Updates on the Covid19 situation

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Updated 18/05/2020

Message for all undergraduate students in the Faculty of History

History | History and Politics | History and Modern Languages (updated 15.4.20)

Arrangements for assessment and teaching (updated 18 May 2020)

Further information about your portfolio submissions and online exams is now available.

Links to other information:  

Portfolio of essays guidance (as circulated 7 April)

Timetable for submission of assessed work to the Faculty (as circulated 16 April)

University Covid-19 guidance about assessments

Moodle Support Hub for online assessments

 
A message from the Chair of the History Faculty (3 April 2020)

Thank you for your patience while the Faculty’s plans have been drawn up and approved. These plans have been developed in conversations between the Chair, Deputy Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Chairs of Examination Boards, the Principal Secretary, and other administrative staff. We have also received many emails from students expressing a wide range of views and suggestions on this matter, plus comments made via a survey conducted by the undergraduate student representatives. We have tried to give consideration to all these views in formulating plans that are as flexible, accommodating and deliverable as possible, and which take account of the practical and psychological impact of the pandemic on students and staff (administrative and academic).

History Tripos

Part II - third years

The University has stated that all finalist undergraduate students will have the opportunity to receive a classed degree. Furthermore, the University will adopt a principle of ‘no detriment’, which means that, as long as a graduating student passes their final year assessments, no graduating student will receive a class lower than the class they were awarded in their second year exams. The 2020 assessments will therefore only confirm the class awarded in their second year or improve it.

Finalists in History will be assessed and classed according to those principles using a modified scheme in which the number of papers taken is reduced in order to reflect the disruption to learning and exam preparation caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

The modified Part II assessment scheme is as follows:

  1. Special Subject Long Essay: all candidates will offer this essay, towards which many students have already undertaken considerable work.
    Essays will be submitted electronically via Moodle Assignment, run through Turnitin, and double-marked. No hard copies will be required. The deadline for this essay will be extended for all students from 7 May to 14 May.
    NB: candidates will not be required to take the Special Subject Gobbet Examination Paper. This decision has been made in light of the cancellation of face-to-face teaching next term, and on the principle that the relevant programme learning outcomes will be assessed instead via the Long Essay.
  2. Historical Argument and Practice: All students will sit the HAP paper, as an examination held within a 24 hour window. The question paper will be released via Moodle Assignment. In line with the University’s guidance, although candidates will be given a 24 hour window, it will be expected that they do not work for more than the usual length of a Cambridge examination. Use of notes and the internet during the examination is permitted. The format of the exam will not change: all candidates write one essay on a question chosen from the existing examination paper. The upper word limit for scripts will be 3,000 words. Scripts will be run through Turnitin and double-marked.
  3. All candidates will choose EITHER to submit a Dissertation OR be assessed on a Specified Subject, except for those in the second year of a two-year Part II course, who will be required to be assessed in two Specified Subjects. Further information for these candidates is given below.
  • The Dissertation will be due on 30 April (one week after the current deadline). This will be submitted electronically via Moodle Assignment, run through Turnitin, and double-marked. No hard copies will be required.
  • The Specified Subject will be assessed by a portfolio of two supervision essays, which they will be permitted to revise lightly.
    There is no expectation that extensive further reading will be undertaken for these essays. They need not be footnoted and referenced to the same level as submitted coursework such as the Long Essay. There will be an upper word limit of 3,000 words for each essay. The essays should be selected by the student independently without consulting with their supervisors. The essays must be the student’s own work, and all candidates will be required to submit a declaration to that effect. In the interests of equity, students will not be offered revision supervisions for those papers which are assessed via the portfolio of essays. All portfolios of essays will be submitted via Moodle Assignment, run through Turnitin, and double-marked. The rationale for allowing the Specified Subject to be assessed by a portfolio of supervision essays is that students who have not taken the Dissertation should be allowed to benefit from work largely or wholly completed before the coronavirus outbreak in the same way as those who have done a Dissertation.
    • Students who are NOT doing the Dissertation must opt for route 3b.
    • Students who are currently taking the Dissertation may opt for route 3b if they prefer. They will be required to do so by the same date as students selecting from their two Specified Subjects.
    • Note: Specified Subjects borrowed from other Triposes will be assessed according to the scheme adopted by the ‘parent’ Tripos. The History Faculty will communicate the relevant information as soon as possible.
  • Students in the second year of a 2-year Part II will choose one Specified Subject from those studied in Prelim to Part II, and one from those studied this year, to be assessed by a portfolio of two supervision essays, as above, or (if a borrowed paper) according to the scheme adopted by the ‘parent’ Tripos.
  • Students in the first year of a 2-year Part II (Prelim to Part II): although not a requirement for progression to Part II, these students should take the HAP exam and be assessed for one of their Specified Subjects, in the manner described above.
    What you need to do now: please begin to consider whether you wish to opt for route 3a or 3b, above. You may ask your Director of Studies for advice on this.
    Information to follow: As soon as possible we shall circulate information about the timings of assessments in (2) and (3b) above.
    Following that, you will be asked for assessment choice (3a or 3b), and also about the time zone in which you will be sitting the 24 hour HAP examination (2).

