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Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Teaching and exams

Teaching will still be offered online as much as possible in the coming period.

All the teaching for the coming period will conitnue to be offered online as much as possible.

From 15 June it will be possible to resume some on-site education and research activities on a very limited scale. Priority will be given to lab courses, graduation assignments, (joint) fieldwork, examinations and some tutorials from 15 June. The priorities will be decided by the Faculties. It will be determined what the possibilities are for each building and mutual agreements will then be made on this basis.

Students are urgently advised to keep checking Canvas for information about their courses and exams. For lecturers who want support in providing online education, have a look at the Canvas page ‘Keep on Teaching’.

FAQ: Students

  • What will teaching look like from September?

    Education will be allowed to take place again on campus in the new academic year, within government guidelines. Whether you’re learning online or on campus, we guarantee that all your classes and exams will go ahead. The capacity of the buildings is limited to about 20% because of the need to maintain a 1.5-metre distance. This limited capacity means there will be a mix of online and physical teaching at the start of the new academic year, and that we ask that you work from home as much as possible even after the summer.

    Wondering what teaching will look like for your programme - what will be online and what will be on campus? See the current plans for new Bachelor's students (Bachelor's) and on Master's students.

  • What is the plan for exams that were not taken in block 4 (at the end of March)?

    For courses in block 4 that didn't have online assessment alternatives at the end of the block (end of March), study programmes will plan alternative assessment times. There are several options for this: during blocks 5 and 6, in the resit period in weeks 27 and 28, or in an extra week which has been added to the academic year (week 29) for the purpose of administering tests.

    Note: the alternative assessment times will differ per study programme; sufficient time will be allowed between a test and the resit of that test. Students will receive more information about the dates and method of the assessment from their study programme.

  • When can I inspect the exam I took online?

    After the results of a written examination have been released, you have the right to inspect the assessed exam within 20 working days. This is a provision in the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER). However, in the current situation, the 20-day period is not always feasible. Examiners will do their best to make online inspection possible, or to request that the inspection option be postponed. We ask for your understanding in this matter.

  • I’m working on my thesis. Will the deadline remain the same?

    Many students are currently hard at work writing a thesis. In principle, the thesis deadlines remain unchanged. However, because of the coronavirus measures, you may be unable to collect the necessary data or you may have less access to relevant sources. Study programmes will take this into account as much as possible. If necessary, they’ll consider which countermeasures can be taken, such as offering students existing data sets. If completion of a thesis is not possible, study programmes will offer an adapted arrangement, tailored to the students in question. These arrangements will be determined in consultation with the Examination Board of the study programme, taking into account the overall learning objectives

  • Will the UvA offer no negative binding study advice this year?

    The UvA will not issue any negative binding study advice (BSA) to students for the current academic year. Instead, students will receive a deferred BSA, which gives them the opportunity to complete the required number of credits for the BSA in two academic years instead of one. This applies to all students; therefore, they do not have to demonstrate that they have not achieved the required number of points as a result of the coronavirus. If students have obtained enough points, they can still receive a positive BSA.

  • Can I still graduate cum laude and what are the rules?

    Examination Boards have been asked to show leniency with regard to decisions on whether or not to award 'cum laude' as far as progress is concerned, but not as far as results are concerned.

    • Examination boards will drop the requirement that you have to complete your study within the official time period with no delays. You will be allowed to resit exams taken in the corona period. This period runs from 13 March to 31 August 2020. The general idea is that you can use 1 extra resit per course for that period and still be eligible for cum laude. You will have the opportunity to complete the relevant courses in a subsequent academic year.
    • The requirements regarding the results achieved are in principle maintained.

    For the situation pertaining to your study programme, please contact the Examination Board of your study programme.

FAQ: Online proctoring

  • Does the UvA use online proctoring?

    Yes, but only if there’s no alternative. Because of the coronavirus crisis, study programmes are looking for alternative forms of assessment, such as timed take-home exams, oral exams, final assignments or essays. For some exams, such as multiple choice tests for large groups, there are no alternative testing methods, partly because of the risk of fraud.

    Online proctoring is one solution that would prevent having to postpone tests - tests for which no alternative could be found during the coronavirus crisis. In this way, exams for large groups can be held remotely and study delays can be avoided. It also offers international students the opportunity to take exams without returning to the Netherlands.

    Read more about online proctoring on the student website or the staff website.

  • Is my privacy well protected?

    During online proctoring, software monitors the exam and recordings are made.  This means that there are legitimate concerns about privacy and data security. Before making a decision, the UvA focused on this issue in particular. For example, it has been established that the data will only be accessible to authorised UvA staff, such as members of the Examinations Board.

    The company that supplies the software (Proctorio) may not see the images because they’re encrypted (end-to-end, zero knowledge encryption). The servers are located in the EU and after thirty days everything is automatically deleted. It has also been established that the images will never be used for anything other than detecting possible fraud. Read the privacy statement.

  • Can Proctorio detect fraud?

    Online proctoring software detects suspicious behaviour but doesn’t determine whether fraud has occurred. This is always the responsibility of the examiner and the UvA’s Examinations Board.

  • Is the system reliable?

    Tests show that the system is good at detecting cheating, but fraud can never be entirely eliminated. This is also the case with alternative forms of testing such as timed take-home exams or other options.

  • How can I prepare?

    If no alternative form of testing is available and online proctoring is chosen, then you will receive detailed information from your study programme well in advance. You will receive timely instructions about the software, how to install it and how to prepare. You will also be told what the software looks for and how deviations are assessed, and you will be given a practice test in order to determine whether your hardware, software and internet connection are good enough to be able to take the online exam.

  • I’m unable/unwilling to take the exam from home.

