Learning with the MLTC

General Information

Teaching method/approach

How is teaching delivered ?

For General Language courses up to and including the 'Advanced' level, teaching is delivered through a main two-hour tutorial in groups of up to 23 learners and a one-hour lab tutorial in smaller groups of up to 12-15 learners. At higher levels, teaching is usually delivered through a single, three-hour tutorial in groups of up to 20 learners.

During the main tutorial, new language is introduced and practised through mini-lectures and communicative activities involving the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), either with the whole class or in pairs. The lab hour consolidates and expands on what has been covered in class through supervised computer-based exercises or small-group activities, offering an opportunity for more interaction, individual support and feedback.

At all levels, but even more so at higher levels, teaching is predominantly delivered in the target language, and you will be using it yourself as much as possible when taking part in class activities.

In addition to the above contact hours, you will be given homework every week and expected to study the language and culture independently according to your needs and interests. See How much should I study outside classes?. 

Class sizes

A maximum of 23 students per class group and 10-15 per lab group.


Do I have to attend all classes?

Regular attendance, but also participation in class activities, are essential where language learning is concerned as you may otherwise quickly fall behind. You should do your best to attend all sessions, including the lab hour when applicable.

If you fail to attend a class, you should:
a) inform your tutor at the earliest;
b) check on Mole what was covered during the class and what the homework is for the following session;
c) if necessary, meet with your tutor during their consultation hour for any clarification.

If you need or wish to validate your module, you will be required to attend at least 70% of classes. If you are a credited student, please note that your personal tutor and/or home department will be contacted if you miss classes for 2 consecutive weeks or if your attendance is generally unsatisfactory. However, if you have valid reasons for missing some classes, you should apply for Self-Certification or Extenuating Circumstances to be taken in to account.

Please also note that being late persistently is not acceptable. At the very least, you should try not to disrupt on-going class activities, and wait for an appropriate time to seek information from your tutor or fellow students as to on-going activities. If you have timetable clashes, let your tutor know as soon as possible so that you can find a solution with them; they may otherwise record your late arrivals as absences.


How much should I study outside classes?

When learning a foreign language, three contact hours a week are not enough to achieve significant progress. You also need to work by yourself and to develop your language skills according to your individual needs and interests. As a guide, a 10-credit module is equivalent to 100 learning hours, which implies a minimum of 4 to 5 weekly hours of independent study over the semester in order to complete the module successfully.

In most courses, you will be given homework every week as a follow-up to the previous class or as a preparation for the next. You are strongly advised to do your follow-up homework - last-minute or bulk revisions usually prove very ineffective. As for your 'Preparation' homework, it must be done: your tutor will expect you to have done it in order for you to contribute to class activities.

In addition to this homework, you are strongly encouraged to use all resources and opportunities available to you to conslolidate areas in which you may feel weak (e.g. grammar, pronunciation) and to pursue your own interests in relation to the language and culture you are studying. No one can take classes for ever, nor would it be advisable, and yet, learning a language, even one's own, is a never-ending process. For this reason, all MLTC courses aim to help you develop independent learning skills through reflection on your needs and interests and development of individual learning strategies and methods. As part of this process, most general language courses include an Independent Study Record which forms part of the assessment.

Resources and facilities for language learning

What resources are available?

All MLTC courses have their own dedicated virtual learning environment (MOLE) on which you will find a wealth of online resources to catch up with a missed class, to consolidate a lesson, or for independent learning:

  • course material (assessment information and samples, week-by-week scheme of work summarizing activities done in class and homework, etc.);
  • grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation exercises;
  • films with subtitles in streaming,
  • skill-specific learning guides,
  • useful websites or phone apps, etc.

In addition, you may need to purchase textbooks as listed in individual module descriptions:
- 'Set textbooks': you will need to have your own copy and bring it to class.
- 'Recommended textbooks': your course tutor will advise you as to the usefulness of purchasing these, which are usually available in the University library.

You are welcome to join our Tandem Learning Community, please see here for details on how to join.

You are also welcome to join one of the language-specific Students Societies: Le Cercle Français, der Deutscher Verein, La Sociedad Hispánica, LusoSoc, The Italian Society.

When enrolling as a member of the public, you are issued with a University of Sheffield student card giving you access to all of the above facilities and many more: Libraries, Student Union clubs and activities, student support and discount... Find out more here.

