23.03.2020

Further Information Teaching

Information of 23rd April 2020: The Minister of Science’s new ruling on special regulations for study law at universities has now been announced, which gives us the opportunity to regulate some important matters. Please note that these regulations have been set for a limited time period (i.e. for this semester, but sometimes even beyond this).

The most pressing issue for many is online exams. As announced, there is now a guideline for oral online examinations, which was published in the university's bulletin last week – Mitteilungsblatt (in German). It is now possible to take individual examinations as well as commission board examinations from home via a video conference call. Proposals to accommodate online written examinations have also been prepared and are found in the attachment. Possible configurations for identity verification and the guarantee of students’ independent performance under exam conditions, as required by the regulation (§ 11 [1] [2, 3]), are very complex, which is why we have not formulated a strict guideline, but rather a series of implementation suggestions. I am convinced that a suitable solution can be found for each respective examination.

I would like to encourage both teaching staff and students to implement these online examinations, no matter in which form! Although we are working on making exams with student attendance possible again soon, it is already foreseeable that this will only be possible at great organisational and financial expense. Until we have drawn up appropriate regulations for the protection of students, examiners and general university staff, the organisation of examinations should be avoided. This also applies to the final commission board examinations, for which students were previously required to be present at the university, which is now no longer necessary after the temporary introduction of new procedures.

Other aspects of the new regulation concern the following important points:

·         The extension of the grace period for the summer semester until the 30th June. This means that, with valid enrolment in the last winter semester, examinations can still be taken up to this date without having to re-register for the summer semester; this allows students to complete their studies by the end of June without affecting the obligation to pay tuition fees time bracket. It is also possible to switch from a bachelor’ to a master’s degree course up until then.

·         The summer months are usually a time in which courses are not held at the university. In July, August and September, there will be the possibility to offer courses and examinations which could not be held in the summer semester due to COVID-19 (e.g. excursions, internships, laboratory exercises etc.). Students who are unable to participate must have the opportunity to do so within the regular semester dates in the coming academic year, i.e. nobody will be forced to spend the entire summer at the university!

The ruling contains further points, meaning the rectorate is authorised to make its own regulations in various areas. These will be discussed with the students’ union (ÖH), committees and institutions concerned over the next few days and then communicated accordingly. I am convinced that we will be able to get through the rest of this semester together, which has been challenging in every respect.

Kind regards, Martin Weichbold

 

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