We recognize that a number of students are likely to be unable to take Easter Term assessments for reasons such as ill health, significant caring commitments, or technical difficulties. As you will see from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s email, the University’s expectation is that these students should take their papers by the same method of assessment (i.e. exams or a portfolio of supervision essays) in a second assessment period when the University is back in full operation. The ‘no detriment’ principle will also apply here. Alternatively, it is possible to apply to the Examination Access and Mitigation Committee (EAMC) for permission to be classed on the marks received from a subset of the assessment that has taken place, or to be granted a degree with a ‘DDH’ classification (Deemed to Deserve Honours). Your College will be able to advise you on these options and to help with any application.

Part I - second years

In the modified Part I assessment scheme the number of papers taken is reduced in order to reflect the disruption to learning and exam preparation caused by the Covid-19 crisis. The scheme is as follows:

1. Themes and Sources. All candidates will offer the Themes and Sources Long Essay, which has already been submitted and is currently in the process of being double-marked.

2. All candidates will choose one of two papers they studied their second year to be assessed by a portfolio of two supervision essays, which they will be permitted to revise lightly. There is no expectation that extensive further reading will be undertaken for these essays. They need not be footnoted and referenced to the same level as submitted coursework such as the Themes and Sources essay. There will be an upper word limit of 3,000 words for each essay. The essays should be selected by the student independently without consulting with their supervisors.

The essays must be the student’s own work, and all candidates will be required to submit a declaration to that effect. In the interests of equity, students will not be offered revision supervisions for those papers on which they choose assessment via essays. All portfolios of essays will be submitted via Moodle Assignment, run through Turnitin, and double marked. This will be a paper for which students were supervised in their second year, on the grounds that their supervision essays are likely be better than those they wrote in their first year.

The rationale for including a portfolio of supervision essays is that it allows candidates to be assessed partly on work undertaken in Cambridge prior to the Covid-19 outbreak.

3. Students will also choose one paper from the three that they have studied in their first year, to be assessed by an examination held within a 24 hour window. The examination papers will be released via Moodle. In line with the University’s guidance, although you will be given a 24 hour window, it will be expected that you do not work for more than the usual length of a Cambridge examination. Use of notes and the internet during the exam is permitted. Scripts will be run through Turnitin and double-marked. Students will write two rather than three essays in answer to the questions on the existing examination paper. The upper word limit for scripts will be 3,000 words. For the paper assessed by examination, students will be entitled to revision supervisions.

What you need to do now: please begin to consider which two papers you intend to choose under (2) and (3) above. You may ask your Director of Studies for advice on this.

Teaching: Faculty revision lectures and classes will be offered in the early weeks of Easter Term using a variety of online platforms.

Information to follow: As soon as possible we shall circulate information about the timings of assessments (2) and (3). Following that, you will be asked for details of your paper choices, and also the about the time zone in which you will be sitting the 24 hour examination.

Part I - first years

The Preliminary Examinations for Part I of the Historical Tripos will be cancelled in their entirety for Easter Term 2020. All first year students may proceed to year 2 / Part I of the Historical Tripos without fulfilling further requirements.

If they wish, and their supervisors agree, first years may undertake timed practice essays on the papers they would have taken for Prelims, and receive feedback in a remote supervision next term, using past paper questions or questions set by the supervisor. Please contact your supervisor(s) about this.

Next term, supervisions for first years will go ahead on the usual pattern, albeit remotely, and Themes and Sources classes will resume through a range of online platforms. Please watch out for updates and contact your supervisor, course convenor or Director of Studies in due course if necessary.

