Arrangements for 2020/21
We’ve changed how the University is operating during the 2020/21 academic year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and have developed new blended approaches to learning and additional support services to ensure that you have a successful year.
During the national lockdown from 5th January 2021, please see our lockdown guidance page for more information and guidance - read more >
How we are delivering your academic programme
- All of our programmes are operating a flexible, digital approach.
- For each of your modules, there is a weekly menu of online activities offering digital modes of engagement: e.g. recorded lectures to watch and comment on, directed reading to annotate, and structured tasks and group analysis that help you get to grips with concepts. Live online presentations, collaborative work and discussions add to the mix.
- These online activities are supplemented with carefully selected small group sessions on campus such as practical classes, laboratory classes, workshops and tutorials. These are designed to enable social distancing but will give you another layer of social and intellectual contact. During the national lockdown from 5th January 2021, these sessions will only be taking place for programmes outlined by the Government as able to return to university. Please see our Lockdown 2021 guidance for the full list of these subjects. For all other subjects, teaching will take place online until at least mid-February.
- As you engage with digital content at your own pace, there are lots of opportunities to check-in with other students and your tutor to build up a strong sense of belonging and community. You can go back over material that you don’t understand and discuss it online with fellow students and your tutor. You also have the chance to produce exciting digital outputs as part of your assessments.
- Many of our subjects already operate this “hybrid” approach to learning, and students find that they enjoy having more control over their learning and that a digitally-enhanced campus experience is more productive. So we are increasing the focus on the flexibility of this approach.
- You will still be able to study effectively if further restrictions are placed on campus activity – you are part of the Keele community wherever you are. As things open up, we will add more campus-based learning activities as and when it is safe to do so.
- There will not be any end of Semester 1 or Semester 2 assessments which would require a physical presence on the campus in the 2020/21 academic year, unless there are particular circumstances where they need to take place, such as being mandated by a professional body. Where an examination would normally have taken place on campus the assessment has been converted to electronic submission, either by coursework or by offering them as timed assessments.
- Students who are unable to undertake their assessments by the deadline should submit ECs in the normal way. Read more here.
- If you would like to find out how your progression to your next year of study, or final degree outcome, will be calculated due to the disruption during semester 2 of the 2019/20 academic year, find out more here.
- We are putting some additional 'safety net' arrangements in place to support students taking assessments in 2021. Read more here.
How we are supporting you
Here’s a summary of the student support measures that we have in place:
- A safe and supportive community – with values and expected standards of behaviour clearly communicated. For example, find out more in our #NeverOK and Start to Success campaigns.
- A comprehensive welcome and induction into University life - with 'welcome' and 'welcome back' programmes.
- A strong focus on student-led support and an active student voice - with partnership working with KeeleSU and the KPA. For example, find out more about the Keele100. We also have diverse student support schemes and trained Resident Advisers supporting students living on campus.
- A “digital-first” approach to student support - services are fully operational, with digital methods of delivery in place where we can, to help keep everyone safe. Find out more about Student Services and our specialist teams.
- Additional international student support services - alongside other specialist support for international students, new international students will be able to access our international support package, while returning students are able to book a free airport transfer if they will be living on campus.
- Additional support if you have a higher risk health status - find out more here.
Here is a summary of the resources and tools to help you look after your health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond:
- Our Student Services team are here to help and there are lots of ways you can get in touch, wherever you are learning from.
- Our Keele App ‘What’s On’ section is the place to go to find out about events to support your wellbeing
- There is support for students affected by Covid-19, including practice support packages and wellbeing guidance.
- Our Welcome web pages have lots of suggestions for ways you can connect with other students, and handle the transition to life as a university student
- Take part in one of our peer support schemes
- 20 activities to try in the new normal
- Tips and suggestions for getting active - including challenges, exercises and home workouts – and other ways to look after your health and wellbeing
- There’s support if you need it out of hours
If you're looking for mental health support specifically:
- Our Mental Health and Counselling Team will be happy to help. There are also lots of external organisations helping students to keep well during the pandemic, including through 'Student Space' (Student Minds).
- We have a friendly team of Peer Supporters during term-time
- Togetherall is an online platform where you can access 24/7 online peer and professional support
- If you’d prefer to access support online, here are some apps and self-help guides. There’s also links to lots of mental health organisations who are offering support on how to look after your mental wellbeing during coronavirus which you might find helpful
Supporting your success
As well as offering face-to-face guidance wherever possible (via your personal tutor, careers consultant and entrepreneur-in-residence) we are providing online employability and enterprise consultations and the latest digital resources. We have opened up innovative virtual placements and digital consultancy projects set by local organisations.
