I am sure that many of you already know the feeling. It’s July, the days are longer, the sun is out and you have just finished your spring exams. Take a deep breath. You know that you have done your best and that you have respected the exam regulations. All you can do now is just relax and wait for the exam results.
I started on my LLM in Human Rights Law about two years ago. I was a bit anxious about returning to studying after several years outside academia and I was also aware of the prestige of taking up studies with the University of London. The distance learning program appealed to me, as it would allow me to work while studying. I knew however it could be a challenge to study on my own, sign up for courses, structure my studies and also to understand the various rules and regulations applied by the University.
Through the University’s YouEngage programme I was lucky to get appointed as a student member both within the Student Voice Group and the Inclusive Practice Panel. I became aware that many tools already existed for students to impact on issues related to student engagement and academic governance. I quickly learned that the University of London was strongly committed to engaging us students and getting our viewpoints on important decisions.
Throughout the year, student members are also invited to participate in other quality assurance processes. One that I was accepted to take part in was the Assessment Offences Committee. As a student registered with the University of London we are governed by the General Regulations and the specific set of Programme regulations associated with our programme of study. The Committee considers cases where a student denies an allegation of assessment offence relating to coursework or an examination. The Committee is composed of academic staff but also a student member, which in my opinion ensures the transparency of the decision making process.
During my attendance in the Committee I have witnessed students who have either intentionally or unintentionally broken rules for assessment. Depending on the gravity of the offence, students who are found to have broken the University’s regulations by the Committee receive penalties ranging from a warning through to the cancellation of a module. However penalties can go so far as to cancelling an entire year’s work, or in the worst-case, termination of registration. I have understood how important it is to address academic misconduct since the rules and regulations for assessment are in place to ensure fairness for all students as well as to ensure the integrity of the University.
I also understand the impact the Committee’s decisions can have for a student. However as distance learners we often need to seek information proactively ourselves and many of us have never studied in the UK system before. The Committee continues to receive several cases every year. To avoid breaking rules and regulations, we need as students to seek information and remind ourselves of the standards we are expected to meet when approaching an assessment. Having studied at postgrad level I have also learned that the importance is not only what not to do, but to understand that the aim of learning with the University of London is to show your own ideas, reflections and analysis. The University is there by our side to help us develop our expertise in our area of study.
With this in mind I wish you all an excellent summer holiday wherever you are. Treat yourself by taking some time off, store away your study material and read a good book!
Editor’s note: The University is currently offering over 20 opportunities for students to get more involved in University life, including student membership of University committees, for the 2019-20 academic year.