Teaching and learning handbook: S–Z

Teaching and learning resources S to Z


S3 Student Support System: S3 offers a wide range of online support services including: attendance monitoring/reporting (at module, stage and programme level), access class/programme lists/MAPs with overlaid attendance alert data, management and reporting of student assessment and marks, Markbook marks upload service (uploading marks from a spreadsheet directly into Markbook), module analytics (module marks over time with cohort analysis), peer review management, personal tutee management and UCAS applications/decisions data.
S3 has an extensive guidance and instructions: 
The documents below illustrate some S3 features:
SEEC level descriptors: the Southern England Consortium for Credit Accumulation (SEEC) provide a description of levels of learning through a hierarchy of knowledge and skills.
Scheme of work: prepared for each module, or part of a module. It lists the sessions, their dates, the main outcomes or aims being addressed in each session; the activities and crucially how they relate to formative and summative assessment.
Session plan: there is no required method/format for planning sessions. They enhance teaching practice and should contain:
  • session aims
  • intended learning outcomes
  • inputs
  • learning activities
  • timings
  • resources.
Examples can be found in the designing programmes and modules guidance.
7 Steps series: a useful series of leaflets promoting hints and tips that can be incorporated into academic practice.
SHINE: is a stand alone, self-help website which grew out of a partnership between staff from Academic Partnerships, the Student Counselling & Personal Development Service, Partner College students and postgraduate research students. SHINE is a web based, self-help resource to enable non-campus (and on-campus) students and staff access to high-quality psychological e-resources. 
The SHINE website categorises student and staff friendly content. Students and staff can watch, read, listen, find apps and useful links to the best online resources and information about mental health and well-being.
Significant personal, health or emotional issues, student: if a student is experiencing a temporary significant personal issue which affects assessment, use the extenuating circumstances policy and procedure.
Guidelines for action if you are concerned that the student is at risk.
If a student is experiencing multiple personal, illness, emotional or domestic issues which are affecting learning, assessment and progress they need to talk with the programme leader and faculty registrar to ensure the correct support is identified. The student can also visit the UPSU advice centre or Student Wellbeing Services .
Social anxiety, shyness, student: if a student has concerns about integration, delivery of presentations, has social anxiety or is very shy, Student Wellbeing Services (counselling) or Learning Development can offer support. Telephone Student Services on +44 1752 587676.
Social media communications: the University has comprehensive guidance on social media and networks on the staff intranet. This includes information about the use of Facebook, Twitter, etc.
When using social media you should be mindful of data protection, copyright and intellectual property rights. Use of the University logo effectively endorses a page, blog, comment or tweet. Posts on social media sites should be professional and respectful in tone. If you are posting on behalf of the University, or even in the capacity of a member of the University, what you say will reflect on our reputation.
If you have concerns about harassment or abuse on a social media site, report it immediately to your line manager who will seek advice from the faculty registrar and the complaints and appeals manager.
Students can seek advice about problems and issues relating to social media both on and off campus from the UPSU advice centre.
SPACE: Staff Student Partnership for Assessment Change and Evaluation (Waterfield and West 2006). This project exploring inclusive assessment in HE was a HEFCE funded Project of eight HEIs in the South West of England, co-ordinated and managed by the Disability Services (DS) at the University of Plymouth. The project produced a toolkit as a resource for change and has been a key driver for change in assessment at Plymouth.
SSTAR Awards: organised by students with the Students' Union to reward the many excellent staff members and dedicated course reps at the University of Plymouth.
Staff counselling: 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 Health and Wellbeing pages and select the Employee Assistance Programme link. For telephone counselling and information phone 0808 168 2143.
Student advice centre: a free, confidential and independent advice centre, to help students with any problems they may have. All UPSU advice centre staff are professionally trained and can offer advice on a range of issues, including academic, housing, financial or personal. The centre is open 52 weeks of the year. To get in touch students can email advice@su.plymouth.ac.uk or call +44 1752 588373.
Student conduct and disciplinary procedure: this policy provides a framework for regulation of students' behaviour and applies to all students.
Student engagement: Student engagement is vital for academic success. We expect all Plymouth students to become effective independent learners, to be active learners, making the most of the opportunities the University provides, working in partnership with our academic and professional staff. 
Student Handbook: an A to Z guide of useful information and student-focused services.
Student illness in a teaching room: if there is an incident involving vomiting or other bodily fluids in any teaching space please phone the Campus Support Service on +44 1752 588600, they'll alert Cleaning Services. In an emergency contact Security on +44 1752 853333 for assistance.
Student jobs: if a student is seeking part time work they should contact Student Jobs in the Careers & Employability Hub in Roland Levinsky Building.
Student life: student services including student life and learning.
Student partnerships:


