Edinburgh Napier University
Contingency arrangements for learning, teaching and assessments
The University has comprehensive processes and procedures in place to respond to the
ongoing flight disruption to and from the UK. These contingency arrangements are
continually reviewed, in line with advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/ regarding travel arrangements.
The guidance below has been prepared to advise staff on practical steps that can be taken,
to build on existing good practice and minimise the impact of flight disruptions on learning,
teaching and assessment.
The University’s existing standard procedures and practices are well thought-through, robust
and flexible enough to accommodate the situation and we are seeking to ensure that no
student is disadvantaged by the current disruption to air travel.
Additional advice and guidance is being provided to staff and students via Frequently Asked
Questions (FAQs) that are available at
This information will be kept under constant review and updated as required.
Given where we are in the academic year, the biggest impact of the flight disruption on
students is the Trimester 2 examination diet.
Assessment and alternative assessments
The examinations scheduled from 26 April to 8 May are going ahead as planned. Therefore
it is important that staff adhere to the key dates calendar which is available at:
Where students are able to travel to Edinburgh and sit assessments in the formal slot within
the examinations timetable they should do so. These students may feel they have mitigating
circumstances and choose to submit a Mitigating Circumstances form.
The University’s existing Mitigating Circumstances procedure should be used in the event
that flight disruption adversely affects a student’s attendance at, or performance in, an
assessment or examination.
In line with our Mitigating Circumstance Procedure, supporting documentary evidence such
as flight tickets, e-tickets or formal travel itinerary should be submitted along with a
completed MC1 form no later than 5 working days after the end of an examination diet.
Some students will be unable to travel to Edinburgh in time to sit assessments in the formal
slot within the examinations timetable. In this case there are three options:
i) Where possible, staff should offer an alternative mode of assessment which the
student can take in a timescale that allows the results to be considered at the May
Boards of Examiners. In this case the alternative assessments should be approved
and moderated using standard internal procedures. Staff should seek advice from Bob
Rankin (FECCI), Sharon Nairn (FHLSS) or Shirley Scott (NUBS) on local
ii) Where i) above is not feasible, we are exploring the possibility of scheduling additional
module examinations at the end of the forthcoming Trimester 2 examination diet,
notably Friday 7th May and Saturday 8th May in time for student results to be
considered by the Boards of Examiners meetings in late May. It is expected that very
few students will fall into this category. In this eventuality, academic staff will be asked
to provide an additional examination paper the week beginning 3rd May. We are also
exploring the feasibility of using the July resit diet as an alternative first attempt for
students affected. Requirements for additional examination papers and deadlines will
be confirmed by 5.00pm on Wednesday 28th April once we have a clearer picture of
the number of students involved.
iii) The student may choose to submit mitigating circumstances and not take opportunities
offered by the University to take either option i) or ii) above. These students will be
considered using the standard mitigating circumstances process already outlined.
In both i) and ii) a key consideration is the validity and appropriateness of the assessment
instrument and its content to allow students to demonstrate their achievement of the learning
outcomes as described in the module descriptor. Any requirements of PSRBs for
accreditation purposes should be taken into account.
Although we need to put in place appropriate contingency measures, it is not proposed that
module leaders start making widespread changes to assessment methodologies to cover a
wider range of alternative assessments or, for example, to change examinations to
The deadline for production of re-sit papers is 21 June. It is especially important that this
deadline is met and that Schools ensure that work is started in good time to accommodate
any further delays due to travel disruption.
There is already an expectation that alternative assessment arrangements have been
considered by module leaders, for example to support students with a disability. Staff should
review these arrangements and consider their applicability/scalability for this situation.
Schools should use this as an opportunity to review approaches to alternative assessment
arrangements and to ensure that alternative assessment has been thought through and can
cover a range of requirements. For example, WebCT is one mechanism that could be used
to support remote assessment submission and/or online tests or examinations and further
advice is available from the University’s staff help site at
http://www2.napier.ac.uk/webct/staff/ and the Academic Development Advisers within
Academic Development’s Professional Development team.
Assessment Deadlines for Coursework
Given the current situation, students affected by the disruptions to flying may request
extensions to assessment deadlines. In line with the University’s Assessment Handbook, the
authority to grant an extension to the deadline for submission of coursework rests with the
designated Module Leader who should keep a formal record of the extension granted. In
agreeing an extension, Module Leaders should be mindful of student circumstances and the
key dates for marking and Board of Examiners. Further guidance on assessment is available
Distance Learning examinations and assessments planned at partner institutions
Staff in Student Affairs are in communication with host institutions to ensure that
arrangements are in place for Distance Learning students to sit their examinations as
planned. We are making alternative arrangements with those institutions where exam paper
delivery may have been affected by disruption to air mail services.
