E-mails from the ECON management team

This page contains an overview of the e-mails that have been sent from the management team to all ECON employees concerning the coronavirus situation. 

25 January 2021: Information to ECON staff about access to teaching facilities on campus

Dear colleagues,

As you know, the University management has decided to continue online teaching until and including March. This means that teaching with physical attendance can be resumed after Easter at the earliest. If the situation changes significantly in the intervening period, for instance if the restrictions are eased and it becomes possible for teachers and students to meet physically again, the University will revisit the decision. 

Depending upon the overall guidelines of the authorities, in case some degree of or full opening is permitted, the faculty management has also discussed the possibilities of being able to continue teaching with online elements for the remainder of the semester, but at the same time making sure that students have the opportunity to receive teaching with physical attendance. In other words, online teaching activities are likely to continue appropriately balanced with physical attendance for the rest of the semester. When we face a (partial) reopening, both the University management and the faculty management will discuss the topic again with regard to announcing the appropriate (balanced) format with both online and onsite teaching.

Access to campus when teaching

For the spring semester lecturers can, to the extent needed, conduct or prepare online teaching from their office on campus or the lecture rooms and auditoriums according to the teaching schedule planned so far. Note however that access to campus is entirely restricted to teaching and teaching preparations. Physical presence on campus continues to be generally restricted to these activities. In case access to campus is needed in connection with critical research activities, this should be cleared and approved by the section head in advance.

If you wish to conduct or prepare your online teaching on campus, you are required to inform the department - Please see this link for further details

Spring/summer examinations

Many of you have asked for information about the exams this semester. At present, the decision is that all summer examinations will be conducted as originally planned. However, given the current situation, there is a risk that all exams must be conducted in an online format. In particular, staff teaching courses with a planned on-site written exam are encouraged to consider this when preparing the students for both teaching and the exam. All S21 mid-term exams will be online.

CED workshops on online teaching

Last week, teaching staff received information about a number of different workshops on online teaching offered by the Centre for Educational Development (CED).

Please see link below  for more information about courses this week (week 4). Note that registration is required.

https://ced.au.dk/en/courses/

Best regards

Niels Haldrup

8 January 2021: Update about the teaching format when the spring semester begins

Dear colleagues,

The current stricter COVID-19 restrictions and measures apply until 17 January 2021. Tuesday, the announcement was also made that the distance requirement will be increased to 2 meters and the assembly ban will be reduced from 10 to 5 persons.

The framework, which was announced just before the New Year, still applies to both students and staff: staff must work from home, students do not have access to the buildings, and activities with physical attendance on campus can only take place exceptionally and for critical functions. There are certainly many - both students and staff - who are unfortunately quite challenged on the home front. Unfortunately, we are in a situation very similar to the situation in the month of March 2020.

We are all awaiting an official announcement from the authorities and from the university senior management team regarding the restrictions after 17 January and their implications for the teaching format, when the new semester starts in February. This announcement is expected next week.

However, you need to know what to expect now and projecting the current development with a potential increase in the spread of the English COVID-19 variant, you should start planning your teaching in accordance with an online format. My expectation is that this will be the format for at least the first two weeks of February and most likely for several weeks after. You should thus start preparing your lectures to commence in an online format. As said, the official announcement is expected next week and my anticipation is that there will be a high degree of freedom of method in preparing your online lectures.

I expect online teaching for several weeks but our hope is that eventually there may be a change of format with physical attendance (full or partial) in lectures on campus. We have to wait and see what the future will bring in terms of timing and format, but you should be prepared for a change.

The directors of studies are currently contacting the teachers regarding the exam format for the summer exams 2021. Given that a significant amount of teaching is expected to be online, this may affect your preferred exam format.

You will receive more information when available.

Happy New Year, and stay safe.

Best regards

Niels Haldrup

8 December 2020: University close down: Campus access, teaching, and exams

As you all know from the email sent by the university senior management team earlier today, the university is partially closing down to avoid the COVID-19 from spreading.

This email briefly details some of the local implications of the close down.

Working from home

As a consequence of the university close down, all employees work from home starting tomorrow Wednesday 9. December until 3. January 2021. Of course, you can collect books, computer, monitor etc. that you will need for your home workplace. The department entrances will be closed from Thursday at noon, but of course employees will continue to have access via their key cards. We will await instructions from the authorities regarding access to campus after 3. January.

Teaching

The tightened COVID-19 measures mean that AU will formally be closed from tomorrow, Wednesday 9 December, provisionally until and including Sunday 3. January 2021. This means that all teaching from 9. December 2020 and the period beyond will be converted to digital format. Teachers who still teach are asked to inform students via Blackboard about the change for their specific course. Please contact the relevant director of studies in case you face challenges with the change to the digital format.

Generally about exams

All exams in the winter term (January/February, incl. re-exams), will be converted to digital format in accordance with the previously prepared Plan B. In the extraordinary case where the head of department in consultation with the relevant director of studies judge that an exam cannot be converted to digital format, the pro-dean for educations will be contacted for a possible solution.

Written home assignments

These are carried out as planned

Oral exams and defenses

All oral exams and defenses will be held from 9 December online via Zoom with the same exam time as originally scheduled. Teachers should inform students via Blackboard how their exams will be conducted.

Written exams

All written exams scheduled Wednesday 9. December, Thursday 10. December, and Friday 11. December are conducted without changes in exam format and – time. That is, written on-site exams will take the usual physical format.

Starting 12. December, all written exams will be converted to digital format in accordance with Plan B for the specific course. Teachers should inform students via Blackboard how their exams will be conducted.

Please note, that for teachers who are “external lecturers”, the study administrators will inform students via Blackboard.

Thank you all, for your understanding for yet another change of direction. At least the current change of exam format covers the full winter exam period.

Continue to stay safe.

Best regards

Niels Haldrup

23 November 2020: Information about winter exams 2020/2021 - safety measures

Information about winter exams 2020/2021

Aarhus BSS is striving to ensure that students experience the exam forms that normally apply for the courses and as described in the course description. This means that the upcoming winter exams will follow the familiar and originally planned formats, i.e. oral examinations/defenses, written on-site exams, and take-home assignments.

Due to special circumstances, e.g. special exam formats or health issues, a number of exams may be converted into other formats or may take place online via Zoom (oral exams/defenses). During the next couple of weeks, these exams will be identified and re-planned by the relevant head of studies and the responsible lecturer/supervisor.

Additional information about the winter exams, including the special conditions that apply to people in at-risk groups, students in isolation and incoming and outgoing exchange students who are affected by travel restrictions/quarantine rules, etc. is available via https://studerende.au.dk/en/studies/subject-portals/aarhus-bss/ (FAQ for students in particular). Please also refer to the university’s guidelines for behaviour on campus: AU guidelines for behavior on campus.

Safety measures at oral and written on-site exams

It is important to emphasize that students, examiners, co-examiners and exam supervisors can safely attend in-person exams and that exams are conducted in accordance with the official COVID-19 rules and guidelines. To ensure safety and compliance with the official guidelines, the following measures apply:

Oral exams:

  • Distancing
    Seating arrangements will be in accordance with the official rules and guidelines and a distance of two metres between the student and examiner/co-examiner must be maintained.
  • Ensuring hygiene measures - sanitizing and cleaning
    Hand sanitiser is provided in the examination room and regular use of hand sanitiser is advised. Examination staff (examiner) must disinfect surfaces (e.g. table area and chairs) before and after each examination session. Examination rooms will be cleaned and disinfected between exams.
  • Face covering
    Both examination staff and students must wear a face covering (face mask or face shield) except when seated. Face coverings will be provided by the department. Upon request, an acrylic (plexiglass) desk shield to act as a protective barrier between the student and the examination staff can also be provided.

Written exams:

  • On-site exams
    During written on-site exams, students will be seated in accordance with the distance requirements, hand sanitiser is provided and the examination rooms will be cleaned and disinfected between exams.

Examiners, co-examiners and supervisors will receive more detailed information about the practical matters and precautions for exams taking place on campus from the study administrators. Please see the list of the study administrators for the study programmes at the Department of Economics and Business Economics: https://econ.au.dk/en/education/for-external-examiners/study-administrators/

20 November 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#47

Latest update on sound equipment

BSS IT has just informed us that the new sound equipment is now installed and up and running in all auditoriums at Fuglesangs Allé (see list below). Note that an updated instruction leaflet on how to use the new equipment is available in the auditoriums, via BSS ECON Teaching – Streaming and Online teaching and via this link: Guide to streaming in auditoriums

Auditoriums with new sound system:

  • 2624(E)-1
  • 2624(E)-2
  • 2628(M)-1
  • 2628(M)-2
  • 2628(M)-3
  • 2636(U)-1
  • 2626(G)-Harvard
  • 2625(F)-Fuglesangssalen
  • 2640(R)-Store Sal
  • 2640(R)-Lille Sal

If you experience technical problems with the new sound equipment, please notify BSS IT directly: bss.it@au.dk or 8715 0933.

Meeting facilities during Corona

To make sure that in-person meetings and other academic events can be held in a safe manner, the demand for the department’s largest meeting rooms is high. Especially during this period, 2632(L)-242 is a popular choice due to its large capacity (20 people). Therefore, please make sure that room bookings are up-to-date in terms of the number of participants. Also, if an event or meeting is cancelled or goes fully online, please remember to cancel your room booking in Outlook.

If you have questions regarding meeting rooms and maximum occupancy, please contact your section secretary.

Information from the weekly corona updates is also available via the ECON staff portal: https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

2 November 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#45

Clarification on the use of face masks: When to wear one and exemptions

Following the announcement, we received on Wednesday from the university management, students, employees and others must wear face masks when moving around indoors on campus. This applies in canteens, in hallways and in other communal areas etc.

However, it is not mandatory to wear a face mask in the areas where staff offices are located. From the beginning of next week (#45), only staff will have access to the section corridors and the access doors will be locked, so please remember to bring your key card. Remember to wear a face mask when leaving the section areas.

AU key card is required to enter the following office corridors:

  • 2620(A): 2nd floor
  • 2621(B): ground floor, 1st floor
  • 2622(C): 1st floor, 2nd floor
  • 2630(K): lower floor, 1st floor
  • 2631(K): lower floor, 1st floor (N.B. meeting rooms K101+K102 public access)
  • 2632(L): ground floor, 1st floor
  • 2635(I): 1st floor (COBE LAB offices)
  • 2640/2641(R): (NCRR)

Students are not allowed in the section corridors – and this includes meeting rooms. If you plan to have on-site supervision meetings, please reschedule to online meetings or arrange a meeting in the public areas or in one of the following meeting rooms: K101, K102 or the Faculty Lounge in building 2620(A). Face masks are not mandatory when seated and a safe distance is maintained, but, as previously announced, you should not hesitate to ask the student(s) to wear a face mask during a meeting, if you prefer. Face masks can be collected (by employees only) from the department's mailroom in building 2620(A)-03.

Restrictions on gatherings

Earlier this week, it was announced that meetings are restricted to 10 people. Please note that this restriction does not apply to events and meetings such as seminars and other academic, professional and administrative meetings as long as the guidelines for maximum occupancy, social distancing and hygiene are maintained. Also, employees, who are involved in planning meetings of more than 10 participants, should consider offering online attendance options in addition to in-person attendance.

Academic events with more than 20 participants must be approved in advance by the head of department.

If you have any questions concerning the new restrictions and guidelines, please contact your section head or the head of secretariat Anja Zimmerdahl.

