Assessments, no detriment and support

Published on 20 April 2020

From Professor Blair Grubb, Vice Principal for Education and Erica Russell-Hensens, Director of Quality and Academic Standards

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Dear students

I hope that you are all coping well with the difficult situation that we all find ourselves in and that you and your families are keeping safe and well. The purpose of this email is to:

  1. Highlight our approach to managing your end of year assessment outcomes via our “No Detriment” approach
  2. Update you on some additional resources that are now available to you online
  3. Relay some very positive news about the contribution our students and new graduates are making to the NHS effort to combat Covid-19. 

1. Examinations and our “No Detriment” approach

The University has processes in place to deal with major disruption to the academic year and the impact this can have on student examination outcomes – this is called the “No Detriment“ approach and it ensures the impact of disruption is taken into account by providing our Examination Boards with a number of tools to measure impact and put in place appropriate restorative measures. The aim of the “No Detriment” approach is to be fair to students but, at the same time, to uphold the quality standards of our degree programmes.

Quite understandably we have had several queries about this issue because it has been prominent in the student and national media. The following link goes to a video about our “No Detriment“ approach which will explain to you how we will operate our procedures to ensure that you are fairly treated:

2. Resources

Library & Learning Centre
The Library and Learning Centre is continuing to provide support directly to students through the Library Online Chat service and is also actively updating information and guidance.

For the latest information on accessing library resources the Library Libguide provides all the key information. Students can also continue to access subject-specific Libguides online. There's also important advice for postgraduate research students available on the website.

IT for students
Working with Schools, we have received 150+ requests for temporary computers and dongles (4G internet access) for students. We are working to safely issue these devices on a prioritised basis. Some locally-based students have taken delivery and we expect other students, particularly those in their final year, to start to receive these from today, Monday 20 April. The team are continuing to reach out to students to confirm their current address – please keep checking for emails if we are contacting you to arrange delivery.

Access to software required for learning from personal devices:
As a reminder, there are two services that enable students to access software found on the University Student Desktop:

  • AppsAnywhere on personal devices (available to Windows users)
  • Remote Student Desktop (available to Mac and Windows users)

The vast majority of students should wherever possible utilise AppsAnywhere on personal devices before using the Remote Student Desktop which has limited supply.

AppsAnywhere now boasts around 250 pieces of software and we continue to work to add more every day. For more information visit the website.

Student support

The exam timetable and guidelines will be released shortly, and the Academic Skills Centre (ASC) has been working with the Centre for Technology and Innovation in Learning (CTIL) and DUSA to develop new resources to support you in studying for and taking online exams. This includes information about revision, motivation and wellbeing, in addition to technical aspects. This resource is made available through the 'eLearning for Students' organisation on My Dundee and will be added to over the coming weeks.

In addition, Disability Services has written guidance for disabled students on using assistive software for online exams. This will be shared with all students who are registered with Disability Services and supported by voluntary Teams events before and during the exam period for those of you who need additional support to access the software. Additional Teams events are also planned to support disabled students to manage any further anxiety during this time.

Students whose employment plans have changed, or are uncertain about how their career plans will be affected, can make an online appointment with a Careers Adviser and access a wide range of part-time work, graduate roles and internships through the Careers Portal.

A reminder that all Student Services are still operating remotely and contact details can be found online.

Please refer to our two useful toolkits for help with wellbeing and your studies:
LIVE Smart

3. The contribution of our students to the NHS and community effort to combat Covid-19

I am immensely proud to report that more than 700 of our students are now entering placements in the NHS in the fight against Covid-19. This includes 134 final-year medical students (who graduated early), 374 final year nurses, and 220 second year nurses. Staff in the Schools of Medicine and Health Sciences (formerly Nursing and Health Sciences) have been working hard with their NHS counterparts to place our students in hospitals across the region and beyond, so that they can make their contribution to keeping our communities safe and well.

I also want to recognise our social work students on placement within the community who deal with complex and challenging caseloads on a daily basis. Thank you to each and every one of you for your contribution during this difficult time.

Professor Lynn Kilbride, our Dean of Health Sciences, commented:
”I cannot praise these students enough. I am proud of the way they have risen to the challenge brought about by these extraordinary times and their desire to play their part is humbling. Their professionalism has made it easy for us to facilitate this transition into practice. It has been amazing to see the way they have come into their own in this situation. I would also like to support the students who for various reasons have decided to not partake in paid placement at the moment as we will be relying on them highly to support our colleagues in the aftermath of the crisis.Their freshness and energy will be welcomed into the clinical area by staff, patients and clients.”

Professor Rory McCrimmon, Dean of Medicine, adds:
“On Wednesday evening, it will be my pleasure to take part in the online graduation ceremony of our final-year medical students. They are graduating early so that those who wish to can support the NHS. Many are going to be working here in Ninewells Hospital where they will work as Foundation (Interim) Year 1 Doctors. They will join medical teams and support them in the vital work they are doing. We are proud of our medical students, from year 1 to year 5, who have been contributing in many different ways during this time of national need.”

In addition, scientists and clinicians at Dundee are providing expert advice and clinical input to the local and national battle against Covid-19, and we are providing equipment and laboratory support to the local and national effort in a variety of ways. 

The University has undoubtedly been impacted by Covid-19, but it is both heart-warming and reassuring to see the important contributions that our university community is making to the battle against this virus.  

Best wishes,

Professor Blair Grubb, Vice Principal for Education
Erica Russell-Hensens, Director of Quality and Academic Standards


Press Office, University of Dundee