Information for directors of studies and teachers

Last changed: 08 May 2020

As of 18 March, all students are to study at home instead of on campus. All students keep their student finance. This decision only concerns teaching and examination; other operations should continue as usual to the extent possible.

Distance teaching – our experiences so far

It will soon be two months since we made the transition to distance teaching. The transition was quick and smoother than expected. Distance teaching is different, and in the long run can feel burdensome or even boring, for teachers as well as students.

From the students' unions, we know that some students find it is working fine, offers them improved flexibility in absorbing teaching in a way that suits them. Others find the isolation and loneliness have a negative impact on their motivation, performance and mental health. Likewise, teachers have both positive and negative experiences from the transition to distance teaching.

Read more on the experiences so far and tips for handling challenging with ‘corona-related distance teaching’.

 

In the expandable menu below you will find decisions and instructions for transfer to teaching and examination at a distance.

Decisions and instructions

28 May Update

Updated instructions for distance teaching and examination

As of 8 June 2020, it will be possible to exempt more course components that need to be taught on campus from the distance-teaching requirement.

  • Written examinations can, exceptionally, be offered as on-campus examinations if it is not possible to re-design the examination as a take-home examination, and provided there is a limited number of participants in the room where students sit the exam.
  • Practical components can be taught in small groups with a limited number of participants.

To exempt a course component, it is a general requirement that the person responsible for the work environment has approved this after conducting a local risk assessment and that the necessary measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus. 

The Board of Education decision is available in Swedish here.

31 March Update

Decision

The vice-chancellor has decided

  • to instruct SLU to, temporarily and according to the recommendation by the government, transition to distance teaching and examination, effective as of 18 March 2020 and for as long as is necessary as a result of the corona pandemic;
  • to not turn away from campus any students who do not have the option of studying at home;
  • to apply the government’s recommendation for placements on teaching on the degree programmes in veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing that is of a clinical-practical nature (clinical rotation). This applies regardless of what year’s syllabus the clinical placement is part of.
  • to request that the chair of the Board of Education, as well as the chairs of the programme boards, take all decisions needed to execute the vice-chancellor’s decision;
  • to task the chief operating officer with drafting a procedure for documentation according to the CSN directive to enable students to keep their student finance and if necessary extend the period of funding.

Link to the decision (In Swedish only).

Decision

Instructions decided by the Chair of the Board of Education with effect from 18 March

A. The following deviations from programme and course syllabuses are allowed:

  • The examiner may decide on formats for assessting student performance. If the examination is significant for the qualitative targets for a professional qualification, the programme director of studies concerned must be party to the decision.
  • The examiner may decide on the format for distance teaching, ensuring that the intended learning outcomes are still attainable.
  • The examiner may also decide on any adaptions of compulsory components.
  • The programme board chairs decide on changes to course instances, that is when different courses are to be offered with the purpose of e.g. bringing forward theoretic courses, including temporary changes to entry requirements if necessary, or postponing courses with several practical components.

B. For the teaching and examination of practical components, the following applies:

  • Students writing degree projects and who are conducting experiments at a department or in the field can continue to do so, provided that the person responsible for the work environment is on site and has approved said work. Distance supervision applies to degree projects.
  • The examiner may decide if practical components in the field and study trips are allowed, provided they are done individually and off campus.

C. For placements, the following applies:

  • Placements should continue to the extent possible. Social distancing must be practised, and the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden must be respected.
  • If there is a shortage at other clinics, placements at UDS are allowed, to the extent the UDS can manage.

D. Information:

  • Departments responsible for courses must, where applicable, document and promptly inform the students concerned of decisions on temporary adjustments to teaching and/or examination on the courses that are affected.

Link to the decision and instructions (In Swedish only)

Corona-FAQ for teacher and directors of studies

Residence permits for international students

28 May Update

The Swedish Migration Agency has replied to a letter from the Association of Swedish Higher Education about residence permits for international students.

In short, the Association is asking for the following:

  • possibility to be granted a residence permit for completing studies in Sweden;
  • possibility to be granted a residence permit for courses/programmes partly offered as distance learning;
  • possibility for newly admitted students to be granted residence permits in Sweden.

The Swedish Migration Agency answer with more information is avalable in Swedish here.

About the Swedish coronavirus strategy

20 April Update

Students might have questions regarding Sweden´s different coronavirus strategy. Here is a link to an interview in English with Dr. Anders Tegnell, Sweden's chief epidemiologist.

