The University is carefully monitoring guidance issued by the UK Government regarding COVID-19. We remain open and we're working hard to ensure that the majority of our services are unaffected, including registration for modules that begin in October 2020. This page was last updated on 3 June 2020.
Our student support teams (SSTs) are now taking queries by email and a limited webchat service until further notice. To find the right contact details for your query go to Contact the OU and choose the email option. Details about how to contact our different services are available further down this page under contacting us.
This page covers the current situation with regards to several key topics. It is being updated when new information is available.
Summary of updates 3 June 2020:
- Exams and End of Module Assessments (EMAs and emTMAs) - the University has cancelled face to face exams until 31 December 2020.
- If you are due to complete an EMA, emTMA or exam before 30 June 2020 you will have received an email detailing the arrangements for your module(s). Your module website(s) will also show your arrangements.
- If you have an end of module assessment between 30 June and 31 December this will be going ahead as planned. If your module has an EMA or emTMA you will be required to complete this in line with the instructions and deadline on your module website. If your module has an exam then this will be changed to a remote exam.
- We have published general information on the Help Centre about remote exams and iCMEs. Specific details about the remote exam for your module are, or will be, available on your module website
Exams and end of module assessments (EMAs and emTMAs)
The University has cancelled face to face exams until 31 December 2020, and reviewed arrangements for modules with EMAs and emTMAs before 30 June.
Students due to complete an EMA, emTMA or exam before 30 June 2020
If you are due to complete an EMA, emTMA or exam before 30 June 2020 you will have received an email detailing the arrangements for your module(s). Your module website(s) will also show your arrangements.
The following lists some key points to be aware of.
If your exam, EMA or emTMA has been cancelled with no alternative
- Your exam, EMA or emTMA was cancelled because the University recognised that sufficient insight could be obtained from your other assignments to allow a final grade to be calculated to demonstrate your understanding of the academic content and learning outcomes.
- Your module result will be informed by the scores you achieve on your assignments (TMAs and iCMAs)
- The weightings of the remaining assignments will be adjusted accordingly to equal 100%
- For example - if your exam was worth 40% of your overall assessment score – you don’t lose that 40%. Your other assignment weightings will be adjusted to make sure this adds up to 100%
- You can find out more about your Module result when your exam, EMA or emTMA has been cancelled
- This page includes an alternative assessment calculator (Excel spreadsheet) to help you calculate your overall continuous assessment score (OCAS). It will automatically make adjustments to your TMA/iCMA weightings to account for your cancelled exam/EMA/emTMA.
- If you’re not sure whether you have the time to continue with your studies, you can explore your options here.
If you’ve been told you’re still required to submit an EMA or emTMA
- This decision has been made for academic reasons. The EMA or emTMA could not be cancelled because
- it forms a substantive piece of work such as a dissertation
- your other assignments were all or mostly formative, with this being the main summative assignment
- the assignment is needed for professional accreditation or regulatory reasons.
- You can still use the module assessment calculator, if your module has one, to estimate your module result. To find it go to your Study record, click on your module and then go to the ‘Assessment' section of the module record.
- If you’re not sure whether you have the time to continue with your studies, you can explore your options here.
If your exam has been replaced by an alternative (remote exam or iCME or both)
- The remote exam will use the original exam paper questions, but you will now complete this at home.
- The deadline for submitting your remote exam answers will be 23:59 hrs UK time on your original exam date.
- More information about remote exams, and your options if you’re not able to take your remote exam, or encounter difficulties on the day of your remote exam, are available at remote exams and iCMEs.
Additional information about your remote exam is now available on your module website. It can be found on the Assessment page or tab on your module website (or in the Resit and Resubmission resources page if you are resitting your exam).
Students due to complete an EMA, emTMA or exam after 30 June but before 31 December 2020
All end of module assessments between 30 June and 31 December 2020 will be going ahead as scheduled. You will be required to complete these in line with the instructions and deadline on your module website.
If your module has an exam then this will be changed to a remote exam. You’ll complete the remote exam at home and the deadline for submission will be 23:59 hrs UK time on your original exam date. More details about your remote exam will be published on your module website approximately four weeks before the submission date. If you will not be able to take the remote exam you may have the option to postpone it. You can also find more general information about remote exams.
Postponing your remote exam, EMA or emTMA submission (discretionary postponement)
If you can't do your remote exam or submit any part of your EMA/emTMA due to exceptional circumstances you may be allowed to postpone to the next available opportunity. You are usually required to provide evidence to support your application, but, until further notice, for any issue related to coronavirus and occuring from 1 March 2020 no evidence will be required. When completing the application please choose the option to 'send by post' and indicate in the text box that you are applying due to reasons relating to coronavirus. You won't then be required to send in any evidence, please ignore text on the form that says it is required.
You do, however, need to apply before midnight (UK local time) on the day after your EMA/emTMA submission deadline.
If your exam, EMA or emTMA has been cancelled you can still request to postpone and undertake it at a later date. You can also request to postpone a remote exam. See the advice pages for more details about your options.
