Student communications

  • 30 March 2020 – Semester 1, Update 1: Academic Penalty Date, Winter Term, Assessment and Show Cause Procedure

    Dear Students,

    While the Notre Dame staff miss seeing you on campus, I am pleased to hear your positive feedback about the online learning transition. I am writing to explain some of the measures we are taking at Notre Dame to support you with this transition while at the same time maintaining our high-quality courses and academic standards.

    The academic community is conscious that the transition to online learning may pose new challenges, and we thank you for your patience, support and feedback. If you are facing challenges, please seek assistance and seek it early. To our first-year students especially – asking questions and asking for assistance is the Notre Dame normal so please don’t hesitate. Your Schools or Course Coordinators are the first help line for academic advice but there are many other supports available here.

    Please continue to provide your feedback as this will inform our practices and processes going forward. Later in the semester we will send an institution wide survey that will allow you to give more specific feedback about the transition to online learning.

    Below are some of the amendments we have made for Semester 1, 2020. At Notre Dame, we strive to maintain our personal approach to education and your individual circumstances will always be considered. We continue to work on ways to address various components of your learning including practicum and industry placements and your Schools will update you accordingly.

    I hope after reading this you will feel more comfortable about completing your studies online as you move through this semester.

    Stay safe and stay connected

    Kind regards,
    Professor Margot Kearns

    Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic

    Academic Penalty Date

    The Academic Penalty Date is the last day that students can withdraw from classes without academic penalty (i.e. without a Withdraw Fail (WF) recorded on your transcript).

    This was previously set at the end of Week 12, or equivalent for non-standard offerings. To allow you extra time to withdraw from your courses, we have extended this to the last teaching date of Semester. This date is 22 May – the Friday of Week 13 for the Standard Semester.

    For non-standard offerings, Academic Penalty Date will be moved to the equivalent last teaching date. Your School and/or Student Administration will be able to confirm this date for you.

    We believe the extension of the Academic Penalty Date will allow you to withdraw from your course(s) if you believe you are not progressing towards a satisfactory outcome.

    Winter Term

    We will be extending our Winter Term to four teaching weeks and one exam week. This will enable us to expand our course offerings in Winter Term, for students who wish to study in July. Please keep an eye on your inboxes for more information about Winter Term course offerings.


    The Academics and Deans in your Schools are working on adjustments to assessment formats and schedules. The Schools are investigating alternative assessment options that are conducive to online learning and teaching and take into consideration fairness as well as maintaining standards. Some examples of assessments that are alternate to the traditional end-of-semester examinations are take home (open book) examinations and online examinations. Or you may be asked to submit an essay or a research project instead of an exam. The assessments will continue to be mapped to the course learning outcomes while maintaining academic integrity. Assessments may be different across different courses and you will be informed by your School about particular course arrangements as they are approved.

    Assessments will be distributed throughout the semester and will continue to the last day of the published examination period. For the Standard Semester, the final date is Friday 12 June 2020.

    Show Cause Procedure

    We have a new process to support students who have faced difficult circumstances. If at the end of the semester, you are not meeting the program progression requirements and/or you are not performing as well academically, the University will now allow you to ‘show cause’ prior to having your enrolment Program Terminated or University Suspended. We have designed an entirely new procedure to enable students to explain their individual circumstances and demonstrate why it would be best to continue their studies. Program Termination or University Suspension will NOT appear on your record with a successful Show Cause outcome. The Show Cause process is an important part of supporting you to be successful in your studies as it allows your School and the University to extend our support services to you (e.g., counselling both personal and Program counselling, learning advice consultations, academic writing consultations, to name a few.

    More information on Show Cause will be published shortly.

    We continue to review the situation and consider steps to mitigate the possible impact COVID-19 could have on your studies and will update you throughout the semester.

  • 26 March 2020 - A message from the Vice Chancellor

    Dear Students,

    In these days, our global society faces the immense challenge of responding to COVID-19. Healthcare professionals, public servants and political leaders are responding to a crisis, the scale of which we have not seen for over a century. Amidst this fast-changing situation, we are grateful for their dedication and professionalism.

