Ghent University extends education at a distance until the end of the semester

(20-03-2020) Ghent University is closely following the situation regarding the corona crisis and considers it important to inform all student and staff members about new developments as soon as possible.

The communication below was sent to all students and staff members regarding the decision of the university board tot extend the change to online / distance learning until the end of the semester.

Today 20 March 2020 the university board has decided to extend the change to online / distance learning until the end of the semester. After the Easter break, all planned educational activities within the remaining weeks of the second semester will be organized exclusively via distance learning.

Over the coming days, the practical organization of these educational activities - including permanent evaluations, and examinations - will be developed further. All students and staff will be informed about this.

Below, you will find an overview of the decisions that have already been made. In all decision-making, extensions in time of the study duration, movement of courses in the curriculum of students, changes in course content, ... were avoided as much as possible.

Within the bounds of what is practically feasible, evaluations that include permanent evaluation will be retained.

For the practicals of the second semester, alternative assignments will be developed that can be carried out from a distance.

With regard to the master’s thesis, a distinction will be made between three groups of students:

  1. Students who can continue working on their master's thesis. These students are advised to maximally aim to complete their master's thesis on time. All current agreements and modalities for submission and defense apply to these students.
  2. Students who were not able to complete data collection, experiments, the collection of source material, … because of the corona crisis, but who have been able to partly carry out their master's thesis. These students, in consultation with their supervisor, should complete the master's thesis on the basis of the available material.
  3. Students who were unable to start data collection, experiments, fieldwork, etc., because of the corona crisis. These students must re-orient their master's thesis in consultation with their supervisor, to a literature study, a review or another alternative.

For students in category 2 and category 3, faculties can decide to grant students a later deadline for their master’s thesis, up to 15 June at the latest. Master's thesis students will receive a message from their faculty at the latest by the end of next week regarding the specific interpretation of these general principles.

For internships, the following rules apply:

  • Students are not allowed to physically move to their internship. Internships can therefore only be carried out at a distance, possibly supplemented with alternative internship assignments. These internships at a distance can therefore be regarded as fully-fledged internships.
  • For students who cannot, or can no longer continue the internship remotely, but who have already completed a (large) part of their internship, the internship - possibly in combination with an additional, limited or comprehensive extra (internship) assignment - can be considered complete.
  • An alternative assignment will be worked out for students who have had little or no internship experience, unless the internship makes a unique contribution to the educational competences. In the latter case, an exception rule will be established for each faculty.
  • For students pursuing an educational master, efforts will be made to acquire part of the competences through digital internship assignments.
  • Specific guidelines apply to students taking professionally-regulated internships. These guidelines will be communicated to them.

Internship students will receive a message from their faculty by the end of next week at the latest regarding the specific implementation of these general principles.

Rik Van de Walle, Rector: "We realize that this package of decisions has major consequences for all Ghent University students and staff. It means we all have a long way to go together. If we continue to encourage, help and support each other, as we have done in recent days, we must be able to complete this journey successfully."
"It will not be easy. But we can do this."