University Learning Environment

This page provides information on the structure of a University course, assessments, feedback and the academic support available to you.

University Learning Environment

Learning Structure

Attendance at all timetabled course activity is compulsory unless your absence has been authorised.

In most departments you will be expected to attend lectures, seminars or tutorials. In the science and engineering subjects, laboratory based practical sessions are common.

Fieldwork and practical classes are also common in archaeology, architecture, journalism, engineering and geography.


  • In most courses you can expect to attend traditional lectures.
  • These provide a broad introduction to a subject and are not usually interactive.


  • Tutorials are linked to most lecture programmes.
  • You will be placed in smaller groups to discuss the content of lectures in greater depth.
  • You will be expected to participate in group work or individual presentations and contribute to discussions based on the assigned readings.


  • Some courses have seminars in addition to or instead of lectures.
  • These are run like tutorials but require greater independent inquiry from students and are purely interactive.
  • You will be expected to participate in group work or individual presentations and contribute to discussions based on the assigned readings.

Academic Support

When you arrive at University you will be allocated a personal tutor who can offer you general support, advice and guidance.

You can visit your personal tutor at any point during their office hours.

Where you require module specific information, please contact your module leader.

Student Responsibilities

Your personal tutor is here to help you, and may be writing your references in the future. To get the most from this partnership you should:

  • discuss your personal development plans
  • talk to them about your academic progress, they will be able to offer support
  • discuss your academic feedback with your tutor to improve your performance
  • keep your tutor informed of any problems that may affect your University work

Personal Tutor Responsibilities

Your personal tutor should:

  • act as your key point of contact
  • provide relevant academic guidance
  • be available for scheduled meetings
  • offer personal support and direct you to other relevant services
  • publicise other regular ‘drop-in’ sessions at times that are convenient for you

Departmental Responsibilities

Your academic department is responsible for:

  • providing you with a personal tutor
  • publicising drop in sessions with all tutors
  • scheduling regular meetings and clearly advertising them
  • informing you of any changes in their availability e.g. staff study leave/absences


We will use a variety of assessment methods to test you on what you have learned. The types of assessment include:

  • essays
  • group work
  • dissertations
  • presentations 
  • online quizzes
  • reflective writing
  • open book exams
  • written examinations
  • multiple choice papers

For more information on the specific approach of your department, please visit their website.

Academic Feedback

You will be offered a variety of verbal and written feedback during your studies.

Some feedback will be formative, giving you feedback on a submitted or presented piece of work. Other feedback will be on work submitted for final assessment.

Academic feedback is provided for you to understand your strengths and identify any areas of improvement.

We have six principles to ensure your feedback is delivered consistently, these are outlined below.

Student engagement
  • Feedback is a two-way process between you and your teachers.

  • You need to engage with your feedback to improve future performance and your department should help you to do this.
Feedback is for learning
  • Feedback should help you to improve your future performance as well as provide comment on work already done.

  • Opportunities for reflection on your feedback should be provided by personal tutors or elsewhere.
Feedback is clearly communicated
  • Your department will provide clear information about the types of feedback you will receive and when you will receive it.

  • You will also be told about the range of informal feedback that will be provided during the course of your study.
Feedback is timely
  • You will receive regular feedback throughout your modules, in time to help with your final assessment.

  • You will usually receive feedback within three weeks of submission.
Feedback is consistently delivered
  • Your feedback will be delivered in an accessible and consistent manner, and will relate to module assessment criteria and learning outcomes.

  • There will be an opportunity to view exam scripts.
Feedback quality is maintained
  • Your department will ensure the feedback you receive is of good quality.

  • Your student reps will be involved in the process of maintaining that quality.