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COVID-19 AND ITs IMPACT ON THE 2020 ACADEMIC YEAR

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Students at Laucala Campus

USP is successfully forging ahead with its preparations for face-to-face teaching in Semester 2, beginning 3 August 2020.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Jito Vanualailai said USP will take into consideration all precautionary measures set out by the government and the World Health Organization to help avoid a second wave of COVID-19 in Fiji.
 
He emphasised that there will also be an equivalent remote component for those students who are not able to attend face-to-face classes due to current travel restrictions in place. All face-to-face Laucala, Alafua, and Emalus courses (with the exception of a few, due to the nature of the course or programme) will be activated in all the campuses encompassing the remote component.

“Teaching and support staff are working collaboratively to ensure we expound on learnings from Semester 1 and improve upon the delivery of Semester 2 courses,” he said.

Students are strongly urged to enroll by second week of August. Information about Semester 2, courses on offer, links to our relevant resources and other related details can be accessed freely here https://www.usp.ac.fj/index.php?id=programs.

 Looking back at Semester 1, Prof Vanualailai said the Semester progressed well despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the University drew upon its 30 plus years of experience in delivering quality learning materials for flexible learning and teaching to guarantee education continuity in Semester 1.

Prof Vanualailai and the Learning and Teaching Continuity Team closely monitored student participation and engagement on Moodle. A small percentage of students who recorded inactive were contacted by the University’s Call Centre team.  The challenges faced by them, attributed to lack of steady internet connectivity, personal computers/laptops, and/or financial limitations, were noted.

The University acted swiftly on the feedback to mitigate against the aforementioned challenges and improved the learning environment by providing tablets, establishing computer hubs off-campus, and engaging with internet service providers to provide free data plans for USP students.

Prof Vanualailai said that exams/assessment week held between 15 – 26 June progressed well with minimal disruptions.

A small number of courses held face-to-face exams as these were either a course in an accredited programme or one with less than 20 students in a class. The majority of courses offered a suite of assessments, with a final online and time-based exam, for which up to 80% students participation rate was recorded.
 

Those students who faced challenges with online learning due to lack of access to steady internet connectivity, hardware (PCs/Laptops) or financial constraints and missed out on the final exam component due to reasons beyond their control were allowed to sit a special exam.

Professor Vanualailai said the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated changes in how the University conducts its academic activities in the 2020 academic year to ensure learning and teaching continues without significant interruption to the progress of students. Specific academic regulations have been amended to enable an adjusted learning environment so that these changes do not adversely affect the student learning outcomes.
 

 


This news item was published on 27 Jul 2020 02:10:54 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email communications@usp.ac.fj


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