To find out more about postponing and to apply go to Apply for discretionary postponementBack to top
The University will take the coronavirus pandemic into consideration for all assessments submitted after 1 March 2020 and for deciding your overall module result. This means you do not need to tell us how the pandemic in general or the changes the OU has made have affected your ability to complete your assignments. If, however, you have experienced other exceptional circumstances (e.g. you are a key worker or you have been seriously ill) you may wish to inform us by submitting a special circumstances form. You do not need to provide any evidence when doing this.
You can also submit a special circumstances form if you have experienced other extenuating circumstances, or something happened to impact your studies before 1 March.
You can submit special circumstances for any assignments up to four days after your original exam date or submission deadline for your EMA or emTMA.Back to top
Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs)
You can request an extension on your TMA submission date of up to 21 days without needing to provide a reason. This agreement will be in place until at least 30 September 2020. To apply for an extension to a TMA deadline, please contact your tutor in the first instance. Requests for extensions must be made to your tutor. If you have difficulties reaching your tutor or any other concerns, then you can also contact your Student Support Team for advice.
If you need a TMA extension beyond 21 days, that must be discussed with your tutor, or student support team in your tutor’s absence. This is because there may be other solutions to help you progress with your studies rather than opting for a very long extension.
Extensions for final TMAs (the last TMA before your EMA, emTMA or exam that was due to take place) are slightly different in that they are usually restricted to being no later than the first of the month in which your module ends. However, until further notice, you can request an extension up to the eighth day of the month in which your module ends.
To find the relevant date for your module, see the final TMA extension dates page. Please note that if you submit your final TMA after the first day of the month you will get a message warning you it is too late. Provided you have requested an extension from your tutor you can ignore this message.
TMA marking turnaround
All tutors are now being given 15 working days to mark and return assignments, rather than the usual 10 working days. You may also find that your work has been marked by someone other than your usual tutor. We are doing this, where necessary, to ensure you get your assignments back as soon as possible and to help tutors manage their workload during these challenging times.Back to top
Submitting assessments on paper
We are currently unable to handle and process paper copies of assessments. You will need to submit all TMAs, emTMAs and EMAs through the online TMA/EMA system (you can find this via your module website or on your module record page on StudentHome).
All modules are currently allowing PDF formats to be submitted. If you need to complete your assessment on paper you can scan it in using your smartphone and submit using the online TMA/EMA system.
If it is impossible for you to submit electronically, or you have recently sent in an assessment, please be assured that your paper submissions will be securely held and processed once we are able to reopen the offices. If this happens after the release of module results, we will update your result as soon as we are able.Back to top
Deferring or withdrawing from modules
We recognise that for some students, completing your studies may prove challenging and you may be considering your options. Our advice pages for students studying module(s) ending before 30 June 2020 may also help you work out whether you can continue studying.
If you're thinking you might need to stop studying contact your student support team (SST). There may be a variety of options available to you, including around your fees and funding.
You can find out the final date you can defer from your module on your module record. Select your module from you your study record and then click on 'final deferral date' to find this.
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we took the decision to move the 1 April fee liability point to 15 April. This applies to undergraduate students in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or outside of the UK - fee liability arrangements in Scotland, and for postgraduate students, are different. This means that, if you told us you wanted to defer from your module on or before 15 April, your fee liability will be the same as it would have been if you deferred before 1 April.
If you've recently made a request to defer but would now like to continue studying, you need to contact your Student Support Team (SST) as soon as possible and ask them to cancel your deferral. Continue studying while you're waiting to hear back from them.
If you've requested to defer and still want to defer but are still receiving communications about your module, we are working through requests and will process your deferral as soon as possible.Back to top
Financial support - Student Assistance Fund
We have opened a Student Assistance Fund for students who have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and have faced unexpected financial hardship, which has impacted their ability to study successfully.
Funding may be available if you need help with study and living costs to enable you to continue with your studies. The fund is limited, eligibility criteria apply, and it will only be open for a limited amount of time.Back to top
Student support teams (SSTs)
SSTs (for general enquiries and specialist advice on your area of study) are available by email and a limited web chat facility. They are working from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday
The SSTs also now offer moderated student forums. These are a publicly available channel for you to post comments and queries around student support topics, and advisors who moderate the forum will help you. You can also have discussions with other students and share tips and information.
Remember, however, that the forums are public. Do not mention any personal details such your address, details about your tutor, payment card details or anything else you would not be happy for any other students to see. You cannot not use the forums to:
- Get detailed advice and guidance - you should email your SST for this.
- Enrolling on modules - you can do this online from StudentHome. If you're unable to enrol online you can email your SST.
- For payments or other transactional activities - if you need to pay for your module using a credit or debit card please email your SST for advice, but do not include card details in your email
Received an email?
If you've received an email asking you to contact us by phone we apologise. These are automatic system-generated emails which we have not been able to change. Please be assured that you can email us and we are working through queries as quickly as possible.
We are continuing to answer queries as quickly as possible but some services are reduced:
- Library Services are available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday by email only. A Webchat service is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The Computing and Distribution Helpdesk is available by email and webchat only 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5.00pm Friday.
