Guidance on the Contents of a Student Handbook (July 2009)


The guidance sets out areas that should be covered in a student handbook giving examples of
the kinds of information which could be included under each numbered point. It is neither
intended to be an exhaustive list nor to be prescriptive in terms of sequencing of information.
Staff at Partner Institutions are invited to customise the contents of the handbook to fit the
context of the home Institution but are asked to include information on the areas listed below.

Staff should also familiarise themselves with the contents of Anglia Ruskin University
undergraduate and postgraduate student handbooks and cross reference to relevant sections
where appropriate (some indication is given below as to where this should occur). These are
accessible from the Student Homepage on ANET at the following link:

Staff are asked NOT to reproduce sections from Anglia Ruskin University publications in their
local handbook as this may mislead students and lead to inaccurate versions of information
being reproduced.

Good Practice

The following guidance has been drawn from good practice identified at Approval and Review
events over the last three years along with examples of Course Handbooks from Royal
Holloway, the Institute of Education and Cranfield University. Examples of good practice
extracted from recent pathway handbooks giving help and guidance on study skills, assignment
writing, group work, presentation skills amongst other topics have been posted on the Academic
Office website at the following link:

Distribution to Students

It is recommended that students are provided with hard copies of their Student Handbook and
that additionally access is provided to an electronic copy either via an Anglia Ruskin website or
via the appropriate virtual learning environment tool. The location of the electronic version
should be included within the paper copy of the Student Handbook.

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Guidance on the Contents of a Student Handbook (June 2009) cont’d

Detailed Contents

General Introduction

1.    Contents page (paginated)

2.    Welcome and Introduction to the Faculty/Department/Programme/Pathway(s) – as

3.    Useful Contacts

      To include contact details of key academic staff, Student Advisor, relevant administrator,
      details of colleagues in practice and technical support staff (if applicable).

      It may also be useful to include contact details and location of Support Services (or the
      equivalent functions at Partner Institutions) for example:
           Timetabling and Exams
           Registration Services
           International Office/International Student Support
           Student Services
           Medical Centre
           Students’ Union

4.    Anglia Ruskin University Student Charter

      It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

      The Student Charter aims to explain exactly what you can expect of us and, in return, what
      we expect of you. It is set out to show a student’s experience – from applying to us to
      graduating and becoming a life-member, or ‘alumnus’, of the Anglia Ruskin community.

      During your induction, you will be provided with a hard copy of our Student Charter.
      Alternatively, a copy may be found at the following web address:

Pathway specific information

5.    Overview of the Pathway(s) including the aims and intended learning outcomes (as
      detailed on the Pathway Specification Form), and details of specialist aspects of the
      pathway, eg practice learning/placements, field trips, employer/industrial links.

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6.    Structure of the course which may include, for example:

       a structure diagram identifying compulsory and designated modules
       an indicative timetable detailing, for example, field trips/time spent in practice
       credit volumes and pace of study

7.    Module descriptions – authors may choose to include extracts from the MDFs or the MDFs
      in full. The full MDFs could be included as an appendix if not appropriate within the body of
      the handbook, or a link could be given to the Module Catalogue at:

8.    For pathways delivered by flexible or distributed learning etc. specify any additional
      requirements/responsibilities in relation to the pathway, for example:

       Schedule for the delivery of study materials
       Information on inter-learner discussion and support groups/networks
       Outline of the contingency for delivery in the event of technology failure

9.    Attendance/Engagement

      It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

      Your full and pro-active engagement with all the learning and teaching activities which form
      part of your pathway is very important and will help you succeed with your studies. The
      Student Charter expects you to arrive on time and take an active part in all your timetabled
      classes and other activities. If you are unable to attend a class/activity for a valid reason
      (eg: illness), please contact the relevant Module Tutor [or amend as appropriate].

      Anglia Ruskin will closely monitor the attendance of all students and will contact you by e-
      mail if you have been absent without notice for two weeks. Continued absence can result
      in the termination of your registration as you will be considered to have withdrawn from
      your studies.

