Teaching and learning handbook: A–C

Teaching and learning resources A to C


Academic offences, plagiarism and orginality checking: academic offences occur in different forms, cheating in exams, using essay mills, ghost writing and intentional or unintentional plagiarism. The University of Plymouth defines plagiarism as "the representation of another person's work (including another student's) as your own, without acknowledging the source". The University of Plymouth has developed guidance on how to prevent academic offences.

The Originality Checking Software policy explains the context and use of Turnitin and other software

Academic partnerships: academic partnerships works with partners to effectively align practice to the rapidly changing national and international Higher Education landscape. 

Academic regulations: these are centrally located in Student regulations, policies and procedures

Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL): regulations relating to APCL.

Academic Support Technology and Innovation (ASTI): Academic Support, Technology & Innovation (ASTI) supports staff in the use of digital technologies and resources, for teaching; learning; assessment; research; and university administration.

Access and Participation Plans: access and participation plans (formerly known as Access Agreements) set out how higher education providers will improve equality of opportunity in HE. They must be approved by the Office for Students (OfS) if the provider wants to charge higher tuition fees. OfS monitor plans to ensure providers meet their commitments, and take action if they do not. View the latest University of Plymouth plan.

Accommodation: if a student is having difficulties with their accommodation you should advise them to contact the Accommodation Services Office or the Student Union Advice Centre.

Adjustments – in teaching, learning and assessment: in order to ensure all students can access teaching, learning and assessment reasonable adjustments have to be made to practice. Guidance on inclusive assessment and modified assessment provision can be found in the document Guidance and good practice for arranging assessment relating to inclusivity and modified provision. Further guidance on inclusive practice is available from Disability Services Staff pages and Teaching and Learning Support (TLS) pages on Inclusive teaching, learning and assessment.

AdLib Additional Library Services: AdLib is for students and staff with disabilities. Services are also available for part-time, placement and distance staff/students, visitors, partner college staff/students. The support includes postal loans, and assistive technology.

Allergies: you should seek advice from the student as well as information from their GP/consultant. Using this advice, and dependent on the degree programme studied, you should then undertake a risk assessment to remove/ reduce risk. The Student Support Document (SSD) should be involved for severe allergies that may affect study. With the student’s consent, local first aiders should be made aware of severe allergies/ reactions.

Annual review: an annual health check on the quality, standards and relevance of all the University’s taught programmes of study (undergraduate and postgraduate) and on the student experience. Find more information in the Faculty Quality Assurance Procedures.

Appeal against an assessment decision: after an assessment board has met to make the final assessment decision, a student is then able to appeal. The appeal procedure relates to the Assessment Board processes. For more information visit academic appeals, where you can find links to the latest appeal guidance and policy. Your Faculty office and the UPSU Advice Centre can also offer advice to you and students.

Approval document: this is a document, required at programme approval, which sets the context for the programme’s development. It explains and justifies the programme on academic grounds. Find out more in the Quality Assurance Handbook

Aspire: Aspire is an electronic reading list system. It can provide easy access to all resources for students, embedding resources directly into the lists. Aspire is easy to add and edit. It allows staff to build your own library of high quality resources. Reading lists can be linked from module sites on the DLE. Training is available through Employee Self Service. For further information email informationspecialists@plymouth.ac.uk

Assessment, alternative: enables students to meet the learning objective and assessment criteria using different assessment approaches. In some circumstances you can offer a student another assessment method (e.g. an assignment instead of a seen exam) that is agreed with Disability Services and the external examiner. Find out more on the assessment pages and in the Assessment Policy.

Toolkit: Staff-Student Partnership for Assessment Change and Evaluation (SPACE) project. Waterfield and West (2006) Main Library (378.19827 WAT)

Assessment – anonymous:

  • Anonymous assessment should ensure summative assessments are marked as far as possible and where appropriate without the student’s name or identity being made known to the marker or subject assessment panel. 
  • Anonymity provides reassurance for students and assessors against the perception of discrimination and bias entering the assessment process, and aims to ensure all students are treated equally.
  • Anonymous assessment should not impede rapid feed forward and feedback to students.
    PU Anonymous Assessment policy.

