University commits to releasing exam schedule

The University of Otago clocktower. Photo: ODT files
The University of Otago clocktower. Photo: ODT files
The University of Otago has committed to releasing examination timetables this week after being criticised for delays.

Students had expressed frustration over a lack of certainty about next month’s exams and the university apologised.

"The university has taken on board the considerable feedback from students on exams and final assessments," a spokeswoman for the university said.

Exams were due to run from June 3-17 and that had not changed, despite many assessments having to be redesigned amid the coronavirus crisis.

Some detail about how exams would operate had been "contingent on the detailed guidelines from Government around how universities can operate at Alert Level 2", the spokeswoman said.

The Government outlined last week the rules that would apply in Level 2 and announced yesterday that New Zealand would shift out of the more strict Level 3 on Thursday.

Students would be welcomed back to campus under Level 2 but teaching, and exams, would continue to be available online until the end of the semester.

That was designed to make sure students would not be disadvantaged if they were unable to return to campus.

The university spokeswoman said yesterday facilities such as libraries and study spaces would reopen progressively under Level 2 and "some limited teaching" would take place. Hygiene and physical distancing measures would apply.

Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) had pushed for transparency about the upcoming exam period, and student magazine Critic reported on students’ frustration.

The association’s academic representative, Emily Coyle, said a lack of information had added to stress and uncertainty for students.

Students were expected to adapt quickly to upheaval this semester, she said.

The delayed release of the timetable had an impact on the wellbeing of students "at an already difficult time".

The union urged the university to release the timetable as soon as possible.

 - Grant Miller

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