As part of a two-part series, Nexus Magazine has begun to look at Life after Level four. This week we had a chat with Associate Professor Tracy Bowell, Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, and asked what changes we would see in tests and examinations as a result of Covid-19.
NEXUS: How has the University changed its assessment model with online learning?
TRACY BOWELL: The University is taking a flexible approach to teaching and learning, and we are providing additional support to students where they need it. We have canceled mid-year (A Trimester) exams and are using the study and exam weeks at the end of the Trimester for alternative assessments, such as online tests to ensure that students can stay on track with their studies by being able to complete all of their A Trimester learning and assessments by the end of June.
NEXUS:Are you confident students can still get access to lecturers and resources to meet academic expectations?
TRACY BOWELL: Our teaching staff are doing everything they can to be flexible and understanding towards students during this difficult time. More than 200 teams from around the University are calling students, so far-reaching nearly 7000 students, to find out how they are getting on and noting any issues which are then passed on to relevant teams to resolve where possible. This may include providing Chromebooks to students who did not have access to devices for online learning and providing a way of accessing the internet for those who did not have a connection at the place they are currently living. In some cases, we are arranging for printed material to be sent to students and are organising for library materials to be scanned and made available to students.
NEXUS:To the best of your knowledge. Are the processes in place being adopted and complied with across the board by all lecturers?
TRACY BOWELL: Lecturers have been asked to show flexibility and understanding, and we believe that everyone is doing their best to achieve this under the challenging circumstances. Where students draw attention to any issues, they are being followed up.
NEXUS: How are exams going to move forward?
TRACY BOWELL: As above, we have canceled mid-year (A Trimester) exams and are using the study and exam weeks at the end of the Trimester for alternative assessments, such as online tests. This will allow students to complete all of their assessments by the end of June while keeping them on track with their studies. The trimester assessments for B Trimester will be dependent on what is possible within alert levels.
NEXUS: Can students still get access to processes, reviews, and student support services moving forward?
TRACY BOWELL: All of our processes and support services are available virtually. We have also developed some new resources, and all support services and resources are accessible from a learning support hub: https://www.waikato.ac.nz/learner-support/. Divisions will still be handling all review of grades at the end of the year as they would for internally assessed work.
NEXT WEEK NEXUS WILL DISCUSS STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH, STUDENT SAFETY, AND ACCOMMODATION AS PART OF LIFE AFTER LEVEL 4