Assessment – authentic: relevant and meaningful assessment tasks that replicate the real world in their specific field (for example simulations, role play, scenarios, problem tasks, real-world case studies). Further information and guidance

Assessment Board: the responsibilities of the Board are to:

  • make decisions on progression and awards for all students registered for the named award(s) for which the board is responsible
  • ensure that decisions are arrived at fairly and democratically, in accordance with the regulatory framework for undergraduate awards and integrated masters, and that justice is done to the individual student
  • make sure that threshold academic standards of student performance are being maintained at award level, on the basis of the reports received from each of the constituent subject assessment panel chairs on the standard of assessment in subjects/modules, and are comparable with similar awards in other UK institutions, in the expert opinion of the award external examiner
  • ensure that in making decisions all corroborated extenuating circumstances relating to individual students have been fully taken into account before a decision is reached
  • report and discuss, where appropriate, any examination or assessment offences and take appropriate action.

Assessment briefs: assessment briefs contain detailed information on the module assessment including the criteria, methods, marking sheet, deadline and available support. You'll also find assessment guidance in each module handbook

HEA Assessment Brief Design Guidelines.

Assessment, Computer Aided (CAA): including any instance in which some aspect of computer technology is deployed as part of the assessment process, CAA is efficient for both formative and summative assessment. Ensure students with a MAP (Modified Assessment Provision) participating in a CAA receive their entitlements including extra time. For further information visit ASTI web pages on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Tools.

Assessment criteria: a description of what the learner has to do in order to demonstrate that the learning outcomes have been achieved.

Assessment elements: the definitions of elements of assessment document contains the KIS information for assessment.

Assessment, formative: an assessment task with a developmental purpose. It is designed to help students learn more effectively by giving them feedback on their performance and on how it can be improved, maintained, or both. 

Assessment, glossary of terms: a comprehensive list of assessment terms.

Assessment, group work: students need clear guidance on the expectations of group work. The design of a group work assessment should take into consideration the size of the groups and ensure the task is complex enough to require a collaborative approach. You should specify how the groups' progress will be monitored and whether the assessment is of the product or process, the group and/or individual contribution. Further guidance on assessing group work is available on the Teaching and Learning Support - Assessment web pages and in the 7 Steps to Group Assessment resource.

Assessment, inclusive: we want all students to have an equitable, supported assessment experience. Inclusive assessments will:

  • fairly evaluate students’ ability to meet module and programme learning outcomes and academic standards
  • be accessible for all students
  • provide every student with an equal opportunity to demonstrate their achievement
  • support student engagement, learning, progression, retention and address the needs of our diverse student population
  • be authentic and offer students contextualised meaningful tasks that replicate real world challenges through effective programme design
  • reduce the need for MAPs (Modified Assessment Provisions).

Find more information on inclusive assessment:

Toolkit: Staff-Student Partnership for Assessment Change and Evaluation (SPACE) project. Waterfield and West (2006) Main library (378.19827 WAT)

Assessment handbook – undergraduate: This student (undergraduate ) assessment handbook written by UPSU with the University is designed as a 'how to guide' to explain and demystify the assessment process.

Assessment – in class tests: students sitting in-class tests may have modified assessment provision as specified in their Student Support Document (SSD). Students and module leaders should discuss these requirements. Guidance on inclusive assessment and modified assessment provision can be found in the document Guidance and good practice for arranging assessment. For further information contact the faculty office or the examinations office at examinations.scheduling@plymouth.ac.uk or phone: +44 1752 587799

Assessment, ipsative: assessment against the student’s own previous standards. It can measure how well a particular task has been undertaken against the student’s average attainment, against their best work, or against their most recent piece of work. Ipsative assessment tends to correlate with effort, to promote effort-based attributions of success, and to enhance motivation to learn.

Assessment, literacy: being ‘assessment literate’ means our staff and students have an understanding of the purpose and processes of assessment. They will:

  • understand the concepts of assessment, assessment criteria and standards
  • have the skills to assess themselves and other students and members of staff
  • be familiar with different approaches to assessment
  • apply marking criteria to their own work
  • be able to choose and apply appropriate approaches and techniques to assessment tasks.

Students’ assessment literacy can be developed through pre-assessment induction activities.

Awards – academic regulations defining the various academic awards (e.g. HND, Foundation Degree, Honours Degree etc) and details on how they are calculated. 

Assessment methods: a wide and varied range of assessment methods can be used when designing assessment. More information is available on the assessment pages and in the Assessment Policy.

