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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The following information tells you how we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate that there continues to be considerable uncertainty and that students and staff continue to be impacted. As detailed on this page, we have flexibility built into our policies to support you to continue studying, and measures in place to allow you to continue to engage in tutorials, day schools and residential schools where appropriate to keep you safe. We are also here to help you with whatever challenges you may experience at any time that impact your ability to study. This page was last updated on 9 August 2022.

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)

If you’re struggling to complete a TMA you may be able to request additional time. To do this you need to contact your tutor and they will discuss your situation, decide whether an extension is appropriate and can be granted and, if so, how long the extension should be.

Try to contact your tutor as early as possible to make sure they have time to authorise the extension. If you cannot get in touch with your tutor, contact your student support team (SST).

Our standard arrangements are now in place for all TMAs, see Getting an extension to your assignment deadline for more information.

TMA marking turnaround

Tutors are expected to mark and return TMAs within 10 working days, in line with our standard policy. Please bear in mind however, that your tutor may be experiencing additional pressures so may sometimes take up to 15 working days to return your marked work. Where marking times are extended, you will, wherever possible, be kept closely informed of marking progress. Where needed, your TMAs may be marked by another tutor.

Special Circumstances

If something happens that 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 (including COVID), bereavement, unexpected home schooling or additional caring responsibilities, but you need to make sure you tell us and provide evidence. You can submit special circumstances multiple times during a module. To do this, complete the Special Circumstances form. You can read the fully policy at Special Circumstances Policy.

Submitting assessments on paper

If you post a paper copy of your assessment to us, there may be delays in it being received, and forwarded on to your tutor to be marked and returned to you, due to ongoing and periodic postal disruptions.

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 delivered as remote exams. 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 Exams.

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.

Our standard policy now applies to all postponements. You can postpone in exceptional circumstances and need to meet strict criteria and provide third-party supporting evidence. To find out more and to apply, see Discretionary postponement.

Resits and resubmissions

If you were awarded your module result before 1 January 2022 and you failed the module, but have been 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 recognise that all students may have experienced exceptional circumstances in 2021 that impacted academic performance.

You will therefore be awarded the grade appropriate to the mark you achieve in your remote exam resit, or EMA or emTMA resubmission alongside the continuous assessment scores you have already achieved.

For module results issued from 1 January 2022 the result for any subsequent resit or resubmission completed in 2022 (or 2023) will usually be capped at the lowest grade of pass.

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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 Shout (text OU to 85258, if resident in the UK) and TalkCampus (an app-based service open to all students). Both offer a safe and completely anonymous space for support that's available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We have also put together some tips on balancing work, study and family, which you might find helpful if you have periods in which you need to care for dependents. We also have an article about coping with grief and bereavement, as well as information about Domestic abuse support.

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Tutorials, day schools and residential schools

From October 2022 face-to-face tutorials will be reintroduced to some modules. Day and/or residential schools will take place in person. Once timetables are published on StudentHome (usually close to your module start date) you'll be able to see if the tuition for your module is online or face-to-face.

There will continue to be online alternatives available, should you have any concerns about attending in person. 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 taking place in 2022. Dates and locations can be found on the ceremonies website.

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

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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.

Many of our staff are working either some or all of the time from home. Please be assured that all necessary precautions have been 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 2 days ago