SBBS Postgraduate Office
Procedures, rules and regulations
Attendance and Engagement
Queen Mary wishes all students to progress with their studies and to succeed to their fullest academic potential. However, some students experience personal issues or other matters that affect their studies. The ‘Student Academic Engagement Policy’ provides guidance on the required levels of participation expected of students and highlights available support that will enable students to achieve this.
What is Learner Engagement Analytics and what does it have to do with me?
Let’s begin with the basics! Learner Engagement Analytics is a term that is used to describe the data the University holds about your engagement with various services, as well as your demographic data. Learner Engagement Analytics is often referred to as LEA, so you may also have heard about it under that name. Currently, your engagement data comes from your digital footprints that you leave when you use QMPlus and other University systems and data about your grades and academic history. When all this data about you is brought together in one system, it’s called Learner Engagement Analytics.
The following types of data may be used for the LEA system at Queen Mary:
· Background information: your name, identifiers used by the [University / College], contact details, and a link to the photo we hold of you.
· Details about your course, the modules you are taking, the credits you have achieved and your advisers.
· Details of your assessments, marks and grades obtained.
· Details of your activity in QMPlus and other digital systems: logins, resources viewed, assessments submitted and graded, and session timeouts.
· Details about your engagement with teaching activities.
· Any extenuating circumstances that have been approved.
· As part of the ongoing development of the LEA platform we will be including some data about your use of reading lists and may pilot the inclusion of some other data about your library usage.
· We may link data for Statistical Purposes only to your date of birth, ethnicity, gender, declared disabilities, entry qualifications, whether your parents were in higher education, your socio-economic background, whether you are an overseas student. Two of these data types are what is known as special category personal data: Ethnicity and Disability. They are being included within our models with the aim of improving our monitoring of equality of opportunity and to improve the accuracy of the models. These statistical analyses will allow us to identify different patterns of engagement between different groups. They will not be used to identify individuals.
As you can see, LEA has a lot to do with you – it’s data about you! The University has collected this data about you for a long time, but the University has decided to create a system that brings your data from different sources together, and this new system is going to be used to analyse your data to better understand and support your journey through the University.
What will my data be used for?
It’s good to be careful with your personal data, and we can assure you that your data will only be used to improve the student experience and provide tailored support when you need it. For example, in schools where LEA has been implemented in 2021-22, if we can see that your engagement has decreased, your Advisor and the student support staff in your school might reach out to you to see if you need a bit of extra support to get back on track. Another benefit is that the engagement data from all the students in your cohort can help academic staff to improve their learning materials. If a lecturer can see that most students in your class aren’t opening the resources on QMPlus, it might be sign that they need to redesign the QMPlus page, so it is easier for you to access the right resources at the right time.
Now that you know what we do with your data, we also want to make it clear that your data will never be used for assessment unless you have explicitly been told that this is the case (this is only the case for a small minority of courses that have relied on engagement data for assessment for a long time, so this isn’t a new feature of the LEA system). Similarly, if we can see that you have disengaged, the LEA system will never be used to make any automatic decisions about your progression. Finally, your data will never (not now, not in the future) be used for the purpose of the Prevent scheme.
Who will have access to my data?
We know that you probably don’t want lots of people to see your data, and only a small group of people will have access to your data. Only two groups of people will have access to your data. The first group is staff whose job it is to support you and your learning. This includes your Advisers, academic staff and student support staff. Only staff that work directly with you (so not all staff across all parts of the university) have access to see your data. The second group is staff whose job it is to develop and maintain the LEA software. This may include IT staff and staff from external software suppliers. When staff from both of these groups access your data, they must adhere to strict data protection rules. Your data will also be combined with other students’ data to find trends and enable comparison. When your data is used this way, it will not be possible to identify you.
What will happen if my LEA data shows a lack of engagement?
Our first step will always be to try to get in contact with you to find out what is going on. Usually, your Advisor or someone from your Schools’ student support team will contact you. If you’re going through a difficult period or you are struggling to keep up with your academic work, the staff member will signpost you to relevant support services and see if any additional support needs to be put in place.
We know that all students have different study habits, so if you feel the LEA data doesn’t accurately reflect your engagement, you can discuss this with the staff member that contacts you.
Your LEA data will never be used to make automatic decisions about your progression – a staff member will always reach out to you before any decisions are made!
What’s the future of LEA?
First of all, we’re working on a dashboard that will give students a simple way to see their own Learner and Engagement Analytics. The intention is that students can choose to use this data to monitor their progress and get an accurate idea of their progress compared to the rest of their cohort. It will of course not be compulsory to check your LEA Analytics data – it’s a tool you can choose to use if you find it helpful.
As the LEA system develops, the system will also be able to make predictions based on the data that comes into the system. This feature is not available yet, but when it becomes available, it will allow staff to identify if you might need a bit more support. It will also be a way for you and your Advisor to discuss your expectations for your academic results and see if you need to adjust your engagement to make it more likely that you can achieve the results you want.