Assessment, Modified Provision (MAP): Modified assessment provisions are designed to give equality of access to students who may be disadvantaged due to dyslexia or disability when being assessed under time constraints. They can be made for any written time constrained assessment that contributes towards a final mark for a module and may include additional time, own room, computer or laptop, scribe or reader (this list is not exhaustive). See also the Inclusive Exams section of the Assessment page.

In accordance with University Regulations students requiring MAPs must be assessed by Disability Services (DS) prior to any provisions being put in place. Student Support Documents contain a student’s MAPs. For information contact the Faculty Office or DS for advice. Email studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk, or phone +44 1752 587676.

All students, including those with a MAP, may benefit from being able to access teaching materials in advance of a session. The Teaching and Learning Committee (May 2008 and reviewed in January 2014) agreed that materials should be made available electronically at a minimum of 48 hours in advance of a session. The minimum standard to be adopted includes the following:

  • the outline and scope of a session
  • preparatory reading
  • key teaching materials e.g. PowerPoint presentations, support documentation, podcasts etc. should be uploaded in advance of the teaching session
  • this should be available a minimum of 48 hours before the teaching session, but a period of seven days before the teaching session is recommended
  • all teaching materials must conform to the University’s guidance on copyright and intellectual property rights.

You can achieve this by posting materials for sessions on the DLE. We know that in some circumstances it may not be possible to provide all materials in advance and academic staff may use their professional judgement; however this needs to be weighed against our obligation under the Equalities Act (2010) to make reasonable adjustments to prevent unfair treatment and to achieve equal opportunities for all our students. For further information and advice contact our Disability Service.

Assessment offences: detailed information on exam and academic offences regulations and procedures specifies University process.

Assessment panels: information about Subject Assessment Panels (SAPs).

Assessment, peer: particularly effective for presentations, performance and posters. 

Peer Assessment is an activity where students assess their peers’ assignments based on their teacher’s marking criteria. It allows students to reflect on both their own practice, and apply their own critique to their peer’s work both developing their reflective and evaluation skills (Nicol et al., 2014).

For further information see 7 Steps to: Peer and Self-Assessment and more information is available on the assessment pages and in the Assessment Policy.

The Workshop activity in Moodle is a powerful tool which allows both self-assessment and peer assessment on an electronic submission of work. Students submit their work and receive two grades: one for their own work submitted and assessed by their peers and one for their own assessment of another student’s work.

Assessment policy: the Assessment Policy can be accessed here. 

Assessment Rubric: a document which typically states the various elements required in a piece of assessed work, and describes different levels of performance for each of these. Rubrics can be helpful by enhancing students’ understanding of what they are required to do, and increasing the consistency with which teaching staff mark work. The following Guidance for Creating Marking Rubrics is available

Assessment, student self: being able to self-assess is an essential skill for students to develop awareness of their own learning. Self-assessment sheets need to contain assessment criteria and briefing information. For more information access 7 Steps to: Peer and Self-Assessment. Find out more on our assessment pages and in the the Assessment Policy.

The Workshop activity in Moodle is a powerful tool which allows both self-assessment and peer assessment on an electronic submission of work. Students submit their work and receive two grades: one for their own work submitted and assessed by their peers and one for their own assessment of another student’s work. 

Assessment, summative: form of assessment used to certify that students have achieved an appropriate level of performance. It is used to indicate how far a student has met the assessment criteria used to judge the intended learning outcomes of a module or programme.

Assessment, submission of coursework: Guidance for the submission of coursework is available in the University of Plymouth assessment information section of the Assessment pages. This should also be considered good practice for formative assessment as well as summatice assessment and should be followed where appropriate. Comprehensive information on eSubmission for staff and students is also available on the eSubmission Help and Guidance pages on the DLE.

Assessment, synoptic: an assessment that encourages students to combine elements of their learning from different parts of a programme and to show their accumulated knowledge and understanding of a topic or subject area. A synoptic assessment enables students to show their ability to integrate and apply their skills, knowledge and understanding with breadth and depth in the subject. It can help to test a student's capability of applying the knowledge and understanding gained in one part of a programme to increase their understanding in other parts of the programme, or across the programme as a whole.

Assessment, temporary medical condition or injuries during exams: temporary medical conditions or injuries during exams may affect a student’s ability to sit exams and should be reported to the Faculty Registrar immediately whilst copying in examinations.scheduling@plymouth.ac.uk. Whilst the University will make every effort to accommodate temporary provisions, a minimum of five working days is required in order to be able to put modified assessment provisions in place..

