Students made to sit for exam despite lecturer's prolonged absence

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Students sitting for the Mathematics module MAT3217 have been left livid by a lack of action taken by their department after it transpired no feasible plans were in place when a lecturer had been absent for over a month due to health-related concerns. The students contacted Insite and wish to remain unknown.

Every week since the beginning of lectures following the Easter holidays, students were informed that that week’s MAT3217 lectures would not be held. When the Faculty Dean was informed of the situation by a student on the 25th of April, it emerged that he had not even been aware of the situation, while the Mathematics Department had done nothing to rectify the state of affairs until this point.

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Precisely one week later, on the 2nd of May, students were told by the Head of the Mathematics Department during one of his lectures that 8 hours of MAT3217 lectures would be held over the following two weeks in order to make up for lost time. Due to lectures missed prior to the Easter recess, this arrangement would leave students seven hours behind on lectures, and even further behind when tutorial sessions are considered. Consequently, students were less than content with this arrangement; however, when some argued that this arrangement would be unfair and hinder the understanding of the vital concepts within the subject, their complaints were simply shrugged off and ignored.

On the following day, email confirmation of this arrangement was sent to the students. Since the proposal put forward by the Head of Department would leave students with far less time to complete the unit than that required, another pressing concern for students was whether they would be assessed on the entire syllabus in the impending June exam. When some emailed the Head of Department with this query, no reply was received; a day later, a new 73 page-long set of notes was emailed to the students, leaving students not only short on time, but also needing to adapt to another lecturer’s needs, rather than the other way round.

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The general feeling among students is that the proposed plan of action will leave them in an insufficient position to fully understand the subject, possibly also impacting their understanding of future units. Moreover, they feel it is unjust that not only are students subjected to restrictions regarding attendance - lack of attendance is usually seen by lecturers as “hours lost” for students - but they will also be the ones who suffer from lecture hours lost through no fault of their own.

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