20.03.2020

FAQs Teaching

Further information about teaching at PLUS

Commission board examinations now made possible!

The general suspension of examinations must remain in place for the time being (this also applies to examinations via Skype etc., as these are not permitted for legal reasons!) However, we would like to make an exception for students wanting or needing to complete their bachelor, master, diploma or doctoral studies with a commission board examination before 30 April 2020 (end of the grace period). The candidate and at least one member of the examination committee must be present at the university. Other members of the examination board can also participate in the examination via video call. Thank you to all those who have worked hard in the last few days to develop a solution that is not only legally sound, but also organisationally feasible. For further details please refer to the document attached.

The University Library is here for you!

·         NEW: you can now find a compact summary of the most important online resources for your subject using this link: Subject Guide/Information Transfer. The extensive range of ONLINE RESOURCES (e-books, e-journals etc.) is still available. Please note the information regarding remote access; the University Library provides students, researchers and teachers of PLUS with over 3 million e-books, 40,000 e-journals and 300 licensed databases.

·         NEW: content from publishing houses now activated
Thanks to the library initiative, more and more publishers are showing more content online. We will keep you up to date.

·         Full newspaper and magazine issues
A large selection of current national and international newspapers and magazines can be found in Pressreader

·         Please keep yourself regularly informed on our homepage at https://www.uni-salzburg.at/bibliothek

Submission of final academic papers

The submission method for master/ diploma theses as well as dissertations will be made exclusively via PLUSonline/PAAV. The submission of printed copies can be made later. This will not cause any delay for students, as supervisors will be able to download theses from PLUSonline and upload their feedback after marking the paper.

Community Service (“Zivildienst”)

The government has called on former civilian servicemen to support the care and medical services. If students are required to take part, they can take time off from university. The semester will not count, and students will be exempt from tuition fees if the regular duration of study is exceeded. This means that no examinations can be taken during this semester. If no leave is granted, participation in courses and examinations is possible; individual arrangements can be made with the lecturers regarding different examination methods. However, please keep in mind that you will only have time for a few courses in addition to your community service, and that the semester will count towards your study programme if you do not take leave!

Grants

Many students are worried about losing or having to repay their grants because they cannot provide the required evidence after having to cancel exams. According to information from the scholarship office, two cases can be distinguished: (1) If the entitlement period per study programme or per level of study is exceeded, the Study Grants Office (“Stipendienstelle”) may extend the entitlement period if it can be proven that the cancellation of course or exam dates has caused this prolongation. If courses are cancelled, we will issue a confirmation to the person concerned. The scholarship office is also aware that no examinations are currently possible. (2) However, if the student is not able to prove the required academic achievement required after the first two semesters, no extension can be applied for; without enough proof there will be no money granted for the third semester! However, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) can provide one-time compensation by means of study support if it can be proven that the absence of courses or examination dates is the reason for the lack of academic achievement. We will try to keep up a good teaching practice given the situation so that you are able to successfully complete all planned courses this semester.

Many students have been requesting an extension to the grace period (currently the 30th April) or the waiving of current summer semester for tuition fees or scholarships. These decisions are not made by the PLUS, but by the minister or legislator. We are in contact with the ministry, both directly and through Universities Austria (uniko), and are trying to find a good solution whilst keeping the best interests of the students in mind. We will inform you as soon as there are any decisions made on this topic.

We have previously recommended the online learning tools echo360 (for lectures), Webex Teams, Google meet (both for seminar-like courses) as well as the well-known learning platform Blackboard. I ask teachers to use only these tools, as using other programmes only creates confusion; if students are asked to use a different platform for each course, they must create multiple accounts and familiarise themselves with many different programs. In addition to this, we have assessed the programmes mentioned above and were able to approve them regarding data protection regulations.

In general, I ask both teachers and students for mutual understanding and trust. Students should keep in mind that even teaching and administration staff cannot answer every question, as many things are simply not predictable at this time. However, please be assured that all staff are making every effort to continue study and examination procedures. If there are any problems, please contact the course leader. Should you require further clarification, students can contact the head of department, then the dean or the faculty office. The student representative bodies (“Studienvertretungens/StVen”) can give you important support when required.

I ask teaching staff to remember that, like themselves, students must also juggle other challenges aside from their university courses in these exceptional circumstances: they may have insufficient equipment, slow internet access or may have to share a PC with others. They might also have to supervise younger relatives, and many may experience existential worries during this stressful time. It is not only the teaching staff who have extra work with online learning, as following and writing discussion topics in Blackboard is more time-consuming than in a seminar environment. Tasks may be set quickly but might not be completed as easily. Please consider additional work that students may have been asked to complete under the given conditions! Teachers can also support students with more flexible deadlines and good feedback.

I will be able to provide you with more information by the end of this week at the latest. Should important decisions be made earlier, you will of course be informed immediately.

I wish you all a successful start to the week.

Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Weichbold
Vice Rector for Academic Affairs