Temporary provisions that may be put in place are: 

  • additional time
  • own or small group room
  • scribe or reader, use of a computer
  • supervised breaks
  • medication or pain relief 
  • an accessible venue. 

Assistive software and equipment for learning and assessment: Guidance on assistive technology for staff and students is available, including software to download from the Software Centre that includes screen readers, and notetaking software. The use of any assistive software in assessments will be specified in the Student Support Document (SSD). Once notified the examinations or faculty office will organise the equipment. Visit Disability Services for more information.

Attainment Gap: Reducing the gender and ethnicity attainment gap. While the numbers of students receiving a First or 2:1 have increased, there continues to be a considerable attainment gap that has remained nearly static over the last ten years. 

Attendance: University of Plymouth expects all students will attend all scheduled classes, field trips and other events that are part of their programme of study. All teaching is developed to give students relevant, necessary experience. Students who do not attend perform less well.Where minimum attendance is required before an assessment can be undertaken this will be clarified in the programme and module handbook.Procedures are in place to monitor attendance throughout the year. The purpose of attendance monitoring is to pick up on both student welfare and academic progress issues at an early stage. Attendance webpage.

Information recorded about an individual student’s engagement and attendance will be acted on at the Faculty’s discretion. 

Further information is available in the student engagement with their programmes of study and the programme handbook document. 

It is important that attendance is collected for all students with a Student visa (formerly Tier 4) for compliance purposes. Please ensure that colleagues comply with our monitoring requirements as the University has to be able to demonstrate to the Home Office at any time that students are engaging with their studies.

Programme type Data require and frequency How recorded
Undergraduate programmes Attendance to be recorded at x4 core sessions per month, one a week (as a minimum) S3
Postgraduate Taught programmes (taught period) Attendance to be recorded at x4 core sessions per month, one a week (as a minimum) S3
Postgraduate Taught programmes (dissertation period) Meeting with dissertation supervisor x1 a month S3
Postgraduate Research programmes Meeting with DoS / other supervisors x1 a month GradBook (meeting can be via Skype if student on mobility)
Repeating students As above for taught programmes if repeating taught sessions, as above for dissertation period if resubmitting work / dissertation S3
ELC Attendance recorded at all taught sessions S3
UPIC students (not integrated) UPIC use own monitoring methods/registers etc. UPIC systems, data sent to compliance
UPIC students (integrated) As per undergraduate students, above S3
Medical/Dentistry students Attendance recorded via locality offices, in line with the above ADB, information sent to compliance

Audio Visual (AV) equipment: see the IT services web pages for information on IT training and development.



Calendar, dates for students: Important dates for students are updated regularly.

Care Leavers Service: the Care Leavers Service supports students who have been in care. Support is available during the application process and throughout their time at University of Plymouth. Read the Care Leavers Research Report for further information.

Careers, placement and employability: the team is based in the Careers Gateway in the Roland Levinsky building. Find out more about careers and employability.

Centre for Excellence in Professional Placement Learning: one of 70 Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) projects created to enhance placement opportunities and practice learning to benefit students, educators (Higher Education and practice based) and service users. The CEPPL evaluation report outlines the CETL's achievements, and contains information for those involved with placements. 

Changing degree programme: requests to change a programme of study need to be discussed with a personal tutor, programme leader or the faculty registrar as soon as possible. There may be funding implications to consider.

Childcare issues: call UPSU Student Advice Centre on + 44 1752 588373 or email advice@su.plymouth.co.uk or contact University of Plymouth Freshlings Nursery.

Code of conduct, students: students must observe and adhere to the University Code of Conduct and general regulations which cover a range of issues including misconduct, damage to facilities, fraud and more.

Commuter and living at home students: since the introduction of student fees the number of students choosing to stay at home while studying is increasing (Artess, et al. 2014). At the University of Plymouth over 30% of students either live at home or are commuter students (November 2017). This report (January 2018) is a preliminary investigation into the experience of University of Plymouth living at home and commuter students.

Compass: Plymouth Compass assists students' navigation through the university experience, in both taught curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Compass identifies key attributes in four broad areas of student life - academic, civic, professional, and personal. The University offers opportunities to practice and develop these attributes, gain experiences, improve skills, and build networks for life beyond graduation.