Information from the weekly corona updates is also available via the ECON staff portal: https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

26 October 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#44

On Friday, the Government announced a number of new restrictions and recommendations to tackle the spread of COVID-19. In a statement made yesterday, the University management outlined how these affect the University. Please see this link: Information to all staff and students 25 October 2020. 

Face masks

As of Thursday 29 October, it is mandatory to wear a fear mask in all indoor communal areas on campus. Face masks can be collected from the department's mailroom in building 2620(A)-03 or by contacting your section secretary. Face shields and plastic gloves are also available upon request. Please contact Charlotte Sparrevohn.

Restriction on gatherings – from 50 to 10 people

On-site meetings are restricted to 10 people as of Monday 26 October. We are currently awaiting further information about the local implementation of this restriction.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

Last week (#43) several cand.merc. FIB students notified the University that they had tested COVID-19 positive. The BBS COVID-19 response team has initiated the appropriate measures. The students have only attended courses that are already scheduled as fully online. However, one of the students has attended an oral mid-term exam physically on campus Fuglesangs Allé. Both teaching staff and other students who have attended this exam have been contacted directly in order to identify close contacts. Please go to Aarhus BSS study portal to see the latest number of registered cases.

One-metre distancing requirements in effect in all teaching situations

As announced before the autumn break, the distancing requirement of min. one-metre now applies to all teaching – also exercise classes. Both staff and students must pay attention and make sure that the distancing requirement is maintained at all times. Also, you are encouraged to air and ventilate in smaller classrooms before and after teaching wherever possible. Do not hesitate to take action if it is not possible to adhere to the guidelines or send an email to covid19@econ.au.dk.

BSS IT-support – direct information to teaching staff in case of defects or incidents

It has been agreed that BSS IT-support must notify the relevant teaching staff directly in case defective equipment is detected in auditoriums or classrooms. If considered necessary (e.g. in case of prolonged repair work), BSS IT-support will also contact BSS Studieplan to find an alternative auditorium/classroom – teaching staff will be notified about any room changes directly by BSS Studieplan. 

Information from the weekly corona updates is also available via the ECON staff portal:    https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

9 October 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#41

COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations extended until 31 October

As you are probably already aware, the Danish Ministry of Health has extended the current COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations, which also affects the universities. They will remain in force until at least 31 October. Please contact your section head if you have questions or concerns in this regard.

For more information about the current COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations at the University, please follow this link: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/corona/

Streaming and sound

According to BSS IT, the technical issues in the Harvard auditorium have been solved. However, not all auditoriums have yet been equipped with the new sound system. Only in U1, M2, M3 and Fuglesangssalen is the new equipment in place. When we have an update on the remaining auditoriums, we will let you know.  

COVID-19 registration

Earlier this week, a message was sent to all BSS students via Blackboard in which they are encouraged to notify the University if tested COVID-19 positive. Teaching staff are also asked to remind the students during lectures about the necessity of following this procedure in case of infection and to complete the University’s COVID-19 registration form.

Please see this slide that you can bring to class or upload on your course page.

Fortunately, the number of registered cases among BSS students has dropped significantly this week. Only three students at ECON have reported ill; 1 student - HA. Soc 1st semester, 1 student - HA 3rd semester, 1 student - Economics and Business Adm., BSc, 5th semester.

Maintaining distance before and after lectures

The students have been informed about the rules and guidelines for behaviour on Campus Fuglesangs Allé. However, on few occasions it does become crowded outside specific buildings and auditoriums. Teaching staff are encouraged to remind the students to exit auditoriums via the designated exit only and avoid crowding before the beginning of class.

Information from the weekly corona updates is also available via the ECON staff portal:    https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

2 October 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#40

BSS IT Service and Support – status

BSS IT at Fuglesangs Allé is now fully operating again. In order to reduce the risk of transmission of infection for both BSS IT employees, academic and administrative staff and students, additional precautionary measures have been initiated to reduce physical interaction.

  • Work schedules at the helpdesk (2628(M)-21) have been organised into fixed teams to reduce the number of close contacts.
  • BSS IT employees have been instructed to pay increased attention to distancing, hygiene and sanitising when they support users who need face to face support, for example in the situation of a staff computer failure or other technical issues in the auditoriums and classrooms. 

Fuglesangssalen is now also fully equipped in terms of updated sound equipment. However, there still seem to be some issues with poor image quality when using the blackboard. If you experience very poor image quality in specific auditoriums, please notify BSS IT directly – then they will check if the settings of the visualizer/camera can be adjusted to improve the quality.

Sound and camera problems in the Harvard auditorium have also been reported. The problems with the screen have been solved, and BSS IT is working on a solution regarding the cameras.

COVID-19 cases among BSS students have now been announced

With some delay, Aarhus BSS is now announcing the number of registered COVID-19 cases among BSS students. Please go to Aarhus BSS study portal for more information; note that the format and content of information is still under development. The numbers will be updated on a daily basis. As mentioned earlier, the intention of this initiative is to ensure greater transparency of the number of registered cases across our study programmes for both students and staff.

Also, if a student contacts you directly informing you that he/she has tested positive, and this has not yet been officially reported, please encourage the student in question to fill out the registration form of COVID-19 infection. Without the proper legal notice from the student, AU is not allowed to initiate the necessary procedure. We will also encourage all lecturers to inform students (during lectures) about the necessity of following this procedure.

Face masks

As you are already aware, due to the government’s latest guidelines, we must wear a face mask in the canteens at Aarhus University – specifically the canteens that are open to the public. You may therefore also see that some cleaning staff wear face masks when cleaning the canteen facilities and where the density of people is high. This is only a preventive measure.

Information from the weekly corona updates is also available via the ECON staff portal: https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

1 October 2020: New regulations regarding teaching

Dear colleagues, teaching staff in particular,

Below you will find a message from the senior management team regarding new teaching regulations. Students will receive the information later today.

All teachers will now be contacted by the relevant director of studies about the possible change of the teaching format. This will particularly have an effect on classroom teaching in groups where previously there were no distance requirement.

Kind regards

Niels

----

Message from the senior management team:

Dear staff – teaching staff in particular,

On the advice of The Danish Health Authority, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science has introduced stricter social distancing rules for classroom teaching. This is a consequence of the high infection rate in society – especially among the young.

More specifically, this means that:

  • the one-metre distancing rule in lecture halls and classrooms now applies to all lecture halls and classrooms. 
  • However, an exception may still be made in certain very specific teaching situations that require physical attendance, for example lab work, physical exercises and clinical training.

What this means is that we and the other Danish universities must – once again – reorganise or restructure some of our teaching activities. We understand that this is by no means an easy task for you as teachers. 

The new guidelines place an even greater stress on the requirement to ensure a distance of one metre between every student in teaching situations in lecture halls and classrooms. We have been able to make exceptions to this rule by putting students in core groups, but this is no longer an option. However, we can still deviate from the one-metre requirement in connection with the exceptions listed above: situations in which physical attendance is necessary.

Together with your local degree programme management, you must now decide how much of your teaching the guidelines force you to reorganise. 

Students will be receiving an email soon announcing that the new guidelines may have consequences for their on-site classes. They will be asked to check Blackboard for more information. 

The updated guidelines will remain in effect until further notice. We expect that they will apply for at least for the rest of the semester, and presumably continue into spring 2021. 

You have already put an enormous amount of time and energy into making sure that our students have been able to continue their studies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic thus far. We have thanked you before, and we thank you again – even though it may sound hollow right now, in light of the fact that you are again being asked to reorganise your classes.

Nonetheless, it’s important that we adhere to these new guidelines, and we encourage you all to do what you can to help each other keep your spirits up and keep your classes running in the best possible way under these conditions. 

If you have questions, contact your immediate supervisor. While he or she may not be able to answer all of them immediately, every effort will be made to address them.

Kind regards,

The senior management team

Attachment: Retningslinjer for en ansvarlig håndtering af COVID-19 på de videregående uddannelsesinstitutioner

25 September 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#39

COVID-19 among BSS students

On Monday, Aarhus BSS will start announcing the number of registered COVID-19 cases on a daily basis on Aarhus BSS study portal. The intention of this initiative is to ensure greater transparency of the number of registered cases across our study programmes for both students and staff.

At the moment, approx. 30 HA students, 2 Oecon students, 3 Cand.merc FIN students and 1 Math-Econ student have notified AU that they have tested COVID-19 positive. The situation is being handled according to the Aarhus BSS guidelines and the Danish Health Authority, and the relevant persons have been contacted directly in order to identify close contacts. Lecturers who have taught the students have been informed as well.

Please note that, according to the BSS guidelines for handling COVID-19 cases among students, teaching staff cannot change the format of teaching unless informed to do so by the relevant director of studies.

Last week, three HA 1st and 3rd semester classes were asked to attend tutorials and lectures online only until further notice. Following guidelines from Aarhus BSS, the director of studies has now informed the affected classes that they are allowed to attend onsite teaching from Monday 28 September, if they have recovered and no longer are infectious in accordance with the instructions from the Danish Health Authority.

Safety when teaching

Many of you have asked that students are reminded to keep a safe distance when they approach teaching staff. The directors of studies will communicate this to the students via Blackboard and emphasise that the requirement of a two-metre distance between the student and lecturer must be maintained at all times - also when approaching teaching staff with questions and comments in the lecture room. We also advise you to remind your students to keep a safe distance before you begin your lecture.  

The students have been informed about the guidelines for behaviour on campus and in class via Blackboard and the BSS study portal. However, you may want to remind students to re-read the guidelines for student conduct at Fuglesangs Allé.

Face masks at meetings with students

If you have meetings with students in your office, e.g., counselling meetings, and it is not possible to maintain a safe distance, you should not hesitate to ask the student(s) to wear a face mask. Face masks can be collected (by employees only) from the department's mailroom in building 2620(A)-03.

Status from BSS IT support

As announced earlier this week, BSS IT Support has been affected by a number of confirmed cases of coronavirus. As the employees test negative, they are returning to the workplace. However, IT support will still be limited for some time to come due to shortage of staff. The current situation also means that the new sound equipment in Fuglesangssalen has not yet been installed. We will notify you when this is in place.

Clarification of remote working and ban of gathering

As stated in rector’s announcement on Friday, the university is not shut down. All on-site teaching activities continue as planned, and Campus Fuglesangs Allé is a safe workplace adhering to the official guidelines and guidelines for behaviour on campus. If you prefer to work remotely when possible, you should not hesitate to do so. Employees who feel unsafe should discuss any concerns with their section head.

Also, some of you have asked whether the ban of gathering, which has been reduced from 100 to 50, affects courses with more than 50 students. Just to clarify, the ban of gathering does not apply to teaching activities.

Streaming or onsite? Follow-up on students’ attendance

An informal inquiry among our teaching staff shows that, in general, the students show up when they have scheduled on-site teaching. However, lecturers teaching courses scheduled early in the morning or late afternoon have noticed that more students “choose” to attend teaching by streaming. Also, lecturers who record their teaching experience that less students attend the course on-site.

Information from the weekly corona updates are also available via the ECON staff portal: https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

19 September 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#38

Dear colleagues, 

This email is a brief follow-up regarding the new guidelines at Aarhus University that you were informed about yesterday by the Rectors’s office.

Just to summarize:

  1. All onsite teaching continues according to the schedule
  2. Employees can work from home to the extent possible
  3. Important work-related meetings and events can be held physically on campus
  4. All social events must be cancelled at least until 4. October.

It is important to stress that the university is not closed down, and employees are not forced to work from home. Hence, there will still be teaching and other activity on campus. Of course, we should have a continued focus on the general guidelines as well as the guidelines for behaviour on campus. Whether a work-related meeting is considered “important” is a decision made by the section head, possibly in consultation with the head of department and/or the head of secretariat. Please contact your nearest leader if you have any doubt.

