Key Education Policies for Students

Key Education Policies for Students

Key Education Policies for Students

Whether you are a new or current student of the University, you are asked to make yourself familiar with the following information on key University-wide policies.

These policies are relevant to all students and will be useful to you throughout your studies.  They contain important information and address issues such as what to do if you are absent, how to raise an appeal or a complaint and how the University will calculate your degree outcome. The information listed here is updated at least annually.

It is important to note that, following the lifting of all restrictions relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, all students will be expected to study in person on-campus. The only exception to this is for students registered for a distance learning (or online) course or programme. Further information about the Scottish government guidance regarding Covid-19 can be found here.

These policies should be read in conjunction with programme and/or course handbooks, in which School-specific policies are detailed. Further information for students can also be found here.

Assessment

Common Grading Scale

The Common Grading Scale (CGS) provides a common, alpha-numeric marking scale which is used across the University. This enables you to compare your performance in different disciplines and courses and ensures consistency in assessment. Further information on the CGS is available here.

Degree Outcome and Classification

All students entering Honours in 2021/22 and beyond will have their degree classified solely on the basis of the Grade Point Average (GPA) system. You can find out more about this in the Code of Practice on Assessment for your year group, as detailed below.

If you are an undergraduate student who entered Honours in or after September 2021, your degree classification will be determined in accordance with the Code of Practice on Assessment for Undergraduate Students (who entered Honours in or after September 2021)  In summary, however:

Degree outcomes will be calculated on the basis of the Grade Point Average system;

Degree outcomes will be calculated using the standard borderline zone.

If you are an undergraduate student who entered Honours in September 2020, your degree classification will be determined in accordance with the Code of Practice on Assessment for Undergraduate Students (who entered Honours in September 2020)  . In summary, however:

Degree outcomes will be calculated on the basis of the Grade Point Average system;

Degree outcomes will be calculated using an increased borderline zone reflective of the Comprehensive Measures in place during this period due to Covid-19.

If you are a postgraduate taught student who started your studies in or after September 2021, your degree outcome will be  determined in accordance with the Code of Practice on Assessment for Postgraduate Taught Students 2022 . In summary, however:

Degree outcomes will be calculated on the basis of the Grade Point Average system;

Degree outcomes will be calculated using the standard borderline zone.

If you are a postgraduate taught student who started your studies in September 2020 or January 2021, and were undertaking studies on 18 March 2021, your degree outcome will be determined in accordance with the Code of Practice on Assessment for Postgraduate Taught Students 2021/22  . In summary, however:

Degree outcomes will be calculated on the basis of the Grade Point Average system;

Degree outcomes will be calculated using an increased borderline zone reflective of the Comprehensive Measures in place during this period due to Covid-19.

Further information about Undergraduate Degree Classification, including worked examples and FAQs, is available here.

Further information about Postgraduate Taught Degree Award, including worked examples and FAQs, is available here.

Feedback

The University believes that students need feedback that it is timely, rewards effort, is understandable, relevant, constructive, and supportive. Students are advised to familiarise themselves with the institutional Framework for the Provision of Feedback. Points of note are:

- Students have the right to receive feedback on all their work, including coursework and (on request) exam answers, so that they understand clearly how well they have done and how to enhance their future achievement

- Feedback on all assessment should be timely and normally provided within a maximum of three working weeks (excluding vacation periods) following the deadline for submission of the assessment

- Students should be encouraged to act on feedback from staff and peers by applying feedback both within and across courses.

Academic Integrity

The University expects that all students (undergraduate, postgraduate taught and research postgraduate students) will undertake their studies with integrity and will submit assessments that have been prepared by themselves. To do otherwise, to act dishonestly and cheat in an assessment, is classed as academic misconduct and will incur penalties under the Code of Practice on Student Discipline (see previous tab).

The Academic Integrity web page and the associated resource, Academic Integrity: A Guide for Students, have been developed to explain the meaning of academic misconduct, how you can avoid it and what the penalties are should you act dishonestly.

Definitions

Plagiarism is defined by the University as, “the use, without adequate acknowledgment, of the intellectual work of another person in work submitted for assessment”. This definition includes the unattributed use of any materials and applies to all types of assessment, including ‘open book’ assessments.

Collusion is another form of academic misconduct and it is, therefore, treated in the same way as plagiarism. It is defined as collaboration between students in an assignment that has not been authorised by the course coordinator. It does not refer to authorised group work that is assessed by a single group report.

Contract cheating is an umbrella term to denote the submission of work by a student that has been produced by someone other than that student with the intention to deceive. This can be achieved through having another person, or commercial service, produce work that is subsequently submitted for an assessment, whether that person/commercial service is paid or not.