Seasonal work

9 April update

The coronavirus also causes absences due to illness among staff in the land-based sectors, and seasonal workers from abroad cannot travel to Sweden. This has led to a short-term, seasonal need for labour in these sectors. To make it possible for students who rely on student finance from CSN to work more hours during the pandemic, the Swedish government has decided to temporarily remove the income limit for 2020. More information is available on the CSN web.

There is an admirable desire among SLU students to help the land-based sectors. For some students this may be an option, for others, it is more difficult. Students who are considering taking on seasonal work before the end of the semester will either need to interrupt their studies or work in parallel. Those who interrupt a course risk not being eligible for a later course. It’s important to be aware of and consider this before deciding to start working.

Students who are looking for seasonal work can be advised to visit http://gronajobb.se/

Work experience courses offer the opportunity to combine a placement with studies (see pdf), but a prerequisite for this is that the duties are qualified ones and that supervision is available. This means specific demands on the employer, the duties and follow-up. If the entry requirements and the course instance for a work experience course need changing, this may require a prior decision by the chair of the programme board.

List of courses.

Examinations

26 March Update

Read more on Teaching online – preparation for Covid-19

Given the circumstances, written examinations are replaced with take-home or digital examinations.

Take-home examinations does not require identification but follows the usual handling of the take-home examinations according to Education planning and administration handbook, Section 8.4.

If a student with a disability has a decision on special learning support, the examiner can allow them extra time for take-home examinations. Read more on Teaching students with an impairment.

For students on a course or programme that requires practical components, programme directors of studies, examiners and course coordinators should move said component or adjust it to distance learning. If this is not possible, SLU will (later on) adjust the length of the course/programme or semester to allow students to meet the degree requirements.

Distance teaching because of the coronavirus – what applies to support and adaptations?

Read more on Teaching students with an impairment.

Student finance

The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) updates its web pages (csn.se) regularly – refer students to them if they have any questions on student finance.

Will there be any reductions or refunds for this spring semester?

6 April update

The university is working hard to make sure that courses and examinations can still be completed through distance teaching. Like all universities in Sweden, SLU will follow our tuition fee policies. This means that there will be no reductions or refunds for this spring semester, as long as there are no major changes to the course syllabus.

Please note that if you choose to discontinue a course in the first three weeks, you are entitled to a full refund. However, before you make this decision, you should make sure that this will not cause any problems with your residence permit or the possibility to finish your degree.

Compulsory course components

While the course syllabus always applies, it is possible to make certain adjustments: offer replacement assignments, schedule an extra opportunity to take compulsory components etc. In cases where students are expected to be active participants, we may need to accept that they are passive.

Deviation from course and programme syllabuses are allowed for the following:

  • forms of assessing student performance;
  • teaching forms that enable distance teaching in cases, provided it is possible to maintain educational quality;
  • when various courses are taught to bring forward theoretic courses, including temporary changes to entry requirements if necessary.
  • Temporary decisions to deviate from a course syllabus are made by the examiner after informing and consulting with the programme director of studies and programme board chair in question. The chair of the Board of Education decides whether to change the course period.

Placements

Placements should not be interrupted, but social distancing must be practised. SLU’s priority is that students who have a placement planned for this spring should be able to carry it out. However, this also depends on placements being available.

In addition to placements, some exceptions from distance teaching may be necessary if getting new graduates on to the labour market quickly is of importance to society. For SLU, maintaining operations at the University Animal Hospital is important. This is why we have decided to prioritise making clinical training and placements available to last-year veterinary medicine and animal nursing students.

Encourage students to cycle or drive to their placement instead of taking public transport.

No rent charged for booked classrooms

27 March Update 

If a department has booked classrooms for courses with a course code, no rent will be charged for these between 18 March and the date when normal on-campus teaching resumes. However, the rooms should remain booked in Timeedit.

Work environment responsibilities

Who is responsible for a student doing their degree project if part of the work is done off campus?

SLU is responsible. According to the Work Environment Act, students are considered employees at SLU. The place of work where the student is doing their degree project is obliged to provide a safe work environment. There should be an agreement with the provider of a placement as to what applies to the student’s work environment.


Contact

If you suspect that you have contracted the virus, read more at http://krisinformation.se/en (emergency information from Swedish authorities), or phone 113 13 (national information number for information on emergencies) and ask for advice.

Staff who have questions about how this issue is handled at SLU, or who need practical advice in case they become infected, should contact their immediate superior.

Students should contact their programme director of studies, contact details can be found on the programme web pages.

Page editor: internkommunikation@slu.se