Almost all exams this semester will be digital, and UiA’s two campuses will remain closed until after the Easter holiday. This is the situation at UiA after a week of closure, however, UiA remains open digitally.
“This has been a surreal week, but we are optimistic. So much good work is being done, and we have achieved a lot in a short time”, says University Director Seunn Smith-Tønnessen. Higher education institutions nationally will be closed for another week, but UiA will be closed a while longer.
“We have decided that UiA will remain closed until 13 April, after Easter”, says Smith-Tønnessen. She says that UiA will give updates as soon as anything changes.
All exams scheduled for this semester that can be taken digitally will be done in that format. The time and date for each digital exam will remain the same as previously planned, unless announced otherwise.
UiA is now evaluating which exams cannot be taken digitally and is looking into possible alternatives that are in accordance with the established measures implemented by the Norwegian government in the current situation.
All students will be notified of any changes in the exam format and/or the time and date of their course exams by Easter. Information about exam completion will be provided on Studentweb, says Director of Academic Affairs Great Hilding.
UiA and all other higher education institutions have received dispensation from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) to facilitate exams as best they can.
“With the new dispensation rules, each learning institution can make the necessary changes in teaching, learning activities and exams to enable the students to complete their education this spring” says NOKUT’s Director General Terje Mørland in a press release.
UiA Help is fully operative and answers questions from students and staff.
“We are seven people at work during the daytime, and many also work afternoons and evenings. Two people from UiA Help are working at Campus Kristiansand and one at Campus Grimstad. They operate the switchboard, handle the mail and answer other requests”, says Beate Andreassen, head of the Student Service Centre and UiA Help.
We receive many questions concerning opening times and practical matters. We have also helped many people to get started with digital teaching. Our experience is that people in general do the best they can in this situation”, she says.
UiA’s Division of Facilities Management also has staff on campus, and they can help if anyone needs to pick up something.
“But such requests should also be addressed to UiA Help”, says Andreassen.
As of today, around 25 outgoing students choose to remain in their host country, mainly students in Australia and New Zealand, but also some in Europe and the US.
“Around 60 incoming students have chosen to remain in Norway. Some European students have gone home but hope to return”, says Aase Galteland, head of International Education Office at UiA.
The International Education Office is in constant communication with the exchange students and our partner institutions. And planning for the autumn semester has started. UiA recently sent out an offer to around 430 students who applied to the exchange programme. Many of them have accepted the offer.
“Should you need to get in touch with us, we can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. We cooperate with the faculties to find a solution to the small and big challenges the coronavirus crisis has presented, both for incoming and outgoing exchange students”, says Galteland.
By Friday 20 March, around 220 of our staff and students are in quarantine. One of them is Rector Sunniva Whittaker. Friday 20 March is her final day of quarantine after travelling abroad on university business.
“Conducting large and small meetings online goes surprisingly well”, says Whittaker who together with deans and academic leadership is busy planning for the future at UiA.
The coronavirus situation is challenging to people in various ways. If you as a student are worried about the situation or just need someone to talk to, you can contact the Student Welfare Organization in Agder (SiA) or the Office for Students with Disabilities at UiA.