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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

This page details examples of practice and approaches that have been taken by institutions in Australia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in areas such as learning and teaching, assessment and feedback, and student support.

Emergency Funding
  • Emergency financial assistance
    ANU has increased their emergency funding by $1 million to support students who need financial support during this crisis. There is a dedicated website for students signposting information about emergency financial aid for all students, as well as some information dedicated for tuition fee concessions for students affected by travel restrictions.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Looking after your wellbeing when working from
    ANU has developed a webpage to support staff mental health and wellbeing while working from home. The institution has created a 'Coping with COVID-19 Anxiety' checklist and compiled information on creating a schedule, setting up a dedicated work area, staying productive, and looking out for your wellbeing.
Support for Learning
  • Information for students studying remotely offshore
    The University has created a dedicated webpage for international students to find information related to their studies and accessing learning technology remotely. Students can opt to commence their studies full-time or part-time.
Support for Learning; Student Support
  • Information for students
    Australia National University (ANU) has created a webpage for students to access information about the impact of the Coronavirus on their studies. ANU took the decision to take a 'teaching pause' from 23-27 March 2020 to assist their staff in shifting their teaching delivery from in-person to online. All teaching was taken online from 30 March 2020. The University chose to continue with the standard marking and grading assessment approach that they currently use. Individual students can request, in writing to the Registrar, that, following the release of grades, their final grade for Semester 1 2020 will be either CRS (course requirements satisfied) or NCN (not completed/fail). All class assessment has shifted to remote/online participation and examination. They also signpost to the Students' Associations for emergency grants.
Support for Teaching
  • Working from home
    The University has dedicated support for academic staff in teaching remotely. However, this support is made available behind the institutional firewall. The University has included some surface-level information on remote working on a dedicated webpage for staff.

Support for Remote Learning
  • COVID-19 information for students
    Bond University has created a webpage of FAQs for students, which outline the steps that the University has taken to support students to transition to remote learning. The FAQs note that there are several subjects that will not be taught in the May 2020 semester, as they will not be made available online.
Support for Remote Teaching
  • COVID-19 information for staff
    The University has created a webpage of FAQs for staff and visits, which provides some tips on health and wellness, campus information and working remotely. 

Academic Integrity; Assessment and Grading
Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Looking after your mental health during the COVID-19 situation
    The University has developed a webpage dedicated to supporting students in looking after their mental health during the Coronavirus crisis. They use this webpage to signpost services to students, including remote counselling services, access to wellbeing coaches, and strategies for managing feelings of stress in this crisis.
Support for Learning
  • COVID-19 (coronavirus) FAQs
    The University has a dedicated webpage providing students with information relevant to their experience during this crisis, including sections on supporting students' transitions into online learning.
Student Engagement; Support for Teaching

Assessment and Grading
  • Information for students
    Griffith University has stated that if a student fails a course this trimester, the Fail grade will not be recorded on the student's academic record and will not be included in GPA calculation. No student will be excluded from the University on academic grounds during this period.

Assessment and Grading
  • Information for students in Australia
    James Cook University has adopted a non-GPA results system. Upon completion of a subject, students are awarded a result of either: Satisfactory (S), Satisfactory after sitting a supplementary examination or supplementary assessment (SS), or Unsatisfactory (U). A Satisfactory completion (S) or (SS) means that a student has met the requirements of the subject and has accrued the credit points for that subject. This allows them to progress to higher level subjects. As a Satisfactory result (S) or (SS) is not graded, the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory results are excluded from overall course GPA. The Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory results are available in the University's current results system and are applied in subjects where it is difficult to determine gradations such as in placement-based subjects. The non-GPA results system has been extended to reduce pressure on students during the COVID-19 situation, particularly those who believe that their academic performance may be adversely affected due to the move to online studies. If the subject result has changed to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory for Teaching Period 1 2020, a notation will be included on the academic transcript indicating these were the only results available at the time. The Non-GPA result system will be applied to all Level 1 and 2 coded subjects across all JCU courses delivered in Teaching Period 1 2020 (subjects which commenced prior to 27 July 2020. The original results system will be retained in Level 3 and above coded subjects (including some that already use the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory result). Results achieved in Level 3 and above coded subjects in Teaching Period 1 2020 will contribute to a student’s course GPA as normal. 

Academic Integrity; Assessment and Grading
  • Important notices: COVID-19 update
    At LaTrobe University, as part of its efforts to support academic integrity, students must agree to the statement of student responsibility when submitting pieces of work. This shows that the students work is their own and may be subject to textual similarity review on Turnitin.

Assurance of Online Learning; Assessment and Grading
  • Quality Assurance of Online Learning Toolkit
    In September 2017, Australia's TEQSA, in partnership with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, published a discussion paper and online toolkit for quality assuring online learning. Drawing on workshops with international stakeholders, this toolkit develops a set of principles for effective online teaching.
Support for Remote Teaching; Assessment and Grading; Student Engagement
  • Online learning good practice
    TEQSA has collated a series of resources to support staff in transitioning their courses from in-person delivery to remote delivery. The series of resources draws on both Australian and international expertise.