An audit tool is available for staff to map Plymouth Compass attribute development in the curriculum

Compensation: is recognition that a student with an overall track record of passes, may be awarded compensation for a module that they have failed. During the design phase of a new module the module lead, in conjunction with the programme lead, must decide whether the module is compensatable or not. If a module pass is crucial in order to meet the Programme Learning Outcomes and/or Professional Body requirements, or the threshold concepts or skills within the module are deemed to be fundamental to the student’s progression, enter ‘NO’ in the ‘compensatable’ box. For further information on awarding compensation see the PU regulatory frameworks and the Frequently asked questions about undergraduate results.  

Complaints procedure for students: Information on complaints and appeals, including policy and procedure guidance, forms and contact details. Independent advice and/or representation is available to students before submitting their written complaint or appeal from the University of Plymouth Student Union Advice Centre.

Computer Aided Assessment (CAA): including any instance in which some aspect of computer technology is deployed as part of the assessment process, CAA is efficient for both formative and summative assessment. Ensure students with a MAP (Modified Assessment Provision) participating in a CAA receive their entitlements including extra time. The University has a licence for Questionmark Perception. Within this software there's a facility to programme extra time for individual students. For further information visit ASTI web pages on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Tools

Content Capture: Content Capture is a phrase used to describe the creation of video or audio teaching resources. At the University of Plymouth Panoptoa video sharing system, that allows academic staff to capture content in a simple and reliable way, using either an automated system or a manual recorder held on the academic’s laptop or desktop PC. 

Why would you want to use it?
1. Previously recording lectures would involve filming the screen and presenter with a camcorder which is time consuming and requires special equipment and often resulted in poor quality videos.
2. Users are increasingly demanding that videos and audio are available on electronic mediums. Content capture technology allows the simultaneous recording of audio, video, PowerPoint and screen capture, and allows that content to be viewed on the web, and mobile devices.
3. Content capture enhances instructional activities; it works especially well in subject areas where students benefit from repeated viewing of content, especially when complex items are being discussed.

CopyrightCopyright in a Nutshell: a quick reference guide for all involved in teaching and learning.

Corporate Information System (CIS): provides up-to-date management information reports for all users, as well as the ability to create, format, analyse, and publish information summaries. The CIS contains student data sourced from Unit-e, staff data sourced from iTrent and financial data from Unit4. The data is as at the end of the previous working day, since the CIS is refreshed overnight on a daily basis. The CIS contains hundreds of reports, and dashboard themes have been created to help you. 

To access CIS you must be a University of Plymouth member of staff, connected to the internet either through an Ethernet cable or via a VPN, and use the web browser Internet Explorer. You can't access CIS through Wi-Fi. See Guidance on how to access CIS.

Council tax exemption, students: full time students are eligible for council tax exemption (this includes students resitting one or more modules). Students enrolled in part-time degrees are not eligible for exemption. Students need to be studying a minimum of 21 hours a week for 24 weeks a year. For advice contact the UPSU Student Advice Centre

Counselling service: students are able to access individual counselling, well-being and mental health support, workshops and information sessions via Student Wellbeing Services. To make an appointment use the online self-referral form or contact Student Services in Nancy Astor Building. Phone +44 1752 587676 or email studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk.

Counselling – staff: free and confidential staff counselling can now be accessed directly through Care First which offers a 24/7 helpline and online service, and access to a range of resources focused on health and wellbeing. For further information go to the Student Services pages and click on the Employee Assistance Programme link. For telephone counselling and information phone 0808 168 2143.

Coursework checklist – a coursework checklist enables students to evaluate their work both throughout the writing process and before submission. This example of a coursework checklist can be customised for any discipline and addresses issues on content, structure, argument, referencing and plagiarism.

Coursework submission: Guidance for the submission of coursework is available in the University of Plymouth assessment information section of the Assessment pages. This should also be considered good practice for formative assessment as well as summative assessment and should be followed where appropriate. Comprehensive information on eSubmission for staff and students is also available on the eSubmission Help and Guidance pages on the DLE.

Credit level descriptors: information about credits and levels from the SEEC website or from the designing programmes and modules web page.

Crisis: Support in times of crisis including phone numbers and information for crisis events.

Curriculum Design: Curriculum design guidelines updated September 2017