IT skills

How IT proficient do I need to be?

In order to take an MLTC course, you will need to be competent in basic IT skills (using the Internet, reading and writing emails, word-processing). Your will be expected to check your University emails regularly and to access the Internet on a weekly basis in order to use the virtual learning environment (Mole / Blackboard) dedicated to your course. Any piece of written coursework that you submit will have to be word-processed. You may also be asked to learn how to record audio or video documents for assessment purposes and will receive guidance and training on how to do this. Developing your IT skills is part of the transferable skills you will learn while studying a language with the MLTC.

As a student of the university, you will receive a computing account. If you do not have a computer or access to the Internet at home, you will be able to use on-campus computing facilities.

Educational needs/ Support for students with disabilities

How will my educational needs be taken into account?

If you have an impairment or condition that can make it difficult for you to undertake study-related tasks like sitting exams, reading, planning and writing assignments, attending classes and taking notes in them or delivering presentations, then you are likely to be eligible for disability support.

Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) will put specifically tailored support in place for you following a discussion with you about your individual requirements. The pages on how to set up support for current students and for prospective students explain how you can make contact with them so that they can begin to talk about what support would work for you.

More information on the services provided by the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service can be found here.


Will I receive feedback on my progress?

Collective and individual oral feedback is regularly provided on class-activities and homework. In addition, general language courses include two pieces of ‘essential homework’ (i.e. written work) to do per semester, which are marked using the MLTC examination criteria on a 100-point scale and returned with individual written feedback for you to monitor your progress.

If you feel you need more help, your tutor is also available during their weekly consultation hour to discuss any difficulty that you may have or to assist you in your learning.

Student consultation/ Have your say/ Complaints

How can I give feedback on the course?

Student Representation:

Your voice matters! In Week 3, you will be asked to elect a Student Representative who will arrange a consultation meeting with the rest of the class mid-way through the semester (i.e. Week 6 or 7) to discuss your satisfaction with the course. The proceedings of this meeting will be discussed with the tutor and any feedback or outstanding issue(s) will be brought to the attention of the departmental Teaching and Learning Committee. Student Representation is a HEAR recognized activity.

Further information:

Course Evaluation:

At the end of the course, you will be asked to complete an anonymous School-wide questionnaire telling us how effective you found the module and how its content and teaching could be improved in future years.


Where can I get help in relation to my course?

For all administrative issues, please contact the MLTC Support Office at mltc@sheffield.ac.uk.

For all academic issues, please contact your Module Tutor first, or alternatively, the Module Leader or the Language Co-ordinator. Their contact details, including their consultation hours during term times, can be found on the Staff and Contacts page.

Validation and Assessment

Assessment options

Can I choose to be assessed or not?

If you are taking an MLTC module for credits, completing the summative assessment successfully is one of the requirements in order to validate the module and to obtain credits for your course.

If you are not taking the module for credits (i.e. members of the public, staff, DDP, fee-waiver and self-funding students), you will be asked in week 4 of the semester whether you wish to take the summative assessment or not. Please note that:

  • you will not be able to change your option afterwards. If you initially chose to be assessed and then decide not to attend the oral examination, please inform your tutor so that they don't include you in the examination schedule;
  • you can only be issued an MLTC Certificate of Completion if you completed the summative assessment.
Validation and recognition options

What are the validation and recognition options for my course?

The completion of an MLTC course can be validated in different ways depending on who you are and how much you achieve. The table below summarizes the different schemes and the minimum validation criteria to be met.

Scheme Available to Attendance
(70% minimum)

Formative assessment

Independent Study Record
Summative assessment
Modularized Accreditation Credited UGs & PGs Yes No Yes Yes
Doctoral Development Programme
Reseach Training Programme
PhD students Yes Yes No
Higher Education Achievement Report Non-credited UGs Yes Yes No
Languages for All fee-waiver
(Continuation criteria)
Elligible non-credited UGs Yes Yes No
MLTC Certificate of Completion All learners No Yes Yes
MLTC Certificate of Attendance All learners No No No


Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR):

  • If you started your undergraduate studies in or after 2012 and are not taking your MLTC course for credits, you can add this course to your HEAR as as extra-curricular activity. Further information can be found here.
  • In order to get your language module added to your HEAR, you will need to apply online (scroll down to the 'Modern Languages Teaching Centre' link) by the end of Week 12 of the semester during which you took the course. We will not be able to add the module to your HEAR passed this deadline.

