Manchester Metropolitan University Students' Union

University changes due to COVID-19: explained

Friday 27-03-2020 - 15:53

Uni Changes Explained

Article updated on 06/05/2020.


Hello from your Student Officer Team.

We just want to let you know that everyone at The Union is working really hard to make sure your education and wellbeing is protected during this time, and that you receive the right support.

Everything might seem a bit up in the air and you might have a tonne of questions, so we’ve tried to create a simple breakdown of what we know so far and what this might mean for you.

Btw we’re here for you if you need us: 0161 247 1162/


In-person closures

Schools out: All face-to-face teaching is cancelled

All face-to-face teaching was be cancelled from Tuesday 17 March. This means all of your lectures, seminars and other taught sessions are cancelled. This also means that absences and attendance triggers won’t count against you and students don’t need to come to classes or lectures. Programme teams are planning to deliver any remaining teaching virtually. This means that if you want to self-isolate, or return to stay with family, you are able to do so from now.


Althought The Union building is closed, we're still open digitally

We're still here to support you though, whenever you need us. We've made some adjustments so we can continue to deliver key services, more details on the changes to each service can be found on our website.


Academic changes

Most exams will be replaced with ‘alternative assessments’

Not everyone wants to sit in a room full of other students right now, so the University will be doing exams differently. We are expecting that most exams planned for the third term won’t be going ahead in exam halls. This doesn’t mean they’re cancelled. Instead, your programme teams are planning ‘alternative assessments’ that won’t require students to gather in exam halls. This means you will still be assessed, so you should continue to study and revise as normal. The type of ‘alternative assessment’ that you will take instead of your exam will vary depending on your course. Some examples could include additional coursework, or a take-home exam. This is what your programme teams are working on now, and changes will be communicated through Moodle. If an exam is vital to your accreditation, rea on for information on professional accreditations.


Professional accreditations are being considered

For some courses, practice-based elements or exams may be compulsory to receive your professional accreditation. The University currently plans to continue with these exams so that you are able to get your accreditation. However, many professional bodies are reconsidering their requirements under these exceptional circumstances. Where they agree the University can deliver an ‘alternative assessment’ you will get one of these instead and still be accredited.


Coursework Deadline Extensions

The University has taken into account that the current covid-19 situation will have real effects on students’ ability to complete assessments. As a result, deadline extensions of at least a week (in some cases longer), will be put in placefor all course works between 24 March - 1 May 2020. Look out for communications about deadline changes through Moodle.


Contextualised Marking

Some students’ are concerned that the ‘quality’ of their work will be affected, for example if they are unable to complete some field trips and other ‘primary’ research tasks. The university is allowing staff to implement ‘contextualised marking,’ meaning that student’s marks will not be unfairly disadvantaged by the Covid-19. This gives staff the power to mark work to the standard that is reasonable to expect under these unusual circumstances. i.e. they will not mark you down for anything that is missing, whilst it is impossible for you to include it.


Personalised Learning Plans

Students who normally have Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) should contact their tutors and discuss under these circumstances how their assessments will be fairly managed. In many cases, these will be amended deadlines, for example receiving extra time for certain learning difficulties.



What if i hand in my work late? The 'Late penalty waiver' explained.

Usually if a piece of work is handed in late by up to five days of the deadline you will receive a 40% cap on your marks. However, because of the unusual circumstances and because life is just pretty tough right now, the University has agreed that they will not mark you down or cap your marks if you hand in up to five days late to give you some time if you need it. This 5 day late grace period applies on top of all other extensions the university has applied so far. You can still apply for exceptional factors, and if you already have an approved claim, the late extension will apply on top.


For more detailed info on academic chnages, visit the University's Teaching, Learning and Assessment webpage.


What should I do next?

No access to a computer or Wi-Fi at home?

If you have absolutely no way to access a computer at all, contact the Student Hubs. The Hubs have alternative support available for students who do not have access to a home computer, or do not have a reliable WiFi network in their home.This support is subject to a financial assessment of circumstances.


Join Manchester Student Support Group

Get yourself on Manchester Student Support Group to ask for help, share positive stories, gets tips and advice and more. The community is a place for students in Manchester to come together during uncertain times. 


Keep checking the Student Life Page & Moodle

We will try to keep you updated as much as possible, but all specific updates for your course will be communicated through Moodle – so keep checking on there. The student Life page on the university website has university wide updates too, and other support.


Here's how you apply for Exceptional Factors if needed

The University has recognised that students may wish to apply for Exceptional Factors if their upcoming assessments have been affected by a period of self-isolation. The Exceptional Factors process usually requires a student to submit evidence to support a claim, however the University doesn’t expect students to present supporting evidence from a health professional under these circumstances. The online form requires an upload, so the University recommends students upload an image of a piece of paper, with the message “No evidence available. I have followed NHS and Manchester Metropolitan University guidance.” More information about exceptional factors applications is on the Advice section of our website


Info for those in halls of residence

If you need to self-isolate in University managed accommodation, you will need to email the accommodation service to make them aware and they will provide you with advice and support that you may need.  If you decide to vacate your room, removing all belongings and returning your key by Friday 10 April; your final rental instalment (due on Monday 1 May) will be waived.


International students, travel and visas

The University is directing students with questions about travel and visas to the Student Hubs, available online or by phone on 0161 247 1000. The University is also recommending that if international students are not already registered with a UK GP, that they consider this.


Course Reps are here for you too

Whilst face–to-face teaching is cancelled, keep in touch with your Course Rep. They will be a great support with questions during this time, and are likely to be receiving updates on changes from your programme team. If you don’t know who your Course Rep is and your feedback doesn’t require an urgent response, you can submit comments to Digital Rep, our online feedback tool.


Will I still get my next Student Finance Payment?

SLC has confirmed that students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their maintenance loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has made alternative arrangements for teaching.


Need IT and Digital support?

We’ve been working with internal comms team to make this page as useful and easy read as possible if you need IT and Digital support. Here’s where you can guidance and info on accessing online learning.


More questions?

If you need any more information, remember you can contact the below services who will be able to help.

Student Hubs: 0161 247 1000.

The Union :


Possible future changes

Graduation ceremonies have been postponed, not cancelled

The University are working really hard behind the scenes to respond to the coronavirus crisis and to be clear, graduation ceremonies are currently postponed, not cancelled.


Feedback will probably suck a little

All of the University’s efforts are going into making sure that everyone who is graduating this year is fully supported to take their final assessments, and everyone who is in first or second year progresses into their next year. So, it is likely that marks and feedback on assignments might take a while longer to receive, and it might be brief. If you are returning next year, the University has promised that they are developing an ‘enhanced transition process,’ into next year so that you will not be disadvantaged by lack of good feedback.


Amendments to sports and societies plans

Sports activities have been cancelled until after the Easter break, contact if you have any questions. We recommend societies and clubs attempt to amend their activities where possible in response to recommendations of social distancing. For example, many are already active on social media and provide interesting content for their members. All club and society details can be found on our website.


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