Teaching and learning handbook: D-G

Teaching and learning resources D to G.


Death of a student: in the event of the death of a student these guidelines outline the procedures to be followed. 

Definitive Module Record - DMR Template updated June 2017

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE): collects information on what leavers from higher education (HE) programmes are doing six months after qualifying from their HE course (employed, engaged in further study and so on). The University of Plymouth DLHE Survey results can be accessed through the Corporate Information System (staff only).

Disability Services: offers advice and guidance on disability to current and prospective University of Plymouth students and staff. This includes arranging appropriate provision for disabled students.

Disabled Students Allowance:  Changes to the Disabled Students Allowance in September 2016 has resulted in staff needing to develop inclusive teaching, learning and assessment and be ready to make reasonable adjustments for field and off campus trips. Guidance and a suggested template is available to assist Schools in their approach.

Degree classification, level 4 marks: from 2014 level 4 marks will contribute to the degree classification with the ratio of 1:3:6. The PU regulations identify the procedures for foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Digital Learning Environment |(DLE): this is the internal website for current students where all information on modules and programmes should be located. DLE (University login required). September 2018 agreed guidance for the minimum requirements on the DLE for each module. TLQC 16 November 2015 agreed guidance for the minimum requirements on the DLE for each programme. 

There are also two short help-guides on minimum online requirements for modules and programmes in the Key Documents section.  

Dissertations, supervising students: 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.


Doctoral College: provides a range of support for postgraduate education and students undertaking research degrees.

Domestic violence or abuse: if you are concerned that a student is suffering from domestic violence or abuse, encourage them to visit the UPSU Student Advice Centre or the  PU Counselling Service. 
Specialist help and information is available through  Sanctuary Supported Living’s Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service (PDAS)

Drugs or alcohol abuse: if a student is disrupting a lecture or seminar, ask them to leave. If they are being abusive and refuse to leave the teaching room contact Security on internal number 3333 or +44 1752 853333 for assistance. If you're concerned that a student may have issues with substance misuse they need to contact their GP or make an appointment with our student counselling service through the Learning Gateway or on +44 1752 587676

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 seems out of touch with reality, you should phone the Emergency Services 999 and Security on internal number 3333 or from a mobile phone +44 1752 853333 for assistance.


Education and Student Experience Strategy: The Education and Student Experience Strategy acts as a five year road-map to prioritise initiatives and make decisions 

Education for sustainable development: visit the sustainability education or sustainability web pages for more information.

Electronic submission of course work: where possible all student assessment should be submitted electronically through the module pages of the DLE. 

Emergency numbers: if there is an incident on campus phone the ambulance, police or fire services on 999 and contact campus security so they can assist. The University internal emergency phone number is 3333 or from a mobile phone +44 1752 583333. It's important that untrained students and staff don't intervene but alert a first aider or call the relevant service.

Guidelines for action when dealing with students experiencing emotional, mental health difficulties and are at risk. 

Employability Students need to have the opportunity to develop their employability throughout each stage of their UG & PG degree programme. This should be  both within the curriculum and in extra-curricular activities. The 'Employability in the Curriculum and Beyond' webpages offer a range of resources to assist academic staff in student employability from auditing a programme to teaching ideas for teaching entrepreneurship.

Enhancing the employability of our students is a top priority for all staff. There is a wealth of expertise within the Careers and Employability Service, Teaching and Learning Support, and Plymouth Connect (located in External Relations). These teams  can help in improving employability both within the curriculum and with students' co-curricular activities. This information  sheet clarifies the roles of the different provision and contact details.

Employee Assistance Programme (Workplace Options): In partnership with Workplace Options, University of Plymouth is pleased to offer support for all employees on a wide range of issues affecting work and personal lives.

Information and assistance available:

  • Monthly features, current news, events and polls.
  • Access to online articles and streaming audio and video covering interpersonal and workplace topics.
  • Choose from a wide range of interactive assessments and online training courses to help evaluate your general health and well being.
  • Locate resources for adoption, childcare, education, and elder care.
  • Sign up for forthcoming online seminars and webinars or view past ones.
  • Instant message with one of EIA's work-life consultants or counsellors.

To log in follow this link: Employee Assistance Programme, or to speak to a consultant / counsellor call:  0800 243 458

Employer Advisory Panel. All Schools should have an Employer Advisory Panel who will ensure programmes are aligned to the needs of industry and to facilitate positive industry links to enhance student placements and employment. Guidance on terms of reference for  Employer Advisory Panels.  

Enablers for disabled students: Enablers  role and levels of support depends on the needs of the individual students as specified in the Student Support Document (SSD). Guidance notes for staff. 

English Language Centre (ELC)supports international students by offering a range of courses.

