Breaking: Most end of semester one UoB exams will be online

Professor Kathy Armour, sent an email to students outlining the new online assessment plans

The Birmingham Tab can reveal that most end of semester one exams from 9-23 January 2021 at the university will be online in response to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.

Professor Kathy Armour, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education, sent an email to students on 26 October outlining the university’s plan to deliver end of term exams in an online format.

Students have been told most exams will not be able to be in-person. “We have concluded that it is highly unlikely we will be able to schedule a large number of traditional on-campus examinations in January.”

The announcement is no surprise as teaching has been mostly online since the start of term, as last week UoB reported another 224 UoB students testing positive within seven days. This pushes UoB to nearly 1,000 coronavirus cases since students returned a month ago.


The email set out “we have concluded that it is highly unlikely we will be able to schedule a large number of traditional on-campus examinations in January. It seems likely that, at the very least, the current restrictions on the use of campus spaces will still be in place and there may even be further restrictions. We have, therefore, taken the decision to deliver most end of Semester One examinations online.”

“By taking this decision now, we have allowed sufficient time for staff to redesign their assessments to ensure they are appropriate and accessible for the online environment. We will also ensure that you are fully informed about the types of assessment you will face, and the ways in which you can prepare in order to do your best.”

Some exams may still go ahead as normal if possible. “We will attempt to schedule some limited assessments on campus if possible – e.g. essential practicals and laboratories – and you will be informed by your School if this applies to you. We will also have alternatives available if required,” the email says.

The university believes these exams will be successful in an online format. “In March following lockdown, and even though we had to pivot to delivering online assessments very quickly, we had some positive feedback from students and staff. We were successful, for example, in ensuring assessments were available across different time-zones for our international students, and were resilient in the face of WiFi challenges.”

Guidance and advice for students at the university concerned with the current outbreak can be found here.

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