COVID-19 cases

This week a number of HA students have tested positive for COVID-19. The Aarhus BSS COVID-19 response team has initiated a number of preventive measures and close contacts have been contacted directly. Also, the relevant lecturers who have taught the students have been informed. The procedure follows the general instructions to handle infection at Aarhus BSS. The situation and the development are being followed closely, and I will keep you informed in accordance with the current guidelines set by Aarhus BSS.

It is very important that possible COVID-19 cases amongst students are recorded in order for AU to initiate the necessary procedures. If a student contacts you directly informing you that he/she has tested positive, and this has not yet been officially reported, please encourage the student in question to fill out the registration form of COVID-19 infection.

Below is the ECON Corona Update regarding week 38.

I wish you a nice weekend.

Best regards

Niels Haldrup

ECON Corona Update Week #38

How to handle cases of infection among ECON students

The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in DK is rising sharply. It is important that we remind the students of the measures and guidelines that help prevent the transmission of coronavirus at campus, so we can carry on with our work and study. Please repeat to the students before giving your onsite lecture: keep a safe physical distance and sanitise properly after teaching.

Also, if a student contacts you directly informing you that he/she has tested positive, and this has not yet been officially reported, please encourage the student in question to fill out the registration form of COVID-19 infection. Without the proper legal notice from the student, AU is not allowed to initiate the necessary procedure.

Streaming: sound and iPads

BSS IT has confirmed that the new sound equipment in auditoriums U1, M2 and M3 is now in place. Fuglesangssalen is expected to be ready during next week. An instruction leaflet for how to use the new equipment is available in the auditoriums and via BSS ECON Teaching - Streaming and Online teaching.

Using an iPad is a useful alternative to the blackboard when streaming, and many of you have placed an order via BSS IT Webshop requesting an iPad. The orders are in process, but we cannot guarantee a day-to-day delivery due to a delay in delivery from the supplier. BSS IT Support will notify you directly as soon as your order is ready. Please contact Christel Brajkovic Mortensen if you have questions regarding IT-purchases.

Protective measures in our facilities allow grap-and-go breakfast rolls

Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our employees is paramount. Knowing that a clear set of measures have been designed to make this a safe workplace makes it possible to reintroduce the Friday breakfast rolls on a grab-and-go basis. Starting next Friday, you can collect a small bag with a roll, a knife and butter included. The grab-and-go rolls will be available to pick up in the staff lunchroom at 9am. Also fresh fruit will be available from next week – of course served according to corona regulations in a safe and hygienic manner.

Please use hand sanitizers where and whenever these are provided and please keep a distance – also when collecting your breakfast roll or a piece of fruit.

Finally, yet importantly, spray bottles to disinfect contact surfaces in your office after meetings etc. have now been placed in the hallway of your office building. Please remember to return the spray bottle after use.

Remember that you can always find information from the weekly corona updates via: https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/ 

11 September 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#37

Streaming: sound, lights and recording

BSS IT has just informed us that the technical equipment for improving the sound in the auditoriums is expected to be ready during next week (38). We will notify you immediately. Until this new equipment is in place, please share your experiences with (temporary) solutions that may improve the sound quality (see the information below about how to share advice and ideas).

In most lecture rooms, the lights (including power for the projector) turn off after some time if no movement is detected. This causes some problems, and the setting of the automated timer has now been adjusted and extended to a 4-hour duration.

This week a question concerning students’ permission to record lectures (sound and picture) was raised. A student must always ask permission before recording and the students are informed about this via Aarhus BSS’ study portal. Please see this link for more information: Recording a lecture.

Many of you may find it useful to be able to share experiences and useful advice about streaming and/or online teaching.  For this purpose, we have set up a platform in MS Teams which allows you to communicate directly. You can join by following this link: BSS ECON Teaching – Streaming and Online teaching. Please note that the platform is not a hotline for IT-support. It is meant to be a helpful tool for knowledge sharing within the department. When you share a post, it is a good idea to add a headline to your posting. This also makes it easier for colleagues to search for certain topics, e.g. “blackboard in Zoom”.

Meetings and events

As announced earlier this week, the general AU guidelines on meetings and events have been adjusted, and professional and academic events for employees may be held with physical attendance. This also includes events associated with teaching, such as PhD defences. All events must of course comply with the health authorities’ guidelines on physical distancing, hygiene and gatherings.

Whether physical attendance is appropriate depends on a number of different criteria and is a local management decision. Please find more information here, or contact your section head if you have questions concerning meetings and events.

Safety on Campus

Minimising the risk of infection is in the interest of everyone. Please remember to:

  • Keep a safe distance to others
  • Follow the rules of each building you enter
  • Regularly clean your hands (hand sanitiser is available in all shared facilities)

If you have any questions concerning the general guidelines, how to handle symptoms of infection or feel unsafe, please contact your section head or centre leader.

Remember that you can always find information from the weekly updates via:  https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

Also, please communicate any questions or comments that you may find relevant to others. Please contact your section head or the directors of studies, and they will forward your message.

Kind regards,

Anne Charlotte la Cour 
PA to the Head of Department

4 September 2020: ECON Corona Update - Week#36

Beginning this week, we will introduce a weekly ECON Corona Update highlighting possible issues and FAQs regarding the corona situation that have been raised in the foregoing week. The update letter will continue as long as it is relevant. You are encouraged to communicate any questions, comments or ideas that you find relevant to others. Please contact your section head or the directors of studies, and they will forward your message.

Some of you have forwarded advice and ideas on how to deal with problematic issues in relation to teaching and streaming. Please continue to share your experiences with online teaching/streaming with your colleagues. We are working on finding a proper platform for sharing ideas within the department. More information will follow in next week’s update.

Streaming of lectures

According to BSS IT, all lecture rooms at Fuglesangs Allé are now also fully equipped in terms of streaming equipment. BSS IT has also confirmed that the equipment in E1, E2, M1, M2, M3, U1, R (lille og store sal), Harvard and Fuglesangssalen is compatible with your headsets/microphones.

However, many of you have forwarded specific comments about the quality of the sound/speakers in the auditoriums or difficulties with using Zoom and the like. BSS IT has been informed about these specific problems, and they are working on finding better solutions as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we cannot give you an update on these issues yet, but we expect that a solution will be ready soon. Also, issues about lighting and the use of the blackboard in specific rooms have been mentioned this week, and BSS Building Service will follow up on this. An optimal functioning of the equipment for lecturing is of utmost importance, and we are in close contact with BSS IT and Building Services to make sure that these high priority matters are solved as quickly as possible. 

You can find useful information and good advice about streaming and the use of Zoom via this link: Streaming of lecturers.

Note in particular:

  • Avoid using the visualizer - show your slides in Zoom.
  • Use the blackboard less - include more things on your slides or consider using an IPad as an alternative to the blackboard.

(Standing tables to place your IPad on can be provided upon request. Please contact Christel Brajkovic Mortensen)

Social distancing in lecture rooms

If you experience that too many students are gathered in the lecture room, you must ask a number of the students to leave the room. The students can find an alternative room via Resource Booker or go to the study area in the S-building where they can follow the lecture by streaming. The students have been notified via Blackboard that Resource Booker is open again.  

The poster with COVID-19 guidelines on hygiene is now displayed in all auditoriums and lecture rooms - please remind the students to follow these guidelines. Also, please remember to remind students to use the emergency exit when leaving the large auditoriums.

Handling COVID-19 symptoms or infection

Aarhus BSS has set up guidelines on how to handle infection and symptoms of COVID-19 among staff and students: Handling infection or symptoms among staff and students.

If you have any questions regarding the local guidelines for handling infection or symptoms at ECON, please contact your section head or centre leader. 

Safety and sanitiser

If you have held a meeting in your office, it is a good idea to disinfect all contact surfaces after the meeting. Spray bottles will be available soon in the hallway of your office building. Please remember to return the spray bottle after use. Also, remember if you observe a lack of sanitising equipment at campus, please send an email to covid19@econ.au.dk  

Remember that you can always find information from the weekly updates via:  https://econ.medarbejdere.au.dk/econ-information-about-corona/

Kind regards,

Anne Charlotte la Cour 
PA to the Head of Department

28 August 2020: Guide for lecturers and behaviour on campus

Dear colleagues,

Gladly, as you have already been informed by the senior management team this afternoon, it has been announced that the health authorities have lifted the special COVID-19 restrictions in Aarhus. This means that all of you can again take care of your tasks on campus starting Monday morning. This must of course be done in accordance with the current guidelines for conduct on campus, for holding meetings, for the use of office areas, meeting rooms and common areas, etc.

In relation to study start activities and teaching, this means that they continue as planned.

I am also writing this email to clarify the guidelines for behaviour and conduct on campus when the new semester and lectures start up next week. Also, information will be provided regarding a number of other issues relevant for the completion of lectures, including among other things:

  • The safety of employees
  • The general frames and directions for completion of lectures
  • The tasks and responsibility of lecturers
  • Technical issues in connection with streaming and consent from students

Please see the following links:

  1. Guidelines for behaviour in connection with on-site teaching
  2. A3 poster: Covid-19 guidelines – when using the lecture room
  3. Power point slides: ECON COVID-19 slides (DK and ENG)
  4. Local guides to streaming

2, 3 and 4 are explained further in 1. You are asked to adjust 3 in accordance with your own lecture preferences and to upload both 2 and 3 on the Blackboard page for your course.

If you have any urgent COVID-19 related matters, please send an email to covid19@econ.au.dk.

Except from maybe MBA and HD, the semester start will be very unusual, and students as well as lecturers face many potential challenges. Thank you for your approach to finding solutions. There will be bumps in the road, but I hope that together we can solve the challenges that arise. Presently, we all have a responsibility that lies above and beyond our work during normal times and I appreciate your contributions to take this responsibility.

I wish you a good semester start, and I wish you and your families a nice weekend.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

21 + 26 + 27 August 2020: Important information about streaming of lectures

Dear colleagues,

I apologize for the many emails, but I find this to be an important addition to my previous email (see below).

We have now found a solution with Building Services such that E1 and E2 are unlocked from 8 am. to 10 pm. from today Thursday through Sunday this week. This gives you the opportunity to go to these auditoriums to try out the streaming equipment before you start teaching next week. The auditoriums are booked for the Intro week during daytime Thursday and Friday, but even though you may teach in different auditoriums, the access to E1 and E2 will hopefully make you more comfortable with the equipment. Again, I will encourage you to team up with a colleague if possible when you try out the equipment.

