Information for current students on Deakin Law School's response to the Covid-19 shutdown, with updates on assessments and professional entry requirements.
We know that these times are full of anxiety for all of us. Many of us are experiencing a new “normal” in terms of our living conditions, work situation and leisure activities. As we work to embrace the new normal and the opportunities that this can present we, as a University and at the Deakin Law School, are here to support you.
For those of you enrolled in our Cloud Campus, little will have changed to the way you learn in light of COVID-19 restrictions, as you’ve been successfully learning and studying online, and can continue to do so. However, I appreciate that the adjustments required for our Burwood and Waterfront students have been more challenging, as you have had to navigate new online teaching technologies and adapt to a new study environment. Please use this Resource if you need information about how to successfully study online, and how to access essential support services from home.
The great news is that online learning at Deakin has been in operation for years, not weeks. This means that you will not need to delay your degree or your entry into the workforce. In fact, you can take advantage of additional study time you have to absorb the material and possibly take on more to complete your degree earlier. If you are thinking of adding on another unit in T1 please reach out to the relevant unit chair, who can advise whether it would be possible to catch up on the work and meet assessment deadlines.
I acknowledge that all of you might be finding it hard to focus at this time, and I encourage you to set up or join online groups to stay in touch. In addition, the following resources are also available:
At this time, our classes, seminars and assessments will continue as originally listed in your unit guides though have been moved online.
Deakin is a leading provider in online education and has extensive infrastructure in place to support online learning, making the transition relatively straightforward. Where a unit had a class, it has been replaced by online lecture recordings or livestreamed Bb Collaborate or Zoom sessions. Seminars are also being delivered by these technologies, generally at the times that were timetabled in STAR.
We have uploaded a document to each unit site setting out the changes, if any, to unit learning activities and assessment tasks. Please look in Resources > Unit Information. If there are no changes, this will be clear in the document.
In addition, the extension period for assignment due dates has been lengthened. Extensions of up to 3 weeks will be approved where your studies have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic without the requirement for supporting documentation. Please contact your Unit Chair. The University has also simplified applications for special consideration. More information can be found here.
The exam period will continue as planned with exams conducted online. At this juncture, most units will have an online take-home exam, with a 2,000 word limit. This will be designed to mirror a normal invigilated exam as closely as possible.
We continue to work with the University to settle the details, but it looks like you will have 24 hours or 48 hours to complete the exam. This does not mean that you will need to spend this amount of time on the exam; to the contrary, they will be designed to be similar in content, format and requirements to a standard 2 hour exam. However, in recognition of the stresses and domestic disruptions that I know many of you will be experiencing, we have asked the University for a longer duration to give you more flexibility as to when you complete the exam. You will be provided with more details about the online exams once I have them, however they will most likely be timetabled by the Divisions of Student Information as normal, and staggered through the normal exam period from 8-19 June.
The School been in discussions with VLAB (the Victorian Legal Admissions Board) about unit delivery and examination processes, and they have been very supportive of the measures we have put in place for online teaching and assessments. We will continue to work closely with VLAB to ensure that none of the changes forced upon us this year will affect your admission to practice.
We will also be reviewing our course rules and unit offerings to make sure that your progression in your degree is not impeded, and in fact to give you an opportunity to accelerate your degree where your circumstances allow. As part of this, we will consider waiving pre-requisites or co-requisites for individual students on a case-by-case basis, while noting that the overriding consideration must always be whether you can succeed in the unit in which you wish to enrol. Any waiver requests should be directed to the Business and Law course advisers.
Provided you stay well, I hope you’ll see that the current environment reduces a lot of the pressures usually associated with a law degree. We hope that you will use this opportunity to continue, embrace and even expedite your studies.
However, there are processes in in place to provide you with flexibility if the COVID-19 pandemic impacts your ability to study. The University has granted a grace period of two weeks following the T1 Census date of 31 March, during which you will be able to change your unit enrolment, intermit or withdraw from your course without incurring any academic or financial penalty. We hope that you will not need to reduce or discontinue your studies. If your studies are impacted by restrictions, please reach out to us. You can contact your unit chairs, Student Central or the broader University supports above.
I know this is a very unsettling time, but please be assured that the University and the Deakin Law School is working hard to minimise the impact on your studies as much as possible. Please make sure that you subscribe to this news feed so you don’t miss important updates. These updates will be provided either by myself or by the LLB Director, Sharon Erbacher. Please contact Sharon if you have any queries or concerns about any of the information in this message.
Professor Jenni Lightowlers
Dean, Deakin Law School