Quality Manual
   
   
  

e-Learning and Distance Learning Policy

1. Overview

2. Delivery

3. Learning Support

4. Assessment of Students

5. The virtual Learning Environment Delivery System

 

1. Overview

The policy covers educational provision leading to an award or part of an award which is delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through means which generally do not require the student to attend particular classes or events at particular times and particular locations. This includes practice such as e-learning, distance learning, blended learning, flexible learning, instructor led training and the use of web-based materials to supplement classroom-based learning.

The policy outlines the minimum requirements that the University expects should be met by schools when delivering this provision. The requirements of the policy are in addition to the normal expectations on schools, as detailed throughout the Quality Manual.

2. Delivery

2.1 Schools should ensure students have access to:

  • information that sets out the respective responsibilities of the school and University for the delivery of the programme, module, or element of study;
  • module descriptors, to show the intended learning outcomes and teaching, learning and assessment methods of the module(s); 
  • a clear schedule for the delivery of their study materials and for assessment of their work.

2.2 Schools should ensure that students can be confident that:

  • study materials, whether delivered through staff of a programme presenter or through web-based or other distribution channels, meet the expectations of the University in respect of the quality of teaching and learning-support material for a programme or element of study leading to one of its awards;
  • the provision is subject to Annual Monitoring and Five-Yearly Teaching and Learning Review.

3. Learner support

3.1 Prospective students should receive a clear and realistic explanation of the expectations placed upon them for study of the programme or elements of study, and for the nature and extent of autonomous, collaborative and supported aspects of learning.

3.2 Students should have access to:

  • a schedule for any learner support available to them through timetabled activities, for example tutorial sessions or web-based conferences;
  • clear and up-to-date information about the learning support available to them locally and remotely for their programme or elements of study;
  • documents that set out their own responsibilities as learners, and the commitments of the University and school for the support of a programme or element of study.

3.3 Students should have:

  • from the outset of their study, an identified contact, either local or remote through email, telephone, fax or post, who can give them constructive feedback on academic performance and authoritative guidance on their academic progression;
  • where appropriate, regular opportunities for inter-learner discussions about the programme, both to facilitate collaborative learning and to provide a basis for facilitating their participation in the quality assurance of the programme;
  • appropriate opportunities to give formal feedback on their experience of the programme.

3.4 Schools should ensure that students can be confident that:

  • staff who provide support to learners on these programmes have appropriate skills, and receive appropriate training and development;
  • support for learners, whether delivered through staff of a support provider or through web-based or other distribution channels, meets the expectations of the University for the quality of learner support for a programme of study leading to one of its awards.

4. Assessment of students

4.1 Students should have access to:

  • information on the ways in which their achievements will be judged, and the relative weighting of units, modules or elements of the programme in respect of assessment overall;
  • timely formative assessment on their academic performance to provide a basis for individual constructive feedback and guidance, and to illustrate the awarding institution's expectations for summative assessment.

4.2 Schools should ensure that students can be confident that:

  • those with responsibility for assessment are capable of confirming that a student's assessed work is the original work of that student only, particularly in cases where the assessment is conducted through remote methods.

5. The Virtual Learning Environment Delivery System

Information Services has responsibility for the meeting the guidelines below for the VLE systems which they maintain, namely Moodle.  However, if schools use delivery systems which are not supported by IS then they would be expected to assume responsibility for ensuring the guidelines below are met.

5.1 Delivery - students should be confident that: 

  • any programme or element offered for study has had the reliability of its delivery system tested, and that contingency plans would come into operation in the event of the failure of the designed modes of delivery;
  • the delivery system of the programme or element of study delivered through e-learning methods is fit for its purpose, and has an appropriate availability and life expectancy;
  • the delivery of any study materials direct to students remotely through, for example, e-learning methods or correspondence, is secure and reliable, and that there is a means of confirming its safe receipt;

5.2 Assessment of students - students should be confident that: 

  • their assessed work is properly attributed to them, particularly in cases where the assessment is conducted through remote methods that might be vulnerable to interception or other interference;
  • any mechanisms, such as web-based methods or correspondence, for the transfer of their work directly to assessors, are secure and reliable, and that there is a means of proving or confirming the safe receipt of their work.  

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