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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The following information tells you what temporary arrangements are currently in place and may have an impact on how your module is delivered. Some of these are currently agreed to be in place until 31 December 2021 while others will continue through to at least August 2022. This page was last updated on 29 September 2021.

Assessment (TMAs, exams, EMAs and emTMAs)

You should expect to complete all your assessments as scheduled on your module study planner, we will advise you if there are any changes to this. You can check your module website (or the module description if it is not yet open) to find what assessments your module(s) has.

Tutor marked assignments (TMAs)

The rules for requesting an extension are slightly different depending on when your module(s) started.

If you started your current module before October 2021 you can request an extension of up to 21-days on all TMAs due before 31 December 2021 apart from the final TMA (the TMA prior to the emTMA, EMA or remote exam). It's important to contact your tutor to request this as soon as you can before the TMA submission deadline. Your tutor may advise a shorter extension to help you prepare for future assessments. There are also no limits to how many times you can have a TMA extension. If you're having any problems reaching your tutor or need additional advice, please contact your student support team (SST) 

For module(s) starting from October 2021, our standard extension arrangements for TMAs will apply. You can still request additional time to complete an assignment, should you need it, but will need to discuss your circumstances with your tutor as they will decide whether an extension can be granted and how long is appropriate. See Getting an extension to your assignment deadline for more information about our standard arrangements.

Final TMA extensions

Extensions to the final TMA of your module (the one before an exam, EMA or emTMA) are more restricted. This is because any extension will affect the time you have remaining to study for your exam, EMA or emTMA.

For modules that end before 31 December 2021, any extension to the final TMA submission deadline cannot go beyond the eighth day of the month in which your module formally ends (e.g. 8 October if your module ends in October).

From 1 January 2022 the standard arrangements will apply. An extension to a final TMA will also only be permitted in exceptional or serious circumstances and cannot go beyond the first day of the month in which your module finishes (e.g. 1 June, if your module ends in June). See Getting an extension to your assignment deadline for more information about our standard arrangements.

TMA marking turnaround

Until 31 December 2021, tutors will have up to 15 working days to mark and return assignments. From 1 January 2022 this will revert to our standard arrangement where tutors are expected to mark and return TMAs within 10 working days.

Submitting assessments on paper

We are continuing to operate a reduced presence in our offices. If you post us a paper copy of your assessment there will be delays in it being received, marked and returned.

Please submit all TMAs, emTMAs and EMAs through the eTMA system if you can. You'll find this in your module website under the Assessment tab or on your module record page in StudentHome.

If you need to write or complete your assessment on paper, you can scan it in using your smartphone and submit this as a PDF, using the eTMA system. Please only do this as an alternative to posting in a handwritten TMA, do not convert Microsoft Word files (.doc .docx or .rtf) and submit them as .pdf unless your module specifically asks you to do this.

If you cannot submit electronically, please be assured that your paper submissions will be processed. If this delays the marking of your TMA until after release of module results, we will update your result.

Exams, EMAs and emTMAs

If your module has an EMA or emTMA, you will need to complete this in line with the instructions and submit your work by the cut-off deadline on your module website.

All exams are currently being delivered as remote exams for all modules until 31 December 2022. This means that, rather than coming to an exam centre, you’ll undertake your exam remotely (e.g. at home). Further information about your remote exam will be published on your module website approximately six weeks before the submission cut-off date. More information can be found at Remote exams and ICMEs.

Exams scheduled to take place after 31 December 2022 may take place remotely or at an exam centre. We will confirm this as soon as possible.

Postponing your remote exam, EMA or emTMA submission (discretionary postponement)

If you’re unable to undertake your remote exam or submit any part of your EMA or emTMA due to exceptional circumstances, you may be permitted to postpone to the next available opportunity. If you have fallen behind or need to stop studying for any reason you should contact your student support team (SST) to discuss your options.