Student perception survey (SPQ): the University's annual in-house student feedback survey. Detailed spreadsheets can be assessed through CIS.
Student-related regulations, policies and procedures: this page is a one-stop shop for all student related regulations, policies and procedures.
Student safeguarding: the University has an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of its students. The Safeguarding Policy outlines the approach to safeguarding at the University of Plymouth, and explains what to do in the event of a concern about a student.
Student-self assessment tool: a self-evaluation tool to support and assist with personal tutoring – this online self-assessment tool (University staff and students) – set up in Moodle – evaluates students early engagement with learning. It provides automated feedback, helping to identify students at risk and directing them to appropriate resources and sources of support.
Student staff relationships: the University does not wish to prevent, or need to be aware of, liaisons between staff and students. It does however rely upon the integrity of both parties to ensure that abuses of power do not occur.
Student Support Document (SSD): contains information about a students additional support needs. Information includes:
  • course information
  • details about any disclosed disability or condition
  • the recommended modified assessment provision (MAPs)
  • indicates whether a student has an enabler to assist them.
The SSD is sent to the faculty, the exams office and library special support services. It is then circulated to academic and support staff on a need-to-know basis. SSDs are sent for distribution to departmental staff via faculty offices. Contact Disability Services at the Student Hub for further advice by email on studentservices@plymouth.ac.uk, or telephone +44 1752 587676. Assessment and re-assessment of needs can take place throughout the academic year therefore the SSD is subject to change.
Student support services: an webpage of support services available at Plymouth.
Students Union Advice Centre (UPSU): delivers a range of services for students. These include events, representation, engagement, campaigning, advice, support, societies, sports, shop, food and drink, volunteering and community partnership. Contact UPSU on +44 1752 588388 or email info@upsu.com.
Student voice: the University of Plymouth gathers the student voice both formally and informally through multiple mechanisms. The insights drawn from different sources help us to understand and reflect on the student experience and to prioritise where our actions should be made when seeking to develop new initiatives and make enhancements to current services and provision. Guidance for staff on gathering and actioning student voice.
Student wellbeing, concerns: the University of Plymouth supports students through a range of services. The Student Hub, the Student Handbook and the SHINE web pages all signpost to areas of support.
Guidelines for action if you are concerned a student is at risk.
Study abroad: when a student enquires about studying abroad within an academic year, if it is not part of the degree programme they need to speak with the programme leader, faculty office and the International Office. Students also need to explore any funding implications with the faculty office or UPSU Student Advice Centre.
Study and Wellbeing Policy and Procedures – the Study and Wellbeing Policy and Procedures provides a four-stage framework to guide practice in directing students to appropriate support, and to determine in a timely fashion what actions are needed where health, wellbeing or Fitness for Study concerns arise. Formerly known as Fitness to Study. 
Study skills: learning development offer a range of student support services including, online resources, one-to-one or group tutorials and a drop in zone in the library. Or visit Student Services for more information.
Subject Benchmark Statements are part of the QAA Quality Code – Part A: Setting and maintaining academic standards.
Subject Benchmark Statements set out expectations about standards of degrees in a range of subject areas. They describe what gives a discipline its coherence and identity, and define what can be expected of a graduate in terms of the abilities and skills needed to develop understanding or competence in the subject.
Submission of coursework: Good practice for formative assessment and should be followed where appropriate. Comprehensive information on eSubmission for staff and students is also available on the Help and Guidance pages on the DLE.
Support in times of crisis phone numbers and information for crisis events
Suicidal student: if you are concerned that a student may have suicidal thoughts you must urge them to contact their GP or make an appointment with student counselling through Student Services or on +44 1752 587676.
If urgent, suicidal students can go to Accident and Emergency (24 hours) and request a mental health assessment. If you need to speak with someone because you are concerned about a student’s immediate well-being or safety, you can contact:
If you are seriously concerned and believe the student is at risk of serious harm to themselves or others, is violent, has taken an overdose or seem out of touch with reality, phone 999 and the emergency internal phone number 3333 or from a mobile phone +44 1752 583333. You should also discuss any concerns with your line manager.
SUM UP: a drop-in service for students from any discipline who need a support with mathematics and statistics skills
Supervising students (undergraduates): students benefit from having clear and effective procedures in place for the successful operation of the dissertation module. The Supervising Student Dissertations PU guidance is pitched at the level of basic good practice and acknowledges that in many Schools there'll be procedures which exceed the threshold standards outlined. The guidelines also acknowledge the diversity of practice which quite properly reflects different disciplinary cultures and expectations.
Supervising students (postgraduates): the Doctoral College provides a programme of training and information about the supervision of postgraduates.
PGCAP module on sustainability education. 
For further information and support with embedding sustainability into your teaching, please contact Centre for Sustainable Futures