MLTC certificate

MLTC Certificates:

  • The MLTC Certificate of Attendance is available to all students who meet attendance requirements. It provides the level of the course in relation to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and states that you attended the course regularly.
  • The MLTC Certificate of Completion is available to all students who are enrolled on the course on an assessed basis. It provides the level of the course in relation to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and states what your final module mark was.
  • To receive an MLTC Certificate of Attendance or Completion, you will need to apply online by 15th July of the same academic year at the latest. Please note that certificate request are processed twice a year only, in March and August.

Formative assessment

What is the 'formative assessment' ?

Formative assessment can be broadly understood as any activity enabling your tutor and yourself to monitor your progress and guide you in your learning. However, the term is understood here in a narrower sense as meaning two pieces of written 'essential homework' which you will submit during the course of the semester and for which you will receive a grade on a 100 point scale and individual as well as collective feedback.*

Completing the formative assessment successfully is a requirement in order to validate your module as part of the DDP, RTP, HEAR and Languages for All fee-waiver schemes.

Please note that these pieces of 'essential homework' must be word-processed and submitted in class by the deadline set by the course tutor.

In many modules, the second piece of 'essential homework' is part of the summative assessment for credited students and other students wishing to be formally assessed. If this is your case and you missed the in-class submission deadline, you will need to submit your work to the MLTC Office (Bioincubator). As penalties (see Late submission penalties below) apply for late submission, you will need to apply for extenuating circumstances if you had a valid reason for submiting your work late.

* For Latin modules, the second piece of 'essential homework' is replaced by an in-class test. 

Independent Study Record

What is the 'Independent Study Record'?

The Independent Study Record (ISR) is a portfolio evidencing part of the independent work that you will have done during the semester in relation to topics covered in class. Details on the content of the ISR, including submission procedure and deadlines are provided on Mole.

Although the ISR is not marked, the following penalties apply when it is part of the module validation criteria:

  • Non-submission or submission one week passed the deadline: Final module mark capped at 40% for undergraduate students and 50% for postgraduate students;
  • Unsatisfactory completion and/or submission within one week passed the deadline: Final module mark capped at 50% for undergraduate students and 55% for postgraduate students.
    Completion is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ when:
    - An element or task is missing or incomplete;
    - The choice of material is inappropriate in relation to the course level and guidelines (e.g. the material is too easy for the level and does not enable you to learn anything new; the material is not related to the topic or task set by the tutor; the material is text-based when it should be audio-based, etc.).

Summative assessment

What is the 'summative assessment' ?

Summative assessment usually includes formal examinations taken at the end of the semester and, for some modules, a piece of coursework done at home or an in-class test during the semester. An overview of how each module is formally assessed, including the weighing of the different components, can be found in individual module descriptions. Further information is also provided on the dedicated Mole site for each module.

Sample examination papers are provided on Mole if appropriate and/or practice tests are done in class in order to give you an idea of the format and standard of the assessment for your course.

In order to pass a module, you will need to achieve a final mark in the summative assessment of at least 40% for undergraduate students and 50% for postgraduate students.

Preparing for your exams

Do you have any advice on preparing for my exams?

The Student Communications Team have created a video for students, Your Exam Dos and Don'ts.

The video has been produced in partnership with the Student Examinations Team, based in Student Services.

It features some of our staff and students and is designed to inform all students about University exam rules and regulations, so that you don't unwittingly contravene them and put your education at risk.

You can find the video at: https://vimeo.com/161038371

Information on oral exams

Please note that oral examinations are scheduled to take place in week 12. For Beginners, Post-Beginners and Intermediate modules (except Latin), these will be conducted during what would normally be your lab hour. Main classes will take place as normal.

Students who are taking the exam must attend the oral exam during their usual lab hour in week 12. You cannot change your lab hour for week 12 unless you have a valid and fully-evidenced reason which would qualify as extenuating circumstances. Please also note the following:

  • The Univeristy's semester dates are posted on the website up to 5 years in advance and students are expected to attend all classes until the end of week 12. The MLTC cannot consider travel booked for before the end of the semester to be extenuatin circumstances.
  • MLTC's specific teaching and assessment dates are posted on our timetable page from September onwards.
  • Students who fail to show up for their designated slot for the oral exam will receive a mark of 0 for the oral component of the module.
  • The MLTC is unable to accommodate students who wish to arrange to take oral exams outside week 12.
  • If illness or other genuinely extenuating circumstances prevent students from attending the oral exam, they should submit an extenuating circumstances form which we will consider when finalising module results in January

Exam dates and venues

Where can I find the dates and venues of my exams?

