The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

ITS announces new online learning and assessment measures

Karl Azzopardi Wednesday, 8 April 2020, 12:08 Last update: about 3 months ago

Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli today announced an overhaul of the methods by which students attending the Institute of Tourism Studies will be assessed.

Just like all other educational institutions, ITS has closed its doors due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Malta. Online learning measures have been taken which also required a change in the method of assessment.

"The project for the online platform did not start because of this situation but two years ago this government reached an agreement with other countries so that Maltese and foreign students can use ITS as a school that will pave the way for their career in tourism," said Farrugia Portelli.

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This measure allowed the institution to be one of the first to immediately adapt to online platforms during this crisis.

ITS chairman Carlo Micallef said that Malta's tourism industry started this year off on a good foot with an increase of 16% more tourists compared to last year in January.

"This pandemic affected the markets that Malta attracts and also the tourism industry as a whole. However, we are working to keep Brand Malta on everyone’s mind across the world by uploading material online such as Maltese recipes which are getting a lot of attention," he said.

He explained that the important thing is that Malta attracts tourism of high quality, one that is profitable for the country. This is where ITS comes to prepare students to be the future of the industry and students seem to be responding to the changes very well.

ITS CEO Pierre Fenech spoke of the mechanisms that are being used to facilitate online learning for students and how methods of assessments have been adapted to these changes.

He explained that since examinations will not take place at the end of the year ulterior methods of assessment for theoretical modules will be used.

Students will be contacted by their respective lecturers about assessments and the option for a resit is still in place. He explained that any resits for January exams that were supposed to take place in June are being postponed to September.

With regard to practical exams, he said that although these were cancelled, thanks to the dedication of lecturers, information is still being given to the students who are then practising at home.

He added that the ITS is also looking into measures for when life gets back to normal. "All sessions missed in the final semester will be supplied to the students so that they can excel in both theoretical and practical sectors."

With regards to the Foundation Certificate, he said that the Local Industrial Trade Practice (LITP) will have to be cancelled but since students were already working within the industry, this practice will be used for their LITP. Students that never worked will be given an assignment form the internship office in the coming weeks.

In the case that a student manages to get the required confirmation for LITP by the respective management, they can carry on as usual.

When it comes to the International Industrial Trade Practice (IITP), most students doing their trade practice abroad had to be repatriated back to Malta - only one student stayed on. In light of this, the ITS decided that even though they did not carry out all their hours of practice, they will still be credited for them as this was not in their control.

Students that were to start their IITP in June 2020 - those going into the second year of diploma - will have a one-time opportunity to go directly into the Higher National Diploma from October 2020. They will then perform their IITP at the end of their diploma, that is, June 2021.

In case a student finds an international placement that starts no later than 1 October 2020 and informs the internship office by 7 August 2020, they can proceed normally.

Students who do not wish to continue with their Higher National Diploma can start working in the tourism industry and their first year of work will count for their diploma graduation.

If bachelor students find a local placement that is approved by ITS they can continue their international placement at the end of their second or third year.

Those who are in their first year and do not manage to find a local placement because of this extraordinary situation can have their LITP at the end on the second year and the IITP at the end of the third year.

Second-year degree students who are now doing their studies by correspondence with the institution of Finland can have their placement in 2021 if they are not able to do it this year.

One can access more information on the ITS website in the COVID-19 FAQ section. This also covers entry requirements for prospective students.

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