Check the latest guidance on how you’ll learn and be assessed while the Coronavirus situation is ongoing.
You can jump to:
- how you’ll be taught
- rules of the classroom
- monitoring your attendance
- learning online
- using the Library
- your grades – including exceptional circumstances and no detriment policy
You can expect a mix of live interactive learning, either in the classroom or online, per module, across the semester.
This means you will continue to be able to fully engage with your tutors and fellow students.
We will continue to provide at least 11 hours of synchronous teaching over the course of a module. You may find that this happens more in some weeks than others and will happen alongside other ways of learning and reading.
Your teaching staff are strongly committed to ensuring you receive the highest quality online experience and to getting back to normal as soon as possible.
Returning to campus
The UK government has announced plans to lift the current lockdown in England. Read more about how the current restrictions will be lifted.
The guidance means, in addition to in-person teaching in Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the School of Education and Social Work (which started in January), we resumed some in-person activity from Monday 8 March for certain practical courses in:
- Life Sciences
- Engineering and Informatics
- Media, Arts and Humanities.
Your School will contact you directly. Only return to Sussex for in-person teaching if your School contacts you.
If you are a student on a practical or practice-based course and are unable to return to campus, you will not be disadvantaged.
All students’ learning outcomes will still be met remotely and all assessments will continue to be online for the remainder of this academic year.
If you are not contacted by your School about a return to campus for in-person teaching, you should continue to stay at your current address and study remotely in line with the Government’s national lockdown restrictions, unless you are in an exceptional situation that can be improved by returning to your term time address. An exceptional situation could be where you do not have access to appropriate alternative accommodation, facilities or study space, or where you need to return for health or safety reasons.
You need to take two Lateral Flow Covid-19 tests if your School contacts you and you then choose to come on to campus.
Book your two Covid-19 tests at our testing centre as soon as possible. Take regular tests every week.
Important: Our priority is to make sure our campus is a safe place to live, work and study. See how we are keeping campus safe.
Getting more information
We’ll update you through weekly emails and the Student Hub as our plans develop – so keep checking your University email account.
If you have any specific questions about your course, contact your School office.
Your feedback on teaching and learning
We’ll continue responding to student feedback, providing opportunities for in-person teaching and other improvements such as:
- Making it easier to follow the lesson when it’s being taught in person and online at the same time.
- Improving the clarity of your Sussex Direct timetable and how to access your teaching.
- Supporting tutors to share good practices for teaching in the current context (working in collaboration with students).
- Clarifying that all assessments for the academic year will be online, giving greater certainty and flexibility for students.
- Where it is safe to do so we’re also working to increase the number of social spaces on campus for students to learn together and to provide more opportunities for students to connect and meet in a Covid-secure manner. We know this is a really important aspect that we’re all missing.
Covid-19 safety guidelines will be displayed in all rooms. In particular:
- Wash or sanitise your hands before entering a room. Washing hands is one of the most effective ways to kill germs and help reduce the spread of coronavirus. You should also wash or sanitise your hands each time you readjust your face covering and when entering a building.
- Wear a face covering. Face coverings are an effective way of limiting viral particles in your breath from being passed onto others. Wear a covering unless you have a medical exemption or you’re presenting within the marked zone at the front of the room.
- Maintain safe social distancing. Coronavirus can be spread much quicker when people are closer together. Be especially mindful when entering or leaving to avoid congestion in large groups. Remain in marked seats only when undertaking group or paired work.
- Do not relocate furniture – it should remain in the layout displayed at the front of the room. Also avoid moving between seats if possible.
- Wipe down your desk when you arrive and leave. This helps kill any particles that may contain coronavirus. This includes ITS equipment (mouse and keyboard) and any shared items. Cleaning materials will be provided during taught sessions.
- Avoid eating or drinking – if you need to drink, it should be from a closed container you return to your bag or pocket. Put rubbish in the bins provided at the end of the session.
- Avoid sharing resources, such as paper, where possible and clean any items that need to be shared.
- If you’re exempt from wearing a face covering, you can wear a lanyard – see information about face coverings and exemptions.
We’re encouraging all teaching staff to use face visors, which will be made available by the University. This allows easier communication during teaching.
Download the SussexMobile App or add the browser-version link to your favourites. This may be used by some tutors to help record attendance at classes.
If you’re studying on a visa, we need to monitor your attendance for UKVI purposes. You can do this through the SussexMobile app. See our visa guidance for international students.
Students who can’t arrive for the start of term
If there are travel restrictions or reasons due to the pandemic, which mean that you can’t arrive for the start of term, you can study online until the time you are able to travel to join us on campus.
You can let us know about a reason preventing you from arriving at Sussex through the online registration process. If your circumstances change, it’s easy to update the information you’ve provided. You can do this through online registration or in Sussex Direct.
Students studying remotely will be able to access Canvas, our virtual learning environment, where you will find details of the learning and teaching of your course.
New and returning undergraduate or postgraduate students who can’t get here for the start of term can study online (with the exception of students in BSMS).
Postgraduate research students who can’t get here should contact their supervisor to discuss options and whether their research can be supported from a distance. See questions about starting in January 2021.
See more about arriving late if you’re a new student.
Monitor your Canvas site for details about your learning activities. You will find essential readings or preparatory tasks as well as details of scheduled contact – whether it's face-to-face or online. Where online synchronous contact is planned your Sussex Direct timetable will show the location as 'Online' and advise you to check Canvas for details.
See our guidance about assistive technology for students, such as support for learners with literacy difficulties.
Important: Follow the guidelines for online behaviour [PDF 26KB] to help everyone learning online have the best experience.
