FAQ from the university-wide meeting on the pandemic in February
Here we have compiled a selection of the issues related to the pandemic that were raised at and before the university-wide meeting for students on 4 February.
In some cases, several questions on the same theme have been merged into one. Note that the answers are summarised based on the discussions that took place during the meeting.
You will find the questions and answers under each category.
May we have reduced fees due to the fact that everything has been conducted remotely?
- The university is acting in concert with other higher education institutions in this matter when it comes to international students. We will do everything in our power to assist international students, but the university must make sure that we are following the rules and regulations that apply to us as a governmental authority.
Is there any plan regarding vaccinations for students?
- Not that we are aware of as now.
I had a re-take examination that was to be completed on 6 January, which I studied for. Then came the information about level yellow. I contacted the teacher and asked what would happen with the exam and he said that it will not be done online but will be postponed until April. I was shocked that it has been postponed for so long, and what will happen now that the decision applies to the entire term?
- The decision made in December extended to 24 January. And it created the conditions for this type of decision at the course level, that you could postpone exams. But this decision was extended in January and now applies to the entire term, as it is obvious that it is not appropriate to postpone exams, and if it still needs to be done in certain exceptional cases, the ambition should be to hold the examination as soon as possible. Our strong recommendation to teachers is that we must find other forms of examination.
Our exams are also postponed to April. What happens when it comes to graduating if they are postponed even further?
- The decision was extended in mid-January until the end of the term. The strong recommendation to teachers is not to postpone but to find other solutions.
- We should not gather in crowds and a written exam on campus also often means travel that we should avoid, so the university tries as much as possible to follow these recommendations and still conduct our examinations. It is unfortunate to hear that they are being postponed and it is not possible to do this the rest of the term, so the teachers have to find a solution.
Can you get a certificate that examinations have not been completed due to the pandemic and that there are therefore points that you have not received?
- Here, I think you should turn to your Study and Career Counsellor.
You can read more about this on CSN's website (In Swedish)
How long do we have to wait for information on what will happen with exams that were to have been done in January?
- The teacher should be able to give information about what the plan looks like now. This is an important issue that we will take further (Editor's note: this has been done after the meeting).
Is it possible to say what will apply when it comes to outgoing students this autumn? When will this decision be made?
- This depends on the spread of the infection and the recommendations of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Feel free to contact the International Office for questions and discussion about this
Can you take out your own insurance if you want to study abroad?
- It's probably not possible, but ask the International Office. If you take out private insurance, it is probably outside of the exchange and you are in the country as a free mover instead. Contact International Office
Will VFU/student placements/internships in the teacher programmes be implemented?
- Yes, the university has granted an exemption so that VFU/student placements/internships can be implemented; however, the principals (Editor's note: schools) can say no if they believe there to be reasons to do so. It is also good to take into account that this can change depending on how the pandemic changes. We have made adjustments for, for example, field studies.
This morning, I had a lecture where a student forgot to turn off the microphone, so the remaining students told the teacher that he could turn off her microphone. The teacher answered something like: "I know that can be done and I have learned how but I don’t remember and don’t have the energy to check it." It is frustrating that some teachers do not have basic technical knowledge; are they still receiving training?
- There is a large range of support and training for our teachers and responsible managers have to ensure that the teachers use the opportunities for support that are available. This type of example may still occur. We offer courses, workshops, etc. and many have completed them and have improved their skills significantly. At the same time, we understand that it can be a difficult and stressful situation for our teachers. I think we are learning more and more.
We have studied at a distance for almost a year; I think the teachers should be able to Zoom now, does the university management/managers have requirements for teachers’ technical ability?
- There has been a significant shift. While it is understandable that examples of when it does not work well arouse frustration, we are careful to also have respect for the fact that we can all have problems sometimes. We place great focus on training and support for teachers when it comes to pedagogy and technology in the transition to distance education. We hear your criticism and will continue to work on further improving offers of training and support, as well as the teachers' opportunity to take part in them.
Some teachers are very good and others say we should just read the book. How much can teachers decide for themselves on how to change the teaching?
- Normally, teachers have a very large amount of influence and can independently decide how to teach, as long as they follow the syllabus. Right now, the university's management is working hard to ensure that students receive the best possible teaching, while at the same time the teachers' work environment must also be good.
- Both teachers and students are in a difficult situation, so you try to find the best solutions; they try to deliver the best education based on the conditions in place. We can probably count on it being a little different for different students as there are different conditions. Normally, it is a syllabus that governs everything; students have the right to receive what is written in the syllabus. But now we are in a different situation and course structure can, in some cases, be more or less affected.
We will have to cancel lots of fun elements in the educational programme, such as camping and games. Can't we move it to another term; it feels like we're missing out on so much?
- It is very unfortunate, of course. There are certain elements that course coordinators have or will apply for an exemption for. Not everything is completely cancelled, but unfortunately some things will be.
When will it be announced whether the studies will be conducted digitally or on campus?
- This entire term is to be conducted digitally, but if the recommendations are that we make a change, we will make a new decision. If the question concerns the autumn term, the answer is: we do not know. It is difficult to give clear information given the situation we are in now. We are happy to change the current decision and come back to campus this term, if it is possible.
I had an exam that was Zoom-supervised and the supervisors kept asking us to show our rooms. I became stressed when I took the exam.
- I understand that. Since we switched to distance this spring, reports of cheating have increased dramatically. But there is a trade-off between minimising cheating and having peace and quiet during the exam.
- We understand that it is disturbing and unpleasant. It is for legal certainty and fairness so as not to end up in a situation where there is a suspicion of cheating, so it is also for the students’ sakes that the exam supervisors do this.
- But it is a good example of how it can be when we try to carry out our activities but things become an inconvenience for the students and not how they should be. We are trying to find the best solution.
Why have we reduced the writing times and increased the requirements to explain more clearly how we solved a task?
- The time is normally ample. Now that we are switching to digital education, there is an idea that writing time can be limited somewhat, also for legal certainty and fairness. Less time reduces the risk of unauthorised collaboration or finding answers in an unauthorised manner.
- The same reason is in place regarding when we ask you to explain your thinking; it reduces the risk of cheating.
- We try our best to use legally secure and fair methods.
What is your definition of plagiarism, who is responsible for these issues, and how do you view the students in regards to this issue?
- We see the students as individuals who come to the university to learn. But students must also take responsibility for conducting their studies in a proper way and not cheat e.g. by plagiarism. If a teacher suspects cheating, this must be reported. You can read more about this on the website (Swedish only)
Student Health Care and Study and Career Counselling have many lectures that can support students. Check out what they have going on here.(Swedish only)