- OUSBA (Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd) is operating with reduced staffing levels so we apologies that there may be a delay in responding to both phone and email contact.
- The Disability Support Team are still contactable by phone (Mon to Fri 09:00 - 17:30) or email.
To find the right contact details for your query go to Contact the OU.Back to top
Careers and Employability Services
If your changing circumstances have affected your life or study goals, course choice or career plans, the OU’s Careers and Employability Services staff are maintaining our full range of support:
- If you need to rethink your long-term career plans and how they may affect module choices or your decision to defer, we have many online resources to help you such as Your Career Planning Guide plus forums and webinars.
- Similarly, if you need to clarify your options and potential career paths, you can still book a careers consultation over email, phone or Skype.
- If you want to know more about volunteering opportunities, you can browse the many online roles posted by a range of organisations on OpportunityHub.
The team are set up and working from home, and although we are currently managing demand well, we hope you understand if we are not always able to answer your queries within the usual five days. For the latest updates on how we are providing careers support to OU students, please see our Careers and Employability Services statement.Back to top
We understand that during this time of uncertainty trying to study may feel overwhelming. Our Help Centre has articles available on how we can support your mental health, wellbeing and welfare. This includes information on how to access our Big White Wall service which offers free, confidential online support around the clock. They also have an article about looking after yourself during the outbreak.
We have also put together some tips on balancing work, study and family, including a list of free OU resources that might be helpful to support older children's school work.
If you're feeling worried about Coronavirus take a look at our Wellbeing during lockdown article for resources and ideas on how to help reduce stress and concerns. You can also join in some upcoming live events with Student Hub Live. They include topics such as community-building, self-care and productivity.
We also have an article about coping with grief and bereavement during the coronavirus pandemic.
For information on how you can look after your mental health during this outbreak see Mental Health Foundation and Public Health England. If you live in Scotland the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has a Coronavirus and Mental Health Information Hub.
Domestic abuse support
If you're experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse. Please take a look at our Domestic abuse support during lockdown article which has details for urgent help and other support helplines across the UK.Back to top
Requesting certificates and references
We are not currently able to print and post out any qualification certificates, including replacements for any that have been lost or damaged. Name corrections can still be completed as usual by emailing us at email@example.com. There may be a short delay in some qualification offers being sent but the conferment of qualifications continues to run to the usual schedule.
Academic references are currently taking at least 10 working days to process. Depending on what you need, you may be able to self-serve using the request a reference tool.Back to top
All tutorials and day schools for the rest of 2020 will be delivered online.Back to top
All face-to-face residential schools have been cancelled until further notice.
If you have incurred any additional costs associated with a cancelled residential school that you have been unable to reclaim from other sources (e.g. by cancelling travel tickets; reclaiming cancelled flights from the airline), you may be eligible for reimbursement from the OU.Back to top
All degree ceremonies until the end of May have been cancelled:
- 21 March London
- 03 April Manchester
- 24 April Dublin
- 30 April Poole
- 16 May Milton Keynes
- 30 May Ely
If you were due to attend you should have received an email. We are working to be able to offer you another opportunity and will be in touch as soon as we can.Back to top
Reimbursement for travel to events
If you have paid for travel to an event and cannot get a refund you may be eligible for reimbursement.
Please download this form Travel reimbursement form (DOCX, 104 KB) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with your booking confirmation and evidence of being unable to get a refund. Photographs and scans of receipts or booking confirmation are acceptable.
If you want to apply for reimbursement of travel costs for any other period of time or reason, please contact your SST.
Please note we usually provide reimbursement directly into back accounts and we aim to process your application in the next 10 working days.Back to top
Registering for your next module
We want to reassure all our students that registration for your next module is open and we encourage you to enrol online. If you're already an OU student our Help Centre has information about enrolling on modules.
If you're a new student you can enrol from our online prospectus.
We are available if you want to discuss your choices, but you will need to contact us by email rather than phone.Back to top
Progress reviews with your practice tutor will take place by telephone or online, until face-to-face interaction can resume.
If you’re experiencing changes at work that will last longer than four weeks or will impact on your ability to submit any of your assignments or remain in place for longer than four weeks, you should talk to your practice tutor or the Apprentice Support Team.
If you cannot study or are due to complete work-based learning activities for an assessment, and it’s no longer possible because you are working from home, contact your tutor, your Apprenticeship Programme Delivery Manager, or the Apprentice Support Team to discuss your options.
You should have received an email with more details about continuing your apprenticeship. You can contact the Apprentice Support Team by email: email@example.com .Back to top
Physical office locations and post
While the OU remains open for business, our physical offices are now all closed. OU staff continue to work remotely to support you, but you will not be able to visit any OU Offices.
We will not be able to receive items by post until we can return to our offices. Anything already posted to us and not yet processed will be held securely. We are aware that the Student Loans Company and other funding bodies are experiencing some delays. We are monitoring the situation and will advise on what to do nearer to the next academic year.
We are also currently unable to handle and process paper copies of assessments. See the above section on Assignments for more information.Back to top Back to top