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About the New Semester

Class and Examination Schedules

The Second Semester of Academic Year 2020-2021
will start on January 18, 2021
(Update on January 8, 2021)

In principle

We remain committed to a dual mode of teaching for UG and TPG courses:

  • Online: all courses, apart from a few exceptions requiring hands-on engagement, will be available online throughout the semester. (Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about any required hands-on teaching.)
  • Face to face: when it is safe to do so, we will also offer students the option of returning to campus for some f2f classes.

In practice

Teaching arrangements in S2 will be similar to our current arrangements in S1, except that more courses will be delivered purely in online mode. This reflects limited student demand for the f2f component of hybrid courses in S1, and the better learning experience that is generally available when a course is delivered through a single mode.

By 11 December 2020, course coordinators will provide all students with clear information about delivery mode:

  • Lectures: In SIS, under ‘Enrollment Information’ there is a ‘Course/Class Attribute’ section. Alongside ‘Delivery of lectures’, course coordinators will insert one of three options: online, hybrid, f2f. (Only in very special circumstances will the f2f option be available.)
  • Small-group interactive sessions such as tutorials, labs, studios, clinical practicums: One of the same three options (online, hybrid, f2f) will be chosen and communicated to students through the regular channels used by each Faculty.

Exceptions

These are the exceptions to our general guidelines:

  • Some courses involve hands-on engagement and will have to be, or will be better if they can be, taken f2f either in whole or in part. Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about any required hands-on teaching.
  • Some exams will be held in-person either because there are special requirements (eg professional programmes), or because all the students taking a course are in Hong Kong and it is safe for them to attend an in-person exam. Again, Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about this.

Looking ahead

Both globally and locally, the public health situation remains volatile and unpredictable. In the coming weeks and months, it is quite possible that we will face renewed pandemic challenges. Throughout S2, we will keep the public health situation under close review. Should there be a deterioration, we may need to suspend all f2f teaching at short notice, and switch back to online delivery for all courses.

Add/drop period

In recent semesters our practice has been to provide UG students with a ‘self-enrol’ function on HKU Moodle to enable them to audit courses during the add/drop period (http://moodle-support.hku.hk/sites/Moodle_enrol_me.pdf). In S2, this function will be available from 09:00, January 18 to 16:00, February 1.Thereafter, all self-enrolments will be deleted unless the student has formally enrolled in the course through the course registration system.

Assessment Options

In S2, we are removing the pass/fail assessment option that has been made available to students for the past year or so. As a failsafe, we’re keeping the late drop option. In S2, students will be able to exercise the late drop option through from 09:00, March 8 to 23:59, April 9 through the course registration system.

Exams and Assessments

As in S1, all final exams will take place online. The exceptions remain as before: exams that need to be held in-person either because there are special requirements (eg professional programmes), or because all the students taking a course are in Hong Kong and it is safe for them to attend an in-person exam. Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about this.

Webcams

In 2020-21, students taking online classes are required to turn on their webcams when the teacher asks them to do so. (Virtual backgrounds are of course permissible.) Students with special needs or circumstances may apply to their teachers for exemption on a case-by-case basis. If it is not possible for a teacher and student to reach agreement, the case may be referred to the relevant Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) or, in the case of Common Core courses, to the Director.

Campus health and hygiene

HKU has devised robust protocols to promote campus health and hygiene (https://covid19.hku.hk/). Everyone coming to campus needs to be aware of and respect these protocols. Throughout S1, the University will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make any necessary adjustments. Please always stay vigilant and make personal and group health your top priority.