Best regards,

Thomas


From: Thomas Quistgaard Pedersen <tqpedersen@econ.au.dk>
Sent: 26. august 2020 16:32
To: #ECON Alle <alle.econ@list.au.dk>
Subject: RE: Important information about streaming of lectures

Dear colleagues,

A brief follow-up to my previous email (see below):

  • Streaming equipment is installed and ready for use in the auditoriums on Campus Fuglesangs Allé, i.e. in M1, M2, M3, E1, E2, G (Harvard), Fuglesangssalen, U1, R1 (Store sal) and 124A (Lille sal). Likewise in auditoriums in the North-East corner of the main campus (e.g. Tvillinge-auditorierne). In some of the auditoriums the equipment has been taken down in connection with the Intro week, but it will be ready for Monday morning.
  • Unfortunately, streaming equipment will not be ready for use in the other lecture rooms before week 37 due to a delay in delivery from the supplier. Consequently,
    • The courses where all students can physically be in the lecture room while still adhering to social distance restrictions can proceed as planned with onsite teaching, but it will not be possible to live-stream the lectures before from week 37. Fortunately, this is the case for the vast majority of courses.
    • For a small number of courses taking place in these lecture rooms, not all students can physically be in the lecture room at the same time. To ensure physical presence on campus, a potential solution in these courses have been to alternate two groups of students between online and physical presence. Unfortunately, this is not possible in the first week of the semester. Those of you who are affected by this (only a handful of courses in the oecon and cand.merc. programmes) will be contacted directly by either Michael Svarer or myself to find a solution for the first week.     
  • A few thoughts on how to plan teaching when streaming. The main message is: Keep it simple.
    • Maybe include a few more things on your slides than usual and use the blackboard a little less.
    • Try to avoid using the visualizer. The camera does not have a preset pointed on the screen (you show your slides through Zoom). You can manually point the camera on the screen, but due to the angle of the camera, it is not easy to see what is shown through the visualizer. Instead, you can copy the relevant material into your slides.
  • We completely understand if some of you are uncertain how this will work in practice, especially until we get the ball rolling and you have tried doing lectures in this way the first couple of times. Some have asked for assistance in connection with the lectures given that we now also have to think about Zoom and cameras. As always, you can of course use the IT-support if you experience technical problems in connection with your lectures. However, there are also other ways, we can address the uncertainty you might have:
    • Go to the lecture rooms before your first lecture to try out the equipment. Rooms are unfortunately more or less fully booked this week due to the Intro week, but I still encourage you to try to find an available room. If not this week then early next week before your lectures if possible. Consider teaming up with a colleague such that you can take turns being the lecturer and a student to see what they can actually see behind the screen.
    • Team up with a colleague (including PhD students) for the first couple of lectures such that they help confirming that everything is working as it should and help getting assistance from the IT-support if needed.
    • If you have or know of a TA/RA that is familiar with e.g. Zoom and can be of assistance in the beginning of the semester then this is also fine. The department will pay for such assistance from TAs/RAs.

Later this week, we will send out a longer email with more information about teaching this autumn, including how to deal with consent from students in connection with streaming/recording, how to deal with breakdowns in the streaming equipment etc. 

Best regards and still with hopes of a smooth semester,

Thomas


From: Thomas Quistgaard Pedersen <tqpedersen@econ.au.dk>
Sent: 21. august 2020 19:54
To: #ECON Alle <alle.econ@list.au.dk>
Subject: Important information about streaming of lectures

Dear colleagues, 

As previously announced, a decision has been made that all teaching in both auditoriums and smaller teaching rooms will be streamed for the sake of absent students including students in the risk group and students in quarantine. The only exception for not streaming lectures is if you as a teacher know for sure that all students are present in the room.

In the past week, a careful inspection has been carried out for all auditoriums and teaching rooms at Campus Fuglesangs Allé to ensure that the streaming equipment is well-functioning and set in a way that enables all students participating via streaming to see what is written on the boards.

The overall assessment is that the equipment is well-functioning, but that you as a teacher should pay attention to the following:

  • The lecture must take place via a Zoom session, where you show your slides, software program etc. via the ‘share screen’ option. This enables students following the lecture online to participate.
  • Since some students attend via Zoom you should pay attention to the use of cameras. As a lecturer you can toggle between two or three (depending on the auditorium) presets that displays e.g. a specific blackboard or gives a broader overview of the auditorium (useful if you make little use of the blackboard). A guide to these presets, including pictures of what the students can see when using each of these, will be sent out via email next week and they will also be available in the individual auditoriums. The inspection of the auditoriums has shown that there are good opportunities to use the blackboard also with live-streaming. For the smaller lectures rooms, we expect that only one preset of the camera will be relevant and hence, we do not expect a guide will be necessary for these rooms.
  • Regarding the use of microphone the general advice is: If you teach in a midsize (e.g. M1) or smaller (e.g. E1) auditorium and usually teach without a microphone since you speak loud and with a clear voice, you can continue to do so. You should just be aware that the system microphone is located on the desk (in M3 in the middle of the first row), which implies that you should be careful not to talk into the blackboard or place yourself in the sides of the auditorium. For the larger auditoriums (e.g. M3) and if you normally speak with a relatively low voice, then you should use the microphone. Information about individual headsets will follow soon.

If you as a teacher experience problems when starting or during a lecture, you can call an IT supporter as usual. The IT department has strengthened its emergency staff to ensure speedy support.

To support the conduct of streaming, a number of guides have been developed regarding the connection of the streaming equipment, recording instructions, and uploading of video to Blackboard.

The guidelines can be seen here: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/administration/it/main-academic-areas/aarhus-bss-it-support/streaming-and-recording-of-lectures/ 

These guidelines will be continuously updated with relevant information as BSS-IT learns about potential technical issues, so until you start your lectures, please visit the guidelines on a regular basis. At the time of writing this email, the guidelines say that the cameras have three presets (right, left and middle blackboard). This is not the case for Campus Fuglesangs Allé, where we have made more specific presents to ensure as much blackboard space as possible, cf. my earlier comment about local guidelines to camera presets.  

It will be possible to have the equipment presented and tested in two ways:

  • Week 35: Three hands-on demos in auditorium M3: Monday 24 August at 10-12 and Wednesday 26 August at 8-10 and at 13-15. You just show up, but not necessarily from the start of each session, as the equipment is presented several times during each 2 hours session.
  • Individual testing of the streaming equipment can be arranged continuously after individual contact to the IT support. For further information, see https://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/administration/it/main-academic-areas/aarhus-bss-it-support/streaming-and-recording-of-lectures/ 

Regarding Zoom, the guides mentioned above also include how to set up a link for the individual lectures. The Study Administrators have prepared a link to Zoom in Blackboard (this represents the first two bullets in the guide on “Creating a Zoom meeting in Blackboard”), but the lecturer still needs to create the relevant links for the individual lectures. Please follow the guidelines for assistance in this respect. If problems arise in this respect, please contact your Study Administrator or the IT support.

I fully acknowledge that live-streaming of lectures is a new and for many a very hard challenge. Having worked with the equipment, I am, however, confident that once we get started and gain some experience with the streaming equipment and how to give lectures via Zoom, that this will be a good solution for those students that cannot be present in the lecture room. Of course, as we add more technical equipment to our lectures, more things can potentially break down. However, as mentioned the IT department have strengthened its emergency staff to ensure speedy support, so I expect that technical problems can be solved swiftly such that we can deliver our high-quality teaching as usual.

Best regards and with the hopes of a smooth semester,

Thomas Q. Pedersen

21 August 2020: Update on local response team, headsets and protective equipment

Dear colleagues,

Following the statements made yesterday, I want to provide information about how the department will respond in case there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among staff or students at campus. Below you will also find information about a number of local measures that the department has initiated in order to keep everyone as safe as possible and to reduce the spread of the virus e.g. face masks and personal headsets for teaching in large auditoriums.

When we return to campus, I want to encourage everyone to continue to keep social distancing and follow the official guidelines and restrictions at campus Fuglesangs Allé to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks. It is vital that our employees feel safe at work at campus.

The majority of employees will continue to work from home for the next couple of weeks, but as I stated yesterday academic staff with teaching duties may come to campus to teach their classes and for other necessary purposes including attendance in next week’s meetings regarding the physical display and guidance of streaming equipment.

  • Personal headsets will be distributed to employees who will be teaching in large auditoriums and lecture halls this autumn. Please collect your headset from your personal shelf in the department's mailroom in building 2620(A)-03. Unfortunately, a few employees will not be able to get a headset on Monday due to a delay in delivery. But we expect that all headsets are delivered within a few weeks. Please contact Christel Brajkovic Mortensen if you have questions regarding headsets.
  • The department offers face masks to all employees. Face masks can be collected from the department's mailroom in building 2620(A)-03. Please note that at present AU has not made it compulsory for students to wear face masks.
  • Face shields and plastic gloves are also available upon request. Please contact Charlotte Sparrevohn for more details.
  • BSS Building service has made sure that distancing requirements in all auditoriums and classrooms comply with the official guidelines. Also BSS Building Service has placed sanitisers in hallways and other shared facilities and enhanced cleaning is done. 

Handling infection among staff at ECON
As mentioned in a previous correspondence, the university senior management team has approved a common preparedness to handle symptoms or COVID-19 infections amongst employees and students, and at Aarhus BSS, the faculty has established a BSS COVID-19 response team.

The ECON management group has also decided on a local procedure in order to handle cases of infection among department staff effectively and rapidly. The ECON local response team consists of Head of Department Niels Haldrup, Head of Department Secretariat Anja Zimmerdahl and PA to the HoD Anne la Cour.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you are strongly encouraged to inform your head of section, the head of department and the head of department secretariat immediately, and they will initiate the necessary steps such as contact tracing, cleaning and communication. 

If you are in doubt how to act if you experience COVID-19 symptoms at work, please see AU’s latest guidelines for how to handle symptoms or contact your section head.

Information about infection among students
If cases of infection are confirmed among students at Aarhus BSS, these are handled by the BSS response team in close collaboration with the department(s) in question (the head of department, directors of studies and head of department secretariat). The BSS response team and department(s) in question decide on the specific allocation of tasks.

If a student who has tested positive for COVID-19 contacts you, you need to inform the head of department, the head of department secretariat and the relevant director of studies immediately. Furthermore, you must encourage the student to notify the studies administration by filling out AU’s COVID-19 form.

Read more about how AU is handling infection among students: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/corona/for-staff-members/how-to-handle-covid-19-symptoms-and-infection-among-students/

Please contact your section head or Anne la Cour, PA to the HoD, if you have any questions. 

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

20 August 2020: COVID-19 update

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to elaborate on the mail you received earlier today from the senior management team. Also, I would like to inform you about what further information material regarding the autumn teaching that you will receive the coming days.

We are facing some knotty challenges as a result of the COVID-19 situation. The 19 August announcement from the Danish Patient Safety Authority means that we can proceed with the planned orientation week activities. On the other hand, all employees must continue to work remotely through 4 September as much as possible.

Teaching and academic intro activities:
The academic intro activities and teaching – and generally speaking, the welfare of our students – are high priorities for the university. The general principle is that students will be allowed on campus to the extent that this is possible while still adhering to the current COVID-19 guidelines from the healthcare authorities.

The new semester at AU starts on Monday 24 August. This means that from this day forward, academic intro activities and teaching will take place as planned.

The majority of teaching will be streamed for the benefit of students in the risk group and the students who may be quarantined during the semester. Also, this solution helps accommodating the reduced capacity in auditoriums due to the distance requirements. Therefore, streaming equipment has been purchased, and tomorrow you will receive a mail with links to instructions on how the equipment works and plays with Zoom and Blackboard. You will also be informed of times next week for physical display and guidance of the equipment, if you want.

As stated in the mail from the senior management team, these activities must take place in compliance with the guidelines from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. These include:

  • Making sure that everyone adheres to the social distancing guidelines
  • Making sure that hand sanitiser, hand washing facilities, etc. are available.
  • Limiting the number of people present in the same room at the same time as much as possible
  • Thorough cleaning.

Aarhus University is responsible for making sure that it’s possible for everyone to adhere to the guidelines.

To teaching staff:

If a situation arises in which you don’t feel that you are able to adhere to the guidelines, you must take action. For example, a lack of hand sanitiser, inadequate ventilation or too many people gathered in the same room.

Teaching staff have a responsibility to – and are authorised to – cancel teaching activities under these circumstances, and to resume these teaching activities only after the situation has been rectified. If necessary, you should contact the local COVID-19 response team (more information follows), who will assist in rectifying the situation.