      International students who are non-EEA nationals and in possession of entry
      clearance/leave to remain as a student (student visa) are required to be
      in regular attendance at Anglia Ruskin. Failure to do so is considered to
      be a breach of the immigration regulations. Anglia Ruskin, like all British Universities, is
      statutorily obliged to inform the Border and Immigration Agency of the Home Office of
      significant unauthorised absences by any student visa holders.

Assessment Information

10.   Information on the assessment process to include, for example:

       Timetable for assessment including deadlines

       Guidelines on presentation of assignments

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       Arrangements for submission of work

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          All coursework assignments and other forms of assessment must be submitted by the
          published deadline which is detailed above. It is your responsibility to know when work
          is due to be submitted – ignorance of the deadline date will not be accepted as a
          reason for late or non-submission (information on extensions to deadlines is below).

          All student work which contributes to the eventual outcome of the module (ie: if it
          determines whether you will pass or fail the module and counts towards the mark you
          get for the module) is submitted via the iCentre using the formal submission sheet
          Academic staff CANNOT accept work directly from you.

          If you decide to submit your work to the iCentre [REPLACE WITH EQUIVALENT AT
          PARTNER INSTITUTION] by post, it must arrive by midday on the due date. If you
          elect to post your work, you do so at your own risk and you must ensure that sufficient
          time is provided for your work to arrive at the iCentre [REPLACE WITH EQUIVALENT
          AT PARTNER INSTITUTION]. Posting your work the day before a deadline, albeit by
          first class post, is extremely risky and not advised.

          Any late work (submitted in person or by post) will NOT be accepted and a mark of
          zero will be awarded for the assessment task in question.

          You are requested to keep a copy of your work.

       Extensions

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          If there is a valid reason for why you are not able to meet a submission deadline for a
          piece of assessed work (eg: sickness), you can request an extension to the submission
          deadline of up to five (or exceptionally ten) days. You can make an extensions request
          at any time including immediately before the original submission deadline.

          You must complete an extension form (available from Student Advisers, iCentres etc.
          will decide whether or not to grant you an extension. The revised date for you to
          submit your work will be recorded on Anglia Ruskin’s student database so that the staff
          in the iCentre are aware of the new deadline when you eventually submit your work

          Please note that ONLY STUDENT ADVISERS can approve an extension request.
          Academic staff are NOT permitted to do so.

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       Long Term Extensions

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          Exceptionally, and only in very serious circumstances, it is possible for you to seek an
          extension which is over the normal ten days. The same process for requesting such an
          extension applies but the Student Adviser is required to consult your Faculty’s Director
          of Studies.

          Long-term extensions are designed to help students deal with extreme situations and
          are only granted in very rare circumstances. As with normal extensions, academic staff
          are NOT permitted to agree to long-term extensions.

       Any details regarding practice assessment

          Faculty/Department to provide

       Assessment criteria and marking standards (also contained within Anglia Ruskin
          University Student Handbook under Assessment)

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          For each piece of assessment you are asked to complete, you will be given
          assessment criteria which provide you with generic information on what the academic
          staff will be looking for when they mark your work.

          They will provide you with a basic idea of the standard you need to achieve in order to
          achieve marks at a particular level. You are strongly advised to use the criteria when
          you are preparing your work. If you have any questions about the criteria or are not
          sure what something means, ask your Module Leader/Tutor.

          All assessment criteria you receive will be based on Anglia Ruskin’s generic
          assessment criteria and marking standard document which you can view at:

       Where, when and how marks can be accessed

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          Outcomes of the assessment process, including the marks and decisions for the
          individual modules you have taken, are published for students via e-Vision (https://e-
 We do not provide information on marks over the telephone.

          Anglia Ruskin sets official publication dates for all results, details of which are
          displayed on posters around the institution, via the infoscreens on all campuses and at

          It is YOUR responsibility to collect your results and to ensure that you are aware of any
          actions that derive from those results (eg: a re-sit examination). The e-Vision system

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          will provide you with all the information you need and also direct you to other sources
          of assistance, if required.

