FAQs for 19/20

Will I still receive my funding from Student Finance?

Student Finance England (SFE) have confirmed that all students’ finance will be paid as scheduled.  We will confirm your ‘virtual’ attendance in early April to ensure there is no delay in payments made by SFE.

For those students in receipt of a bursary from UCSD, we have made the decision to make the bursary payment earlier than scheduled to further financially support students.  This will be paid by 1st April 2020.

Will the College be reimbursing my tuition fees?

We have now moved to online teaching and assessments for the rest of the academic year, in keeping with the Government’s advice on limiting social interaction and non-essential travel. During this time, we are working to maintain the quality of teaching experience while you work remotely. We are focused on ensuring the defined learning outcomes and that students can either complete their studies this year or progress to the next phase of their studies.

While this is a different mode of delivery, our staff are working hard to ensure delivery and to provide support through the virtual learning environments, remote counselling, e-library, etc. The supporting infrastructures that your fees pay for remain in place.

Will I still receive my next bursary instalment?

For those students in receipt of a bursary from UCSD, we have made the decision to make the bursary payment earlier than scheduled to further financially support students. This will be paid by 1st April 2020.

Are there any facilities available?

From Monday 30th March, our dedicated HE Learning Zone located in room 2.089 will close, as will the Vantage Point Building.  Limited college services will move into the University Centre for the Easter period (27th March – 17th April).  Therefore, there will be no physical library access from 1500hrs on Friday 27th March, with limited access to the University Centre from 0900-1500hrs Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

The facilities we are providing are for those who do not have IT access and/or internet connectivity at home.  Please do not use our facilities for social purposes.  If you would like to speak to the Wellbeing team, please find details of how to contact them here.

It is essential that students follow the latest advice from both the Government and the NHS.

  • You must not come into the College if you are displaying any symptoms or are living with someone who does.  Follow the latest advice.
  • Please wash your hands before using the facilities and equipment, following the guidance on handwashing.

We are planning to keep our facilities open while we can, however if we are required to close them or cannot staff the facilities then we will update you again.  Students are encouraged to make progress on assessments while they can.

How can I study remotely? 

UCSD are committed to supporting students to study effectively from home or remotely. Click here to find out more about online learning. Please note, arrangements may vary between programmes. 

We recommend that where possible you install Microsoft Teams on your devices to access the full set of features the application offers. Teams is included in your Office 365 package and is completely free to use and install for all students. 

What will happen to Tutorial?

It’s vital to keep in touch with your Personal Tutor during this difficult time. Tutorial sessions may take place online or by telephone. Your tutor will provide more information. 

Additionally, for academic support you can contact our HE Study team on 01803 540780 or [email protected]. For Wellbeing support, please email [email protected] for a call back. 

I have a disability – will reasonable adjustments be made?

Where students have particular needs, we will make every attempt to make appropriate adjustments to support them to continue their studies.

All assessments have been designed to be inclusive and accessible for all, but if you are having difficulties with your online teaching, learning and assessment please contact [email protected].

Can I study offline?

We recognise that not all students have access to the internet or digital devices at home, and have investigated ways in which we can support you to access teaching resources. 

Please ensure that you notify your programme team if you are having difficulty accessing online learning, so that your support needs can be assessed. 

How are assessments and exams affected?

You should continue to prepare for assessments in the usual way as all modules will be assessed remotely. There will be no face-to-face, invigilated examinations this academic year. Alternative assessment arrangements have been put in place. Further details about your own assessments have been provided by your programme lead. Please note, arrangements may vary from one programme to another. 

In some cases we have been working with our External Examiners for your programmes to ensure that assessment continues to meet the requirements of the programme learning outcomes. 

If your assignment cannot be submitted digitally (for example, artwork), your programme team should have been in touch with details of alternative assessment arrangements. 

When will I receive my feedback and marks?

The 10 working day extension to deadlines for students also extends the deadline for marking and returning results (i.e. an increase from 20 days to 30 days after the original deadline). 