Students and teaching staff share a responsibility to ensure everyone’s safety and security. It’s important that everyone contributes to creating a culture of shared responsibility for the common good.

You may want to remind students that it’s extremely important that they remember to maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene in relation to contact surfaces – not just in classrooms, but also during breaks and in their encounters with other students at the university. You might also encourage students to contact a member of academic staff if they notice something problematic.

Guidelines for student conduct on campus have been drawn up.

Tomorrow you will receive further information about the local COVID-19 response team and local actions and directions in the event that employees or students become infected.

In addition, next week we will inform you in more detail about a number of issues regarding the completion of the autumn teaching.

Introductory programmes for new students:
The planned intro programmes for new students will take place during orientation week – naturally, with heightened attention to social distancing and hygiene. Tutors must work with the vice dean for teaching and the directors of studies to ensure that the activities can take place responsibly. No alcohol will be allowed at orientation week activities. Tutors have been reminded that they have a responsibility – and authority – to stop activities if it is not possible to adhere to social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

Working from home:
As an institution, we take our social responsibility to curb the spread of infection seriously. We encourage employees –regardless of job description – to work from home, as long as it is possible for you to perform your work without major problems. For the time being, this applies through 4 September.

Naturally, academic staff with teaching duties may come to campus to teach their classes and for other necessary purposes including attendance in next week’s meetings regarding the physical display and guidance of streaming equipment.

As the senior management team has explained, academic staff members may come to campus in connection with their research if they are dependent on facilities or resources at the university. Individual researchers should discuss their situation with their immediate supervisor.

The same applies to employees with administrative tasks. Administrative employees who need to be on campus to perform their work may come to campus by agreement with their immediate supervisor.

In addition, employees in high-risk groups may still make an agreement with their immediate supervisor to work from home.

It’s important for all of us– students and employees – to interact with each other in person. Meeting on campus contributes to our social, professional and academic well-being. Even though there will still be major restrictions in Aarhus, it’s positive that we will be able to hold orientation week starting on Monday – with moderation and consideration.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. The better job we as an institution and individuals do of curbing the spread of COVID-19, the more opportunities we will have to see each other and enjoy each other’s company in the coming weeks and months.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

8 August 2020: Corona update

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday I wrote in my newsletter that our actions and plans are subject to abrupt changes in policy and guidelines in response to the real time development of the coronavirus spread. You have all received the information from Rector and the senior management team last night (see below), which effectively means that regrettably we return to a partial university closedown for a period of two weeks and you have to work from home during this period. In case you have a particular need to be on campus to work, it should be approved by your nearest leader (section or center leader). If you have planned events to take place physically on campus during the next two weeks, please inform your nearest leader and discuss the options for cancellation.

Planned exams the next two weeks will be completed according to the schedule.

It is expected that phase 4 of the reopening of the society will be partially postponed. However, PM Mette Frederiksen has also announced that the plans for the reopening of universities will continue. This means that the current work to settle the teaching format of the individual courses continues according to the schedule and is planned to be announced by the end of next week. Given the situation, everybody should be prepared to change the teaching format with short notice if new directions are decided.

Let me reiterate, that we hope that a quick, effective intervention will contribute to curbing the spread of the infection, so that we can return to the university without limitations, and once again fill our campus with life.

Stay safe.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

4 June 2020: Teaching in the fall 2020

Dear colleagues,

In previous correspondence, I promised more information during this week about the teaching plans for the fall 2020. Unfortunately, things take time, and even though MGMT and ECON have agreed on the overall frames, we have to await the necessary logistics and final approval by the Dean.

Let me briefly describe our challenges:

We face a semester where there is going to be large pressure on auditoriums in particular and teaching rooms in general. There are several reasons for this, including that many local students’ exchange stays have been cancelled while we still expect to welcome most of the incoming exchange students. In a joint decision between the Department of Management and the Department of Economics and Business Economics, we have now determined a general frame about how to deal with electives and mandatory courses:

Electives
Many of the elective courses in the fall 2020 at both the bachelor’s and master’s level are expected to a large degree to be conducted as online/virtual courses. For the cand.oecon program, core courses are in this respect considered mandatory courses. The exact format and which courses will be virtual, on-site, or blended learning have yet to be decided.

Mandatory courses
The decision regarding electives alleviates part of the pressure on the auditoriums and teaching rooms in general. However, we need to do more, and if social distancing restrictions are still in play in the fall, we need to do much more. Hence, a number of other solutions to make better use of the auditoriums have to be considered. Presently we consider, that all study cafés will take place in an online/virtual format. Colleagues using this format on HA/BScB-courses in the spring have reported enough success for this to be a viable option. Other initiatives are also being discussed at the moment in order to fully exploit the available capacity.

The case of social distancing restrictions
If social distancing requirements are not lifted for the fall semester, we are faced with a very severe reduction in the capacity of our auditoriums and teaching rooms in general. Hence, if this turns out to be the situation in the fall, we also have to rethink the format of our mandatory courses and other on-site course activities. All first semester classes (both at bachelor’s and master’s level) will be prioritised as on-site teaching as much as possible in order to give students a good start to their studies and facilitate the forming of strong social and academic ties among the new students.

It is as yet unclear how exactly we can accommodate these requirements, but we expect that there will be an element of both online and on-site teaching, e.g. with alternating half of the class attending a given lecture/tutorials onsite, while the other half attends online, i.e. there should most likely be a live-streaming (and recording) of the lecture/tutorial.

The consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak are going to be present for a long time in our teaching. We will continuously monitor the situation very closely and together with the heads of studies discuss appropriate adjustments and initiatives. As soon as we have more detailed information we will let you know.

I thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

29 May 2020: ECON department re-opening 2 June 2020

Dear colleagues,

The department management looks forward to the re-opening of the campus facilities at Fuglesangs Allé on Tuesday 2 June. Everyone is working hard to re-open the buildings and make sure that safety is in place.

We want to encourage all employees to show consideration and help ensuring compliance with the overall AU rules and guidelines and new, socially-distanced ways of working. Our approach must be careful and considered. In the course of the next couple of weeks, section heads will get in touch with employees individually. Employees who feel insecure about returning to office due to health conditions or other personal circumstances are asked to contact their section head as soon as possible in order to discuss any concerns.

In connection with the planning of the re-opening, a number of questions regarding access to offices, meeting rooms and common facilities at Fuglesangs Allé, locally, has been raised. Together with the local liaison committee (LSU) and the occupational health and safety representatives, the department management want to stress the following guidelines for the re-opening of the department:

The buildings at campus Fuglesangs Allé

Employees at the department are allowed to enter all buildings at campus FSA whilst keeping appropriate distance and considerate measures. Please remember your AU access card as all entrances will be locked through the day.

Offices

For those employees who share an office with one or two colleagues, we will make sure that a distance of at least 1 metre can be maintained. For questions concerning office space, please contact your section head or Christel Brajkovic Mortensen chbm@econ.au.dk.

Meeting rooms

In all meeting rooms, it will be indicated how many people are allowed in the room. Note that the ban on gathering more than 10 people does not apply to workplaces. In-person meetings and other onsite events with more than 10 participants are allowed as long as these comply with the distance requirements. This also applies to our lunch rooms.

External partners and students

Students and external partners do not have access to the university’s buildings except when participating in selected exams and/or teaching activities that require physical attendance. In-person meetings with external participants and meetings with students must be kept to a minimum and must take place virtually whenever possible. If an in-person meeting with students or external partners is absolutely required, you are obliged to escort the person in and out of the building.

Shared facilities

Hand disinfectant dispensers are placed at all communal facilities incl. building entrances and meeting rooms, the coffee machines, water dispensers, copy machines etc. Employees are encouraged to limit staying in areas with much traffic. The canteen in the S-building is closed for the time being, so you must bring your own lunch. You can use the refrigerators in the kitchenettes. All meeting rooms, toilets, kitchens, and contact areas will be cleaned on a daily basis; offices will be cleaned weekly.

Please do not hesitate to contact your section head or PA to the HoD, Anne la Cour, anncou@econ.au.dk if you have any questions.

We know that many of you are awaiting information about the guidelines and conditions for the autumn term teaching activities. We will provide further information in this regard early next week.

Happy Whitsun holiday.

On behalf of the management team, 

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

26 May 2020: ECON reopens Tuesday 2 June 2020

Dear colleagues,

Following the reopening of the Danish society which includes Aarhus University, the faculty management team at Aarhus BSS has decided that we will work towards opening up campus for employees starting on Tuesday 2 June 2020. Until then, only those with an approved purpose can enter campus facilities.

At AUs  corona web site you can now find the newly published rules and guidelines in connection with the reopening regarding access to offices, meeting rooms and common facilities, teaching and exam activities etc.

An intensive effort has now been initiated to prepare the work place for our return. The planning locally at Campus Fuglesangs Allé includes employee involvement via the local liaison committee (LSU) and the occupational health and safety representatives (arbejdsmiljørepræsentanter). A meeting with the different parties has been scheduled later this week.

Meanwhile, Aarhus BSS Building Services is working on getting the premises ready for use from Tuesday 2 June.

Among other things, Building Services is responsible for ensuring:

  • That the premises have sufficient protective equipment such as hand disinfectants, disinfectants and paper for cleaning as well as paper towels
  • That posters with the guidelines laid down by the authorities (the authorities’ five overall tips for avoiding infection) are hung up and that the meeting room capacity is assessed.
  • That all contact points are properly cleaned - such as door handles, offices, kitchen facilities, toilet facilities, meeting rooms and common space areas.

It has been decided that employees can access the buildings with their access card, but that students cannot access the buildings unless they are taking part in scheduled oral examinations or selected courses.

Many questions are likely to arise as we plan our return to the department, and I know that many of you have looked forward to returning while others may have some concerns. I encourage you all to familiarise yourselves with the joint AU rules and guidelines in connection with the reopening. We will keep you updated as new information becomes available. If you have questions, please contact your nearest leader or Anne Charlotte la Cour.

Even though the university is now reopening in accordance with the strict rules and regulations, I do not expect you all to immediately return to your office full time. Unless your nearest leader asks you to do otherwise, I suggest that you continue to work some days from home during the week until the situation has normalized; please attempt to spread those days evenly across the week.

I am looking forward to seeing you soon.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

22 May 2020: University reopening

Dear colleagues,

Following the political agreement on 20 May and the email from Rector’s Office yesterday, you have all received the good news about the reopening of the university.

The University and Aarhus BSS have now started the work regarding the practicalities associated with the opening. It will be necessary to work out the frames for the reopening, which include appropriate guidelines and directions about the access to offices, meeting rooms and other common facilities and so on. The guidelines will naturally be formulated in compliance with the instructions of the healthcare authorities and will affect our daily work routines and the way we gather and meet.

On Tuesday 26 May we will discuss the guidelines for the reopening at Aarhus BSS in the faculty management team. The plan is to provide further information to employees in the middle of next week, and I ask for your patience until then.

I am looking very much forward to seeing you all again soon. This will not be “back to normal”, but at least it will be a step in the right direction.

I wish you and your families a nice weekend.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

14 May 2020: Phase 2 of controlled reopening of the Danish Society

Dear colleagues,

Aarhus University is now embarking on phase 2 of the controlled reopening of the Danish society. In this phase, the universities are to some extent allowed to conduct teaching and exams which require physical attendance. As part of phase 2, each university has been allocated a quota specifying the maximum number of students and academic staff members allowed at the university at the same time. For Aarhus BSS, this means that the following number of students and employees are allowed on campus at the same time: 133 students, 71 lecturers/examiners/co-examiners, 20 technical-administrative employees.

