Planning and further course of the academic year 2019-2020 at Ghent University

Foto Christophe Vander Eecken (large view)

Foto Christophe Vander Eecken

(26-03-2020) Because of the corona crisis, no more education activities with physical presence of students and lecturers take place during the second semester at Ghent University. We have switched from on-campus to online education.

Given the uncertain situation we currently find ourselves in with regard to the further evolution of the corona crisis and based on the emphatic wish to offer all students and lecturers guidance as soon as possible, it is necessary to adapt the evaluation activities as well. To this end, the academic calendar will be adapted.

Adapted academic calendar

The adapted academic calendar for the second semester of 2019-2020 is based on the assumption that on-campus examinations will be possible from 1 June. A completely new exam schedule will be worked out, guaranteeing social distancing in all exam situations.

The catch-up exams will be scheduled on 2, 3 and 4 July. The examination marks will be announced on 6 July.

There will be a first opportunity for feedback on 7 July. On 14 August there is a second possibility for (online) feedback.

The start of the second chance exams will not be changed; they will start as planned on August 17th.

Students will receive their exam schedule and further concrete information at the latest on 15 April.

General principles

When drawing up the adjusted calendar, the following principles were used as a starting point: 

  • maintain the rhythm and pace of lesson weeks for learning content and acquiring competences;
  • maintain the current calendar as much as possible and optimal restart of the next academic year;
  • guarantee a holiday period for students and staff;
  • focus on online evaluations;
  • focus on online alternatives for practicals, master's theses and work placements;
  • students in the final master year should be able to graduate;
  • avoid extension of the study duration and shifting subjects and contents;
  • focus on competences instead of specific learning content.

Bachelor’s programmes

For the bachelor's programmes (including linking and preparatory programmes) another 4 weeks of online learning activities will be organised after the Easter break. At the end of these 4 weeks, all content is transferred. This is followed by one week of exam preparation and booster sessions. During that week, lecturers intensively and explicitly discuss exam questions and corresponding answers with the students and interact to answer questions about the evaluations. This is followed by a study week for the students. The exam period takes up 5 weeks, from 1 June to 4 July inclusive.

Master’s programmes

In the master's programmes (including advanced master's programmes) various scenarios are possible. In the first scenario, lecturers of master's degree courses make maximum use of online evaluation. This is the preferred scenario. To make this possible, a flexible calendar is introduced from 20 April through 4 July. In this period both online learning activities and online evaluations can take place. The planning of education and evaluation moments will be coordinated within the lecturers’ team of the course.

The second scenario applies to master's programmes where online evaluation is less or hardly possible. In that case, the calendar of the bachelor's programmes can be followed (see above). The on-campus exams of these master's programmes start on 1 June at the earliest.

Any mixture of these two scenarios is possible.

It goes without saying that the evaluations as a whole will require optimal coordination. The teams of lecturers involved will be responsible for this.

Maximum and optimal scheduling

All on-campus exams are scheduled taking into account social distancing, both in the exam room and when entering and leaving it. The resulting lower occupancy rate of the examination rooms (per examination session) in turn leads to the need to organize a higher number of examination sessions.

For this reason, the available examination rooms are scheduled to the largest extend. In each room 3 exam sessions per day will take place (starting at 8:30, 13:00 and 17:30). Each exam session lasts a maximum of 3 hours, between exam sessions the rooms will be disinfected and students who are given a longer exam time will be able to take their exams in rooms that are scheduled separately. Examinations are also held on June 1st (Whit Monday) and Saturdays.

What if?

If starting on-campus exams on June 1 is not possible, an emergency scenario starting later in June (but at the latest on June 15) can be set in motion. The on-campus exams that were scheduled between 1 June and the effective start of the exams will be rescheduled if necessary. However, the end date of the examination period remains unchanged (i.e. 4 July). The period prior to the effective start of the examinations then becomes a study period for the students.

If it is still not possible to organise on-campus exams by 15 June, a second emergency scenario will start. But even then, a rest and holiday period will remain guaranteed. In this scenario, the exam period will start on August 10.

Quality assurance, support and guidance

Each study programme committee, together with the quality assurance staff, all lecturers and student representatives, maintains an overview of the online educational activities, the evaluations and the study load. The lecturers receive educational support via their study programme, their faculty and via the central level. Additional tips for lecturers on online evaluation were added on the education tips. Lecturers are also advised to use educational supervisors, assistants and researchers to support online education and evaluation. In this way, students can receive maximum support and guidance. The Ufora site student@warmUGent continues to offer additional study tips, study advice and information aimed at students' mental well-being.

Communication and information

Students will receive their exam schedule as soon as possible and no later than 15 April. For each course unit, they will also receive detailed information about the method of evaluation via Ufora at the latest on 8 April.

In addition to support from their faculty, lecturers can also count on pedagogical-didactical and technical advice from the

Students can turn to their lecturers, the study programme and the study counsellors if they have any questions. The central level also provides direct support to students via: