Framework for education in the 2nd semester of 2020-2021

UPDATE AFTER CONSULTATION COMMITTEE 14 april 2021:


Valid from Monday 19 april 2021 

From 19 April on, additional on-campus activities can be organised. This means that we can use up to 20% of our normal campus capacity for on-campus teaching.
The aim is that every student will have the opportunity to spend one day or two half-days on campus a week. Acquiring essential competences through practicals and working lectures remains the priority.
For programme years without essential practicals or work seminars, or for programmes where students have so far had little or no opportunity to be on campus, the possibility is offered to also organise lectures and education in small groups, as well as practicals or work seminars on campus. Of course, the safety regulations must be followed, there is a maximum occupancy rate of 1 to 5 and wearing an attested surgical mask is mandatory. Students who need it can make use of on-campus study areas. These must be reserved via studieplekken.ugent.be.
Read more about the organisation of educational activities in the second semester of the academic year 2020-2021 here.

Important Principles

  • Maintaining the structure of regular weeks of teaching for the acquisition of learning contents and competencies.
  • Creating maximal online and on-campus possibilities for the acquisition of essential competencies.
  • Focusing on online alternatives to replace practicals, labs, work seminars, exercises, work placements, bachelor’s and master’s theses without increasing the students’ study load.
  • Enabling on-campus practicals, labs, work seminars, exercises, work placements, research in the context of bachelor’s and master’s theses for the acquisition of essential competencies.
  • For programme years without essential practicals or work seminars, or for programmes where students have so far not been able to come on campus, or have been unable to do so only to a limited extent, the possibility is offered to also organise lectures and education in small groups, as well as practicals or work seminars, on campus. Of course, the safety regulations must be followed and there is a maximum occupancy rate of 1 to 5 and wearing a surgical mask is mandatory.
  • All lecturers are streamed and recorded. Practicals, tutorials or exercises are streamed and recorded if possible, and if there is a clear added value.
  • Maintaining maximal possibility to organize on-campus assessments/exams for (parts of) course units with completed learning contents.
  • Avoiding extended study duration and shifting course units and learning contents to next academic year.
  • guaranteeing students in their final master’s year the possibility to graduate this academic year.
  • guaranteeing periods of recess for students and staff alike.

Lectures 

  • These educational activities can continue through online or distance learning. Lecturers can either teach from home, or can record and stream their lectures in an empty room on campus.
  • For programme years without essential practicals or work seminars, or for programmes where students have so far not been able to come on campus, or have been unable to do so only to a limited extent, the possibility is offered to also organise lectures and education in small groups, as well as practicals or work seminars, on campus. Of course, the safety regulations must be followed and there is a maximum occupancy rate of 1 to 5 and wearing a surgical mask is mandatory.
  • There is a maximal focus on online interaction with students and on maintaining the structure of the regular timetable.
  • Online classes preferably take no longer than 1 hour or 1h15 minutes. If necessary, a second class block can start after a break. Please note that students have pointed out that taking classes online is much more intense than taking classes on campus. In case of two back-to-back class blocks, students suggest building in several short breaks. 
  • It is by no means our intention to replace teaching activities with pure self-study or simply uploading lecture recordings.
  • Lecturers are encouraged to open discussion platforms on Ufora so that students can discuss the teaching content amongst each other.
  • Auditoriums or classrooms that become available because lectures take place online, will be used as optimally as possible for scheduling practicals, labs, workshops, exercises, ... that need to take place on campus in order to realise the essential competences. These vacant rooms can be re-scheduled for this purpose within the study programme / faculty.

Teaching Activities in Small Groups and Group Work

  • Teaching in small groups and group work, in a lecture setting, can take place on campus taking into account the safety regulations, a maximum occupancy rate of 1 to 5 and the mandatory wearing of a surgical mask.
  • If it concerns practicals, labs, lectures or exercises in which necessary competences have to be acquired, education on campus is of course also possible.
  • Education in the context of lifelong learning initiatives and honours programmes can continue on campus taking into account all safety regulations and, provided that this does not exceed the 20% campus capacity.

Practicals

  • Practicals, labs, workshops, exercises, ... can take place on campus.
  • For practicals, labs, workshops, exercises, ... alternatives can also be developed that can be carried out online or remotely. Teachers can find information about this on Education Tips.
  • Possible alternatives are:
    1. Practicals, tutorials, exercises, … are organized online and in interaction with students. Mandatory online attendance can be required, e.g. in case of continuous assessment.
    2. Practicals, tutorials, exercises,  …  are (partly) replaced by a learning pathway, assignment, task, … .
    3. Demonstrations may be replaced by e.g. short video clips and quizzes. Conversational skills can be practiced using Teams, Bongo, …   (cf. information on Education Tips)

In setting up alternatives, it is important to make sure that students’ work load does not exceed the usual amount. Feedback from students has taught us that this was often the case last year (e.g. a four-hour practical replaced by a two-day assignment).  

  • For each study programme and standard learning track year, the essential practicals and the online alternatives are organised in such a way that the competences of the course unit and the programme can be realised. For standard learning track years without essential practicals, the aim is to organise one day/two half days on campus activities per week. 
  • Essential practicals from the first semester that could not take place due to the corona measures can be scheduled during the second semester. Extra time can be found by using the interterm and/or Easter recess, or the weeks after the exams in June. The programme committees involve the student representatives in the rescheduling of these essential practicals. The Education and Evaluation Code has been adjusted to make the above options possible.
  • Practicals can take place under strict adherence of the following safety measures:

1. Study Programmes in Health Science:

an occupancy rate of max. one-on-one is allowed provided that surgical mouth caps are worn at all times. These mouth caps will be supplied by Ghent University.

Mouth caps are changed correctly at the start of each practical and according to the safety measures (cf. Guidelines for a Safe Return to Work – procedure ‘Applying, Wearing and Removing a Mouth Cap’ and the document on ‘Mouth Caps and Face Shields in the Context of Covid-19’)

depending on the particular situation, any additional personal protection equipment (PPE) will be supplied.

2. For all other study programmes the following rules apply:

During practicals observance of the distance rules (1.5 metres) among the attendees and wearing a surgical mouth cap is mandatory. If students remain at one and the same work place throughout the practical, this equals 4m² per person. If students need to move about frequently throughout the practical, providing 10m² per person is necessary. Mouth caps will be supplied by Ghent University.

Mouth caps are changed correctly at the start of each practical and according to the safety measures (cf. Guidelines for a Safe Return to Work – procedure ‘Applying, Wearing and Removing a Mouth Cap’ and the document on ‘Mouth Caps and Face Shields in the Context of Covid-19’)

Observing the distance rules and providing sufficient m² per person is possible by either using larger classrooms (newly available because of distance teaching) or by dividing student groups. 

Mouth caps are no alternative for physical distancing. 

High-risk contacts must be prevented to the utmost (i.e. cumulative contact with 1 or more person(s) during more than 15 minutes at a distance less than 1.5 metres). Read Sciensano’s definition of high-risk contacts here: https://covid-19.sciensano.be/sites/default/files/Covid19/COVID-19_procedure_contact_NL.pdf.

Students are not allowed to physically work together with the same object, on the same experiment, test set-up, … . They are assigned (sub)tasks which they can perform by themselves. Only if sharing specific equipment is crucial to attaining essential competencies a rotation system can be set up. In such cases, the equipment is disinfected between users and after every use.

Special focus is given to thorough ventilation before, during and after the practicals. (cf. Guidelines for a Safe Return to Work – Section 29.1 Practicals’).

Practicals must not exceed a maximum duration of 4 hours (this equals the max. continuous wear time of a mouth cap).

Please contact veiligheid@UGent.be in case the above guidelines are unclear, or in case further support is needed.

First-year Students and specific groups

First-year Students

  • For students in the first bachelor year, additional specific educational activities can be organised on campus. These activities offer great added value, such as booster sessions, interactive teaching activities, Study-OO activities, coaching, discussions, teaching methods that allow student to connect, ...
  • Faculties can decide to involve their tutorial services, tutors, StudyCoaches and teaching assistants in this process.
  • Maximum safety measures must be applied to the organisation of these on-campus activities. These relate to capacity, masks, ventilation, disinfection, physical distancing and duration. The full capacity of the auditorium or classroom can be used in occupancy 1:5. All students wear a mask during the lesson. Teachers who are able to keep a distance of at least 2 metres between themselves and the students can take off their masks.

Other groups

  • Additional specific educational activities can also be organised on campus for other students who are studying at UGent for the first time, such as students following a bridging programme or international students, under the same conditions and modalities as mentioned above.

Bachelor’s and Master’s Theses

  • Bachelor’s and Master’s theses are considered to be research activities. Research activities can continue. Students observe the guidelines that apply to research and researchers.
  • It is up to students and their supervisor(s) to determine together whether or not research activities in the context of a Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis that require physical presence on Ghent University campuses can continue.
  • We advise students who are able to continue working on their Master’s thesis to do so in a timely fashion. All the current guidelines and modalities with regard to submission and oral defence remain in place.
  • The impact on Bachelor’s and Master’s theses due to disrupted data gathering, experiments or source consulting is kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Students experiencing a disruption in their data gathering, their experiments, or collection of source materials, … need to inform their supervisor as soon as possible. Together, they look for alternatives and consider whether a shift in focus is necessary for the Bachelor’s/Master’s thesis. Individual students may be granted an extension of their submission deadline. This individual extension can only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The faculties determine the manner in which this exceptional extension is granted, and see to an equal treatment of students. In consultation with their supervisors, those students add a preamble to their Master’s thesis in which they describe their research as it was originally planned, which steps could not be undertaken due to corona, and which alternative steps they undertook.