    If your personal circumstances prevent you from taking the exam at home, an alternative will be offered, in line with the safety guidelines of National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). One option could be to take the exam at a UvA location and use the online proctoring software there. The Examinations Board of the study programme in question will assess whether there’s sufficient reason to use alternative testing. A concern about privacy is not sufficient in and of itself to render someone eligible for alternative testing.

  • Why is there no alternative to online proctoring?

    The decision as to whether online proctoring can be used for a specific examination is made by the director of the graduate school or college, in consultation with the Examinations Board. They do this based on an assessment of possible alternatives, the number of students involved and the nature of the assessment form.

    It is not always possible to use other assessment forms such as essays, oral or take-home exams. One example is the case of multiple-choice exams for large groups.

    The most important reason is that we must be able to know who has done the exam and that fraud has not taken place. In the case of a take-home exam it is difficult to verify who has completed the exam. Online proctoring allows us to verify the student’s identity and invigilate exams online.  

    Another reason is that some of the restrictions that are imposed when multiple choice exams or essay-based exams are offered online (such as having to answer in a shorter space of time and not being allowed to scroll up and down between the questions) are experiences as stressful by students. Online proctoring makes it possible to administer exams in a form that is more like the normal situation.

    A final consideration is that replacing multiple-choice exams with open-book or essay-based exams results in a lot of additional work for teaching staff, who are already extremely busy preparing online lectures. That is another reason it is not always possible to offer an alternative.

  • Where can I get more information?

    If no good alternatives can be found and online proctoring is chosen, then the study programme will provide information about this well in advance and you’ll receive a manual with detailed instructions.

    Read more about online proctoring on the student website or the staff website.

FAQ: Lecturers

The Canvas page Keep on Teaching has been set up for all UvA lecturers to provide support in developing online teaching and exams. As a lecturer, you’ll also receive a lot of teaching information  from your faculty or study programme. For example, guidelines for switching to online exams or for supervising projects may differ per faculty or study programme.

  • I am a lecturer and want to provide education online. Where can I find tips and information?

    I am a lecturer and want to provide education online. Where can I find tips and information?

    On the Canvas page 'Keep on teaching' (available in English and in Dutch - log in using your UvAnetID) you can find tips and tricks for lecturers on how to provide education online. This page will be updated daily over the coming period. Live support is also available.

    Are you a teacher and do you need more information or do you have suggestions? On the Canvas homepage, under 'Tell us what's missing', you can find a link to a Canvas discussion where you can leave feedback. There is also a live support channel where teaching experts from the UvA can answer questions live at different times.

  • What options are available for taking online exams? For example, can online proctoring be used?

    The advice for off-campus online exams is to use Canvas as much as possible. The options for online testing in Canvas can be found on the Keep on Teaching page. Canvas offers a way to control plagiarism during exams. When deciding on the assessment form and method, it is important to consult the Board of Examiners, the ICTO department and the programme director for approval and a feasibility check.

    Online proctoring is in great demand but is not currently being offered. It puts high requirements on students in terms of equipment and technology and a lot can go wrong in real-time. Privacy and security are also important elements. We are keeping a close eye on national developments.

  • When do I have to give students access to their examinations for inspection?

    After written exam results have been released, students have the right to inspect the assessed exam within 20 working days. This is a provision in the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER). However, in the current situation, the 20-day period is not always feasible. Examiners are advised to offer students two options:

    1. Online inspection. There are some best practices which faculty assessment experts are familiar with.
    2. Postponing the inspection of written exams.
  • I’m currently supervising students writing their thesis. Which rules apply?

    Many students are currently hard at work writing a thesis. In principle, the thesis deadlines remain unchanged. However, because of the coronavirus measures, students may be unable to collect the necessary data or you may have less access to relevant sources. Study programmes will take this into account as much as possible. If necessary, they’ll consider which countermeasures can be taken, such as offering students existing data sets. If a thesis cannot be completed normally, study programmes will offer an adapted arrangement, tailored to the students in question. These arrangements will be determined in consultation with the Examination Board of the study programme, taking into account the overall learning objectives. Guidelines for thesis supervision will be shared with lecturers through their own faculty’s teaching organisation.

  • Where can I find information and regulations that apply to teaching within my faculty?

    Because information and regulations can differ per faculty and/or study programme, these will be communicated as much as possible directly from the faculty/programme. This means via College/Graduate School directors and/or study programme directors, or through teaching support units. It’s therefore advisable to keep a close eye on your email in addition to Canvas. If you miss important information about teaching procedures, ask the programme director. The programme director can, if necessary, refer your question ‘upwards’.

    We can well imagine that in this hectic time you sometimes miss an email or can not easily find it. Below you will find per faculty where you can retrieve important documents or announcements, if available online.

    Economics and Business

    In the weekly EB newsletter, the Faculty Board informs employees about the coronavirus-related announcements in the coming weeks.

    Faculty of Humanities

    Lecturers at the Faculty of Humanities are kept informed by email by the College/Graduate School directors. The most important updates can be found in the weekly newsflash and on the Faculty’s staff website

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science

    Important information about teaching is shared with lecturers, per domain, by the College/Graduate School directors. This is done by email and through Canvas. Important updates are also shared in the weekly newsletter.

    Faculty of Science

    Programme directors will inform Faculty of Science lectures by email by about any regulations and developments that concern them. The most important announcements can be found in the weekly newsletter. Regulations can be found on the lecturer’s site in Datanose.

    Faculty of Law

    The 'Coronavirus and Education' page on the Faculty of Law staff website contains the latest documents and guidelines for education and testing in block 5. The ‘Working from home' page contains additional practical information about telecommuting, additional policy and other current issues related to the coronavirus.

    Go to ‘Coronavirus and education’ for Faculty of Law lecturers 

    Go to ‘Working from home’ for Faculty of Law staff