Engagement Monitoring

As your Tier 4 sponsor, Aston University is required  to meet a number of UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) conditions to ensure that you are actively studying with us. We call this Engagement Monitoring. 

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To make your Engagement Monitoring even easier, we have introduced a new system which records your attendance at timetabled sessions on the University campus. Where there is a MAP Check-in card reader you must check-in by placing your uniCARD on the card reader situated inside the teaching space. This will then be recorded as a face to face engagement session for you automatically.

To meet the full Engagement Monitoring requirements of your visa, all you have to do is make sure you have attended a timetabled teaching session or have been in contact with a member of staff at the University at least  once every 2 weeks.

It is your responsibility to do this, and you can track your engagement activities through MAP. We will also send you reminders by email.

Some other activities are registered automatically for you, for example if you have attended an exam, or if you have submitted a piece of coursework electronically using the barcode system, and these can also be seen on MAP.

Engagement is a phrase which means that you are in contact, or interacting, with the University.  This could be something as simple as logging in to MAP, using the MAP Check-in system at your timetables sessions, or as important as sitting an exam. We call these ‘engagement activities’.

We will monitor a mixture of engagement activities at the University during term time, and it is our way of making sure you are still in contact with the University, that you are progressing well with your studies and you have all of the support that you need.

You must register an engagement activity at least once every two weeks.

It is your responsibility to: 

  • use the MAP Check-in system in timetabled teaching sessions
  • check your engagement activities on MAP
  • ask a member of staff to register an engagement activity for you during a meeting.

If you miss a session then you will be reminded and, depending on the level of concern, you may be asked to attend a specific face to face session to discuss your circumstances. If you fail to respond to our reminders then we are required to report this to the Home Office. The Home Office may cut short your study visa and you will need to leave the UK.

If you require a temporary absence from the University, for example you are going on placement, or you are writing up your dissertation from another location, then you must first get permission from your School. Once your temporary absence has been agreed, then you will move on to a different Student Engagement Monitoring Scheme.  You will be given details of this scheme when you discuss your absence requirements with your school.

If you need to be absent for any other reasons, and during this time you will not be able to engage with your studies, for example, you are unwell or you need to leave the UK for a family emergency, then you must speak to a member of Support Staff in your School, or contact an International Student Adviser in the Hub and they will advise you of your options. 

Some of the face to face engagement activities are automatically recorded for you, for example sitting an exam, or in some Schools handing in a piece of coursework. Others will need you either to use the Check-in system during your timetabled session, or ask a member of staff to register an activity for you, for example during a tutorial or when visiting the Hub. Not all lectures, tests, workshops and tutorials are automatically monitored but you can check on MAP to see which activities have been recorded.

It is your responsibility to register an activity regularly.

We already keep lots of data electronically, such as when you logged in to MAP, so we can check that you are also engaging with your studies in other ways.  Do not worry - this is not sensitive or personal information; it is simply an electronic “tick” to say you have done something.

Undergraduates – All Schools

       Engagement Period 1 – 22nd September 2019 to 14th December 2019

       Engagement Period 2 – 12th January 2020 to 4th April 2020

       Engagement Period 3 – 26th April 2020 to 13th June 2020

Postgraduate Taught Programmes

Please note engagement period 3 runs until September. Once the teaching elements of your course have been completed in May/June you are still required to be engaging with your studies on the University campus. Any absences during this period must be authorised, including any periods you will be writing up your dissertation from another location.

       Engagement Period 1 – 22nd September 2019 to 14th December 2018

       Engagement Period 2 – 12th January 2020 to 4th April 2020

       Engagement Period 3 – 26th April 2020 to 30th September 2020

Postgraduate Research Programmes

As a full time research student you are expected to be engaging with your studies on a full time basis as if you were in full time employment. All holidays, absences and research periods away from the campus and any periods of paid or unpaid work (including voluntary work) must be approved by your supervisor BEFORE they take place.

If you are based on campus you have a choice of tasks to monitor your engagement, and we require you to demonstrate a mixture of academic and non-academic activity. The easiest way to demonstrate academic activity is to use the MAP Check-in system at your timetables teaching sessions. If you do not have any timetabled sessions then you must use an alternative method of academic activity from the examples below. 

Student Engagement Activities
 Automatically Recorded    Not Automatic, School-Based  Not Automatic, Support-Based
 MAP Check-in  Academic Advice Session Meeting with Careers & Placements team or attending a placement briefing 
 Face to Face enrolment
Meeting with Module, Personal or Year Tutor, Project supervisor or Programme Director
 Attending Hub Reception
 Visa Scanning
Monitored Lecture/Workshop/Tutorial
Meeting with International Advisor/Visa Compliance Team 
Monitored Compulsory School Meeting
Attending a library one to one session, induction or workshop. 
 Submitting coursework with a barcode Staff Mentoring Meeting  LDC activity including workshops, One to One sessions, Maths Centre visit, Stats Café, Writing Mentor Session or Writing Café

If you do not have any timetabled teaching sessions and you have not been able to attend a School-Based face to face engagement activity in the two week period, you must make a special effort to see someone in your School Support office or go to the Hub and speak with a member of staff on the Hub reception. 

If you are not expected to be on campus but will still be studying, you will be moved onto Scheme 2, which records remote engagements, and you must maintain contact with the University by email, skype or telephone.