How will the recent changes made by the University Centre affect my progress?

Our aim is to make sure you can continue with your studies and progress at the same rate as you would with a normal teaching schedule.

If you are due to complete your studies this year, we fully expect you to be able to do so. As you can imagine, staff are working hard to develop alternative approaches for you in these highly unusual circumstances. 

Are planned field trips going ahead?

In accordance with the transition to online learning, the University Centre has taken the decision to cancel educational trips for the rest of the academic year. This is in the interest of safety for students and staff alike. 

Can I access library resources remotely?

You will continue to have online access to library resources as you normally would for your programmeincluding online journals, Plymouth Primo and ebooks.  

How is my work-based apprenticeship affected?

Please contact your employer about changes or disruptions to your workplace activities. They will be able to advise you on any special instructions or issues regarding where, when and how you understand your job, in line with the government guidance for employees, employers and businesses. 

If you aren’t feeling well, please follow your employer’s sickness absence reporting guidelines. Please keep a record of your sickness days and contact your Apprenticeship reviewer or programme lead by email or telephone. 

If you are a healthcare or essential services related apprentice we understand that you might be required to support your employers to deliver essential services during this period. In line with government policy, UCSD is committed to supporting affected apprentices involved in essential services while minimising any negative impact on their Apprenticeship programmes in the longer term. If you are one of these apprentices, please advise your Apprenticeship training coordinator or programme lead by email or telephone as soon as conveniently possible. 

For all other Apprentices, please liaise with your programme lead to discuss any factors that are impacting on your ability to complete the learning and assessments. 

I submitted a piece of coursework up to 10 working days after the original deadline (after 16 March) will my grade be capped at 40%?

No, you will not be capped at 40% (unlesthis is a second or final attempt). For all assessments, apart from time-limited assessments (e.g. a take-home test) due on or after the 16th March, students are eligible for an automatic extension of 10 working days when your work will be marked as normal.  

I had an online test, which I submitted after the deadline. Will I be capped?

No, you will be offered a re-assessment opportunity without penalty in the same way as you would under the standard Extenuating Circumstances regulations for a non-attendance at a test and formal examination.  

I need to do a re-assessment which was due BEFORE the 16th March, as part of summer referral, will I be given a new task in my Assessment Brief?

If you did not receive a valid extenuating circumstances notification, then your referral assessment will be considered as the next attempt. This means you will be required to complete a new assessment as part of summer referrals which will be capped at 40%.

If you received a valid extenuating circumstances notification, then your referral assessment will be considered the same attempt. This means you will be required to complete a new assessment as part of summer referrals, but will be marked as it would have been originally.

I need to do a re-assessment which was due AFTER the 16th March, as part of summer referral, will I be given a new task in my Assessment Brief?

Unless the assessment was an online test, if you did not submit your assessment within the 10-working-day extenuating circumstances period, then your referral assessment will be considered the same attempt. This means you will complete the original assessment brief and task, and your work will be marked as it would have been originally.

If you did submit your assessment within the 10-working-day extenuating circumstances period, but you did not pass the assessment, then your referral assessment will be considered as the next attempt. This means you will be required to complete a new assessment as part of summer referrals which will be capped at 40%.

How can I get support with my assessments?

Your Personal Tutor will have provided you with the contact details of who can support you with your assessments or summer re-assessments and when they are available. 

Remember you can also ask for help from the HE Study team who can support you with understanding the assessment brief, planning your assessment and developing your academic skills to boost your grades. 

How many credits can I study as a summer referral?

You will be able to study up to and including 80 credits of assessment over the summer referral period.  The deadline for summer referral is 20th August 2020.

When will I know about summer referral assessments?

You should keep in contact with your Personal Tutor about which assessments you might need to undertake in the summer referral period.

The AwarAssessment Board will make a final decision about which modules and/or assessments you need to complete and this will be communicated to you with your Academic Transcript on 16 July 2020. 

