FAQ regarding 2020-21
FAQ regarding 2020-21
Key information and advice for new and returning undergraduate and postgraduate taught students on teaching, learning and academic support at the School of Mathematics in the 2020/21 academic year, as we adapt to the circumstances created by Covid-19.
Further information for Undergraduate students: https://teaching.maths.ed.ac.uk/main/undergraduate
Further information for Postgraduate students: https://teaching.maths.ed.ac.uk/main/postgraduate-taught
Q: A number of courses in 2019/20 did not cover some of the material due to a combination of the Industrial Action and Covid-19 shutdown; will there be an opportunity to catch up on this material in courses where it is a prerequisite?
Answer: Yes, all courses will take into consideration the gaps in the material presented in prerequisite courses due to the events in S2 of last year.
Q: How exactly will teaching work? What do you mean by hybrid teaching?
Answer: Most, if not all teaching in the School will happen in a hybrid style. What this means in practice is that the lectures will digital, and the workshops will largely be digital, but may have an in-person option. Moreover, most of the lectures will be pre-recorded (i.e. asynchronous), so will not have a specific time-frame related to them. The workshops will be live (whether students take them online or face-to-face).
Q. Where will lectures be published?
Lectures will be published on the course Learn page.
Q. How soon will they be available and how long for?
Individual lecturers will communicate the planned schedule for the publication of lectures. They will typically be published on a week by week basis. Recorded lectures will remain on the Learn page for the duration of the course, this also includes any reassessment period.
Q: If there is on-campus teaching, will it be compulsory?
Answer: No, at least in S1 (and possibly also in S2, depending on the circumstances) on-campus teaching will not be compulsory. However, students that are in the UK on a tier 4 study visa may need to meet attendance requirements, as per the conditions of that visa.
Q: Will I be disadvantaged by not being in Edinburgh?
Answer: Not directly with regards to your programme – teaching will be organised in such a way that all aspects of a course can be followed digitally.
Q: What are you doing about the balance between synchronous and asynchronous activities? Are you taking into account different time zones?
Answer: It isn’t possible for us to run classes at all hours of the day to suit every time zone, so synchronous activity will be in working hours for the UK. We have tried to balance synchronous and asynchronous activity; each course is likely to have a mixture of both types. For example, lecture material will often be available as pre-recorded video which can be accessed at any time.
Q: Will there be a timetable/suggested study hours so that we can plan our study? If there is no standard timetable, how will you ensure that we have time to work on assignments for different courses, and that there are no clashes?
Answer: Synchronous activities will be timetabled as usual. Each course should have a weekly description of what work needs to be completed and by what point in the week.
Q. How should students select courses this year (especially off-campus students)?
Students will select their courses in discussion with their personal tutor. This usually takes place during the first meeting with the Personal Tutor, normally in Welcome Week. If you have any questions, please contact your Personal Tutor directly to discuss. New students will be allocated a Personal Tutor approximately 1 week prior to Welcome Week.
Q: Will there be an honours course fair this year?
Answer: There will be a virtual substitute for the honours course fair 2020: extra information can be found here:
Q: How will exams work in 2020/21? Will it be the same system in Semesters 1 and 2? Will there be opportunities to practice online exams, as well as having a mock exam for each course?
Answer: In Semester 1 the exam diet in December will be online and in the same style as the May diet from 2019/20, the system for semester 2 has not yet been decided by the University. There will be opportunity to practice exam submission, and where the style of exam has changed from previous years there will also be a mock exam paper.
Progression and Final Award
Q: Will the no detriment policy, and resulting marks in Years 3 and 4, affect how the final degree marks are calculated?
Answer: The no detriment policy was used in arriving at a ‘year average’ for the 19/20 session. This mark together with subsequent year averages in the coming sessions are used to calculate the overall grade used for classification (e.g. Y3 average and Y4 average 50:50 weighted for the case of BSc Mathematics).
Q: Will all courses be using Piazza like they were before?
Answer: Piazza will be used more widely than before, and similar tools (such as Perusall) will also be used by some courses. https://teaching.maths.ed.ac.uk/main/undergraduate/studies/learning-advice/piazza
Q: Will MathPals and other support be available?
Answer: Yes MathPALS will still operate, and other support such as Mathsbase will run, these may be digitally rather than on-campus.
Q: Where are any printers that are available for use?
Answer: IS have now provided a list of places where EdPrint printers are available to students
EdPrint is the replacement for CloudPrint. we will be adopting it soon.
The 3210 lab printer in JCMB is available.
Q: What equipment will I need to take courses in the School of Mathematics?
Answer: Please see the School's guidance at the following link. You can also request to borrow equipment from the School by following the link below:
Q. How will these operate in your school?
Access to spaces within our buildings is being carefully controlled at the moment due to social distancing measures. We need to ensure that we don’t exceed our maximum building occupancy levels, which take into account scheduled classes, as well as staff and research students.
The availability of study space is currently being considered by the University, and we will publish more information on this when it becomes available.
Q. Will meetings be digital or in-person?
In the first instance, your Personal Tutor meetings will be online.
New Students: Meet your Personal Tutor session details can be found here: https://teaching.maths.ed.ac.uk/main/undergraduate/getting-started/when-you-arrive Following this session, in welcome week, you will have the opportunity to meet online with your personal tutor in a one-to-one session.
Further along in the semester, if it is safe to do so, you may also be offered an opportunity to meet with your Personal Tutor on-campus.
Continuing Students: Your Personal Tutor will be in touch with you to arrange an online meeting.
Q. Where will on-campus meetings take place?
Where an on campus meeting is offered, the Personal Tutor will be in contact to discuss the arrangements. This may be in the Personal Tutor’s office or an alternative meeting space, or outside.
All on-campus meetings will be held in rooms where government guidance and physical distancing can be followed. Safety measures will be in place, including the availability of sanitiser and cleaning products, and the operation of room cleaning regimes and one-way systems.
Q. Will I have to wear a face covering?
In line with Scottish Government guidance, it is now mandatory that face coverings are worn in all of our libraries and study spaces. If and when this guidance becomes stronger, we will adjust accordingly but we are already expecting everyone to wear face coverings in all University buildings unless individuals have good reasons for not wearing one.
Please note that as per Scottish Government Guidance, there may be some people who are unable to wear coverings due to a health condition or disability because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety, or because it cannot be applied or worn in the proper manner safely and consistently.
Q: What support is there for mental health and wellbeing?
Answer: Your Personal Tutors and the Student Support Officer are available via email and by appointment either digitally or in person from mid-September.
Each School has a Student Support Team that works with your Personal Tutor to support you.
We will liaise closely with your Personal Tutor and where appropriate, with University Support Services, so we are able to provide the best possible support and advice for you. We can also help with a wide range of administrative and practical issues to do with your degree programme.
Student support offers can be contacted for any pastoral care advice and guidance and can also signpost you external relevant support services if need. You can contact them via the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The University has also developed a dedicated webpage which details the other available support services on offer both across the University and externally. Updates on access and availability can be found in the following link: https://www.ed.ac.uk/students/welcome-back/accessing-support