If you have applied for and have been granted permission to be temporarily located away from the campus, you will also be monitored through remote activities. This can be used if you are:

  • On placement,
  • Writing up a dissertation from another location
  • Completing research activities
  • Attending a conference

Once you have permission for the temporary absence and this has been approved by the School and recorded using the Absence task in MAP, then Scheme 1 will stop, and Scheme 2 will take over.

Scheme 2 uses a similar monitoring system to the scheme 1, but you are not required to meet with a member of staff in person. You must maintain regular remote engagement activities to allow you to keep in contact with the University and your studies whilst you are away from campus. You will be informed by your School what you are required to do when your absence permission has been granted.

During the University closure, all students have been given an official ‘Authorised Absence’ which automatically switches you to the Scheme Two Student Engagement off campus.

We have also developed a MAP task that allows you to Check In remotely, which you should be able to view in the Engagements section of your MAP homepage.

If you hold a Tier 4 visa, please continue to access your programme online and check in using the MAP task at least once a week to let us know . This will be enough to help us protect your visa.

Please do not worry about the usual 60 day absence period, as these are unusual circumstances the UKVI has given us special permission to use alternative ways to monitor you engagement with your studies.

Stage Zero

If you record your engagement activities regularly, no action will be taken and no communications will be sent to you.

Stage 1 – 2 week reminder

If you do not record any face to face engagements and miss all your scheduled teaching events in a 2 week period you will be contacted by email, reminded of the requirement to engage with you studies, and signposted to sources of support.

Stage 2 – 4 week Support Meeting

If you do not record any face to face engagements and miss all your scheduled teaching events in a 4 week period, you will be contacted by email and required to visit the Student Engagement Team in the Hub to discuss the reasons for non-attendance and offered appropriate pastoral support where required.

Stage 3 – 6 Weeks Final Warning

If you do not record any face to face engagements and miss all your scheduled teaching events falling within a 6 week period, you will be contacted by email and issued with a formal warning that continued non-attendance will result in a withdrawal of registration. The Student Engagement Team will review your entire student profile including interactions with Blackboard, Panopto, Assessments, Examinations, Personal Tutor Meetings  etc. and will make a final attempt to engage with you by telephone and social media channels (such as WeChat and Whatsap).

Stage 4 – Notice of Withdrawal

If you do not record any face to face engagements and miss all your scheduled teaching events falling within an 8 week period then you will be referred to your School with a recommendation to withdraw you from the programme.


If you reach Stage 4 you will have five working days in which to lodge an appeal in line with the University Appeals Process. An appeal should be submitted in writing to the Head of International Student Services that demonstrates why you have not been able to respond to previous communications. If an appeal is not received, or if evidence in support of an appeal is not deemed satisfactory, you will be withdrawn for non-attendance and officially informed of this in writing. You will be reported to the UKVI and your Tier 4 visa will be withdrawn. 

As a Tier 4 visa holder, the purpose of your visa in the UK is to study full time, so you would not normally be permitted to go on holiday during term time. If you are planning to go on holiday during term time then you must discuss this with your School BEFORE you leave the UK, as you will need to be given an authorised absence from your studies. 

If this absence is approved, your School will give you a letter to confirm your absence, and if you are leaving the UK, this will help you on your return to the UK when you pass through immigration control. Once your Short Absence is in place, you will not be required to do any face to face engagements at the University, and should the Home Office request information about you, we are able to confirm that we know where you are, and that this has been approved.  

You do not need permission to travel during official vacation periods, but we recommend that you request a 'Confirmation of Study' letter in MAP before you travel to show to UKVI Border Officials. If you are unclear regarding your official term dates, please check the 'When is Term Time' section of this webpage. 

Postgraduate Taught Students – please note that your engagement period runs all the way until the 30th September, even though the taught part of your studies may have completed. You are still required to be studying full time writing up your dissertation. This means you must still attend face to face engagements during the summer holidays. You cannot work full time during this period as you are still classed as being in term time. If you are going to leave the UK to complete your dissertation at home then please notify your school beforehand. You will still be monitored and required to engage, but you can do this remotely (see Student Engagement- off campus page).

Postgraduate Research Students - any periods of absence must be authorised by your supervisor and your School BEFORE they take place. Information on requesting leave is available in your Graduate School handbook. 

Any time you plan to go away from Campus during term time then please ask for permission in good time before your proposed absence takes place.

If you are completing your studies abroad, you must ask your School to update your study status and create a SAB (Short Absence) record for you, which will stop the face to face engagement reminders. The SAB record includes the full details of your absence and needs to be approved by the Programme Director. If you will be returning to the UK, we will still continue to sponsor your visa but you will still be require to register non-face to face engagements electronically. If you will not be returning to the UK we will send a report to the UKVI and your visa will be cancelled. 

Once your placement has been approved by the Careers & Placements team you will automatically switch to Scheme 2 and you only need to complete non-face to face engagements. 

If you continue to receive reminders for face to face engagements whilst you are on placement, please contact the placements team who can check your records for you.   

If you have completed your studies with Aston and are still receiving engagement reminders, then please contact your School. They will need to update your study status. Once they have removed you from the monitoring list then you should stop receiving engagement reminders. 

Alternatively, you can also email a member of the Visa Compliance team by emailing engagement@aston.ac.uk and a Visa Compliance staff will be able to help you with any queries regarding engagement.