We invite you to apply for funded internships and seed-funding for business start-ups, allowing you to contribute to society’s response to the current pandemic. International study abroad options remain in place and virtual international collaborations, hosted in partnership with international universities, add choice and flexibility.
Dedicated timetable slots throughout the year will be set aside for you to develop your academic and enterprise skills, digital capability, and external-facing profile. As well as coming into campus for some of your teaching, we will ensure that it provides a rich mix of informal learning, meeting and activity spaces, and that you will be able to develop yourself socially in its beautiful surroundings. We will be packing the post-Easter 2021 period with a menu of employer-facing and enterprise opportunities to develop your social and professional networks, give genuine breadth to your development and make you stand out from the crowd.
Find out more about how you can develop your academic skills and expertise on our Academic Life web pages.
Read our guide to helping you make the most of your live online sessions, including practical tips for engaging in online sessions.
Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate a student’s preference to study fully online. There are a very small number of modules and programmes at Keele that are explicitly intended for fully online delivery. Otherwise, you are expected to attend Keele University for a ‘hybrid’ digital and in-situ learning experience, in part delivered on campus. This mix of digital engagement and in-situ learning is designed into all programmes to provide you with the richest form of learning and collaboration. We recognise that you may be anxious about returning, and we have been working hard to ensure that our campus is welcoming and safe for all staff and students. You can read all about our Covid-secure campus, the measures we have in place and the support we are providing on our coronavirus web pages.
A request for fully online study will be accommodated only in very exceptional cases. Please see the further FAQs below. Please note that for certain programmes, for example health programmes where there is an essential clinical commitment, it will definitely not be possible to study for your programme completely online, as attendance for essential clinical skills sessions will be required prior to undertaking clinical practice.
We understand that as a student you may have commitments and responsibilities that affect your ability to attend in-situ sessions. You should contact Student Services to discuss your situation as a first step. It is important to understand that fully online study does not reduce the total amount of time you are expected to spend on your studies. Balancing significant responsibilities and your studies may leave you unable to meet the requirements of your course. It is important you discuss your circumstances with Student Services if you are concerned about how your personal responsibilities may impact on your studies. It may be necessary for you to consider other options such as a leave of absence; the Student Services team can help you with this.
We have been working hard to ensure that our campus is welcoming and safe for all staff and students; you can read all about our Covid-secure campus, the measures we have in place and the support we are providing on our website. If you have read this information and are still concerned about your health condition, please contact Student Services and we will discuss any reasonable adjustments that can be put in place to support your studies and enable you to attend in-situ activities wherever possible. Fully online study will be considered only in very exceptional cases, and only where it is appropriate for your programme. In cases where your medical condition does impact on your ability to be on campus, we will ask you to provide medical evidence/advice to ensure the correct support is put in place for you.
Fully online study will be considered only in very exceptional cases. If the Student Services team are unable to identify reasonable adjustments that would allow you to attend campus, then we will discuss with the School that delivers your programme of study whether a fully online option is possible, in a way that continues to deliver the core learning objectives for that programme. Please note that for some programmes, for example health programmes with an essential clinical commitment, fully online study will simply not be possible. If the School identifies that it is possible, you will be offered fully online study for the first semester. If it cannot, you will normally be asked to consider a leave of absence from your studies, or supported to consider other options such as a course transfer.
Because of the ever-changing situation, we are not currently considering any requests for online study beyond the first semester. We will review the position towards the end of the first semester to ensure that you are receiving every opportunity to participate fully in your studies.
We understand that arriving at or before the start of the first semester will be difficult for some international students where air travel and flight availability is limited. We are therefore supporting international students to arrive up to five weeks after your programme starts if absolutely necessary, and you will be able to access online learning during this time. Whatever your circumstances, we will work with you to help find a solution that works for you, and we will support you to self-isolate if required when you arrive on campus. Please contact Student Services to discuss your needs.
If we deem that, due to your personal responsibilities and/or your medical condition, you are allowed to study fully online for the first semester, we will guarantee that you will not be charged for any on-campus accommodation. In all other circumstances, our normal contractual arrangements will apply and you will be charged for any Keele accommodation where you have entered into a contract with us.