Dates and venues of oral examinations taking place during the teaching period will be published on Mole or emailed to you by your tutor at least two weeks before they take place.

Written examinations are organized by the University's central Examination Office and take place during the Examination Period at different times from your normal classes. Dates and venues are usually published one month before the start of the examination period by the Examination Office. Please note that it is your responsibility to check the times of your exams and to report any clash between two of your exams to the Examination Office before they take place.

Marking & Results

How will I be marked and when will I get my marks?

  • Marking criteria for each examination are available on Mole. All assessed work will be given a grade on a 100 point scale.
  • A system of anonymous marking is used wherever possible. Marks awarded by the first examiner are moderated by a second internal examiner and then confirmed by an examiner external to the University of Sheffield.
  • Provisional marks will be published on Mole or emailed to you within two weeks of the end of the University examination period and later released centrally through MUSE. Please note that marks are not final until validated by the Progression Board, which usually takes place in June.

Late submission penalties

What are the penalties for late submission of an assignment?

In the absence of a valid reason approved by the department, late submission of an assessed piece of work will result in a deduction of 5% of the total mark awarded for each working day* after the submission date as per the table below. Beyond 5 working days after the submission date, a mark of zero will be awarded for the work to be submitted:

Day late

Mark reduced by 5%

Mark Awarded When Reduced by 5%

* Working days includes working days within standard vacation times. For example, if a submission date falls on the last day before the start of the Easter vacation, penalties would start to be applied from the following working day and not from the first day following the vacation. For more information, see the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Regulations.

Multiply by

Original 60

Original 50





















Plagiarism and collusion

How can I avoid plagiarism and collusion?

To achieve good marks, it is important to write in an effective academic manner. You must also know how to avoid accidental plagiarism, collaboration or collusion.

You are advised to read the following tutorial, especially the section on plagiarism, and note that it also applies to WWW pages. Please also note that you will not be given credit for material that has been submitted for assessment elsewhere.


Do I get a second chance if I miss or fail an exam?

If you are registered on a course for credits and had a valid reason which can be evidenced for missing an exam, you will be entitled to sit the exam again provided that you apply for Extenuating Circumstances by the end of Week 12 of that semester for oral exams and by the end of the corresponding University examination period for written exams:
- How to apply for Extenuating Circumstances.
- If you miss an oral exam, it will be rescheduled in the first week of the University examination period. The Language Co-ordinator will contact you to let you know when and where the exam is taking place.
- If you miss a written exam, it will be rescheduled during the University supplementary (re-assessment) period in August. Please see here for how to apply for re-assessment.

If you are registered on a course for credits and failed the module, you may be entitled to re-sit the entire module during the University supplementary (re-assessment) period in August. Please see here for how to apply for re-assessment.

If you are not registered on a course for credits, please note that you are not entitled to re-sit the module if you failed the assessment, or one of the exams, even if you had a valid reason for missing the original exam.

Extenuating circumstances

How and when should I apply for Self-Certification or Extenuating Circumstances?

You should apply for Self-Certification or Extenuating Circumstances with the MLTC if:

  • attendance is part of the validation requirements for your course (e.g. credited, DDP or LfA-fee-waiver students) and your attendance fell below 70% as a result of justified absences;
  • a piece of assessment is part of the validation requirements for your course and you had a valid, medical or other reason for missing an examination or not submitting a piece of summative assignment on time

You should apply for the above by:

  • the end of Week 12 of the semester for attendance issues and assessment work done during the teaching period;
  • the end of the University examination period for missed examinations taking place during that period.

Further information on when and how to apply for Self-Certification or Extenuating Circumstances is available on the SSiD website.

Please note:

  • Only submission for Extenuating Circumstances which are appropriately supported by evidence (e.g. doctor's note) will be considered.
  • If you are submitting your Extenuating Circumstances form to your home department then please ensure you copy MLTC in your communication, or that it is submitted directly to MLTC, for us to make a decision for the 'MLT' module(s).
  • Your submission will be treated in confidence by the MLTC Special Circumstances Board.