Studying at uni in 2020/21
Covid information for students
The way we deliver some of your lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals will be different this year – but you'll still get the same level of outstanding teaching, support and guidance.
Many courses started on Monday 5 October 2020, another set of courses start on 1 February 2021. If you're studying with us in 2020/21, you'll get a blended and connected learning experience. You'll use our virtual learning environment, Moodle, and other digital tools – so you’ll get plenty of contact time with your lecturers, but through a blend of face-to-face and online delivery.
Of course, some teaching is more tricky to deliver online. We can't replicate all of the lab, workshop and studio-based material online, but you won't miss out. You'll still do practical learning, with the relevant safety measures in place. We'll also provide simulation experiences where relevant.
We're also looking into the feasibility of providing you with access to powerful, cloud-based virtual machines. You can either use these for individual work or group sessions that need a pop-up virtual IT lab. Using the virtual machines, you can do activities like advanced modelling, animation or data-crunching in the cloud during an online teaching session or for course work.
We've made sure every lab, workshop and studio space is adapted, cleaned and equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). All staff and students must wear face coverings indoors on campus. You'll learn in smaller groups, so we can make sure the appropriate social distancing rules and other safety measures are respected.
Due to changing circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may need to make changes to courses to ensure your safety and to ensure compliance with Government guidelines. We'll provide you with as much notice as possible of any such changes. Your course leader will inform you of these. Changes may include things such as modules being taught in teaching block 2 instead of teaching block 1 and teaching activities occurring in smaller group sizes.
You can read more about how we'll teach you below.
As part of our blended and connected approach to teaching, we’ll make sure you have access to your course tutors and other students on the course. You should be able to ask your course tutors questions as you think of them. We'll provide ways for you also to talk with other students through online chat and discussion forums.
We’ll provide recordings or summaries of lectures and large group teaching sessions – so if you want to check something, you can easily catch up. Though we won’t expect staff to give, or students to listen to, long recorded lectures, most lectures will be broken down into smaller chunks to aid learning and interaction with the material.
It might take you a session or two to get used to it, but you’ll still get a great teaching experience.
Things like practical classes, lab and studio work, tutorials, workshops, and face-to-face small-group teaching and support are also important in our blended and connected approach to teaching.
We’ll provide the type of face-to-face teaching in small groups that is relevant to your course, this will vary by course and module.
For your safety, you’ll be in smaller groups than usual, and that means an opportunity for some one-to-one time with teaching staff with appropriate social distancing, and also plenty of time to contribute to discussions and group work.
We’ll also provide opportunities to undertake some practical classes and small-group learning online and through simulation, which will provide further opportunities to pose questions to staff and other students both live and via discussion forums, and take part in collaborative activities.
You’ll also be able to join events on campus where social distancing is possible or with the use of PPE.
Sometimes you’ll need to talk face-to-face with someone – especially if it’s about an important academic or personal issue.
The good news is that you’ll still get to meet regularly with your personal tutor, and access all our guidance and support whenever you need it, both face-to-face and online.
Your personal tutor
Your personal tutor helps you to adapt to new ways of learning and to study effectively, giving you academic and pastoral support throughout your time at university.
Their role is to assist you to initially adjust to student life, then thrive as a student of the University of Portsmouth, by providing guidance, support and encouragement. They’ll also direct you to further specialist support or guidance if you need it.
You can meet your personal tutor face-to-face, by following safety guidelines. You can also meet via video chat or over the phone, and contact them by email when you need their support.
Professional student services
Our professional advisors are available via video chat, phone or email, and support services you can access include:
- Student Wellbeing Service (including access to the WhatsUpApp)
- Residence Life Support
- Academic Skills Unit (ASK)
- Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre (ASDAC)
- University Library
- Student Finance Team
- International students
- Careers & Employability Service
- Students' Union Advice Centre
NHS and Solent Mind run a mental health support service called Positive Minds
Where necessary or appropriate, you can also continue to have face-to-face meetings with a team member, where all appropriate safety measures will be taken.
Further guidance and support
Our network of MyPort student services hubs across the campus will be open. MyPort can:
- Support you in your student journey
- Provide guidance and support on all aspects of your student experience
- Assist you in accessing other services in the University
You can also access MyPort digitally, rather than in-person.
Your mental and physical wellbeing is the most important thing to look after, so we’re making sure you can access our support teams online, from wherever you are.
Before the start of the academic year, we’ll send you an email with all the details of what you’ll need to do, including:
- When and how to register
- How to get your University computer username and password
- How to apply for your student card
Once you’ve completed your registration, you’ll get an email confirmation in your student Google mailbox, along with details about how you'll receive your student card.
If coronavirus stops you from making it to Portsmouth for the start of term, please let us know. We allow late registrations, up to a certain point, on an exceptional basis, and coronavirus would be considered valid for this.
You can download most of the software you’ll need for your course, for free, from the University Apps store, AppsAnywhere, which allows students to access software on and off-campus, at any time. To access AppsAnywhere on your own personal computer, you must first connect to the university network via our Virtual Private Network (VPN).
If you need access to a high-spec lab computer or a computer on campus with specialist software installed which is not available in AppsAnywhere, you can login to these computers remotely from home – just select ‘Remote Access to Lab Computers’ from AppsAnywhere and make sure you’re connected to the VPN.
The library is an important part of student life and we've made sure you can use it properly – both in person and online.
The University library is full of resources to help you with your studies. You can access over 700,000 ebooks online. The library also has a database of hundreds of research journals and ejournals.
If you can't find one you’re looking for, you can contact the library directly by email or live chat to ask them if it can be added to the permanent collection or borrow it on inter-library loan.
Exams and assessments will take place as normal. Some will take place on campus with appropriate social distancing in place, but many will take place online.
We’ll let you know with plenty of time if there are significant changes to planned assessments so you won’t be at a disadvantage.
The NHS has stay at home and self-isolation advice in line with government guidance.
If you need to self-isolate, the most important thing is to ensure that you are looked after. But if you're self-isolating either at University or at home, you’ll still be able to access all your course teaching materials and much of your teaching online – so if you’re well enough to study, you won’t miss out. You’ll also be able to catch up when you’re feeling better, and we can support you to do this.
Find out more about self-isolation.
Self-isolation and assessments
If self-isolation or illness stops you from completing an assessment on time, you can apply for extenuating circumstances so you’re assessed fairly.