In April, the faculty management team at Aarhus BSS decided to prioritise on-site oral exams, including oral defences, when these became a possibility.

Only the boards of studies can make decisions on whether or not to convert exams back to the original format. On 12 May 2020, the school’s nine boards of studies made the decision of whether or not to re-convert exams on the individual degree programmes.

After careful consideration of the pros and cons of changing oral exams and oral defenses back to the original onsite format, the individual study boards for the main educations at our department have made the following decisions:

  • Oecon/PolØk: All oral defenses of theses will continue as planned online, while a few oral exams will be changed back to the original onsite format, requiring physical presence on campus.
  • HA/BSc/Cand.merc: All oral defenses of theses as well as all oral exams will continue as planned online.
  • MBA: All oral defenses of theses as well as all oral exams will continue as planned online.
  • HD: All oral defenses of theses will continue as planned online, while a few oral exams will be changed back to the original onsite format, requiring physical presence on campus.

The (co-) examiners for the courses, where oral exams change back to the original format have been informed about the decision.

In addition to the educations mentioned above, we also take part in educations located at other departments, such as HA(jur.) and Cand.merc(jur.) at the Law department and Mathematics-Economics at the Mathematics department. Examiners from our department involved in these educations will be informed about the relevant study boards’ decision directly if the oral exams and/or oral defenses change back to the original onsite format.   

The AU senior management team previously decided that students should be notified of any reconversion from online into on-site exams at least three weeks in advance. However, the senior management team has since then specified that it is up to the board of studies whether or not to maintain the three-week notification in connection with the conversion from online into on-site exams. This means that some online exams have been converted into on-site exams with effect from 18 May.

At Aarhus BSS, we will administer the on-site exams in accordance with the health authorities’ guidelines. Universities Denmark is also expected to agree on a set of guidelines that will apply to phase 2 of the reopening. These guidelines will be published on the AU website as soon they are ready.

Aarhus BSS Studies Administration is preparing an updated exam schedule, which will be published on the school’s study portals as soon as possible. The students will receive information via their AU email and on BlackBoard. Here they are encouraged to check their study portals regularly to find out which exams are on-site and which are online. We are also working on gathering all the practical information related to the on-site exams i.e. access, guidelines on the premises, available protective equipment, relevant contact information, etc.

For specific questions concerning particular exams I will refer to the relevant director of studies.

See also the announcement about the phase 2 reopening from the AU senior management team: https://newsroom.au.dk/nyheder/vis/artikel/en-yderligere-begraenset-aabning-af-aktiviteter-paa-universitetet/

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

7 May 2020: Information about digital exams

Dear colleagues,

Please find below (in Danish and English) information about digital exams from the Aarhus BSS Study Administration.

Best regards

Niels Haldrup

ENGLISH VERSION

Dear lecturer,

At Aarhus BSS’ Corona info for employees, you will find links to information about digital exams:

The website for external co-examiners will be updated regularly with relevant information about digital exams, and below you can see the email that the Aarhus BSS Studies Administration has sent to the students at Aarhus BSS about digital exams.

…………

Dear students

An updated exam schedule for the ordinary summer 2020 exams has now been published. Due to the physical shutdown of AU, all exams have been converted into digital exams.

You will find the updated exam schedule at your degree programme’s study portal - students.au.dk - under “Exam” and “Exam schedules.”

In our FAQ for students at Aarhus BSS, you will find important information for students about the corona situation. The FAQ will be updated on an ongoing basis with information about teaching and exams. Find the FAQ here

Kind regards,

Aarhus BSS Study Administration

 

DANSK VERSION

Kære underviser,

Aarhus BSS’ Corona-info for medarbejdere finder du links til en række informationer, der vedrører afvikling af digital eksamen:

Censorportalen på Aarhus BSS vil løbende blive opdateret med relevant information om afvikling af digitale eksamener, og nedenunder kan du se, hvad der er sendt ud til de studerende på Aarhus BSS fra Aarhus BSS Studier om afvikling af digital eksamen.

…………

Kære studerende

Der er nu kommet en opdateret eksamensplan for de ordinære eksamener i sommeren 2020. I planen er alle eksamener, grundet den fysiske nedlukning af AU, blevet omlagt til digitale eksamener.

Du kan orientere dig i den opdaterede eksamensplan på din studieportal – studerende.au.dk - under menupunktet ”Eksamen” og ”Eksamensplaner”.

På vores FAQ på BSS kan du finde vigtig information om, hvordan du forholder dig som studerende under Corona-situationen. FAQ’en vil løbende blive opdateret med information om undervisning og eksamen. Du finder FAQ’en her.

Med venlig hilsen

BSS Studier

5 May 2020: HoD News

Dear colleagues,

We are all eagerly waiting for the next move of the Government to be announced later this week regarding a possible reopening of the country, which hopefully will include the universities in one form or other. Presently, we are much focussed on the immediate challenges and tasks especially in connection with finishing this semester’s online teaching and the preparations for online exams. Right now, we do not know the conditions and frames for the start-up of the fall semester, including the arrangements welcoming new students. In this respect, the university is awaiting the options following a possible reopening. A likely scenario is that teaching in smaller groups and classes (including exercises) can be onsite, whereas larger classes must be taught online. Let’s see what the future decisions will bring.

We hope for a good settlement of the upcoming exams, and it is also my hope that the online teaching during the semester and the form of exams will not have a negative impact on students’ performance. The learning objectives of each course remain unaffected by the present situation. I know that the study councils and lecturers have a concern about the risk of exam cheating, especially in connection with take-home exams. We should take advantage of all possible measures approved by the University to avoid exam cheating. Though, I believe that the vast majority of students are responsible and honest individuals. Our focus on the risk of exam cheating should not affect the exam in a way that harms the overall assessments of an entire cohort of students; it is the exam answers in relation to the learning objectives that are assessed. Common updated exam rules and guidelines for students to avoid the risk of exam cheating are presently being formulated at the university level. These rules and guidelines will be included on the relevant websites when available.

Last week information regarding the running of oral exams using Zoom was disseminated by email and via the ECON corona website. Updates regarding technical issues in relation to exams in Zoom are presently being prepared and will be announced very soon.

AU Summer University 2020 will run as planned, although a number of courses will have online format, especially when the lecturers are international. With respect to our own lecturers who teach Summer University courses and other courses to be held in August, we are awaiting the development to see whether onsite teaching can take place on campus or whether these courses have to take an online format as well.

It is important that our experience with online teaching and exams is evaluated from the perspective of both students and lecturers. Particular assessment of online teaching has already been integrated in the usual teaching evaluations to get an idea about what works and makes sense in terms of learning and to receive appropriate student feedback of different online teaching formats. Aarhus BSS will follow up to gather the experience from the lecturers and TAs.

There is no doubt that online teaching will become an integrated element of the university teaching of tomorrow. We need to find an optimal format for integrating online teaching with more traditional teaching. Let us approach this experience in a positive spirit to gain flexibility and improved measures of learning. Ultimately, in addition to flexibility, a proper design may potentially free up lecture room and auditorium capacity and thus provide better teaching schedules for both lecturers and students.

Thank you, everybody. I have had online meetings with several of you recently. Despite the challenges that you face, I also see from your side a positive spirit, a commitment, and openness in solving the tasks and learning new ways of working.

I look forward to seeing you all in person in a not too distant future.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

Links:

30 April 2020: Oral exams in Zoom

Dear colleagues,

The first virtual oral defences of Bachelor’s projects and Master’s theses are approaching, and at university, faculty and department level we are in the process of preparing guidelines etc., so that we can be ready to carry out oral defences as well as other oral exams in Zoom. Below is an overview of who is doing what in connection with the preparation of the exams and as regards carrying out the exams:

Preparing the exam

  • All lecturers with an AU-email must create/activate an account in Zoom (link to guide: https://www.notion.so/Getting-started-with-Zoom-us-at-Aarhus-University-d538923d7c8c4543a0208a5448ce5902). Lecturers without an AU-email will receive instructions from the administrative contact person of the course or the Bachelor’s project/Master’s thesis.
  • The Zoom meetings/oral exams in Zoom will then be prepared by the administrative contact person, so that the meetings will be ready for the examiner.
  • In connection with defences of Bachelor's projects/Master's theses, the administrative contact person will e-mail the link to Zoom to the examiners, the students and the external examiners together with an exam plan/list of the order in which the students are to be examined. In connection with other oral exams, the examiners and the students must access the exam via a direct link in Blackboard. The external examiners will receive an email with a link to the exam from the administrative contact person.
  • In connection with oral exams, the examiner must inform the students about any special circumstances related to the conduct and form of the specific exam that the students should be aware of in advance.
  • The lecturers must coordinate ALL announcements to students and external examiners with the administrative contact person before announcements are sent out.

Carrying out the exam

  • On the day of the exam, the examiner is responsible for letting students and external examiners in and out of the waiting room in Zoom.
  • Security in relation to carrying out exams via Zoom has been assessed, and it has been concluded that it is safe for the external examiner and the examiner to discuss the grade via Zoom and that Zoom can be used in connection with confidential projects/theses/exam assignments.
  • Guidelines concerning other issues such as technical problems during the exam are being prepared and will be available as soon as possible via this link: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/corona/eksamen/ (currently in Danish only).

Useful links

In case there are updates and additional information in connection with the conduct of oral exams, such information can be accessed via the ECON corona website.

Please direct possible additional questions to the relevant director of studies or Thomas Quistgaard Pedersen.

Thank you for your collaboration and contribution to smooth the completion of the upcoming exams.

We wish you all a nice weekend.

Kind regards,

Niels Haldrup     Thomas Quistgaard Pedersen      Anja Zimmerdahl

17 April 2020: HoD News

Dear colleagues,

As you know, due to the continued physical shutdown of the University, it has been decided to convert all on-site exams in the ordinary summer exam period to a digital format. Hence, all exams should be rescheduled to a format where the exam can be undertaken as a written take-home or as an oral online exam. Exams that are already scheduled as take-home exams will continue as such, of course.

The BSS Corona Task Force has set up a number of general principles in order to convert to digital exam formats. These are listed below. Based on these general principles, the directors of studies will contact the lecturers regarding the further process to determine the exam format for the individual courses. The deadline is going to be very short: On 22 April the departments and the directors of studies must submit the recommended exam format for all courses across all educations to the BSS Task Force for comments, and subsequently the proposals will be discussed and approved by the respective study boards on 30 April 2020 at the latest.

The general principles for rescheduling of exam formats are the following:

  • Take-home exams remain take-home exams
  • Written on-site exams are converted to take-home exams
  • Oral exams should be held online via Zoom
  • External examiners participate in exam assessments despite the rescheduling and according to the original schedule
  • Closed-book exams should be reconsidered by the individual lecturers and should, as a rule, be converted to open-book exams
  • The format for the re-exams should be decided jointly with the ordinary exam and, as a rule, should be the same as the ordinary exam
  • As a rule, written exams should be converted to online exams with the same time length.

It has also been decided that all oral defences of Bachelor’s and Master’s theses should take place online using Zoom.

CUL and Aarhus BSS IT will prepare an instruction manual for students and lecturers regarding the use of Zoom for online exams. Also, a webinar is being planned for lecturers in order to prepare and instruct lecturers /examiners about the digital exam format. All lecturers/examiners are encouraged to participate in the webinar prior to the exams. More information will follow.