I have a concern or a question. Who can I contact?
We want to be completely transparent about the way LEA works at Queen Mary, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a concern or a question. In the first instance, please contact your Adviser.
Student Handbook 2021
THE HANDBOOK IS FOR POSTGRADUATE TAUGHT STUDENTS IN THE SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL SCICENCES (SBCS). THIS HANDBOOK SHOULD BE USED TOGETHER WITH THE ACADEMIC REGULATIONS AND THE STUDENT GUIDE.
This handbook provides basic information specific to SBCS procedures, rules and regulations, while the Academic Regulations provide detailed information on progression, award and classification requirements. Nothing in this handbook overrides the Academic Regulations, which always take precedence.
The majority of the MSc programmes have a prescribed diet, which means that you will have automatically been enrolled on to your module via MySIS. More information is available here about module registration.
The module alignment is available here and it's really important that you familiarise yourself with this as it illustrates your module diet.
As you will have seen from the module alignment all MSc programmes (with the exception of MSc Chemical Research) will follow block teaching and your timetable is available from the following link: SBCS Postgraduate Timetable
For MSc Chemical Research students you will need to refer to the central timetable here:
Advice and Counselling Services
The Advice and Counselling Service offers confidential, professional support services to all Queen Mary students. We have helpful advice and guidance for financial, immigration and other practical issues as well as emotional and mental health support on our website (welfare.qmul.ac.uk). You will also find information there about our services and contact details.
You can find out how to contact the Advice and Counselling Service here:
Financial, Immigration and Welfare Advice
Our Welfare Advisers can advise you on solutions and options relating to financial, immigration, practical and welfare issues. We provide specialist advice and support on all aspects of student finance (loans, grants, bursaries), hardship funds and welfare benefits. We can help you plan your budget and find out how to reduce your spending. If you are an international student we can advise you on your immigration rights. We can advocate on your behalf if you need help resolving an issue, for example with Student Finance England or the UK Home Office.
We offer dedicated support for students who no longer have contact with their family (estranged), and students who have experience of local authority care, and students from a refugee background. We also provide support for students experiencing domestic abuse or forced marriage.
Life can seem like a struggle at times, and it is normal to sometimes feel a bit low or anxious. Sometimes, though, emotional and psychological issues can become too challenging, and may have a negative effect on your studies and well-being. Our Counsellors can help you to make sense of difficult experiences and feelings by providing the opportunity to think and talk reflectively, which can bring relief and meaningful changes.
The first step is meeting confidentially with one of our Counsellors to discuss what type of support might be most useful to you. This might be short term counselling, group therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy or a referral for longer term support or specialist services outside Queen Mary / in the NHS. For many students, just one or two sessions can really help. Our Counsellors are all highly experienced in working with students, and all types of issues.
We also have a mental health team who can advise and support you to manage a mental health condition while you are studying at Queen Mary. Our Mental Health advisers can advise you about the local NHS and other support services available in Tower Hamlets and the neighbouring boroughs as well as offering a range of interventions to help you manage your mental health.
Contacting the Advice and Counselling Service
For more information about available services and contact details please visit the Advice and Counselling Service’s website:
Email: via website online form
Disability and Dyslexia Services
The university’s Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) offers advice, guidance and support for students with disabilities, including specific learning differences like dyslexia and dyspraxia, as well as mental health difficulties, from application through to graduation. The range of support that the DDS is able to provide includes:
• Support and guidance in applying for the Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA)
• Support for international disabled students
• Liaison with staff in Queen Mary’s Schools regarding ‘reasonable adjustments’
• Support in ensuring that course materials are fully accessible
• Diagnostic assessments for students who think that they might have specific learning differences
• Specialist one-to-one study skills support for students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences
• Specialist mentoring support for students with mental health difficulties and autism
• On-site DSA needs assessments
• Access to non-specialist human support, e.g. note-taking
• Access to assistive technology
• Guidance in accessing examination concessions such as additional time
Telephone: 020 7882 2756
In addition to the support available to you via DDS and the Advice and Counselling Service, we also recognise there might be times you feel the need to access support for your wellbeing outside of work hours.
Togetherall offers unlimited, 24/7 accessible online support – you can connect with peers, chat online to clinicians, use self-help resources, join groups or take self-assessments. Lots of students at lots of universities find it an incredibly helpful resource. It is also completely confidential and staff at the university cannot see what you are writing or sharing.
Togetherall provides immediate support whilst you’re waiting for an appointment to see someone in Student and Academic Services. If you access Togetherall there is no negative impact on your wait for support through our services; it’s just another option that you may want to explore.
Mental Health First Aiders
QMUL is also a member of the Mental Health First Aid network. The purpose of the network is to promote health & wellbeing and provide a supportive and open culture towards mental health. There are a number of Mental Health First Aiders in schools and departments across campus trained to understand the factors that affect wellbeing and who are able to provide immediate support to those in crisis. They will listen without judgement and be able to signpost to additional resources of further support.
