Information for students
Updated 7 August, 2020
These FAQs will be updated as new information comes to hand and we will support our students and staff, in Australia and overseas as this situation unfolds. If you need to contact the University because your situation is affected by the COVID-19 outbreak please use this dedicated email: SCUAssist@scu.edu.au.
Session 2 and 3 are delivered online
Commencing students please visit the Orientation website for everything you need to get started with your online studies.
The University has established a COVID-19 Bursary to provide students residing in Australia with financial support of up to $500. Applications have now closed for session one.
Visit the Moneysmart Moneysmart website for information on Government financial assistance, financial counselling or if you have issues paying bills or your mortgage.
University support services are available online
We are here to support you every step of the way, for your wellbeing and academically, with extra study support, counselling, access and inclusion support or chaplaincy. Workshops, counselling, access and inclusion and chaplaincy are available as online services during this period.
International Student Emergency Relief Fund
The Australian Red Cross has funding to support students who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents that have an urgent need as a result of the COVID-19. Visit the webpage for more details.
Each of the following states has an International Student Hub that outlines student welfare options available:
The Victorian Government recently announced an International Student Emergency Relief Fund for international students facing financial hardship. The University is working with the Government on the allocation of these funds and will make contact with students who are eligible to apply.
Please note there is no provision for exams to be undertaken on campus. Students should refer to the communications sent from their Unit Assessor relating to exam procedures.
Student Help Desks/Students Hubs have transitioned to virtual mode. Applications, enrolment details, chat functions and all other student enquiry services are available online or via phone.
All phone, text, chat and email queries will be responded to either in real time or via normal queues.
See the Vice Chancellor's message updates (sent to all students and staff).
In response to the spread of COVID-19, Southern Cross University transitioned all teaching online as of 23 March 2020 and for the remainder of 2020 (sessions 2 and 3). On 17 April the Vice Chancellor announced that the University had determined to continue to deliver our education online in Sessions 2 and 3 (Session 3 announcement 14 July).
Below is information in relation to Southern Cross University’s delivery tools for online learning. Please note that you will receive specific advice via MySCU from your School regarding how your units will be delivered. It is important that you check your Learning Sites on MySCU regularly for subject updates.
Q. What does the transition to online learning mean, and how long will it last?
- Since 23 March 2020 Southern Cross University has been delivering learning online. This will continue for the remainder of 2020.
- Classes will be delivered via your MySCU Blackboard learning sites rather than on campus.
- In some cases, alternative teaching, learning and assessment arrangements are required to accommodate online learning. Please continue to check your MySCU Blackboard learning site for messages and updates in relation to these changes.
- You will still have access to your teachers when you are online learning. Your Unit Assessor will advise you as to the approach for online consultation times and meetings, and means of contacting them with queries.
- None of the above means that our campuses are closed. At present, they remain open for students to access select internet work spaces and computer labs. However, it is important to note that students and staff will be required to carry their Southern Cross University identification cards with them at all times. All people on campus will need to practise safe physical distancing. Please do not attend campus if you are feeling unwell.
Q. How do I prepare for online learning?
- As you transition to online learning, it would be helpful to re-visit the Orientation page where many of the introductory videos are embedded. It also contains a range of ‘How to’ video resources to guide you through our learning tools.
- Although all teaching for 2020 will be delivered in an online mode, students do not need to apply to change campuses. You will still be able to access all of your unit materials, even though you may be assigned to a particular physical campus.
Q. What devices / bandwidth do I need?
- To learn from home you need a device that can access the Internet and reliable broadband with a high or unlimited data allowance. Most learning platforms we use have mobile applications, so you will be able to start accessing class information with your smartphone. There is more information on the Technical Services Knowledge Database.
Q. Are the campuses still open for my classes?
- Our main campuses remain open for students to access internet workspaces and computer labs. Information about accessing our libraries is available here on the University Library web page. If you continue to visit campus, you must carry your Southern Cross University identification card with you at all times, practise safe physical distancing and do not attend campus if you are feeling unwell.
- Outdoor wireless coverage is available on all campuses. See the Campus Wireless Outdoor Coverage article in the TS Knowledge Base.
Q: What are the technologies that I will be using?
The MySCU Blackboard learning environment is our centrally supported learning management system where you will access your unit material, watch online lectures, interact with your lecturers, and submit assignments. If you are not already accessing MySCU please find details for access here.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Collaborate Ultra is a real-time video conferencing tool that enables you to interact with your teacher and other learners. Information about using Collaborate Ultra can be found here
Zoom is a video conferencing and recording tool that is used in the delivery of some classes. Information about getting started with Zoom can be found here.
Information regarding any other necessary technology will be in your MySCU Blackboard environment
Q. Will I have access to recorded lectures or tutorials?
- Your Unit Assessor will provide information regarding the format of your classes, and this may vary from unit to unit. Online delivery might include live streaming or a webinar at the scheduled class time, as well as pre-recorded content. Your Unit Assessor may also arrange to Collaborate or Zoom sessions for tutorials and workshops or utilise the discussion board in MySCU.