How will we receive our results and transcripts?

For this year we have made the decision to email your results (including your Transcript) to your College email account. Emails will be sent in batches throughout the 16th July. Please be patient during this day as they may not come in course order.

If you have any referral work to undertake, details of this will be provided in the email.  If by the morning of the 17th July you have not received an email, please contact universi[email protected].  

What will happen with graduation?

We have reached the very difficult decision to postpone the graduation ceremony for final year students, which was planned for September 2020. 

We have made this as late as possible to be certain that it is absolutely the right thing to do.  This has been one of the most difficult decisions we have made – we know how important it is for you and it is without a doubt a highlight for staff at the College as well.   

It was clear that it was just not possible to plan an event with over 1000 people in attendance for three months’ time, given the lack of certainty about the future Government advice on public gatherings.  Our decision is consistent with Higher Education nationally. 

We will not delay the issue of Certificates.  Graduation is a special day, but we can assure you that as long as you achieve your qualification you will still be a Graduate, and this is not dependant on attending a Graduation ceremony.   

We will continue to develop plans for a graduation ceremony and will share these with you in your results letter.  

When will the new academic year commence for continuing students?

Laurence Frewin, the Principal and CEO of South Devon College wrote to you a short while ago confirming our absolute intention to recommence the academic year this September.

I can now confirm that for the majority of programmes our first week of teaching commences on the 28th September, with induction taking place the week prior (21st September).  We will provide more details to those students returning over the coming weeks. 

If you have any questions about the above or anything else please do not hesitate to contact the HE Team on either [email protected] or call on 08000 213181.  

Can I provide feedback on my experience of study at UCSD during COVID-19?

You have provided so much positive and developmental feedback throughout the year, through formal surveys, modules reviews and via programme meetings and student consultative forums.

We would like to ask small number of questions on how we have done regarding teaching, learning and assessment since the impact of Covid changed our delivery and for some assessment.  This will help continue to shape decisions that we are making for future delivery. 

Can you please therefore complete this short survey by 22nd June 2020.

Glossary of Terms

In light of the Covid-19 situation, our Academic Regulations have been revised to be more flexible in order to support students to achieve. The following explanations have been amended to reflect these changes. 

Assessment – a general term for processes that measure students’ learning, skills, knowledge and understanding. Assessment can be diagnostic, formative or summative.

Assessment alternative – alternative assessment helps students to meet learning outcomes and assessment criteria using a different assessment approach.

Assessment Board – the Assessment Board is reponsible for:

  • making decisions on progression and awards for all students registered for the named awards for which the board is responsible 
  • making sure that decisions are arrived at fairly and democratically and in line with  regulations and that justice is done to the individual student  
  • making sure that threshold academic standards of student performance are being maintained at award level 
  • making sure that, when making decisions, all circumstances relating to individual students are fully taken into account, and 
  • receiving information on all proven examination and assessment offences and confirming penalties recommended by panels and committees of investigation through subject assessment panels. 

Extenuating Circumstances – circumstances which are outside the control of a student and which affect their ability to attend or complete assessments, can be confirmed by independent evidence and which occurred during or shortly before the assessment in question.

Extended Referral – an extended referral allows a student to progress to the next Level of study while completing referral work in a maximum of 40 credits. 

Referral – this term is commonly used to describe reassessments that take place before the start of the next academic year, therefore giving you the best chance of progressing to the next stage. If a student has failed up to 80 credits, they will be given the opportunity to have a referral (this is up from 60 credits prior to the COVID-19 changes). 

Repeating modules – sometimes a student may be required, or request to repeat an entire module during the following academic year. If you have failed more than 80 credits over the academic year, you will be given the opportunity to repeat these modules, with attendance.  

Working day – due to COVID-19, staff continue to provide key support for students online through MS Teams and other software. Therefore, a working day excludes weekends and Bank Holidays.