Further information: for further information on assessment, see the Pro-Vice-Chancellor’s message, and the FAQs on the students’ pages at https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus/students. These cover matters such as: what to do if you are unable to complete assessments during the Easter Term assessment period, and the position of students with individual exam arrangements resulting from a disability or medical condition.

We understand that many of you will have further questions about the above. We reiterate that we aim to provide further crucial details as soon as possible, so please be patient. Many common questions are addressed by the FAQs. However, if you do require further help or information at this stage, please do contact your DoS, supervisor, or paper convenor, or get in touch with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Chris Briggs, directly, and we’ll do our best to help.

Hoping that all of you stay safe and well at this challenging time.

History and Politics assessment plans

Part Ia students

  1. All Part IA students will be allowed to proceed to Part IB. Those students who are able to do so are encouraged to take modified assessments and will receive marks on their work, but this year’s work will not be classed.
  2. POL1 and POL2 will be assessed through online examinations via an interface on Moodle, in line with the arrangements for HSPS students. These will follow the usual exam format (i.e. answering 3 questions in 3hours) and will use the exam questions which have already been set, though there will be two modifications: the exams will be open-book (that is, you are permitted to use your notes and the internet during the exam) and there will be an upper word limit of 4500 words per script (because we do not want you simply to copy your notes into the exam essays).
  3. The History papers (4, 5, 6, 17, 18, and 22) will be assessed by a portfolio of 2 supervision essays, which students will be permitted to revise lightly, in line with the arrangements for History Part I students. There is no expectation that extensive further reading will be undertaken for these essays, and they need not be footnoted and referenced to the same level as submitted coursework such as Long Essays and Dissertations. There will be an upper word limit of 3,000 words for each essay. The essays should be selected by the student independently without consulting with their supervisors, and there will be no revision supervisions for these History papers. The essays must be the student’s own work, and all candidates will be required to submit a declaration to that effect. These essays will be submitted via Moodle Assignment, run through Turnitin and distributed to markers electronically. The deadline for the submission of the portfolio of essays will be announced shortly.
  4. The Evidence and Argument written exam will be scrapped for this year, because much of the preparation for this part of the course is still to take place, and the paper will be assessed wholly through the Long Essay. The Long Essay deadline is currently 7 May; any changes will be confirmed shortly, but there will certainly be an opportunity to apply for extensions.

For those of you who are intending to take the assessments in Easter Term, our intention is to provide remote revision teaching to help you prepare for the POL1 and POL2 exams, for instance through remote supervisions. We will encourage supervisors to be flexible about timing (so that if you are in a very different time zone, you do not have to participate at unusual hours), but please be aware that supervisors and paper organisers may themselves be affected by illness or caring commitments, so flexibility and patience will be needed in all directions.

Part Ib students (updated 03/04/2020)

The main features of the scheme are as follows:

  1. All Part IB students will be allowed to proceed to Part II. Those students who are able to do so are encouraged to take modified assessments and will receive marks on their work, but this year’s assessments will not be classed.
  2. POLIS papers (POL3, POL4, and POL6) will be assessed through online examinations via an interface on Moodle, in line with the arrangements for HSPS students. These will follow the usual exam format (normally 3 hours, except for POL6) and will use the exam questions which have already been set, though there will be two modifications: the exams will be open-book (that is, you are permitted to use your notes and the internet during the exam) and there will be an upper word limit of 4500 words per script (because we do not want you simply to copy your notes into the exam essays). You will be notified of any further paper-specific conditions by the first week of Easter Term.
  3. 'The History of Political Thought papers (19 and 20) and the other History papers (10, 11, 13, 16, 21, 23, and 24) will be assessed by a portfolio of 2 supervision essays, which students will be permitted to revise lightly, in line with the arrangements for History Part I students. There is no expectation that extensive further reading will be undertaken for these essays, and they need not be footnoted and referenced to the same level as submitted coursework such as Long Essays and Dissertations. There will be an upper word limit of 3,000 words for each essay. The essays should be selected by the student independently without consulting with their supervisors, and no revision supervisions will be provided for these papers. The essays must be the student’s own work, and all candidates will be required to submit a declaration to that effect. These essays will be submitted via Moodle Assignment, run through Turnitin and distributed to markers electronically. The deadline for the submission of the portfolio of essays will be announced shortly.
  4. There will be a short extension to submission deadlines for POL5 and HP2 Long Essays and POL6 Projects, and Rachel McGlone will circulate the new deadlines in the next few days. If you wish to take part in the Easter Term assessment process but will not be able to submit coursework by the new deadline, please arrange with your College Tutor or Director of Studies to apply for a further extension. These applications should be sent to the History and Politics Administrator, Rachel McGlone (rm988@cam.ac.uk), for consideration by the Faculty.