Teaching and Learning roles and responsibilities: the Teaching and Learning roles and responsibilities document defines all the key roles and responsibilities associated with teaching and learning across the University including senior leadership, committees, administration and teaching staff. 
Teaching and Learning Support (TLS): Teaching and Learning Support spans a number of areas across the University of Plymouth with the responsibility for the successful delivery of the institution's Education and Student Experience Strategy.
Teaching and Learning Support organise a programme of workshops and events with PedRIO. They also work works with the faculties and other areas of the University to enhance and enrich our students' learning experience.
Teaching Development Framework (TDF): the Teaching Development Framework provides staff with the opportunity to gain Fellowship of Advance HE at one of four levels: Associate, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow and aligns with the UK Professional Standards Framework.
Teaching Fellowships and Awards: the National Teaching Fellowships Scheme (NTFS) and Collaborative Awards for Teaching Excellence (CATE) celebrate teaching and learning excellence. Both awards are coordinated by AdvanceHE. Details of the latest information can be found by visiting the Advance HE website on NTFS and CATE.
Teaching, Learning and Quality Committees: the Teaching, Learning and Quality Committees at programme, school, faculty and University level are responsible for the quality assurance (QA) and quality enhancement (QE) of teaching, learning and assessment practice and for the maintenance of academic standards in the programmes of the University. 
Teaching materials available prior to teaching sessions: all students, including those with a modified assessment provision, 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.
Research has shown that posting of lecture materials in advance of the lecture does not have an impact on attendance. To view Babb & Ross (2009), go to http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131508002029. Their findings suggest that attendance and participation are both improved by having slides available to students before classes.
For further information and advice contact Disability Services.


Teaching qualifications/accreditation:
  • Introduction to Teaching and Learning (ITL)
  • Teaching Development Framework (TDF) 
Technological Enhanced Learning (TEL): This team supports staff in the use of digital technologies and resources, for teaching; learning; assessment; research; and university administration.
Temporary medical condition or injury affecting assessment: a temporary medical condition or injury may affect a student’s ability to sit exams or attend an assessment. Whilst the University will make every effort to accommodate temporary provisions it normally requires a minimum of 48 hours notice to make arrangements.
Tier 4 students: see international student with a Student visa (formerly Tier 4) attendance.
Third party involvement: if a third party contacts you to discuss an issue or concern about a student; you are unable to discuss any issue without a student’s permission. In compliance with data protection you must advise the third party to discuss the issue or concern directly with the student.
Transcript: is issued to all students who complete any elements of an approved programme of study after each Assessment Board meeting. 
Tuition fees: for information and advice see Tuition Fees. The University provides information on Fees and Funding and on Scholarships and Bursaries. Further advice can be obtained from the UPSU Student Advice Centre who have specialist advisors who can help with issues including fees, loans, grants, bursaries and the National Scholarship Programme. Email advice@su.plymouth.co.uk or call +44 1752 588373.
Tutoring – Personal Tutoring: all University of Plymouth Students are allocated a Personal Tutor. Personal tutors are designated as a sustained and first point of reference for individual students on pastoral or academic matters. See the Personal Tutoring webpages for information on policy, guidance and resources.


Universal Design: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a relatively new concept in higher education that advocates change in how we think about educational practice so that a greater diversity of students is included in higher education, including those with disabilities. Moving towards UDL means challenging the status quo of the traditionally advantaged learner and a pedagogy based almost entirely on text based learning. In order to respond more effectively to the different learning requirements of a greater diversity of students there needs to be a rethink about all aspects of the system. 


Vexatious complaints: see the complaints webpage for access to the vexatious complaints policy, which sets out what the University considers to be a vexatious complaint, and how this will be dealt with. 
Volunteering: if a student is interested in volunteering they should visit the UPSU Volunteer Office in the Hive in the SU Building, email volunteer@su.plymouth.ac.uk or contact the Careers Gateway in Roland Levinsky Building.


Whistleblowing: the University of Plymouth is committed to the highest standards of openness, honesty, integrity and to the principles of academic freedom and expects all members to maintain those standards. A culture of openness and accountability is essential to minimise the risk of those situations arising and to deal with them if they do arise. 
  • encourage people to report suspected wrongdoing as soon as possible without fear of reprisal (even if their concerns turn out to be mistaken)
  • make people aware of how to raise concerns
  • protect people who raise concerns from repercussions as a result of having done so
  • put in place appropriate procedures to investigate concerns; and make sure that concerns are dealt with in a transparent and confidential way.
Widening participation 
The University of Plymouth has a regional, national and international reputation for its widening participation (WP) work. Our commitment is reflected in the University's Raising Aspiration and Driving Engagement Strategy. The strategy focuses primarily on three priority target groups, those disadvantaged by: socio-economic class disability childhood experience in care. The University’s broader strategy also embraces work related to age, gender and racial equality. Visit the WP pages of the website.
Wider Information 
  • informs the public about the quality of higher education
  • helps provide potential students with information that will help them make a choice about what and where to study
  • helps keep current students informed and engaged
  • helps provide evidence to contribute to quality assurance processes in institutions
  • helps provide information that institutions can use to enhance the quality of their higher education provision.


Withdrawing from a module: students thinking of withdrawing from a module need to talk with their personal tutor, programme leader and inform the faculty office.
Withdrawing from or suspending study: students withdrawing or suspending study need to talk with their personal tutor, programme leader and inform the faculty office. Students need to explore any funding implications with the faculty office or UPSU Student Advice Centre.
Working day: a university working day is defined as a day on which the University is open. This excludes weekends, Bank Holidays and times when the University is closed such as the period between Christmas and New Year, but includes both term-time and student vacation periods. 
Writing for Assignments E-Library (WrAssE): Writing for Assignments E-Library (WrAssE) helps students learn about writing at university. It includes examples of student essays and other university assignments from a number of subject areas, together with comments from lecturers about why the writing is good – or how it could be improved.