Q. Will my unit learning outcomes and assessments be the same?
- Yes, in general. Your unit learning outcomes will stay the same, though there may need to be adjustments for those outcomes that require specific field or site visits, for example. Your assessment schedules may also change in the transition to online (for example, if you were required to make a presentation on campus in class, this might move to an online presentation or an alternative). Your Unit Assessors will advise you if any changes will be made.
Q. Will I still have exams?
- In the interests of health and safety, we have made the decision to cancel all face-to-face exams. However, alternative assessments and tasks will be substituted in place of your face-to-face exam. Your School or College will be in touch with you about these exam alternatives.
Q. Will I still have to do the placement I have scheduled?
- We will proceed with clinical placements and other workplace based learning – except where these must be re-scheduled. Where this is the case your Course Coordinator and School will work to make alternative arrangements and communicate those with you.
Q. What about the skills that I cannot learn online?
- Your Course Coordinator and School / College are rescheduling those critical degree elements that cannot be completed online. Where this is the case, your Course Coordinator will communicate the revised schedule with you.
Q. What student support services are available to me online?
- Our services such as Counselling, Chaplaincy, Advocacy, Learning Coaches, Inclusion are all fully available to you. However, any meetings made by appointment online will be conducted by telephone or a virtual meeting platform. Check out the Toolkit and Help function in MySCU Portal or visit Support, Social and UniLife for links to all services.
Q. What technology spaces and computer labs can I use?
- Campuses remain open for students to access internet work spaces and computer labs. However, it is important to note that students and staff will be required to carry their Southern Cross University identification cards with them to access facilities. All people on campus will be required to practise safe physical distancing.
- The University Libraries are open with strict social distancing measures. Visit Library Services page for more information.
Q. Who do I contact if I have technical problems?
Below is a list of commonly asked questions specific to students and their concerns over COVID-19 and how it may impact on their studies.
Questions and answers relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Updated 23 July, 2020
A:Yes, the University is open with restrictions on travel and events.
Some computer labs are available with workstation and personal distancing requirements in place.
For cafes that remain open visit campus services and facilities.
A: The University Libraries are open with strict social distancing measures in place. We also encourage students to study from home where possible, and remind you of the range of services still available online.
Visit our Virtual Library Services page for more information.
A: All items currently on loan will be renewed until 1st May. This date will be reviewed and extended if necessary.
No late fines will be applied during the COVID-19 emergency.
A: Border restrictions apply. Please check here for more information.
A: Student Help Desks/Students Hubs have transitioned to virtual mode.
Applications, enrolment details, chat functions and all other student enquiry services are online.
All phone, text, chat and email queries will be responded to either in real time or via normal queues.
Q: Are classes still being held?
A: All teaching is now online. Timetables will not change as units of study will be held online at the same time as face-to-face classes would have occurred. Students will be advised by their School should there be any exceptions to this.
Q: What about clinical placements, practicums, internships and other forms of work integrated learning?
A: These will continue as planned. Should a placement site or access to a placement site close due to COVID-19, students can contact the University on SCUassist@scu.edu.au so that we are able to efficiently coordinate an appropriate, supportive response.
Q: Can I defer my studies (Deferral of Studies)?
A: For those students unable to arrive in Australia to commence or resume their studies because of restrictions associated with COVID-19, we will provide additional flexibility in relation to deferral of studies to later periods.
Where relevant, this will be worked through on a case-by-case basis to ensure the least possible disruption to study patterns.
Q: What are the alternatives to deferral?
A: The University will on a case-by-case basis examine other alternatives that result in the least possible disadvantage, please contact SCUassist@scu.edu.au about your individual situation.
Q: What if I have or expect disruption to my assessment tasks including examinations?
A: We are aware that there are some students that may experience disruptions to assessment tasks including examinations because they are unable to travel to Australia by reason of COVID-19 or because examination centres outside Australia are not operating as normal.
It is very important to the University that we identify all students in this position so that we are in a position to make alternative arrangements for these disrupted assessments. If you are concerned that your capacity to undertake a scheduled assessment task, particularly an examination or practical assessment that has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact the University at SCUAssist@scu.edu.au, providing as much detail as possible.
If this disruption affects your ability to submit an assessment task by the due date, an automatic extension will be granted without the requirement of additional documentation. Students need to submit a special consideration for assessment in MyEnrolment, stating COVID-19 as the cause and outlining the impact this has had on your ability to submit assessment. (This temporary policy waiver will remain in place for the remainder of Session 1 2020, Study Period 2, 2020 and Study Period 3, 2020)
Session 1 students will be granted up to 7 days.
Study period 2 and 3 students will be granted up to 3 days.
A: Open from 1 July 2020 with social distancing requirements in place. Visit the SCU Fitness Centre and Pool for more information.
For any questions, please contact our team on (02) 6620 3952 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Are the Virtual Fitness centres open at the Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour campuses?
A: Both centres will be closed until further notice.
Q: What are the University’s directives around international travel for staff (or students)?
A: From 5 March 2020, to ensure the health and safety of staff and students, no international travel will be approved unless it is absolutely essential. This advice will be reviewed and updated in one month.