For those of you who are intending to take the assessments in Easter Term, our intention is to provide remote revision teaching to help you prepare for the Politics and History of Political Thought exams. POLIS intends to record lectures and – where possible – seminars, so that those of you who cannot participate live will be able to access them.

Supervisions will also take place remotely. We will encourage supervisors to be flexible about timing (so that if you are in a very different time zone, you do not have to participate at unusual hours), but please be aware that supervisors and paper organisers may themselves be affected by illness or caring commitments, so flexibility and patience will be needed in all directions.

We will be providing more detailed information on revision and assessment arrangements in the near future, including a revised exam timetable (which is currently being worked out by the University).

Part II students

  1. The HP3 paper will not be examined this year, because much of the preparation for this paper is still to take place in Easter Term, and we have concluded that it would be difficult for you to revise for this paper without access to resources in Cambridge. Suspending the HP3 exam will also give you more time to work on your other papers. Part II will therefore be classed on the basis of 6 marks from 3 papers, subject to the University's ‘safety net’ principle: that no one who passes their third year exams will get a class lower than they got in their second year exams. (HSPS and History students will also be classed on the basis of 3 papers.)
  2. POLIS papers, plus the two modern History of Political Thought papers which are shared between History and POLIS (Paper 4/POL10 and Paper 5/POL11), will be assessed through online exams via an interface on Moodle. These will follow the usual exam format (normally 3 hours, except for POL6) and will use the exam questions which have already been set, though there will be two modifications: the exams will be open-book (that is, you are permitted to use your notes and the internet during the exam) and there will be an upper word limit of 4,500 words per script (because we do not want you simply to copy your notes into the exam essays). In some cases, there may be further paper-specific conditions; if so, you will be notified of these by the first week of Easter Term. Although we cannot invigilate the exams, all scripts will be run through Turnitin. In exceptional cases, we may also ask some students to take part in a short oral exam by video-conference, as a check against plagiarism.
  3. History Specified Subjects (including History of Political Thought Paper 6, ‘States between States’) will be assessed by a portfolio of 2 supervision essays, which students will be permitted to revise lightly; this is the approach which has been adopted by the History Faculty for all its students. There is no expectation that extensive further reading will be undertaken for these essays, and they need not be footnoted and referenced to the same level as submitted coursework such as Long Essays and Dissertations. There will be an upper word limit of 3,000 words for each essay. The essays should be selected by the student independently without consulting with their supervisors, and no further supervision will be provided on these papers. The essays must be the student’s own work, and all candidates will be required to submit a declaration to that effect. These essays will be submitted via Moodle Assignment, run through Turnitin and distributed to markers electronically. The deadline for the submission of the portfolio of essays will be published shortly.
  4. History Special Subjects will be assessed entirely by the Long Essay. The gobbet papers will be suspended, as much of the preparatory work is still to take place in Easter Term, and the History Faculty has judged that open-book gobbet exams would not be appropriate.
  5. There will be a short extension to submission deadlines for all Dissertations and Long Essays, and Rachel McGlone will circulate the new deadlines in the next few days. If you will not be able to submit by the new deadline, please arrange with your College Tutor or Director of Studies to apply for a further extension. These applications should be sent to Rachel McGlone (rm988@cam.ac.uk), who will pass them on to the Chair of Part II Examiners (Professor Duncan Bell) for consideration.
  6. Any papers borrowed from other Triposes will be assessed according to the practice adopted by the parent Tripos. So far as we can tell, this only applies to the two History Specified Subjects which are borrowed from Classics – ‘The Transformation of the Roman World’ and ‘Living in Athens’.

For those of you who are intending to take the assessments in Easter Term, our intention is to provide remote revision teaching to help you prepare for the Politics and History of Political Thought exams. POLIS intends to record lectures and – where possible – seminars, so that those of you who cannot participate live will be able to access them.

Supervisions will also take place remotely. We will encourage supervisors to be flexible about timing (so that if you are in a very different time zone, you do not have to participate at unusual hours), but please be aware that supervisors and paper organisers may themselves be affected by illness or caring commitments, so flexibility and patience will be needed in all directions.