We understand that the availability of study space, access to a good internet connection and technology is not the same for everyone. Ofcom has provided a list of tips to improve broadband speed, such as connecting to your router using a cable instead of relying on wi-fi.
If you are finding things hard, we want to help you. Contact your School office if you have issues with online learning.
Your wellbeing will always be our priority. We took online learning measures because of Covid-19 as we believed they were best for our community. We’re always evaluating the best options for you.
You can install the full Microsoft Office 365 suite of products – including Outlook for email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher – on personally-owned computers and mobile devices at no cost, and access 1TB of free storage. Download the apps for access on the move at all times. Find out about installing Office 365.
There are more than 100 different software titles you can use, particularly to help with learning online. You can get all of these packages through the software list. Use your Sussex email to sign up. The list includes End Note, Zoom, SPSS, Solidworks, Matlab and MindView.
We have a special licence for the video and chat platform Zoom. You can use it to virtually meet students and staff. You can do this while conducting live chats and recording sessions to view later. Zoom will be used extensively for remote teaching so we recommend you download and install the apps on all your devices.
If you already have your own Zoom account, you can keep using it however the University’s institutional account offers some distinct advantages: meetings can be longer than the standard 40 minutes and up to 300 people can be included at a time. Unlimited cloud storage is also available.
See how to access your Sussex Zoom account and log in.
Answering questions and keeping in touch
Kelly Coate, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students at Sussex, will be in touch regularly by email. Kelly’s messages will include answers to questions and give clarification on new guidance and procedures.
You can also follow developments around your education and other aspects of your student life by checking the Student Hub for updates.
Recording of teaching
Our mix of online and face-to-face teaching activities involves recording lectures or seminars to support students' learning. We do this in line with our policy on the recording of teaching activities and other uses of Panopto.
All recordings are stored securely for only as long as necessary, then deleted. See how we process personal data for education purposes.
If you have any concerns about your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For exams or other assessments, find out about handing in work or sitting exams.
Your tutors will make sure you are assessed in the most appropriate way – whatever the continuing situation is with Coronavirus.
Towards the end of Semester 2, we will be providing support for students with their revision and assessments.
If you have a learning impairment, check our assistive technology guidance for students.
If you have experienced something personally that has impacted your assessments, we have expanded our exceptional circumstances process. There are a wide range of reasons for which you can submit exceptional circumstances, and if you cannot gain evidence for these you can submit a self-declaration form instead.
No detriment policy
Important: On 19 March we ran a joint forum with the Students' Union where students could ask questions about assessments in the pandemic. If you missed the event or would like to revisit it, you can view the Zoom recording.
Your grades will be protected for your Semester 1 modules with our no detriment policy. This provides a framework through which we can respond to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 situation affecting all students as it develops.
Your exam boards in Spring will be looking closely at the average marks for your modules and comparing these with previous years’ student average marks. Where there are unusual differences, when compared to previous year groups who were not affected by the pandemic, exam boards will take action to ensure there is consistency and that your grades are not unduly impacted.
We know this period can be particularly anxious for our finalist students and we hold specific exam boards to consider finalists (undergraduate and postgraduate) in the Summer looking at individual profiles over the whole academic year and degree classifications. These, as with all, exam boards will be asked to look closely at your grades for evidence of detriment, and we want to provide reassurance that the current circumstances caused by the global pandemic will be taken into account.
Last year our no detriment policy could be announced in one go, as it came towards the end of the academic year. This year we have taken a more comprehensive approach, providing a range of measures to be applied across the year (including any further action that may be needed at your end-of-year exam boards in the Summer).
We will make sure you are able to achieve your learning outcomes, and that the academic standards and value of your degree will be protected.
What is the no detriment policy for semester 1 modules?
The no detriment policy includes a number of things that the University will do to try to make sure that grades from Semester 1 modules aren’t lower because of the current pandemic. These actions include:
comparing each module’s average mark with that of previous cohorts to see if it is notably lower. If it is then we would make changes to increase grades.
where students have individual circumstances where they have been particularly impacted we have made the Exceptional Circumstances process more flexible.
Is the safety net going to be used similarly to last year, so that any module that falls below our semester 1 average grade will be the minimum for our semester 2 grades?
The no detriment policy has to be different this year. This is because the University doesn’t have previous grades at the same level that weren’t impacted by Covid-19 (which we did in 2019/20). This means we must use other measures (such as the ones outlined above). We will also be reviewing if any additional actions need to be taken at exam boards later in the year.
Will the grade differences be looked at student-by-student or module-by-module?
We’ll be looking at both module-by-module and individual grade differences that may have been impacted by individual student’s exceptional circumstances.
At the moment, we are looking at grade differences on a module-by-module basis. This means we are checking whether modules are below their average when compared with previous years. If they are we will recognise this is because of the Covid-19 impact on students, and to make sure that you are not disadvantaged we will adjust the results to reflect this.
We will also be looking at whether any further changes will need to be made at the Summer exam boards to mitigate impact for students.
Summer exam boards at the end of the academic year will look at the individual grades for students who have submitted exceptional circumstances.
We will also look at whether any further changes will need to be made at the Summer exam boards to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on students.
Who can I talk to if I have any specific questions about the no detriment policy and exceptional circumstances?
If you have any questions about these, or any aspect of your education at Sussex, contact your School office.
If you have any queries about a placement you’re on, email email@example.com.
If you had your placement period curtailed by your employer as a result of Covid-19 (for example, being furloughed), we will recognise your placement year, providing you have completed:
- a sufficient level of placement learning to demonstrate the learning outcomes of the placement (at least 50% of expected weeks)
- the required assessments
- all learning logs
- your final learning summary.
If you are concerned you do not meet these criteria, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacting your School office
You can keep in touch with your School office with enquiries about your course via email.