          Please note that some results may be posted on e-Vision ahead of the official
          publication of results dates. This information must be considered as unconfirmed by
          students as it is subject to amendment prior to the official publication date.
       Process/policy for return of work

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          You are entitled to written feedback on your performance for all your assessed work.
          For all assessment tasks which are not examinations, this is provided by a member of
          academic staff completing the assignment coversheet on which your mark and
          feedback will relate to the achievement of the module’s intended learning outcomes
          and the assessment criteria you were given for the task when it was first issued.

          Examination scripts are retained by Anglia Ruskin and are not returned to students.
          However, you are entitled to feedback on your performance in an examination and may
          request a meeting with the Module Leader or Tutor to see your examination script and
          to discuss your performance.

          Anglia Ruskin is committed to providing you with feedback on all assessed work within
          20 working days of the submission deadline or the date of an examination. This is
          extended to 30 days for feedback for a Major Project module (please note that working
          days excludes those days when Anglia Ruskin University is officially closed; eg:
          between Christmas and New Year).

          At the main Anglia Ruskin University campuses, each Faculty will publish details of the
          arrangement for the return of your assessed work (eg: a marked essay or case study
          is not collected by you from the Faculty within this timeframe is returned to the iCentres
          from where you can subsequently collect it. The iCentres retain student work for a
          specified period prior to its disposal. [REPLACE WITH EQUIVALENT AT PARTNER

          To assure ourselves that our marking processes are comparable with other universities
          in the UK, Anglia Ruskin provides samples of student assessed work to external
          examiners as a routine part of our marking processes. External examiners are
          experienced academic staff from other universities who scrutinise your work and
          provide Anglia Ruskin academic staff with feedback and advice. Many of Anglia
          Ruskin’s staff act as external examiners at other universities.

          On occasion, you will receive feedback and marks for pieces of work that you
          completed in the earlier stages of the teaching period. We provide you with this
          feedback as part of the learning experience and to help you prepare for other
          assessment tasks that you have still to complete. It is important to note that, in these
          cases, the marks for these pieces of work are unconfirmed as the processes
          described above for the use of external examiners will not have been completed. This
          means that, potentially, marks can change, in either direction! Marks for modules
          and individual pieces of work become confirmed on the Dates for the Official
          Publication of Results which can be checked at

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       Reassessment

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          Whilst we hope that all our students are successful in all the assessment tasks they
          complete, on occasion some students fail a module and are therefore given ONE
          opportunity to re-sit the module. In these circumstances, the e-Vision system will tell
          you which modules you have failed and what it is you have to do to retrieve that failure
          (eg: a re-sit examination, write a new piece of coursework etc.). The e-Vision system
          will also tell you when this has to be completed.

          It is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are aware of any re-sit requirements, the
          exact details of the re-assessment and when it will take place (eg: the submission
          deadline or the period for an examination).

          Please note that the overall mark for any module which you pass after you have been
          re-assessed (eg: undertaken a re-sit examination) will be capped at 40%.

       Mitigating Circumstances/Mitigation      (sometimes       referred    to    as    extenuating
          circumstances or extenuation)

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          Anglia Ruskin University operates a process called ‘Mitigation’ for each round of
          assessment that takes place. If you believe that there are serious sudden and
          unforeseen circumstances which were beyond your control (eg: illness) which either:

              prevented you from undertaking an assessment task (eg: you were unable to
               attend an examination, give a presentation or submit a coursework assignment)


              impaired your performance when undertaking an assessment task (eg: you
               became ill during an examination)

          then you can submit a claim for mitigation.

          All mitigation claims must be submitted by using the official form AO MIT (available
          from any iCentre and your Student Adviser) and MUST be supported by documentary
          evidence (eg: a Doctor’s Certificate).

          The deadline for all claims is five Working Days after the relevant Examination Date /
          Presentation Date / Assignment Submission Date.

          All claims for mitigation are considered, in confidence, by a properly constituted
          Faculty Mitigation Panel which makes formal recommendations on the outcome of your
          claim to the Faculty Awards Board.

          A successful mitigation claim means that any mark you achieve for the assessment
          task in question will be annulled and you will be given another opportunity to

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          undertake the assessment task in the future (at a time determined by Anglia Ruskin).
          We do not give extra marks to “take account” of an illness – we simply provide you
          with another chance to complete the assessment task at a time when the
          circumstances that led to the mitigation claim have elapsed (ie: you have recovered
          from an illness).

