Following the disruption that students have experienced with GCULearn (Blackboard) whilst it was being upgraded, we have been working with the University on your behalf and I’ve been raising your concerns regarding the impact on your exams and assessments.
This has been a complex situation as some students had seen the communications on GCULearn that it would be unavailable from 26th to 30th December 2018 (which was then unavailable until 31st December), had downloaded materials and felt prepared to sit their exams. However, as the communications from the University were limited and not shared until very late in December this announcement was missed by many. This led to many students feeling distressed and unprepared for their exams and coursework submissions.
I have been working with the University since the 31st December to try and ensure students are not disadvantaged in their examinations or the submission of assignments as a result of the system upgrades. It has been a balancing act as there has been a lot of student feedback, both from those who felt prepared and those who felt unprepared. There was also students expressing concerns on moving the first week of exams (ie planned holidays, childcare, work commitments, placements etc).
Working with the University we have sought to try and address the concerns of most students. The guidance from the University sent by email on 3rd January 2019 is available from our website. This provides students with a choice on whether to sit their exams the week beginning 7th or 21st January. There is also an extension for students with coursework submissions and extensions to the 24 hour provision within the Library.
There will be some individual students with outstanding questions or concerns about their personal circumstances and they should contact the University at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this. In addition the Student Advisers within our Advice Centre can provide additional support.
We recognise the distress caused by this situation and we understand that for many this outcome is far from ideal, although I believe this is the best outcome for students given the circumstances.
If you have any questions please get in touch.