To maximise your student experience, it is in your best interest to keep on top of 'administrative matters'. By this we mean keeping your student record up to date, ensuring accurate information is stored about you, engaging with feedback avenues and reading relevant communications from the university. Information on some of the ways of doing this are listed below.
Information related to the administration of your programme from the College will usually be sent to you via email. This may come to your Aston inbox directly, or via a Blackboard announcement (which triggers an email to your Aston email account). At certain points of the year, formal correspondence may be sent to you via post (e.g. your end of year results). Less formally, information may be issued by members of the academic staff during lecture classes, tutorials etc. In urgent cases, you could be contacted phone or text message (e.g. last minute changes to your timetable due to unforeseen circumstances such as staff sickness or adverse weather conditions).
To ensure this communication reaches you, please keep your personal contact details up to date in your MyAstonPortal homepage. Although email contact will usually be made via your Aston email address, if you are new to the university it is worth checking that your personal email account is not associated with a previous education institution and will soon be made unavailable to you.
Everyone is provided with a University email address and you are strongly advised to check your email daily. You have a limited quota, so delete unwanted emails as to not run out of space. Simply go to: http://webmail.aston.ac.uk/, and login with your username and password whilst not on campus. You can set up your smart phone to receive your university emails to keep up to date. Guides on how to do this are available here.
Many subject areas have information modules on Blackboard where departmental related announcements will be sent from, and useful documentation stored. For College-wide matters these will come from ‘EPS Postgraduate Information’ which holds useful announcements, forms and information.
If you have a question related to your academic study then you should initially look at your module pages to see if this information is present before contacting the module leader.
The main route of contact for staff is via email, and staff addresses can be obtained by consulting the staff directory here: http://www.aston.ac.uk/eas/staff/a-z/.
Please be aware that academic staff may not be able to respond immediately to your communication and if the matter is urgent you should contact the College Office.
When you send an email to academic staff they have up to 2 working days to respond to your email, which does not include weekends, after office hours (9am to 5pm) or when the University is shut. If you receive an out of office reply from staff then they do not have to reply to your email until 2 working days after their return.
If after 2 working days you have not received a response from an academic member of staff then please re-send the email, politely informing the member of staff that you have yet to hear from them. If you still do not receive a response then please contact your programme director.
You can also book appointments with members of staff through the WASS system. See here for more details. Alternatively, you can often pass post onto staff via the administrative staff at the EPS College Centre (Main Building, First Floor, MB133) if you can't drop it off personally.
Aston firmly believes in the value of attendance, and its relationship with engagement and achievement is very important. Attendance at scheduled teaching sessions enhances the experience of all students, and provides the opportunity for you to benefit fully from the support and guidance the University offers.
You should ‘check in’ to timetabled classes by placing your uniCARD on readers on entry to all your scheduled teaching sessions including lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab session etc. You will then be able to access your record of attendance in the MyAttendance system. This supports the University’s proactive approach to learning and we encourage you to assume responsibility for your own academic progress, and manage your time effectively.
If you hold a Tier 4 visa, MyAttendance will create an automatic face to face engagement for you and will form part of your Student Engagement Monitoring information for the UKVI.
For further information please visit the MyAttendance webpages
In addition to these universally adapted processes, attendance and/or engagement with your studies may be monitored informally by your tutor. If you are absent from lectures for any reason you should let your module tutor know. If your absence is likely to be short (one or two lectures due to a short term illness for example) it may be a good idea to let your module tutor know out of courtesy. If your absence may be longer than this you may wish to speak to your Personal Tutor or Programme Director about your options.
A contribution based on your attendance may count towards the mark of some modules – this will be communicated in the relevant programme or module specifications if it does. If you do not attend laboratory classes and there are no exceptional circumstances affecting your capability to attend then you could be penalised by receiving a zero mark. You can read more about Exceptional Circumstances here.
The College encourages feedback from students, and has created a variety of avenues to express your concerns and commendations. These are taken seriously and are used to improve your student experience.
During or at the end of a series of lecture classes you will be issued with a questionnaire seeking your views on various aspects of the module. Please complete these questionnaires openly and honestly to enable us to improve the student experience. These questionnaires are anonymous. Your comments are collated and the resulting actions taken by your College are fed back when the module is next delivered, either in class or via Blackboard. These questionnaires will be issued to you online following the below process:
At the beginning of the academic year Course Representatives (Reps) will be elected on your course to represent any issues you may have with your course on the Student Staff Committee (SSC). The Student Staff Committee is a formal committee with student and staff representatives from your course, the minutes of which go forward to the College's Learning and Teaching Committee. Once the course representatives has been confirmed their details should be displayed to you on your MyAstonPortal homepage and you can raise course-related issues/comments with them to feed into College meetings. To find out more about how to become a Course Representative see the Student's Union's for more information here.
The University is committed to listening to the views of its students and to including students in the development of their own learning experience. The items raised in SSC's are regularly responded to and monitored in an 'Action Tracker' posted in the 'EPS Postgraduate Information' area of Blackboard. You can also view the minutes from SSC meetings in your subject area in this area.
Throughout the year the College holds small group meetings with students, where the College's management team ask for your opinions on various aspect of your experience as a student, usually focussing on a ‘hot topic’. Lunch is provided for willing participants and these events are usually advertised via email/Blackboard announcement. Any actions taken to improve the student experience following these meetings are included in the College's 'Action Tracker.' This is a document which details progress against actions to improve the student experience as a result of Focus Groups, College Forums and Student Staff Committees. The document can be found via the 'EPS Postgraduate Information' module on Blackboard.
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