Epilepsy: information and advice should be obtained at the start of a programme and preferably prior to study. If a student has declared the disability, Disability Services will have an information meeting with a student and an SSD may be developed. Dependant on the degree programme a risk assessment should be conducted and local first aiders made aware with the student’s consent.

Equality Data Sets; Guidance on how to access CIS and the new equality data sets (2018). This includes information on gender, ethnicity, retention,acheivement and POLAR4 data.

E-submission of coursework: Comprehensive information on eSubmission for staff and students is  available on the Help and Guidance pages on the DLE.

eTextbooks:  The use of eTextbooks in the UK is increasing and has been rising steadily since 2011. The University of Plymouth eTextbook service has grown to provide over 80 per cent of current first year University of Plymouth undergraduate students with a package of free eTextbook titles. Information on using eTextbooks in teaching.

Ethics: attention to the ethical implications of research for research subjects, researchers and research sponsors is an intrinsic part of good research practice. The University has an established set of fundamental principles, a policy and webpages to ensure good scientific practice, the integrity of research involving human participants, research involving animal subjects, and general principles of data confidentiality and access.

Evaluation, programmes and modules: it is essential to evaluate courses and teaching. One of the primary sources of evaluation is student feedback. At the end of a module, check whether students are meeting the learning outcomes and are satisfied with the learning experiences. Module evaluation complements the University’s student perception questionnaire and the National Student SurveyEvaluation templates for staff use.

Examinations: You can find more information on examinations on our exams pages or contact examinations timetabling via email on examinations.scheduling@plymouth.ac.uk or phone +44 1752 587799.

For support on examination technique and preparation contact Learning Development at the Learning Gateway.

Examination Anxiety: student counselling runs group activities and workshops which can help students dealing with exam stress. Learning Development offers guidance on study skills and time management which can help alleviate exam stress. Some students could also benefit from counselling. The University chaplaincy runs regular mediation sessions. 

Examinations, failure: the student transcript specifies any compensation, referral and resit requirements. The back page of the transcript has a glossary of abbreviation codes. See our academic regulations for all degree programmes.

During term time: students can talk with their personal tutor, programme leader and faculty office for further information. 

During vacations: contact your faculty office or the UPSU advice centre which is open 52 weeks. Email advice@su.plymouth.ac.uk or call +44 1752 588373

Students may also need to explore funding implications related to failing an exam with the faculty office or UPSU advice centre.

Examinations, referral/resits: the transcript specifies any resit or referral requirements. The back page of the transcript has an abbreviation glossary.

During term-time: personal tutors, module leaders, programme leaders and the faculty office can offer further information.

During vacations: contact your faculty office or UPSU advice centre which is open 52 weeks. Email: advice@su.plymouth.ac.uk or call +44 1752 588373.

Students need to explore any funding implications with the faculty office or UPSU advice centre.

Examinations, inclusive: there are a number of ways to make exams more inclusive. This includes scheduling, choice of exam method, length of exam, weighting of the exam, the structure of exam questions, enabling all students to type exams, exam practice and more. Educational development run workshops on inclusive examinations. Email teachandlearn@plymouth.ac.uk for more information.

Examinations, in-class tests: students sitting in-class tests are eligible for modified assessment provision as specified in their Student Support Document. Students and module leaders need to discuss the modified assessment requirements. For further information contact the faculty office or the examinations office by email on examinations.scheduling@plymouth.ac.uk or phone +44 1752 587799.

Examination papers, preparation and review: it is an essential part of maintaining academic standards that all examination papers are prepared, reviewed and revised confidentially. Questions and answers must not be disclosed to students before the examination, unless there are specific alternative arrangements outlined in the module handbook e.g. 'seen paper' examinations. 

Support classes and revision sessions may address the principles and topic areas that are likely to be assessed and encourage students to explore the ways in which examination questions may be addressed. Use of examination questions from previous years in revision and other teaching sessions is entirely appropriate.

Examination questions: Guidance on the approval and re-use of examination questions 

Examinations, types: there are many different types of exams. This document contains 15 different types. Please advise us of other innovative exams types by emailing teachandlearn@plymouth.ac.uk.

Experiential Learning CETL (EL CETL): arose from a strong tradition at Plymouth of hands-on learning in the environmental and natural sciences, typified by fieldwork, laboratory work and work-based learning. The EL CETL enhanced the quality and quantity of students’ learning in these environments..

Extenuating circumstances:  to be considered valid, extenuating circumstances must meet the definition that they: 

  • have a significant impact on the student's ability to attend or complete assessment(s), and 
  • are exceptional, and 
  • are outside their control, and 
  • occurred during or shortly before the assessment in question.

