- Nicola Manuel: Illustration
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Sasha Watson, achieved the extension following talks with the university this week regarding the shut down of all I.T services which is scheduled to go ahead between the 3rd and the 6th of January.
The university scheduled the operation to carry out ‘vital upgrades’ but it has been criticised for its poor timing, as a large proportion of students’ exams and coursework is due in January following the Christmas break.
Many students expressed concern that removing access to all university online facilities such as SUSSED, Blackboard and printing, could be detrimental to the standard of their assignments.
In light of this, arrangements have been made to compensate for the effect the downtime may have on student study and submission of work.
Sasha Watson said: “The university have now agreed that it is only fair for you to have the 4 working days back. For example, if you have a deadline on Friday 13th January, you will now have until Thursday 19th to hand it in.”
In an email sent from student services this morning, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education Debra Humphris, said: “All students are still expected to plan their preparation for examinations and revision well in advance. The lack of access to I.T. services during this time may not be used as a reason for special considerations.”
Student response to the move has been positive.
A student of English and History said: “I think it is good the university have acknowledged how the lack of access could affect our work. No matter how publicised the closure is, you can guarantee someone wouldn’t know and, due to lack of planning, would suffer as a result.”
Students are also reminded that the extension does not apply to exams; should any resources be needed for revision during the downtime, it is necessary that they are downloaded from the relevant university sites in advance of the closure.
Following the announcement, there has been confusion over which assignments the extension applies to as students have received emails from individual faculties refusing to grant the four days to all January work.
The Wessex Scene spoke to Sasha Watson about the apparent discrepancies who said:
“Myself, the Associate Deans for each Faculty, and the Pro-Vice Chancellor all quite clearly agreed to extend the deadline of any assignment due in January – any issues surrounding any misunderstanding of the original message sent out by the Registrar is being dealt with by myself and the Academic Presidents, but I am adamant that all students will get their extensions.”