Dear online students,
We are past half way through the first set of undergraduate BA modules, and I feel the need to remind everyone of the participation requirements in the discussion forums. Looking at the cohorts of OT Survey, there are many of you who have not participated as required and hence you risk failing the module. Here (again) are the participation requirements as set out in the Induction, your Handbook and in the Introduction to modules.
Participation is an important element of your online experience that you need to understand carefully, hence further focus is provided here in the programme-specific induction. In the BA Theology Student Handbook (p.46) it states that:
In order for you to gain the maximum from your learning experience, you are expected to participate in 100% of teaching and learning activities, such as personal study, reading, residential seminars, intensives, online discussions and web activities, reflective journals, and other formative activities. Although differences in learning patterns vary, part-time students should expect to be involved in an average of 20 hours a week of study. To be successful and get the most from the programme, full time students should plan on 40 hours of study a week.
Furthermore, the LST Academic Board has clarified the following in terms of 'Participation and Attendance Regulations'. Read this carefully as it can impact your degree performance significantly.
You are expected to participate in 100% of the teaching & learning activities in your modules, even those not explicity linked to summative assessment. Activities are outlined in the module descriptors. (... for online modules, tutors will keep a register of participation in the required online activities.)
Although 100% is expected, we recognise that matters out of your control, such as illness or difficulties with transportation or internet, may sometimes occur. We permit up to 20% self-certified absence for such matters. (It is a good idea, as well as a point of courtesy, to inform the tutor(s) involved by email; sometimes your participation can be re-arranged.)
For non-participation greater than 20%, you may apply to the Registrar for Extenuating Circumstances (see the guidelines about Extenuating Circumstances under “Submission of Assessments”). Please note, the Registrar will not permit non-participation in more than 50% of teaching and learning activities, other than in highly exceptional circumstances.
Non-participation of more than 50% of a module (save as permitted above) calls into question whether the student has truly demonstrated participation in that module. Therefore the student will not be permitted to to submit summative assessments in that module. Student who require the module will need to start it again and be subject to the relevant fees.
As a distance education student, all your learning will take place online. Each unit in the BA Theology has a number of participatory activities, usually discussion forums, that are found in the Classroom section. Participation in these activities is required and an 'activity completion' tracking has been activated for the discussion forums. This means that the completion box will automatically populate with a 'tick' only once you meet the participation requirements that are laid out in each forum. In some cases you will be asked to post one or more new topics, in other cases you will be asked to respond to questions or to other students' posts a set number of times. It is important that you earn all the 'ticks' in each Classroom activity to fulfil your participation requirement. See the screenshot below.
Extenuating circumstances can be made to apply both for requesting extensions for your assessments and for your participation. They are a means for you to obtain extra time or exemptions in case of serious and significant events that impair your academic performance or disable you from participating normally in learning activities.
The BA Theology Handbook states (p.46):
... the attendance requirements for the module/module segment can only be waived if you produce written evidence specifically confirming that you are unable to attend the Teaching and Learning sessions (i.e. lectures, seminars, groups). In this case the Module Leader in consultation with the Academic Secretary may require of you alternative arrangements to facilitate your learning, preparation for module/module segment assessment and meeting of the learning outcomes. An example of an alternative requirement could be required reading accompanied by an appropriate formative assessment. If your extenuating circumstances do not directly affect your attendance, or you are unable to produce medical evidence confirming that you are unable to attend required sessions then your attendance will be subject to the Schools normal attendance criteria.
Please read the section on extenuating circumstances fully in the BA Theology Handbook states (pp.45-46) and consider applying in the appropriate cases. Please remember that this is your responsibility and you should apply as soon as possible and not at the end of a module. If you are uncertain, please contact your module tutor. You can find a direct link and application form in the FAQ section here: How do I apply for Extenuating Circumstances.
I trust this will help everyone and we look forward to your engagement in the relevant course forums. For any questions, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org