This year’s second year and first year grade contribution on the final degree awarded to Humanities and Social Sciences students was suspended, the executive dean of the faculty, professor John Doyle, said in an email addressed to the faculty.
He said the decision was taken to help students deal with the pressure from the current coronavirus crisis and the move to on-line teaching and assessment. As such, no student’s final results will be impacted by a first or second year assignment taken in these circumstances.
He added that it’s not technically possible to include semester one from this year and exclude semester two modules from this change.
“All students will get a result and those results will be recorded on a student transcript,” he said. “Engaging with study and assessments also provides a strong basis for entering final year.”
This year’s first years will not have any contribution from this year to their final award – it will instead be added to their final year. This affects communications studies, multimedia, and journalism students.
Similarly, second years will not have any contribution from this year to their final award, but will carry forward any first year contribution at its previous agreed level with the rest of the final grade being based on final year results.
This affects Gaeilge agus gnó, applied languages and translation studies, social science and cultural innovation, international relations, communications studies, multimedia, and journalism students.
There is no change on other programmes which always awarded only on final year grades. This year’s final year students will have prior years counted as normal – with no change in process. There are no change to post-graduate programmes.
Finally, as the BA in theology and religious studies is a continuous programme it will also not experience any changes.
In regards to finalising the alternative assignments for each module and project, Doyle said that both substance and deadlines will be finalised by latest April 7. However, he added that it will “probably [be] well before that.”
Orlaith O’Donnell is in her second year of multimedia and is one of many students affected. With these new changes, her final year will now be worth 90 per cent of her final grade. She said it feels pointless.
“It’s being done because they believe it will take stress off of our shoulders during the pandemic but it really feels like the opposite. Our first semester which we completed seamlessly doesn’t count for anything and instead our final year is going to feel a lot more stressful,” she said.
Second year journalism student Sara Rountree expressed a similar sentiment. Her final year will now be worth 100 per cent of her final grade. She said she’s annoyed and confused.
“I was happy with how I did in the first semester and it’s annoying that it won’t contribute to anything now. But I’m actually glad that this semester won’t matter because I’m completely lost with all this online stuff,” she said.
“It’s the pressure of knowing that everything is counting on my performance next year. It makes me panic.”
Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque
Image credit: Daria Jonkisz