Claims that do not meet this definition (and described further in section 2 of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedures document) will be considered invalid. A separate self-certification claim must be made for every assessment, including time-specific assessments such as exams, that is affected by the student's circumstances, 

To make a claim, students should download a claim form from the extenuating circumstances website, or obtain a claim form from their Faculty or School Office, or equivalent for a partner institution, or, for post-graduate research students, the Doctoral College. The completed form should be submitted to their Faculty Office (or equivalent for partner institutions), or the Doctoral College, in person or by email. If the claim is submitted by email, the email addresses to use are shown at the end of the Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedures document. Otherwise, the form should be submitted to the faculty office.  Postgraduate research students should submit extenuating circumstances claims for both taught modules and research milestones to the Doctoral College.

Refer to the Extenuating Circumstances Policy and Procedures document for full details before submitting a claim.

External Advisory Panel. All Schools should have an External Advisory Panel who will ensure programmes are aligned to the needs of industry and to facilitate positive industry links to enhance student placements and employment. Guidance on terms of reference for  Employer Advisory Panels.  

External examiners: access comprehensive information for external examiners. There is a  list of subject/programme level briefing material sent to external examiners on initial appointment and as part of the annual update.

External Speakers and Events Policy

An External Speakers and Events Policy has been developed for visiting speakers to the University. Anyone organising an event which involves an external speaker should make sure they are familiar with, and follow the new procedure set out in, the policy. The majority of requests will be straightforward, but all external speakers must be given a copy of the Guidance for External Speakers document.   A proforma has been developed which  must be completed when orgainising external speakers If you have any questions, or need further guidance, please contact externalspeakers@plymouth.ac.uk


Failing to make progress: students fail to progress in their studies for a number of reasons. These can include domestic, childcare, family, health, emotional, funding, study skills, and disabilities. To make sure students are aware of the wide range of support available you should encourage them to talk with their personal tutor, programme leader or visit the UPSU Students Advice Centre for a confidential one-to-one interview with a trained advice worker.

Please visit the academic regulations pages for all degree programmes.

Regulations regarding unsatisfactory progress.

Faith and Spiritual Matters: the multi faith chaplaincy is for everyone on campus, whether you have a faith, are searching for faith, or just want to meet people. 

Feedback: all learners need feedback to help them learn and improve. The University requires staff to provide students with feedback on all assessment including exams. In addition as a minimum, grades should be available for all time-controlled assessments (including examinations and in-class tests). Please remember the University of Plymouth has a 20 day turnaround time for feedback and marks on all assessments. 


Feed-forward: provides information students can use to make improvements to current or future assessments. It is different to feedback as it focuses on longer term development and is forward-looking rather than concerned with work already completed. Examples include:

  • the opportunity to get comments on a draft or outline, and so take account of these in the final version
  • the option of a practice test (for example, getting feedback on how well students answered multiple-choice questions)
  • a pre-exam revision seminar, or a workshop focusing on past exam papers (sometimes called ‘pre-emptive’ feedback).

The JISC website contains useful information on using technology in feed forward and feedback.

Formative feedback and marking sheet example from the Faculty of Business. 

Feed-in: when staff offer students what is required from an assessment. At this stage, students can have discussions with you to make sure they understand the assignment.

Funding: Visit our funding webpage if you are looking for funding to take your pedagogic research/practice further.

Field trips:   All fieldwork should  operate under the University’s Code of Practice on Fieldwork and Off-site activity. Staff must  make reasonable adjustments and arrangements so that all students can access field trips. The Student Support Document (SSD) will specify individual requirements for disabled students. Consider any health and safety implications. Our Field Trip Process identifies the required steps when organising a trip. Disability Services can offer additional advice and support. Students who require advice on funding field trips should contact the UPSU Student Advice Centre. Information on inclusive field tripsAdvice for academic staff on how to assist students with different disabilities

First Aid:  Trained first aiders are located  in every University building. It is important that untrained students or staff do not  intervene but immediately alert a first aider or call the relevant service on 999.

Fitness to practice: a Fitness to Practice policy is used in the School of Health and Human Sciences and PUPSMD for students on professional programmes leading to registration, e.g. doctors, dentists nurses, midwives and social workers. This process is used prior to entry and for students on a course of study.

The Professional Issues Committee considers all potential students who have health problems or who have traces on Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) checks which may preclude them from undertaking a programme of study.

Fitness for study: this is now The Study and Wellbeing Review policy and it provides a three-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   .

Flexible learning: is about providing learners with choices regarding when, where and how learning occurs (the pace, place and mode of delivery). It helps to attract and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse range of students and includes making appropriate use of technology to support the learning process. 


Funding issues: the UPSU Student Advice Centre 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



Global Challenge: a co-curriculum programme for students explaining what it means to be a global citizen in the 21st century.

Graduation: the graduation webpages provide all the information about graduation 

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. Is the assessment of the product or process, the group and/or individual contribution? More help and advice is available on our group work webpages. We have produced some example group work activities