Friday 7 July 2017

Students working on dissertations

An updated set of guidance in respect of dissertations and principal modules has been uploaded to the Academic Information page on the University staff intranet. This guidance was developed by a sub-group of the Assessment and Feedback Matters working group over the course of the 2016-17 academic year, in an attempt to help standardise some of the processes around dissertations and principal modules across the institution.  Primarily, the group focused on the following areas:

Staff Guidance

  • Additions to the definitions section around ‘supervision’ and ‘ethical approval’ (section 2)
  • Guidance around the provision of formative feedback (section 5)
  • Request that the module specification is clear on the time available for supervision and whether or not this includes time to prepare (section 5)
  • Clarification that ‘hard copies’ should only be produced where required – i.e. where an exemption to the SaGE process has been approved (section 6.2)*
  • Some tweaks to the sample record of supervisory meetings, including a new ‘supervision time remaining’ column
  • Re-ordering of the suggested contents list into relevant categories
  • A few terminology tweaks throughout (Schools to Faculties, SAIMOs to Academic Integrity Officers and SATs to Student Records)

Student Guidance

  • Additions to the definitions section around ‘supervision’ and ‘ethical approval’ (section 2)
  • Clarification that the student is expected to be generally proactive in leading and managing the dissertation process (section 2.1)
  • Guidance around the provision of formative feedback (section 3)
  • Request that the module specification is clear on the time available for supervision and whether or not this includes time to prepare (section 3)
  • Clarification that ‘hard copies’ should only be produced where required – i.e. where an exemption to the SaGE process has been approved (section 4.2)*
  • Some tweaks to the sample record of supervisory meetings, including a new ‘supervision time remaining’ column
  • A few terminology tweaks throughout (Schools to Faculties, SAIMOs to Academic Integrity Officers and SATs to Student Records)

The group did not look at broader process issues i.e. whether the Student Records team should provide reminders of deadlines for UG dissertations (not currently the norm) or the timing of feedback relative to the timing of Field and Exam Boards.

* The information on submission of hard copies of the dissertation was not removed from the guidance even though electronic submission of dissertations is the norm across the University. This is because there may still be occasions where an exemption has been granted (although these are increasingly limited), but the group did not explore this further.

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