As we near the end of Week 2, I hope that you are settling into academic life at Oxford Brookes.
We want you to be able to produce your best work during your time here at Brookes. You may find that we have a way of working that is a little different to what you’ve experienced before. So I want to make sure that you are aware of our expectations, but also where you can access help, advice and support if and when you need it.
After you’ve read this email, you will know:
what you need to do to submit work and make sure that it has been prepared honestly (and what will happen if you don’t),
- how we might check for plagiarism and what a Turnitin report means,
- where to go for help with your academic work/or resources to do it really well,
- who can give you specific advice on issues with your programme,
- how to tell us that you need extra support with submitting work or assessments,
- when and how to tell us that you're unwell or can’t submit on time,
- who to ask for support and advice if you're struggling to cope with academic life.
Your feedback needed to shape Semester 2 teaching approach
Although it still feels early in Semester 1, we need to plan our approach to teaching in Semester 2, so that we can plan and publish the timetable. When we agreed this semester’s approach to teaching - that some or all of your lectures would be held online to keep numbers in teaching rooms to the appropriate level for their risk assessment - we committed to getting students’ feedback before we made firm decisions about Semester 2, so this is your opportunity to give us that feedback.
We will still have most, if not all of the same restrictions in place for Semester 2 that we have in Semester 1 (for example, limits on room capacity and the requirements of professional bodies), so our decisions will be informed by those factors as well as by student feedback. However, we’re really keen to find out how students have experienced teaching arrangements in Semester 1 so far, so that we can identify what’s gone well, and what improvements we might be able to make.
We’d therefore be really grateful if you could fill in this survey to give us your feedback. Please complete the survey no later than Monday 4 October in order for us to take your feedback into account.
What you need to do to submit work and make sure that it has been prepared honestly
The best way to make sure you are following good academic practice in your reading, writing and research is by completing our Academic Integrity course on Moodle. You can also find out more about what academic integrity means. We know that no-one starts university with the intention of cheating in their academic work, but if you’re not aware of some of the common mistakes you can inadvertently slip up.
Your Module Leader will advise you on how to submit your work, but sometimes you will use a web-based tool called Turnitin. Find out more about submitting work with Turnitin.
How we might check for plagiarism and what a Turnitin report means
Turnitin is online software that is used when students submit their work electronically. Its primary use is to support students' academic development and enhance good academic practice, for example through planned discussion with University staff about the accurate and thorough citation of other people's work, but it is also used to detect plagiarism.
The Turnitin webpage has lots of useful information about how the software can help you, including how to read an originality report and use that information to improve your submitted work.
What happens if you’re suspected of plagiarism or academic misconduct?
If an academic member of staff suspects that your submitted work contains work that is not your own or work that you have falsified, they will submit the details to the Student Investigation and Resolution Team (SIRT).
The best way to avoid academic misconduct in the first place is to complete the Academic Integrity course and if you’re finding an element of your academic work hard, to seek support from those who can help you.
Where to go if you need help with your academic work, or to find resources to do it really well
There are lots of sources of help for academic work across the University. As well as your Academic Adviser or Module Leader, you can also get help from the:
- Centre for Academic Development - for study skills, maths and stats, and Academic English for international or EAL students
- Library - for course help, support with referencing, finding resources and accessibility
- Student Support Coordinators - can help you talk through your concerns and suggest the services that might help you most
- Wellbeing - if you’re struggling with motivation, procrastination, feelings of self-doubt or homesickness, the team can help you and also signpost you to resources, such as Togetherall and Student Space, to support you in managing these feelings.
Who to ask for specific advice on issues with your programme
Your Academic Adviser or your Module Leader are best placed to give you advice on any issues you might have about your programme. If you prefer, you could speak to your Student Support Coordinator. They are department-based and offer a confidential and non-judgemental advice service.
How to tell us that you need extra support with submitting work or assessments
The Inclusive Support Service is a team of specialist advisors who can provide individualised information and advice on disability issues. They work with students to determine what support might be appropriate and ensure that reasonable adjustments are in place to facilitate access to study for all students.
When and how to tell us you're unwell or you can’t submit work on time
If you’re unwell and can’t attend your scheduled teaching or meetings, please let the Module Leader(s) know - in advance if possible. They will be able to assist you on how you can catch up. Here’s some more information on what you should do. If your illness is long-term, please discuss this with your Academic Adviser.
The University’s Exceptional Circumstances procedure is the process for telling us if something unexpected (acute illness, bereavement, emergency) has occurred and it is affecting your ability to undertake or study for an assessment. As part of the process, you’ll be asked to tell us what the problem is as early as you can, how it is affecting you and what extension you want to request to help you submit your work. Please read the Exceptional Circumstances webpages carefully so that you understand how the process works, in case you need to use it in the future.
Who to ask for support and advice if you're struggling to cope with academic life
Sometimes you may feel you need some extra help. The Wellbeing team is there for students who:
- need short-term emotional support
- are care leavers or estranged students
- have disabilities or mental health problems
- are in distress and need short-term support.
I hope that this provides you with the information that you need and the people to help you to produce your best work at Oxford Brookes.
Professor Anne-Marie Kilday
Pro Vice-Chancellor Student and Staff Experience