Use of WebCT
Maximum use should be made of WebCT to support revision and assessment. In particular
all academic staff should seek to ensure that all lecture notes, learning and revision
materials are available in WebCT. Specifically academic staff should review the material on
WebCT for their modules and ensure that material and guidance to support revision is there
to support students.
Staff may wish to provide additional revision topics/questions/prompts for discussions or
activities around each lecture, seminar or tutorial so that is it possible for the group to
engage with the material.
Staff wishing advice on WebCT or other online communication and networking tools, should
visit the University’s staff help site at http://www2.napier.ac.uk/webct/staff/ and may contact
the Academic Development Advisers within Academic Development’s Professional
Development team for assistance.
External examiner attendance
The University’s existing procedures, as set out in the Code for the conduct of Boards of
Examiners and academic regulations, should be used if an external examiner is stranded
abroad. These procedures indicate that the role of external examiners is to advise the Board
of Examiners, but decisions on student performance, progression and awards are those of
the Board as a whole. If an external examiner is unable to attend a meeting of the Board of
Examiners, his or her views should be communicated to the Convenor of the Board and
should inform the meeting appropriately. Academic regulations also enable any decision to
be deferred until further sufficient information is available. As such there are adequate
contingency arrangements in place to cover individual external examiner attendance around
the period of Boards of Examiners.
Schools will have cover arrangements in place in the event that staff are not available to
teach, support or advise students. Schools will wish to discuss these arrangements and
ensure that these are clearly understood by staff and clearly communicated to students.
Even where academic cover cannot be provided, this should be a fully manageable situation
– especially where good material to support learning throughout a module has been placed
on WebCT for the whole trimester.
Students on fieldtrips and adequacy of healthcare and repatriation from country etc.
Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/ for
stranded British Nationals is that all travellers, wherever they are in the world, should contact
their airlines and travel providers to find out the latest travel plans. The Scottish Government
has set up a helpline for affected passengers, +44 (0)800 027 0504.
In line with the University’s Travel Policy a risk assessment should be undertaken prior to all
overseas travel. Further information on the University’s Travel Policy is available at
y.aspx). Staff and students are advised to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
web-site for the latest travel advice. All cancelled / rearranged flight claims should be
directed to the relevant airline, they should be able to give a full refund back to the payment
card etc that made the booking.
In addition all staff and students travelling on official University business are covered by the
University’s cancellation insurance. Students must be on a required placement or trip as
part of their course to have cover on our policy. In respect of all other claims for additional
costs, the University insurers have advised that they will settle claims for any reasonable
additional accommodation and travel expenses incurred that are not refundable from any
other source, in most cases the airline. The normal claims process must be followed, with
relevant supporting evidence to be produced. Please contact Procurement
(firstname.lastname@example.org) for claim forms where required.
Overseas travel and programmes delivery
Decisions as to when and how the University might limit travel would be dictated by Foreign
and Commonwealth Advice which is already part of the above guidance. Staff could be
reminded that Video conferencing and conference call facilities (on C & IT intranet site at
are available, although this may not be an option in all our markets. Staff may also want to
investigate the potential of Elluminate for online discussions with students and partners
overseas. Further information is available at
Again, staff are encouraged to consider the impact of travel disruptions on overseas
delivered programme in line with these general guidelines.
To summarise, all staff are asked to review the following arrangements to minimise the
impact of flight disruptions on student learning, teaching and assessment.
Review alternative assessment arrangements
Be prepared to submit an additional examination paper the week beginning 3rd May
(Requirements and deadlines to be confirmed by 5.00pm on Wednesday 28th April).
Remind Module Leaders of their authority to issue extension deadlines to coursework
Prepare examination and resit papers in good time to meet the trimester 2 resit
deadline of Monday 21 June
Maximise the use of WebCT by ensuring that that all lecture notes, learning materials
and revision notes are available, and that use is made of the WebCT and other
online communication tools
Ensure that full and up-to-date reading lists are accessible by students online
Review academic cover arrangements in the event of staff absence
Discuss with students learning expectations if staff are absent encouraging, where
possible, a ‘carry on without me’ approach
Advise students that the existing Mitigating Circumstances procedure will be used if
flight disruption affects a student’s attendance at, or performance in, an assessment
Clarify responsibilities for liaison with Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies
regarding attendance requirements (at Faculty level)
Consider the potential impact of travel disruption on external events, field trips,
student placements, work-based learning and other visits
Consider the potential impact of flight disruption on overseas delivered programmes
All Heads of School are asked to coordinate these arrangements at School, subject,
programme and module level as appropriate.
Director of Academic Development
22 April 2010