Originality Checking

TurnitinUK is one of a range of originality checking (text matching) applications that compare student assignments with online sources including web pages, databases of reference material, and content previously submitted by other users. These applications make no judgement on whether your work is original or not. They are tools which highlight sections of text that match, or are similar to, other sources, thereby alerting academic staff to potential instances of plagiarism. Each School has its own, defined procedures for investigating cases which have caused staff concern that a submitted assignment might not be wholly the work of the student who submitted it. TurnitinUK is the most often used originality checking application used by staff at the University of Aberdeen and can be accessed directly through MyAberdeen. There are other applications similar to TurnitinUK, for example SafeAssign. If any or a combination of these are used in any of your courses, you will be made aware of it, and they will all be accessible through MyAberdeen.

If you are struggling with academic assessments or your studies, remember to ask for help.

• Speak to the Course Co-ordinator or Tutor for advice if you are unsure of the assessment criteria.

• Seek support if you have extenuating circumstances and you feel you need more time to complete the assessment.

• Contact the Student Learning Service if you require support with academic writing, or consult the skills development sites Achieve (undergraduate), or Achieve+ (taught postgraduate) in MyAberdeen (see the tabs below for more information).

Absence

The University places a high value on the health and wellbeing of all its students and is keen to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to maximise the welfare of students.

You are strongly advised to make yourself fully aware of your responsibilities if absent due to illness or other good cause by reading the University’s Policy and Procedures on Student Absence . In particular, you are asked to note the situations where self-certification of absence is permitted (usually for absences up to seven days in length) or if you are required to submit appropriate evidence of your absence, such as confirmation of a medical appointment.

All absence (medical or otherwise) should be reported through Student Hub, where you can also upload any required supporting documentation. Please note that absence should be reported when missing an assessment deadline or if you are unable to engage with your studies, as well as for purposes of attendance.

Student Monitoring/Class Certificates

If you attend and complete the work required for a course, you will be considered to have been awarded a ‘Class Certificate’. Being in possession of a valid Class Certificate for a course entitles you to undertake all assessment for that course and to receive an overall course grade.

Through non-engagement or a failure to submit coursework, it is possible to lose your class certificate and therefore, your right to undertake assessment. Losing your class certificate is referred to as a ‘C7’. Prior to this, you may receive an ‘at risk’ warning, which is referred to as a ‘C6’.

Your programme/course handbook(s) will provide further information on the attendance requirements for your programme/course. You should also familiarise yourself with the Student Monitoring Process.

Late Submission of Work

The University operates a policy of standard penalties for late submission of coursework or parts of coursework. Late submission refers to submission of work after the published deadline without an agreed extension, and in the absence of exceptional circumstances.

Any assessed coursework that is submitted beyond the deadline, without an agreed extension, will be recorded as late and a penalty will be applied as follows:

  • Up to 24 hours late, the grade will be deducted by 2 Common Grading Scale (CGS) points;
  • For each subsequent day, up to a maximum of seven days total, the grade will be deducted by a further CGS point for each day, or part of a day, up to a maximum of seven days late;
  • Over seven days late, a grade of G3 will be awarded.

Further detail can be found through the Policy on Late Submission of Work

Student Discipline

The University operates two Codes of Practice on Student Discipline – an Academic Code and a Non-Academic Code  – which set out the procedures to be followed in the case of disciplinary offences by students.

The University’s Code of Practice on Student Discipline (Academic) covers all aspects of academic misconduct including plagiarism, collusion, contract cheating, other forms of cheating and research misconduct and the associated processes for handling instances of misconduct’.

Offences covered by the University’s Code of Practice on Student Discipline (Non-Academic) include damaging University property; bullying and harassment; or behaviour that could reflect negatively on the University. This behaviour could take place on or off campus and includes behaviour on online and social media accounts you may use.

The co-curriculum

The co-curriculum provides opportunities for students to enhance their employability and develop and achieve Aberdeen Graduate Attributes alongside their academic studies.

The university offers a range of co-curricular activities, many of which are recognised on the Enhanced Degree Transcripts, which students receive on graduation. Co-curricular recognition via the transcript is intended to help students demonstrate their wider University learning and achievements to employers and postgraduate recruiters.

Work placements and internships provide an excellent opportunity to develop your skills. These are usually completed alongside your studies (during holiday periods) or form an integral part of a degree programme, attracting academic credit. Opportunities to gain experience are available locally, nationally and internationally, lasting from a few weeks to a full year. Visit the Careers Service website for further information on finding work placements and internships.

 

Student Learning Service (SLS)

The Student Learning Service offers free virtual Workshops and confidential one-to-one Study Advice Sessions on academic writing, general study advice, academic skills guidance for online and on-campus learning, science-related skills, and maths skills. There is specialist advice available for students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences.  Workshops and descriptions will be listed on the online booking system early in each semester. 

