Semester One: Teaching, learning, research and University operations

Thursday 3 February 2022

The University Executive Committee (UEC) has made the decision that teaching in Semester One from Monday 28 February will primarily be online until the mid-semester break (15 April). This setting will be reviewed in mid-March, or before, depending on Government and TEC guidance around the COVID-19 Protection Framework Plan and a possible move to Phase Two of the Red traffic light setting. 

This will give our students and staff clarity and predictability in their decision-making and preparations for teaching during this period. As we have seen before, a degree of certainty in advance is far preferable to the disruption that would be caused by having to change our learning and teaching settings at short notice.

The details of this short period of online delivery are available in the policy statement 2022 Teaching Settings to respond to Omicron variant, however the main points are as follows.

Our campuses will remain open

While we are in the temporary online teaching mode, our campuses will remain open so that our students can continue to enjoy the services and social aspects of the on-campus experience. This includes libraries, information commons, study spaces, computer labs, student health and counselling, disability services and campus retail outlets.

More about on-campus services in the different traffic light settings:

On-campus teaching exceptions

Faculties and institutes will be able to approve exceptions for on-campus teaching during this period for practical components such as tutorials, workshops, labs and studios where a case can be made that this will achieve the best pedagogical outcome. Work-integrated learning, practicums and placements, and field trips can also proceed where appropriate. Decisions for exemptions will be made by faculty Business Continuity Planning (BCP) committees including the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching), taking into account the latest public health and infection control requirements, including the University’s Covid-19 Vaccination and Testing Policy.

Current teaching activities

Teaching activities currently underway, such as Summer School and Quarter One, or any that will happen before 28 February, may continue in person under Red settings,  however if teaching staff wish to move their courses online now they are free to do so, in consultation with faculty Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching) considering student welfare and the course needs. A decision by the Government to move to Phase Two of the Omicron response in the interim will trigger an immediate move to online delivery.

Examinations and assessments

A reminder that all examinations in 2022 will be online, remote, non-invigilated and open book by default, with some limited exceptions. While we are in online teaching mode, any assessments normally conducted in person will be conducted online, typically at the same time as they were scheduled for on-campus. Students will be advised of any scheduling changes through Canvas.

Research

Our research activities (including research students’ work) will be unaffected by the move to online teaching and learning, and will continue under Red settings as outlined in the University Covid-19 Protection Framework Plan (staff intranet). Remote research from home is encouraged where possible, to help address on-campus occupancy restraints; however, on-campus research and fieldwork can take place subject to public health and infection control measures.

Student accommodation

Our halls of residence will remain open during this period, however our student residents will have the choice to delay their move into accommodation until the mid-semester break in mid-April. If they choose this option, they will not be charged for the period they are not in residence.

Remote working and studying

As per current guidance, staff who do not need to be on campus to perform their duties are encouraged to work from home where possible. Anyone who wishes to come onto campus to work, or to collect items required for home working, should discuss work arrangements with their Academic Head or manager in advance. For remote study, the same processes that were in place for 2021 will be available for first-year students who require access to laptops, webcams and wifi. Details can be found on the website here.