If you or someone you know needs to contact a Mental Health First Aider, a list of trained mental health first aiders is available here.
Alternatively, you can call Security on 3333. You might also like to refer their website for further resources of support.
Extenuating circumstances (ECs) are defined by Queen Mary as circumstances that are outside a student’s control and which may have a negative impact on a student’s ability to undertake or complete any assessment so as to cast doubt on the likely validity of the assessment as a measure of the student’s achievement. This includes sudden/acute illness, death of a close relative and other circumstances beyond your control that have had a negative impact on your ability to study.
The following are not considered extenuating circumstances and a claim made solely on one or more of these grounds will be rejected.
- i failure to submit or complete an assessment.
- ii arriving late for an examination or assessment.
- iii misreading or not checking for updates to a timetable.
- iv having multiple examinations or deadlines in close succession.
- v computer failure and/or loss of work.
- vi employment commitments. vii academic workload issues.
- viii planned holidays or events, including activities with Queen Mary Students’ Union.
If you are not in sufficiently good-health to attend a class involving an assessment or an invigilated examination then you should not attend and you should instead submit a claim for extenuating circumstances. In particular, you should note that Queen Mary's regulations state that if you attend an examination/assessment then you will be deemed to have declared yourself well enough to sit it and as a result any subsequent extenuating circumstances claim will not normally be considered.
How do I apply for extenuating circumstances?
To add a claim, log in to your MySIS account and click on Extenuating Circumstances in the menu bar at the top of the screen. This will bring up a summary showing your personal details, details of your programme and various headings denoting different stages of the claim process. To add a new claim, click on the New Claim button. This applies to all assessed modules that you are registered for.
There is a user guide for this MySIS task and more information from the Advice and Counselling service via this link: https://www.welfare.qmul.ac.uk/guides/extenuating-circumstances/how-do-i-make-extenuating-circumstances-claim/
What kind of claims can I make?
Extension = Request this via the ‘need extension’ tab if you know of ECs that are going to impact on a particular deadline. You will need to submit this no later than two days before the deadline of the assessment. This can’t be submitted on the same day.
Missed deadline = If the ECs affected a deadline that has passed you can use the ‘late submission’ tab. The full submission of this EC claim must be completed no later than two weeks after the deadline for the assessment to which it relates to. This timeframe also applies to ECs related to the research project submission.
Do I need to submit evidence?
1. Standard = evidence is required to support this type of claim but there are no limits on number of claims per year.
2. Self Certification = no evidence is required to support your claim and you can claim in this way up to three times per academic year. One instance covers all assessment that occurred during the period covered by the extenuating circumstance (for example if two assignments are due on the day the extenuating circumstance occurred it is one instance covering all assignments). Please note that you are self-certifying the documentary evidence alone, not self-approving the application.
All claims of extenuating circumstances are considered by the SBCS PGT EC committee. All proceedings of the EC committee are strictly confidential and will not normally be discussed at the full examination board meeting. You will be informed of the outcome of your extenuating circumstances application via MySIS.
- i failure to submit or complete an assessment.
Staff-Student Liaison Committee meetings
The Student-Staff Liaison Committee provides the opportunity for students and staff to communicate and discuss matters arising in the School and QM that are of more general interest, rather than individual interest. This could include content and assessment of modules, the pastoral care system and academic and social facilities.
Feedback from the SSLC is shared with the Teaching & Learning Committee (TLC) and the SBCS Academic Committee to inform best practice.
The SSLC is chaired by the Deputy Director of Taught Programmes (PGT). All MSc students are invited to attend and/or encouraged to feedback to their Course Reps - you will be notified in due course of the contact details of the Course Reps. The committee meets once per semester and the meetings provide an opportunity for you to reflect on your experience of the MSc programme and to provide feedback.
We will publish minutes and relevant reports related to the meetings here.
Student Union Course Reps 2020-21 COHORT
Student Union Course Reps 2021-22 Cohort
Branita Sedakaran MSc Psychology - Mental Health Sciences firstname.lastname@example.org Vida Svahnstrom MSc Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation email@example.com Zoe Sturgess MSc Ecology and Evolutionary Biology firstname.lastname@example.org Samiha Tahsin MSc Biomedical Sciences s.tahsin@email@example.com
2020-21 cohort - Semester A meeting
The first meeting will go ahead on Wednesday 18th November from 2-3pm via MS Teams (link below)
The Agenda and relevant documents will be available here .
2020-21 cohort - Semester B meeting
The second meeting will go ahead on Wednesday 24th February from 9:30 - 10:30 via MS teams
The link to join the meeting is below:
The agenda will be provided by Wednesday 17th February.
2020-21 cohort - additional summer meeting
The third meeting will go ahead on Monday 19th July from 15:00 - 16:00 via MS teams
The link to join the meeting is below:
Queen Mary Charter
2021-22 cohort - Semester A meeting
2021-22 COHORT - SEMESTER B MEETING