A: No, all graduation ceremonies have been postponed for 2020. We will be fast-tracking the production of testamurs for all graduands so that no student will be disadvantaged in their search for employment.
A: No it doesn’t, we will make alternate arrangements to ensure that you graduate on time.
A: No, the University will postpone or cancel all large events.
A: Non-essential events will be postponed or cancelled.
A: Yes. Please phone ahead if you are feeling unwell.
Q. Why has SCU’s School of Education made the decision to postpone Session 1 placements?
Many schools and early childhood centres have made the difficult decision to not accept pre-service teacher education students in school Term 2. They have advised that they are unable to accept pre-service teacher education students at this time because:
- Non-essential staff (such as pre-service teacher education students) are at risk or pose risks in contracting/spreading the COVID-19 virus at their school/centre;
- Schools/centres may close as directed by the state/territory or federal government; and/or
- Schools/centres are in the process of making significant arrangements to transition learning to online or distance if/when needed.
Many other universities have also made the hard decision to postpone placements in Session 1, including the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), James Cook University, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Federation University and Central Queensland University.
Q. I am in my final year and scheduled to complete my final placement in 2020. Will I still complete my course in 2020?
Our highest priority is those students completing their final placement in 2020. We are working closely with schools, early childhood centres, our accreditation bodies and state Departments of Education to ensure that you will complete your placement and course in 2020.
Q. What grade will I receive for my Professional Experience Placement Unit in Session 1?
All students in Professional Experience Placement Units in Session 1 will receive a grade of ‘Incomplete’. It will remain Incomplete until the placement for that unit has been satisfactorily completed. Once your placement has been satisfactorily completed your Unit Assessor will then update your grade accordingly.
Q. Will I still be eligible for conditional or provisional teacher accreditation/registration and work in 2020?
In New South Wales, final year students are eligible for Conditional Teacher Accreditation, and most students apply for, and are granted this. Changes to your Session 1 final year placement will not impede you from gaining employment in schools and early childhood centres.
See educationstandards.nsw.edu.au proficient teacher how it works.
In Queensland, Provisional Teacher Registration is granted to pre-service teachers who have completed all elements of their ITE program, with the exception of the final professional experience. Those students could apply for provisional registration, with the understanding that if approved, they would be granted provisional registration with a condition. Under the condition, individuals would be required to successfully complete the remaining professional experience component of their ITE program within one year of being granted provisional registration.
Q. What if schools or early childhood centres close in Term 3 and/or Term 4?
We are working on the advice that schools and early childhood centres will be open in Term 3 and 4 and will permit pre-service teachers into their classrooms to continue with the professional experience component of their studies. We are also exploring simulated and online professional experience opportunities. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impact on Term 3 and 4, and keep you updated if/when required.
Q. What are the exact changes to my Professional Experience Placement?
For the revised 2020 Placement Calendar, download: Professional Experience Calendar Contingency Plan 2020
Q. I have further concerns and/or questions about my placement. Who should I contact?
Q. Do I still have to sit the LANTITE before the commencement of my first professional experience placement unit?
On a temporary basis only, the School of Education are relaxing this requirement given that test windows have now become limited. However, it is still a requirement to sit LANTITE before the commencement of your second Professional Experience unit. Please note that this is a temporary arrangement for 2020 only. From 2021, students will be required to sit LANTITE before the commencement of their first professional experience placement. In the meantime, check out our LANTITE support page, and dates for the LANTITE testing windows on the ACER website.
Higher Degree Research Coursework, Supervision meetings and Fieldwork
Q. I am an on-campus Doctor of Education (1447190) student. Will my coursework be face-to-face?
Unfortunately coursework units cannot be undertaken face-to-face in Session One, 2020. All scheduled intensive weekends will be entirely delivered online. Please refer to your Unit site on MySCU and/or contact your Unit Assessor directly.
Q. How will I meet with my supervisors? Honours, Masters, EdD and PhD Supervision Meetings
For the remainder of Session One, all Honours and HDR supervision meetings be conducted via Zoom for all students. These meetings will tend to take place at your pre-arranged scheduled time. Please note the minimum expectation is that full-time candidates meet with their supervisors once per fortnight, and part-time students meet with their supervisors once per month.
Q. I have an Honours or HDR milestone due in the coming months? How will this now take place?
As per supervision meetings, these activities will take place via Zoom – e.g. in progress roundtable, confirmation of candidature and in candidature review. The HDR milestone requirements are available at the Graduate School's current higher degree research students webpage.
If you have any concerns and/or questions please email email@example.com.
Q. I now have full ethics approval and had planned to commence data collection. What are my options?
Human Research that involves interviews and questionnaires can proceed using technology instead of face-to-face. Where there is fieldwork in schools, early childhood centres and/or other community sites, these activities must be postponed as we need to protect both our researchers and their participants.
If you need to change the methodology for your already-approved research (e.g., if you change from face-to-face interviews to phone interviews or from face-to-face focus groups to an on-line format), you will need to lodge a Change of Protocol application, which must be approved before you conduct the revised methodology. The Ethics office is still processing applications etc, so if you have a question about ethics, please email the Ethics Office as usual. If you need to talk to someone about your ethics application, please email and provide your best contact number.