If your exam, EMA or emTMA is due to be submitted before 31 December 2021 you do not need to submit any evidence when requesting a postponement. You do, however, need to apply before midnight (UK local time) on the day after your remote exam, EMA or emTMA submission cut-off deadline.

For module(s) where the remote exam, EMAs or emTMA is due to be submitted on or after 1 January 2022, we will go back to our standard arrangements. You will only be able to postpone in exceptional circumstances and to be eligible you will need to meet strict criteria and provide third-party supporting evidence. To find out more about our standard postponement policy and how to apply, see Discretionary postponement.

Special Circumstances

If something happens which negatively affects your performance in any of your assessment tasks, you can ask the Module Result Panel to take this into account when your module result is agreed. Examples of special circumstances include illness or bereavement, unexpected home schooling or additional caring responsibilities. You can submit special circumstances multiple times during a module. To do this, complete the Special Circumstances form.

Until 31 December 2021, you are not required to provide evidence to support your request for your circumstances to be considered but if you do have any, it is helpful to include it.

From 1 January 2022 you will be required to submit evidence. From this date we will also no longer be considering all students to have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so if something is affecting your performance on your next module it is especially important to tell us.

Resits and resubmissions

If you're awarded your module result before 1 January 2022 and you fail the module but are offered the opportunity to resit the exam or resubmit the EMA or emTMA, the result you will get after resitting your remote exam or resubmitting your EMA or emTMA will not be capped. This is because we acknowledge all students have experienced exceptional circumstances this year so you will be awarded the grade appropriate to the mark you achieve in your remote exam, EMA or emTMA and the continuous assessment scores you have already achieved.

If you’re awarded your module result from 1 January 2022 the result for your resit or resubmission will usually be capped at the lowest grade of pass.

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Tutorials, day schools and residential schools

For modules starting between September 2021 and August 2022, all tutorials and most day schools and residential schools, will be delivered online.

Exceptions may be granted to allow some day and/or residential schools to take place in person from January 2022. These will, however, only be allowed in exceptional circumstances and you'll be notified by your module team if this is relevant to your module. An online equivalent will be offered in most cases, and where this is not possible you will be advised what to do if you cannot attend an event in person.

With continued uncertainty about the safety of holding face to face events and variations in the level of restriction on travel across the UK and internationally, holding tutorials online ensures students will be able to participate, wherever they are located. From September 2022 we hope to deliver a mix of online and face-to-face tuition.

For more information about how to find, register and join tutorials see Joining instructions for online tutorials.

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Printed study materials

Our warehouses are currently operating as normal.

Your printed materials are delivered by courier to the address you gave us when you registered. You’ll be able to track your materials and check the delivery date in the module section of StudentHome. You’ll also receive an email to confirm the delivery date.

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Degree ceremonies

Open University ceremonies are expected to take place in 2022. Dates and locations will be added to the ceremonies website as soon as they are available.

Upon successful completion of an eligible qualification, you'll be contacted with up-to-date information regarding your options.

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Wellbeing

We are here to support your mental health and wellbeing. Find out more about the Mental health support available to you as an OU student. This includes Togetherall, a safe and completely anonymous online space that's available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We have put together some tips on balancing work, study and family, which you might find helpful if you do have periods of homeschooling. We also have an article about coping with grief and bereavement during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as information about Domestic abuse support.

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Contacting us

Student support teams (SSTs)

You can contact your student support team (SST) by phone, email or webchat. Our phonelines are currently open between 08:00– 17:30 UK time, Monday to Friday.

Some of our teams are still working from home which may cause some delays and we thank you for your patience. Please be assured that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect the privacy of your conversation and the personal data you may provide.

Should our opening hours change depending on government advice, we’ll update this page with the latest information. You can also go to Contact us.

SSTs also run student support forums. These are a community help resource for queries about student support, and are moderated by our advisors who will help you. You can also talk with other students and share tips and information on the forums.

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Last updated 1 month ago