    Amid this crisis, I want to pay tribute to our many alumni, especially those working in healthcare (numbering over 10,000) and also to our many thousands of alumni in the teaching profession who are keeping our schools open. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of our alumni and their families, and we honour them for their service to our society.  Like the example of Fr Beradelli, they remind us that in any crisis, it is not the crisis itself, but our response to it, which shows us who we are.

    At this time, I also want to thank all our staff across our campuses who have worked these past weeks to respond to this crisis and to get courses on-line and up and running. They have, as ever, done a remarkable job in a short space of time, showing immense professionalism, dedication and commitment throughout.

    And to you, the students, I would like to thank you for your support, commitment and resilience. Over this week and last, I heard from many staff members who were moved and encouraged by the kind messages you sent them and the understanding you showed as they worked to move to the new on-line platform. Your kindness and thoughtfulness define our community at this difficult time.

    I am conscious that these are difficult days for students and staff alike. I am also conscious that this is a particularly worrying time for the many students who come from beyond our shores. So to our international students, I want to encourage and reassure you that the Notre Dame community is especially here for you. Our international office and student services team are reaching out and offering assistance and help. If you have particular concerns, do get in touch and let us know.

    And to our many students who hail from closer to home, do let us know if you are experiencing any problems or difficulties and how we might help. Our University will not close, but rather will remain open to ensure it can offer support to those students in need. That means:

    • Notre Dame follows government and public health advice. We monitor and implement that advice once issued; we will continue to remain open to our students.
    • The vast majority of our Schools are now online. The few remaining will be fully online by Saturday, 28 March. For timetabling, practical lab sessions, industry placements and any other academic support, please check with your Schools and/or Course Coordinators.
    • Notre Dame will continue to provide you with an excellent standard of education, delivered online. To you all, and in particular, to our first-year students, this is not our permanent way of teaching. We moved very quickly to online delivery modes as a result of this pandemic. The current online delivery is a temporary response to the crisis, and the physical face to face teaching will resume as soon as possible.
    • St Teresa’s Library (Fremantle) and St Benedict’s Library (Canavan Hall) (Sydney) will remain open. These will operate as a “one stop shop” in which you can get help with academic matters, student services, counselling or support generally. In Broome, we have also ensured that help will be available to you on campus. Social distancing and all health and hygiene measures will be followed and enforced.
    • We will continue to provide online and on-site services and support. You are very welcome on campus.
    • Our COVID-19 webpage is updated on a daily basis and can be accessed directly here. Here you will find advice and answers to frequently asked questions. For support and help in regard to your studies please check Blackboard and reach out to your Dean or Course Coordinator or visit our Student Support page.

    We will provide you with regular updates and do let us know how we can help. Thank you all again, and my thoughts and prayers are with you, your families and friends at this time.

  • 19 March 2020 - Connected. Online.

    Dear Students

    On 16 March 2020, the University commenced transitioning from face to face teaching toonline delivery of classes. As we have adopted a staggered approach, specific dates foronline teaching will vary from School to School, with all Schools over three campusesexpected to be complete by Saturday 28 March 2020. Further information on the transition is below. For real-time information concerning the transition of your classes, students should check with their Course Coordinators and Schools.

    The University’s schedule for transition is as follows:

    By Midnight Saturday, 21 March, the following Schools will have completed the transitionfrom face to face to online classes*:

    • Arts and Sciences - both Fremantle and Sydney
    • Education - both Fremantle and Sydney
    • Law - both Fremantle and Sydney
    • Medicine – Fremantle only
    • Nursing and Midwifery - Fremantle
    • Nursing - Sydney
    • Philosophy and Theology – both Fremantle and Sydney
    • Notre Dame Study Centre – both Fremantle and Sydne
    • yResearch Office – both Fremantle and Sydney

    By Midnight Saturday, 28 March, the following Schools will have completed the transitionfrom face to face to online classes*:

    • Business  – both Fremantle and Sydney
    • Health Sciences - Fremantle
    • Medicine – Sydney
    • Physiotherapy - Fremantle
    • VET Diploma of Nursing – Broome

    * some clinical and or creative classes/laboratories require a form of alternate on-campus attendance as notified by the School.

    Practicum and clinical  placement information will be available from the Schools. Please read our website or contact your School for further details.

    The University of Notre Dame Australia