Teaching, learning, assessment and progression

This page was archived in July 2021 and is no longer being updated. For information about Teaching, learning and assessment, visit the Studying at York pages on the main University website.

Teaching and learning

The shift to online teaching has been a major and challenging change for all of us; our students, academic staff and the professional staff who support the systems and processes for this new style of delivery. We appreciate the patience, kindness and understanding that everyone has shown as we've introduced new ways of teaching and learning.

Staff have followed guidance developed to help them adapt their teaching, and they are being supported by colleagues in the University’s Programme Development and Learning Technology Team and by staff in IT Services.

Departments have a lot of flexibility in how to deliver their teaching, so the following sections give an overview of our approach; please read this alongside the more specific details provided by your Department.

We have worked hard to ensure you can still meet the learning outcomes expected in your chosen study. If, however, you feel that you wish to raise your concerns with us more formally, we have a complaints process which starts with talking to your department, so they have an opportunity to try to address your concerns .

Pre-recorded lectures

Most lectures are pre-recorded so that you can view them at any time; some lectures are broken up into smaller ‘chunks’. Many of your lecturers are recording content from their desks at home so you may see and hear some unusual background noises or be treated to glimpses of passing children, family members or pets.

Seminars and discussions

Where real-time seminars are not possible, your lecturers may set up discussion boards on the VLE instead, and post seminar subjects regularly. You should have opportunities to engage with your lecturer and fellow students in ‘real time’, but you'll also be able to post to the boards at any time.

You're also encouraged to set up your own chat groups and virtual spaces with others on your course to exchange ideas and talk about the course materials. We've provided guidance on tech tools that you might use for your studies.

Supervision sessions

It's important that we maintain opportunities for both pastoral and dissertation/research supervision. You and your supervisor should use the platform that works best for you both.

Teaching timetable

Keep an eye on your teaching timetable, which has details of online and face to face sessions. If you have any questions about it, contact your Department.

Resources for learning and assessment

Lecture recordings, reading resources and further study materials are available within your VLE module site. The University Library is currently open 24 hours a day, with bookable study spaces.

Even when you don't have access to its physical resources, you can access electronic resources (including ebooks and ejournals), and they've provided resources and tips for studying online.

Please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian with details of any specific resources which you are struggling to access. You can find their details on our Subject Guides. You can also request ebooks not already held in the Library's collections.

IT Services have worked with departments to identify and give you access to the software that you might need this term.

There is plenty of other guidance available to support you if you're studying online:

Students without IT equipment or reliable internet access

We understand that some of you may not have adequate access to either IT equipment or internet connections to engage with online learning; we will do everything we can to support you. Please explore the options below or talk to your department (eg your supervisor).

On campus

Study space is available on campus including the Library, King's Manor, Spring Lane Building and Heslington Hall.

Financial support

If you are facing unanticipated financial challenges as a result of the current Covid-19 crisis, please visit our financial support web page for information on available support.

If you wish to seek specific advice on your situation, you can make a telephone, email or virtual appointment with our trained Student Advisers by completing the self-referral form online. Our advisers will talk to you about your current circumstances and direct you to appropriate advice and support, or recommend potential funding or loan opportunities.

Other support

If you are having other difficulties, for example technical problems, please refer to the IT support pages.

Exceptional circumstances and access to IT equipment or the internet

We appreciate that for some students difficulties with access to the internet may be limiting or preventing you from engaging fully with your online studies and submission of assessments. We have also made provision within the exceptional circumstances policy for students who are experiencing the impact of Covid-19 and this includes circumstances where reliable internet access is not available, or no suitable laptop, or other required resources, are available.

Problems with reliable internet access

If you are living off-campus and you’re struggling with your online study due to poor internet connectivity, we can help. Please register your interest, providing as much information about the problem as possible. Request assistance with your broadband connection.

A member of the IT Services team will contact you to try and troubleshoot the issue. If it's determined that your internet connection isn’t adequate for online learning, we will loan your household a 4G MiFi device to get you connected.

Discussing options

If a solution cannot be found in the longer term, students wishing to explore other options should contact their department to discuss. Please note Leave of Absence will only be considered once all other options have been explored.

Distance learning programmes

Even if, as a distance learner, you're used to studying online, we are aware that local restrictions, school closures, and increased demands on telecommunications infrastructure may make it difficult for you to engage in your normal way. If you are experiencing a high level of disruption to your daily routine, and suspect you may need to make an exceptional circumstances claim, please keep evidence of the causes of that disruption (government advice, notifications of closures, screenshots of network outage notifications) to support your claim in the event you need to make one.