There are still a lot of details and considerations to be made, e.g. about how to treat hand-written exams, how many students to examine per day in an oral digital format, and so on. The directors of studies will inform about these further details. Also, do not hesitate to contact the relevant director of studies with any questions that you may have and which potentially should be forwarded to the BSS Task Force.

Teaching and supervision
As you know, teaching and supervision for the rest of the semester will continue as distance learning. You have done a great job converting your courses to an online format; thank you for that. Now we need to continue this impressive work all the way to the finish line, so please do your best to stick to the announced schedules without delays in uploading screencasts and other teaching material and in general to continue to have a strong focus on teaching and supervision quality.

I wish you and your families a nice sunny weekend, and continue to stay safe.

Niels Haldrup

Attachments:
Framework and process for converting the 2020 summer exams into a digital format

 

8 April 2020: Teaching and exam update

Dear colleagues,

As a consequence of the announcement by the prime minister on Monday 6. April, the universities will not be included in the first wave of the reopening of the Danish society and hence the university shutdown has been extended to at least 10. May.

On this background the university has decided that all on-site summer exams should be converted to digital exams so that the semester schedule can be concluded as originally planned. If it becomes possible to open the university physically later this semester, the study boards will have the option of administering exams in the original form in very special cases where there are strong arguments in favour of doing so. In this event, students should be notified at least three weeks in advance. However, I do see this event to be rather unlikely to occur and you should plan for digital exams.

It is also a result of the continued shutdown, that teaching and supervision continues online for the rest of the semester with continued focus on maintaining the high professional level. It is my impression that lecturers and supervisors are doing a really great job and have adapted quickly and smoothly to new teaching methods; this is highly appreciated.

Regarding the upcoming exams, the head of department from ECON and MGMT will collaborate with the directors of studies regarding the practical implementation of exams and the guidelines under which oral and written exams should be conducted. The BSS corona taskforce will be involved as well in a coordinated process. Subsequently, these guidelines will be discussed in the study boards which have the ultimate decision power regarding the change of the exam format. Meetings in this regard will be scheduled shortly after Easter and lecturers and supervisors will be informed subsequently. We will have a dialogue with the individual lecturers regarding the exact exam format. However, please do NOT inform your students about the format of the exams until approval by the relevant study board. This is to avoid rumors circulating amongst students.

Meanwhile, I would like all lecturers and supervisors to reflect on the possible format of their digital exams and the exam questions. In particular, if written exams happen to take the form of digital take home exams, you should consider carefully how you formulate the exam questions. For instance, to avoid exam cheating, an answer to a question should include a detailed explanation of how the result is obtained. But note that the exact exam format has yet to be decided.

Since teaching and exam activities for the rest of the semester will now be online, it will take a while before we can gather again in a physical environment. And even then, we should expect our interaction to be restricted. There has already been some joint research activity within the department in terms of virtual (zoom) seminars. I hope that you will continue and expand these activities and also take advantage to meet with colleagues in a virtual setting for other discussions. This includes the opportunity to discuss the possibility of applying for research funding via the many calls that are presently being advertised with focus on covid-19 related research.

The current situation is challenging for all of us. I hope that you will have the opportunity to take a break and have a well deserved, pleasant, and relaxing Easter vacation.

I wish you and your families a happy Easter. Continue to stay safe.

Kind regards,

Niels Haldrup

 

6 April 2020: Information for lecturers and supervisors

Dear colleagues,

Please see the information below for lecturers and supervisors that the Aarhus BSS corona task force has asked me to distribute:

Let me also take this opportunity to inform you that we are awaiting decisions regarding the potential (partial) opening of some physical activities at Aarhus University. Please note that you are asked not to show up on 14. April unless you are otherwise informed. Hence you are asked to prepare and continue your distance learning activities after Easter.

Pro-rector, Berit Eika, has distributed the following information to the students: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/corona/senestenyt/

Also, see the Easter greetings from rector, Brian Bech Nielsen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOY1fJSDaxA&feature=youtu.be

I plan to send out a news letter in the middle of the week before the Easter days to provide you with updated information.

Kind regards,

Niels Haldrup

 

27 March 2020: Newsletter

Dear colleagues,

We are now at the end of week 2 after the university close-down. As you all know, the close-down period has been extended (at least) until 13. April 2020, that is, the week after the Easter break. I hope that you will take time off with focus on your families during the Easter break. The times are challenging for everybody, but I am fully aware that the combination of family and work life under the same roof is an especially challenging combination. You have my sympathy, and I hope you can handle the situation and find a balanced family-work life routine that works for you.

Our work continues with distance learning, on-line supervision, and many of us also have numerous Skype meetings. This is not optimal, but it seems to work and you are doing a great job. I would again like to express my appreciation of and impression by the way that you have rapidly managed to adjust to this situation, which will be the work environment for yet some weeks. To be frank, it is also likely to affect the way that we are going to organize exams in May and June.

Important information regarding insurance for employees located abroad and international employees based in Denmark.

I have been asked to convey important updated insurance information for employees abroad and international employees in Denmark. Please study this information, Trips and Stays Abroad, which can be accessed from the AU corona website.  

Job openings and Recruitments
In the management team, many tasks follow schedule. In the next few weeks, a dozen of new junior colleagues will sign post doc and assistant professor contracts with our department. The majority of the positions are funded from external funds. The recruitments will significantly improve the department gender balance, and there will also be a good balance between domestic and international recruitments. When all contracts have been signed, I will provide detailed recruitment information to the entire department.

An assessment committee is presently being formed for the professorship opening in “Economics”. The assessment committee regarding the associate professor openings is expected to deliver their report after Easter.

Wage negotiations
The yearly wage negotiations continue in accordance with the original schedule and will be completed during the two weeks following Easter.

Excelsior
The work with preparing rollout of the new norm system platform, Excelsior, continues. The original plan has been slightly delayed because the Excelsior program developers participate in the University IT task force after the university close-down. There will be a trial period for the management team as users before the department members will obtain full access.

External funding
A number of private funds (including Carlsbergfondet and Innovationsfonden) have made calls for research funding applications to initiate research on the implications of and recovery after the corona virus outbreak. The calls typically have a short deadline and a fast track assessment. I will encourage you all to consider how your own research can potentially contribute to the societal and global challenges that we are facing currently and in the coming years. As academic economists and social science researchers, it is our obligation to assess how we can contribute to analyses and solutions to the current problems. Consider how external funding can help fertilizing your research ideas in this respect. Please contact Helena Skyt Nielsen if you want to discuss your ideas and receive some advice on research funding options.

Regarding corona updates, see:

AU Information about Corona

BSS Information about Corona    BSS Information for Students and Lecturers

ECON Information about Corona

I wish you and your families a nice sunny weekend. Take care.

Kind regards,

Niels Haldrup

 

20 March 2020: Week 1 - Assessment of distance learning

Dear colleagues,

First of all, we would like to thank you once again for the efforts you make to handle teaching and supervision via distance learning under the current extraordinary situation. We fully understand the challenges you face, and given the circumstances, we are impressed how fast you have converted to a teaching and supervision environment that is new to most of you. The conditions are not optimal, neither for you, nor for the students, but we hope and believe that there will a mutual understanding.

Let us summarize some of our experiences and attention points following the first week of university close-down.

Teaching

  • It is important that you follow your original lecture plans. Replacement lectures and delay of lecture plans will not be an option. The reason why we cannot postpone lectures is that there is a non-negligible risk that the physical close-down of the university continues beyond the end of March. Consequently, it will not be possible to catch up when we resume access to lecture halls and classrooms. Courses and exams are to be completed within the semester according to the original plan. The students’ studies must not be delayed.
  • You have been given the freedom to choose the relevant digital tools that you find can support the students’ learning. We are confident that you find suitable solutions that go beyond self-study and reading slides. We still have an obligation to deliver high quality teaching despite this difficult situation, and we are confident that you do so, although in a slightly different format than usual.
  • Many different tools are used to support online teaching, including videos, discussion boards, zoom, skype, screen casts, voice-over, extended notes, online Q&A sessions etc. You can get technical support at BSS-IT: bss.it@au.dk or phone 8715 0933 and pedagogical support at CUL: culsupport.bss@au.dk. Also, please continue to share your experiences with your colleagues in this google document. If you experience challenges in terms of capacity constraints or have other attention points, please report those in the google document and we will forward the information to the appropriate administrative units.
  • We ask you to provide as much information as possible to your students about the course you teach, including how you plan the teaching to take place, and what you expect from the students. It is important that we keep our students in the loop, such that they know what to expect from the course when moving forward. We encourage you to have an on-going dialogue with the students regarding the organization of the course in terms of your online teaching approach in order to learn what works well for the students and to see where potential adjustments may be useful.

Exams

  • Exams will not be cancelled and the learning objectives will not change. Therefore, it is important that we continue teaching as originally planned. The exam plan is expected to be ready for publication in week 13 and will be published then as usual.
  • If the close-down continues, it is possible that exam formats will change, e.g. to take-home exams. This will be resolved in due time if it turns out to become relevant. More information will follow in this case.  

Other

  • The faculty management team has decided that for now it is not possible to book lecture halls and classrooms to prepare distance teaching nor for replacement lectures. This is to ensure that when the university is no longer under physical close-down, we can give priority to certain activities that are more critical than others. For now, it does not make sense to plan such activities in the nearest future given that we do not know when the physical close-down will end.            
  • As previously informed, the faculty management team has decided to cancel all activities organized by the student organizations until the end of April, including arrangements with companies and other external partners. Departmental activities and events on campus, including research seminars and similar have also been cancelled through April. The various research groups and sections are likely to commence the organization of virtual internal research seminars for PhD students and faculty.

Again, we would like to thank you for your commitment and creativity to solve the current tasks.

We wish you and your families a nice weekend. Take care.

Niels Haldrup                     Thomas Quistgaard Pedersen                      Anja Zimmerdahl

 

20 March 2020: IMPORTANT: IT SECURITY

Dear colleagues,

IT-security is always of utmost importance and particularly in the current situation, we are extremely sensitive and vulnerable to cyber criminals.

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS:

IT-security: Important information for everyone working from home.

IT-sikkerhed: Vigtigt at vide, når du arbejder hjemmefra.

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

18 March 2020: HoD News

Dear colleagues,

The current situation is extraordinary and aggravating. We are all doing our best to isolate ourselves, to keep social distance and generally to follow the instructions of the authorities. Still, we are closely connected, and you are doing an exceptional job to continue your work under very difficult conditions. On behalf of the department management team, I would like to thank you all for your amazing efforts to do your job to teach and supervise students from a distance and to prepare them for the exams that are scheduled to take place according to the plan within a couple of months. I trust that you will continue keeping a high moral, because the current state will not end tomorrow. So far, the university close-down is for two weeks, but this period is most likely to be extended further. All departmental events until the end of April have been cancelled or postponed unless you are otherwise informed.

As you have already been informed, the department has set up an ECON corona web portal, where we gather information from the university, the BSS faculty management, the BSS study response group, and the department. This is to avoid spamming you with emails. We suggest that you check the page often as it will be updated regularly. Emails will thus be more sparse in the future.

The ECON corona web site is also the channel where part time lecturers (DVIP/eksterne lektorer) can follow the information flow.

Again, your strong commitment is very much appreciated. Thank you.

I wish you and your families all the best. I know that particularly the combination of being a family with small children and working from home can be a challenge. Remember to keep social distance, but also to take a walk in the forest or along the beach because the spring is now coming after all.

Niels Haldrup

16 March 2020 16:02: ECON communication

Dear colleagues, 

At the website https://medarbejdere.au.dk/corona/ you can follow information updates from Aarhus University in connection with the current extraordinary situation.

