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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Canberra universities heading back on campus

The University of Canberra (UC) will phase back to on-campus learning this June, as Semester 1 of online learning is coming to an end.

UC moved to a virtual campus two months ago, from midnight Sunday 29 March, and will conclude its first semester tomorrow, Saturday 30 May.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Geoff Crisp said many measures and changes had been taken during this time. 

“In Semester 1, UC quickly pivoted to a virtual campus in response to the Federal and ACT Government restrictions. We have seen from our student survey response that our students appreciated the extra efforts made by staff to limit impact on their studies,” he said.  

 “We designed quality alternative assessments during Semester 1 in order to reduce the number of end-of-semester exams. Where formal exams were required for accreditation purposes, we offered proctored online equivalents, which was a successful alternative.”

UC will offer its upcoming Winter Term online and follow ACT Government recommendations to phase back into on-campus learning from Tuesday 2 June.

“The university is reactivating our campus from 2 June in a phased approach in line with physical distancing and hygiene standards. To ensure our approach continues to prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and community, we have developed a principles-based, gradual return to campus plan, with flexibility at the heart of this plan. 

“Winter Term will be delivered remotely, with a plan to slowly reintroduce a mix of both face-to-face and remote teaching from Semester 2.”

A spokesperson from the Australian National University (ANU) said it will take the same approach to a phase in of on-campus learning, however it was yet to embark on its first semester exam period.

All exams will be held remotely, however the spokesperson said precautions would be taken to maintain the highest academic integrity of the university. 

“Earlier this year, the university had to move all teaching online. In most courses, conveners were able to make arrangements for alternative forms of assessment to traditional exams,” the spokesperson said.

 “However, in a small proportion of courses, invigilated exams are a core assessment requirement. Therefore, we have purchased an Australian licence for Proctorio as one of the tools available to our course conveners to be able to conduct remote, invigilated exams safely and securely.

Both universities will phase back to on-campus learning in June, offering flexible remote learning options.

“All large group learning activities and all lectures will be conducted remotely,” the ANU spokesperson said.  

 “However, some small group activities will be conducted on campus where social distancing and hygiene guidelines can be achieved.   

“Alternative remote forms of assessment, including online invigilated examinations, will continue for the remainder of the 2020 academic year.”

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