Assessment and Grading
  • Information for all students
    The University of Melbourne has developed a dedicated webpage where it provides students with information on assessment, support, health and wellbeing, and emergency funding. The University has not made a blanket statement about the cancellation of placements, but the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences is selectively stopping some clinical placements for a limited time. Students who are affected by this decision have been notified by the University. All in-person exams are being replaced by remote examination and online assessment. The University has taken the decision to retain their normal percentage marks for subjects undertaken in this semester. However, the website states that University leadership and the Academic Board will closely monitor grade and percentage distributions after the completion of Semester 1 assessment (and prior to the awarding of final grades), if universal changes to the calculation of grades are warranted, they will make that decision and communicate their reasoning to their student community.
Emergency Funding
  • COVID-19 emergency support
    The University has created an Emergency Support Fund to help students from a disadvantaged financial background who do not have access to, or are unable to afford, the costs of a computer and/or high-speed internet; provide emergency financial assistance to students who have lost a secure source of income because of the Coronavirus crisis and can no longer pay for rent, food or similar necessities (where the Australian government does not cover these costs); and assist students who were on or about to commence an approve study of overseas activity in covering genuine, reasonable costs.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Staying connected
    As the University has closed its campus buildings, it has compiled a series of resources and fitness opportunities for staff and students to use to stay healthy and connected with each other from home.
Mental Health and Wellbeing; Student Support
  • Information for all students
    The University has created a dedicated COVID-19 Health Service Hotline for staff and students, which is designed to provide an additional source of advice and information for members of their University community. The University has also made laptop and desktop loans available to students for remote learning. The University has reconditioned approx 130 laptops for this purpose. To access these loans, students need to register interest with the Financial Aid Team, who will assess the student's requirements and connect eligible students with the device deployment team.
Support for Remote Learning
  • Frequently asked questions for graduate researchers
    The University has developed a dedicated webpage to provide information to PGR students. As the University buildings are only available to essential services, graduate research students must conduct their research at home or remotely. The University has encouraged students to discuss with their supervisors what activities can be undertaken remotely (i.e. writing, data analysis, etc.) and to make a plan for the coming months. Where a student wishes to take a leave from their studies due to COVID-19 disruptions to their research or the pandemic's impact on their personal circumstances, the student must apply for a COVID-19 leave of absence. This leave is available to both domestic and international doctoral students, but only under compassionate and compelling reasons. Supervisors are expected to continue to advise and support their PGR students remotely and to adhere to the institution's expectations of supervisors and candidates. All candidature milestones and review meetings will continue to be held but managed electronically. The University continues to allow students to submit their thesis or request an extension to their thesis submission following existing institutional processes.
  • Practices and appropriate behaviours on the virtual campus
    The University has developed a guide on good practices and appropriate behaviours when on the virtual campus. These include being respectful, inclusive and polite - presenting yourself in a profession way and by identifying yourself. The University also emphasises not relying on slang or memes and encourages the use of full sentences as you would in a conversation in a physical environment.
Support for Remote Learning; Assessment and Grading
  • Information for all students
    The University has provided information for students who planned to study abroad in Semester 1. Where students' study abroad institutions are allowing remote/online learning, the University has encouraged students to take part in those opportunities. When this is not available, the University has stated that students must enrol in subjects at the University of Melbourne and engage in their online classes immediately. International students have been informed that they can continue their studies remotely, but that they must ensure that they are able to actively participate in required learning activities and classes, which are scheduled in AEST times. Where an international student wants to reduce their study load, they must provide a personal statement as student visa holders are normally required to maintain a full-time study load. If an international student wishes to return to their home country and take a leave of absence, they can do so under compassionate and compelling reasons. 

Assessment and Grading
  • No-disadvantage assessment
    The University of Sydney has taken a no-disadvantage approach to assessment as a result of the health crisis. It has introduced three new grade options to respond to the crisis: discontinued, UC, and result incomplete. The University has also instituted a series of mark adjustments, which take into consideration the impact of the current pandemic.
Mental Health and Wellbeing: Emergency Funding
  • University support
    The University has created a webpage to signpost students to financial assistance, technological support and mental health and wellbeing support available to them during this period. The University is offering remote delivery of counselling services, remote consultation with student liaison officers, peer support, and a safety and wellbeing app directed at eligible international students. The University is unique in that it has several dedicated online resources, such as this app, to support their international student community. It has made emergency financial assistance available for all students, but specific financial aid has been made available for international students impacted by travel restrictions before the commencement of Semester 1.
Support for Remote Learning
  • How to access student learning resources off campus in China
    The University has created a dedicated webpage to assist students living in China to access the University's resources online, including access to the University VPN in China. It includes instructions and guides to download learning resources to support the student experience of those students in China.
Support for Remote Learning; Assessment and Grading
  • Online computer application
    The University has made a limited number of on-campus computers available to students, who do not have access to computers at their home, to take online invigilated tests and exams. Students who want to take advantage of this service complete an application form.
Student Support
  • Study information
    The University has developed a series of FAQs to support students with studying online. The FAQs cover questions about the transition, resources to support online study, units with continuing face-to-face delivery, and no-disadvantage assessment.

Assessment and Grading
  • Frequently asked questions
    At Western Sydney University, assessments will continue to be graded. However, after students have received their final unit results, they may choose to have a final passing grade converted to a non-graded pass - which would not count towards their grade point average.