Work Placements

  • Work placements can continue and in observance of the host company’s safety measures. 
  • A work placement can also be (partly) organized at a distance or as a type of teleworking, with or without additional alternative work placement assignments. Distance work placements can be fully recognized as such. It is important to make sure that the study programme competencies are not compromised.
  • If necessary and possible, alternative work placement assignments can be a (partial) replacement. Alternative assignments must allow students to attain the same competencies and must prevent an extension of the students’ study duration.
  • Students in a Master’s Programme in Teaching, need to acquire a part of their competencies via digital work placement assignments, online synchronous teaching or designing learning materials.
  • Students in work placements that are subject to professional regulations are subject to specific guidelines that have been determined in close consultation with the other universities. Those students will be informed as soon as possible.
  • If a work placement is part of a first-term course unit, and completing the work placement was not possible within the original timeframe, the work placement can be extended to include the entire academic year.
  • If a work placement cannot be completed within the current academic year, and the student is not in his/her graduation year, the work placement can either be (partly) rescheduled to the next academic year, or the entire course unit can be taken up again in the next academic year.
  • If a work placement cannot be completed within the current academic year, and the student is in his/her graduation year, the possibilities are considered together with the student to complete the work placement outside the regular weeks of teaching.
  • If the work placement was taken up as an elective first-term course unit, and completing the work placement is not possible within the current academic year, we strongly advise to consider taking up another elective course unit before February 28, 2021. The same applies to students who have planned an internship as an elective second-term course unit and if it is not certain that the internship will be able to continue.

Excursions, trips, events

  • Day trips, excursions, events and student travelling can take place if they are essential to attaining the course unit’s final competencies and there are no available alternatives. Permission must always be obtained for travel abroad. 
  • Please contact veiligheid@UGent.be in case the above guidelines are unclear, or in case further support is needed.

Continuous Assessment and Exams

  • Assessments can be organised on campus taking into account the security protocols that apply to the examinations.
  • More information about assessment can be found in the following Education Tip. This Education Tip contains the general framework for on-campus and online assessment in academic year 20-21 and is based on frequently asked questions. The tip includes general information as well as specific guidelines for on-campus and online assessment.
  • Students experiencing problems with online assessments/exams at home, must contact the lecturer(s) concerned. The lecturer, in turn, looks for suitable alternatives together with the faculty. 
  • For students in international joint study programmes, the faculties, in consultation with the partner institutions of these international joint study programmes, should make specific agreements and inform their students about these.
  • For vaccinations during the exam period, guidelines have been developed.

Course Sheets

  • This academic year, each course sheet contains the following superscript: Due to Covid19 it is possible that teaching and assessment methods may divitiate from the ones described below. Any possible deviations will be communicated via Ufora. This allows for deviations from the chosen teaching or assessment method and assessment modality, but only when these are caused by the government safety measures that prohibit on-campus teaching and assessment activities. 
  • Lecturers must clearly inform their students of any changes via Ufora. It is also important to indicate how the final mark is calculated (e.g. what percentage will count towards the final mark, what formula is used to calculate the final mark, …). Lecturers need to follow the guidelines on Education Tips.

Study Programme Committee

  • From a quality assurance point of view, Study Programme Committees need to keep an overview of the organisation of teaching and assessment activities. This is the only way to ensure coherent policy and to keep students’ study load in check. 
  • Decisions on practicals, labs, working lectures, exercises, work placements, Bachelor's and Master's theses and assesments need to be talked through with the faculty’s quality assurance staff, the lecturers and the student representatives in order to ensure optimal harmonisation. If no consensus can be found, the Director of Studies of the Faculty will be included in this consultation.

Study Areas

Support

  • We realize that these exceptional circumstances are causing students to have a difficult time during this academic year. We want to continue to offer them our support. The website Feeling good at Ghent University contains several warm initiatives, both at and in the immediate surroundings of Ghent University. We want to make sure that students know which way to turn no matter how small or ‘innocent’ their issue may seem. That way, we hope that our students will not be at a loss when they need help. 
  • Students can contact their lecturers, their study programme, the faculty’s tutorial services, and the faculty support staff. For all questions specifically relating to your study programme, please contact your student representatives. They are your liaison in case of questions, remarks, or in case matters are unclear or go awry.   This list contains an up to date overview of all study programmes and their Programme Committee Chairs (a member of the professorial staff), as well as this year’s student representatives.
  • Lecturers can find technical as well as content-related, didactic information on Education Tips. They can also count on support from their faculty by contacting the tutorial services and/or other faculty support staff. For further questions, they can also contact onderwijsondersteuning@ugent.be .