 March, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) published guidance on GOV.UK on immigration provisions for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19). These changes are now in effect and full details are available at gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

A summary of the changes are:

Visa extensions

  • No individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future.
  • A visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if an individual cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). Individuals must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team email to advise of their situation.
  • The Coronavirus Immigration Team will update relevant details on UKVI databases. Individuals will be advised that UKVI have noted their details; they will not be subject to enforcement action; and this period will not be held against them in future applications.
  • This requirement to contact Coronavirus Immigration Team applies to individuals of any nationality whose leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 30 May 2020.

Switching to a long-term UK visa

  • During these unique circumstances individuals will be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This includes applications where they would usually need to apply for a visa from their home country.
  • They will need to meet the requirements of the route they are switching into and pay the UK application fee.
  • Those whose leave expires between 24 January and 31 May 2020, including those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020, are eligible to apply .
  • You can apply online.

Please note that the University is keeping the arrangements for its Summer 2020 Congregation (graduation) ceremonies under careful review in light of the ongoing global situation regarding the coronavirus (Covid-19). We will follow expert advice, and in the event that we are advised against holding gatherings such as Graduation, students will be given the opportunity to attend ceremonies at a later date. We will communicate any decision to students as soon as we are able.

If you are booking travel in order to attend Congregation, we strongly suggest that you take out insurance in case you need to cancel your travel bookings at a later date. We regret that the University cannot be held liable for any loss or damage, including but not limited to travel and accommodation costs, which may arise from a graduation ceremony that is cancelled or rearranged due to the coronavirus.

Everyone at BGU is aware that our applicants might be concerned right now, wondering what this year means for their university future. 

BGU is a caring and supportive university, and we want to make things as simple as possible for all our applicants. Given the global circumstances right now, we feel that it’s only fair that your university journey shouldn’t be affected by events outside of their control. We are working with the Department for Education (DfE), UCAS and the exam awarding bodies to understand how entry requirements may be affected. We are keeping in regular touch with all our applicants as we learn more.

We’re doing everything we can right now to process applications, speak to our applicants, answer queries and ensure their transition into higher education is unaffected by current events. We ask that they bear with us at this time, as we’re all facing new developments and new challenges each day.

If applicants have any questions about exploring a future in Higher Education or on the status of an existing application our Enquiries Team (enquiries@bishopg.ac.uk) and Admissions Team (admissions@bishopg.ac.uk) are on hand to provide support.

In light of the recent government announcements regarding social-distancing, the Student Advice team will be working remotely until further notice. Students can still contact us by ringing 01522 583600, or our individual contact numbers, or by emailing studentadvice@bishopg.ac.uk. Our physical office within the Cornerstone Building will no longer be staffed until further notice. Where possible, if you need to send us documents, please do so electronically as an email attachment. Appointment bookings can still be made via the BGU Student Portal but will be for telephone appointments by default (email is the alternative option).

We will maintain provision of our usual range of services, but with online/telephone contact being the default. Due to the exceptional situation we may take longer than usual to respond to enquiries/process information, for which we apologise in advance.

Unfortunately BGU has had to close the Library and 24/7 IT Suite from 24/03/2020

Full details on how staff and students can continue to access library resources remotely can be found on the Library’s LibGuides site.

BG Futures: Careers, Employability & Enterprise

Your Careers team is also still ready and waiting to support you in whatever way it can! We are hearing from many students that this is becoming a useful time for making future plans, considering your future employment, thinking about starting a business or considering further study. If so, we are here to help you!

Appointments are still available and can be conducted by phone or by video conference call. You can book appointments in the usual way by visiting the Portal and looking for the BG Futures tile and then BG Futures Online. When you get there, go to the ‘Book’ menu and search for a convenient appointment. There are a number of appointment types available:

Careers Guidance: For support in discerning your future career path, investigating options and identifying your strengths.

Careers Advice: For practical help with skills such as writing a CV or Personal Statement, searching for jobs or developing interview skills.

Enterprise Guidance: For support in exploring an ongoing or future business idea, self-employment or developing an enterprise idea.

Graduate Attributes Induction: If you are looking to enrol on our Graduate Attributes Advanced Award and receive recognition for your wider achievements.

Email us: You can also contact the team on bgfutures@bishopg.ac.uk You can use this address to send any CVs, Personal Statements, cover letters etc and we will provide feedback and suggestions.

Search For Jobs Also in BG Futures Online, you can search the ‘Opportunities menu for jobs and other opportunities. These are vacancies which have been placed here by organisations, including schools, who are keen to employ BGU students!

Whatever help you want at this time, we are here to help you! The future is only a keystroke away!

The Chaplaincy is still available for any student who is seeking its support. You can contact the Chaplain, the Revd. Peter Green, by text or via WhatsApp or by telephone by using +447779 578544. If you wish to speak to the Chaplain between 11pm and 7am, call University Security and they will contact the Chaplain with your number and he will call you back.

BGSU have a number of exciting initiatives running to help support you remotely.

You can find full information on their range of services on the Coronavirus Support page.

Frequently asked questions regarding gym membership: COVID-19, SPORT & FITNESS CENTRE CLOSURE

I pay for a monthly gym membership, will I still be charged whilst the centre is closed?

Your membership has been suspended until further notice. No further monthly payments (card / payroll) will be deducted while BGU Sport & Fitness Centre remains closed. Once we re-open your monthly membership payments (card / payroll) will be reactivated and your agreed membership term will then continue as per your membership agreement. 

BGU Students: If we are unable to re-open the centre by 1st May and your agreed membership term is until 31st May then no further monthly payments will be deducted from your card.

I have paid up front for my membership (i.e. 3 months, 6 months, 1 year), what will happen to my membership?

Your membership has been suspended until further notice. Once BGU Sport & Fitness Centre re-opens your membership will be re-activated and the number of days we have been closed for will be added onto your membership.

I have paid upfront for my membership, but would not benefit from my membership being extended beyond the current membership term?

Please email sports@bishopg.ac.uk to explain your situation; we will confirm if you are entitled to a membership refund.

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