The confidential, one-to-one Study Advice Sessions offer UG and PGT students the opportunity to meet with an Academic Skills Adviser. Advisers offer guidance on study strategies, academic writing issues, science-related assignments, and maths support. The specialist adviser meets with students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences. 

Please note that Advisors can only discuss assignments or essays that have been marked and are accompanied by feedback. 

To arrange a Study Advice Session, please either submit a Study Advice Session Request Form or email sls@abdn.ac.uk detailing the topic (e.g. academic writing, time management, or maths skills) you wish to discuss and the times/days during which you are able to attend an appointment. 

Appointments for Dyslexia and other Specific Learning Differences can be requested by filling in the Specialist Request Form.

Study Advice Sessions with PhD students are only undertaken with the approval of their supervisor/s.  Please email sls@abdn.ac.uk to request an appointment.

 

Professional and Academic Development

Achieve for Undergraduates/ Achieve+ for Taught Postgraduates

The Student Learning Service offers Achieve for UG students and Achieve+  for PGT students in the Organisations area of MyAberdeen. These resources enable you to self-assess, reflect and improve your academic and professional skills, and also link to the Toolkit provided by IT Services and additional resources and guides provided by the Library. 

Online Courses

PD1002: Getting started at the University of Aberdeen: This course covers an orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability. This course is mandatory for all level 1 students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), find it in MyAberdeen.

PD2002: Building skills and experience for career success (or PD2502 in second half semester) This course covers career planning, finding work experience and articulating your skills and experiences in applications and interviews.

This course is optional for level 2 and above, sign up for it via MyCurriculum in the ‘Other’ tab under ‘Professional Development’. Please contact online-careerscourse@abdn.ac.uk if you have any problems signing up.

Successful completion of both these courses will be included in your Enhanced Transcript.

Orientation and Professional Development for PGTs

PD5006: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (2022-2023) (for students starting in the first half-session)

PD5506: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (2022-2023) (for students starting in the second half-session)

The core materials of these courses aim to give students an overview of the University’s Orientation as well as introducing the concepts and importance of health, safety & cyber security and equality & diversity awareness. They will also offer students the opportunity to plan their development of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes alongside their studies through engaging in co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities. Students will be able to access a range of additional mini career courses, developed by the University Careers and Employability Service. Although the courses do not carry any credits, successful completion of the core materials will be recognised with a certificate showing prospective employers your commitment to personal and career development.

All PGT students are automatically enrolled in these courses: look for the colurse relevant to you in your MyAberdeen course list.

Graduate Attributes

The University has selected a wide-ranging set of nineteen attributes, which you will have opportunities to develop and enhance during your time studying here, with a view to being prepared for further study, future employment, and citizenship.

The Graduate Attributes can be developed through your academic studies and participation in co-curricular activities such as work placements, study abroad and volunteering. The Graduate Attributes are grouped in four broad areas: 

- Academic excellence

- Critical thinking and effective communication

- Learning and personal development

- Active citizenship

You can find out more about the Graduate Attributes here.

Email use

You will receive a University e-mail account when you register with the University. The University will use e-mail to communicate with you during term-time, and similarly you should use your University email address to communicate with the University.

It is your responsibility to check your email on a regular basis - at least every two days - and to keep your inbox tidy.

You should note that failure to check your e-mail or failure to receive an email due to being over quota or due to non-delivery of an email forwarded to a non-University email account will not be accepted as grounds for appeal.

MyAberdeen

MyAberdeen is the University of Aberdeen’s Online Learning Environment. This is where you will find learning materials, resources and activities associated with the courses you are studying. You can log in to MyAberdeen using the ‘Quick Links’ on the ‘For Students’ section of the University’s web site or by going directly to www.abdn.ac.uk/myaberdeen.

In either case, enter the University username and password which you use to access the University network. Further information on MyAberdeen including Video Tutorials and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) follow www.abdn.ac.uk/toolkit/systems/myaberdeen-students to the Toolkit or look in the “Key Resources” section once you log on to MyAberdeen.

When uploading assessments to MyAberdeen, ensure you upload this in the requested format, adhering where relevant to originality checking software. It is also important to ensure you submit to the correct submission area within your course.  On submitting your assessment you will receive a digital receipt confirming successful submission.

Appeals and Complaints

The University recognises that things may not always go to plan and there may be times that you wish to raise an issue for further discussion or investigation. As such, the University operates Policy and Procedures on Student Appeals and a Complaints Handling Procedure, providing frameworks through which you can formalise any concerns you may have about aspects of your academic or non-academic experience.

You are encouraged to raise and discuss any concerns at the earliest possible stage with the relevant individuals in an academic school or administrative service.

Further information on both processes and the steps to take should you wish to pursue an academic appeal, or a complaint, can be found here .