We are presently setting up a department website to gather information that is particularly relevant for employees at Department of Economics and Business Economics, including information w.r.t. teaching, supervision, distance learning, and exams. The plan is to have this department website as a platform and archive with relevant information that will be regularly updated. More information follows shortly.

The department management team has 3 regular weekly (virtual) meetings plus ad hoc meetings. The BSS faculty management team has daily (virtual) meetings and a BSS Study Response Group (SRG) has been established across the departments at Aarhus BSS. Information that is relevant for employees following the BSS-SRG-, faculty-, and department management meetings will be relayed via the website mentioned.

When you have questions related to our educations, please contact your section head or the relevant director of studies. The questions and issues raised which need further clarification will be forwarded to Thomas Quistgaard Pedersen, who will be in charge of the further coordination and communication to the department when needed. Similarly, other questions may be forwarded to Anja Zimmerdahl, who will consider when a general notification to the department will be needed regarding the issue. 

Best wishes to all of you.

Stay safe. And keep social distance.

Best regards

Niels Haldrup

14 March 2020 16:27: IMPORTANT: AU-staff and students abroad

Dear colleagues, 

AU university director, Arnold Boon, has asked me to forward the message below. Please note, that there is both a Danish and an English version of the message.

The university has also asked us to gather an overview about the number of employees at ECON (including PhD students) who are presently on a university business trip (both shorter and longer visits). We have been asked to do so as quickly as possible and will try to gather this information via the section heads. However, if you are an ECON employee or PhD student presently not in Denmark on a business trip, please send me a short email with your location and expected period of being away from Denmark. Please use the address nhaldrup@econ.au.dk with cc to Anja Zimmerdahl, ach@econ.au.dk .

Kind regards

Niels

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Kære medarbejdere

Der er mange informationer i disse dage, da Corona-forholdsreglerne løbende bliver ændret. Senest i aftes med myndighedernes udmelding fredag den 13. marts om indrejse og udrejse. På den baggrund skærper Aarhus Universitet sin position i forhold til rejser.

Medarbejdere på Aarhus Universitet

Aarhus Universitet fraråder på det kraftigste tjenesterejser til udlandet, og vi opfordrer lige så kraftigt alle ikke bosiddende medarbejdere i udlandet til at komme hjem hurtigst muligt. Kontakt din nærmeste leder for at vurdere din situation, hvis du er i tvivl. Det bliver sværere og sværere at komme til Danmark, og der kan komme til at opstå kapacitetsproblemer også i andre landes sundhedssystemer. Medarbejderne skal holde sig orienteret via Udenrigsministeriets retningslinjer

Bosiddende medarbejdere i udlandet anbefales ikke at rejse hjem, med mindre de føler sig utrygge eller frygter at strande i udlandet. Også her skal man holde sig orienteret via Udenrigsministeriets retningslinjer (link ovenfor).

Orientering i forhold til studerende

Studerende og ph.d.-studerende, der er på længerevarende ophold i udlandet, anbefales at overveje, om de ønsker at fastholde udlandsopholdet eller at rejse hjem – begge dele er en mulighed. I beslutningen bør følgende overvejelser indgå:

  • Kvaliteten og kapaciteten af det lokale sundhedsvæsen, hvis du skulle blive syg.
  • Tidspunktet for din planlagte hjemrejse. Hvis den er nærtforestående, kan du risikere, at flytrafikken er ramt af mange aflysninger, når du skal rejse.
  • Har du stadig adgang til undervisning på dit værtsuniversitet? Hvis ikke, kan det være en god ide at komme hjem nu.

Hvis du vælger at blive, skal du følge de anvisninger, du får fra de lokale myndigheder og din værtsinstitution. Du skal holde dig orienteret på Udenrigsministeriets hjemmeside og tilmelde dig danskerlisten, så du hele tiden modtager de nyeste opdateringer om dit værtsland. 

Denne information ligger til de studerende på au.dk/corona, som løbende opdateres. Også for jer medarbejdere. Men gå gerne til nærmeste leder, hvis du har spørgsmål.

Denne helt usædvanlige situation er svær at håndtere på mange måder. Vi må gøre vores bedste. Det var et af budskaberne fra rektor Brian Bech Nielsen i nyhedsbrevet fra universitetsledelsen i går. Se videohilsen fra Brian Bech Nielsen

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Dear employees,

At the moment, there is a lot of information as the coronavirus precautions are changed on an ongoing basis. This was also the case last night, Friday 13 March, when the authorities made the announcement regarding travels to and from Denmark. Based on this, Aarhus University takes the following position in relation to travelling.

Employees at Aarhus University

Aarhus University strongly advises against official trips abroad, and we also strongly encourage all members of staff who do not live abroad to return to Denmark as quickly as possible. If in doubt, please contact your immediate supervisor for an assessment of your situation. It becomes increasingly difficult to get to Denmark, and capacity problems may occur also in the healthcare system in other countries. Members of staff must stay informed via The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines

Members of staff living abroad are not recommended to return to Denmark unless they feel unsafe or fear that it will not be possible for them to return to Denmark. In this case, it is also important to stay informed via The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines (link above).

Information in relation to students

Students and PhD students who are on long-term stays abroad are recommended to consider whether they want to continue their stay abroad or they want to return to Denmark – both options exist. In making this decision, the following should be considered:

  • The quality and the capacity of the local healthcare system in case you get sick.
  • The specific time of your planned return to Denmark. If you are planning to return to Denmark in the near future, there may be a risk that a lot of planes are cancelled when it is time for you to go home.
  • Is it still possible for you to participate in teaching at your host university? If not, it may be a good idea to come home now.

If you choose to stay, you must follow the instructions from the local authorities and your host institution. You must stay informed on The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s website and sign up on the ‘danskerlisten’ to ensure that you receive the latest updates about your host country. 

This information is available for students on au.dk/corona which is updated on a regular basis. And for AU staff as well. If you have questions, please contact your immediate supervisor. 

This quite unusual situation is difficult to handle in many ways. We must do the best we can. This was one of the messages from Rector Brian Bech Nielsen in the news from the senior management team yesterday. See the video from Brian Bech Nielsen

Arnold Boon
Universitetsdirektør

13 March 2020 20:54: Updated information

Dear colleagues, 

I hereby convey some updated information regarding the university close-down due to the coronavirus.

Close-down of Danish borders
Starting Saturday 14 March at noon, the Danish government will close national borders for entry. Danish citizens and people with a recognized purpose will be allowed continued entry. The latter includes international employees at Aarhus University. We encourage AU employees who presently are not in Denmark to consider returning to Denmark but refer to the instructions given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nobody is allowed to exit the country in the service of the university.

Information for teaching staff at Aarhus BSS
Below is a document (in Danish and in English) from Aarhus BSS regarding the on-line teaching to be undertaken starting on Monday 16 March:

Please read the document carefully. According to the instructions, the teaching must be conducted according to existing timetables. My interpretation is, that this applies in case lectures are live streamed. Otherwise, there are naturally other options for distance learning. Please be creative in the way that you plan your lectures.

Within the department we wish to establish a forum, where lecturers can share their views and experiences about how to conduct distance learning as regards both courses with and without exercise classes instructed by TAs. This will take form as a Google document, where everybody can inform their colleagues at the department about how they tackle this difficult situation. We encourage you to participate to the extent possible. You can access the document here.

University updates in real time can be found here: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/en/corona/

Please note that you can also subscribe to the News Letter from the Senior Management Team.

The situation is exceptional. Thanks again for your collaboration and your understanding.

Best wishes to you and your families. Take care of yourselves and each other.

 

Have a nice weekend.

Best regards
Niels Haldrup

12 March 2020 13:58: Updated information

Dear colleagues, 

In light of the extraordinary situation that we are facing, we would like to convey some information about the current status at AU/BSS/ECON. Unfortunately, the situation is such that we cannot at this stage answer all questions; we hope that you will show some understanding.

We are following the general guidelines set out by AU – see here. The guidelines will be updated regularly, and you will be informed via email when this occurs.

Access to Campus Fuglesangs Allé

  • Campus will be closed and locked, and you should work from home. If you need to pick up stuff from your office, you can do so, of course, but you should work at home unless the management asks you to do otherwise.

Teaching and supervision

  • According to the AU guidelines, all students have been ordered to stay at home for at least two weeks. This means that all teaching activities that we cannot undertake from home are cancelled until further notice. This includes teaching being streamed from AU. 
  • AU/BSS/ECON is well aware of the most critical parts (e.g. courses with midterm exams next week) – and the priority is to get these aspects sorted out first. Those who are directly involved have already been contacted (or will be so shortly).
  • The IT-department are working hard to ensure that we get solutions to facilitate online teaching. You will be notified as soon as we have a solution. You can already now start considering how you can use a virtual teaching setting in the best way once the technical solution is in place. You have freedom to consider various approaches. Maybe recording and uploading a 20-30 minute audio/video with the essential points about the central aspects of the curriculum makes more sense than a full, live lecture in front of your webcam. For those with smaller courses or tutorials, please consider using Blackboard to interact with students in writing instead. Again, streaming from AU’s locations is NOT an option while this situation is ongoing. 
  • If students contact you, please refer them to AU’s webpage about the situation. If you have many students, consider making an out-of-office default in Outlook referring all general questions about the situation to this page. There is really not much more you can do, and anything else you might convey to students based on speculation or well-meaning initiative can risk creating unnecessary rumours and spreading misinformation. Therefore, please also refrain from proactively sending out information to ‘your’ students whatever their specialisation/programme.
  • Regarding supervision, this should all be converted to Skype/phone calls.
  • The changes due to the current situation will NOT have any effect on budgeted hours in the norm-system (Excelsior).

The members of the ECON management team are in continuous contact and monitor the development on an ongoing basis - We will send out more information when available. If you have any questions, please contact either Anja Zimmerdahl or myself, Niels Haldrup. Please consider your requests - the system is under pressure.

I appreciate that you all show responsibility and flexibility under these particular circumstances. 

Best regards
Niels Haldrup

11 March 2020 14:43: Measures to limit the risk of coronavirus infection

Dear colleagues, 

This morning, University Director Arnold Boon sent an e-mail to all employees about new measures at AU to limit the spread of coronavirus. In addition to those measures, the department would like to bring in the following concrete steps by which each of us can help limit the risk of infection: 

  • Events, including seminars
    Events with external guests/lecturers (international and Danish) which are planned to take place until mid-April must be cancelled or postponed for an indefinite period. Note that this period may be prolonged. As regards internal seminars, we will leave it to the organiser to decide whether the seminar should be cancelled/postponed or not. 

  • Working from home
    Under normal circumstances, we find it important that all employees are present at the workplace as much as possible and preferably every day. However, in light of the current situation with the coronavirus spreading relatively fast, we find it natural that employees work from home to a larger extent than usually.

  • The canteen, fruit and breakfast rolls
    All employees are encouraged to limit staying in areas with much traffic such as the canteen in the S-building. Furthermore, the department has decided to cancel the delivery of fruit and breakfast rolls for the time being.

  • Hand disinfectant
    Please remember to use hand disinfectant at the coffee machines and other places where hand disinfectant dispensers have been placed. 

For more information about the coronavirus, please visit AU’s corona website for employees: https://medarbejdere.au.dk/corona/ and the national corona website: www.coronasmitte.dk

If you have any questions that you cannot find the answer to via AU’s or the national corona website, please contact Head of Secretariat Anja Zimmerdahl by e-mail:azh@econ.au.dk

Best regards
Niels Haldrup