          Further details about the mitigation process are available in the Academic Regulations
          (, from the Students’ Union and your Student Adviser.

          Please note that the mitigation process is designed to assist students who experience
          serious sudden and unforeseen circumstances which impact on the assessment
          process. You cannot, for example, claim mitigation if you have neglected to ensure
          that you know the time and date of your examination or you have not prepared properly
          for an examination (eg: little or no revision!).

Rules and Regulations

11.   Reference to assessment regulations and procedures and where these may be found (ie
      cross referenced to Anglia Ruskin University Student Handbook and Rules, Regulations
      and Procedures given to students at registration) including, for example:

       Rules regarding plagiarism and poor academic practice

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          When you are preparing your work for submission, it is important that you understand
          the various academic conventions that you are expected to follow in order to make sure
          that you do not leave yourself open to accusations of plagiarism (eg: the correct use of
          referencing, citations, footnotes etc.) and that your work maintains its academic

          Plagiarism is theft and constitutes the presentation of another’s work as your own in
          order to gain an unfair advantage. You will receive advice and guidance on how to
          avoid plagiarism and other elements of poor academic practice during the early stages
          of your studies at Anglia Ruskin.

          Anglia Ruskin operates a rigorous process for investigating any allegations of
          plagiarism (and other assessment offences such as cheating during an examination)
          and will impose strict penalties if an assessment offence is proven. The Academic
          Regulations detail the process for investigating alleged assessment offences and the
          associated penalties (

          A Guide to Academic Integrity and Good Academic Practice

          A primary purpose of a University education is to instil in each student an
          understanding of, and a capacity for scholarship, independent judgment, academic
          rigour, and intellectual honesty.

          It is the joint responsibility of university teachers, support staff and students to work
          together to foster these ends through relationships which encourage freedom of
          inquiry, demonstrate personal and professional integrity, and foster mutual respect.

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          Good academic practice refers to the process of completing your academic work
          independently, honestly and in an appropriate academic style, using good referencing
          and acknowledging all of your sources.

          To demonstrate good academic practice this you must:

                 develop your own independent evaluation of academic issues;
                 draw upon research from academics in your field of study;
                 discuss and evaluate existing concepts and theories;
                 demonstrate your understanding of the key literature;
                 develop your own arguments.

          To support your own good academic practice you will need to develop:

                 study and information skills (eg. reading, note-taking, research etc);
                 skills of critical enquiry and evaluation (eg. taking a balanced opinion, using
                  reasoning and argument);
                 appropriate academic writing skills (eg. for essays, reports, dissertations etc);
                 referencing skills;
                 examination techniques (eg. preparation and timing etc).

          Achieving good academic practice is not as complicated as it may appear. In a
          nutshell, you need to:

                 know the rules;
                 make sure you reference all sources.

          Poor academic practice or academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating, fraud etc.) is
          sometimes caused by insecurity as to what is expected and what is allowed. If you are
          in any doubt you should talk to a librarian and/or your module or personal tutor.

          Our Expectations of Students

          The Student Charter (available at:
          11473_Charter_16ppA5.pdf) requires you to ‘be aware of the academic rules relating to
          your studies’, p9). We expect you to agree that you will:

          i)      ensure that you are familiar with the academic conventions regarding the citing
                  (acknowledgement,        referencing)    of    the    work    of   others    (see
         for assistance);
          ii)     only hand in your own original work for assessment;
          iii)    correctly reference all the sources for the information you have included in your
          iv)     identify information you have downloaded from the internet;
          v)      never use another student’s work as if it were your own work;
          vi)     never use someone else’s artwork, pictures or graphics (including graphs,
                  spreadsheets etc. and information from the internet) as if they were made by
          vii)    never let other students use or copy from your work;
          viii)   work through ‘PILOT’, the online tutorial available on the University library
                  website ( PILOT addresses a number of study
                  skills which will help you develop good academic practice.

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       Anglia Ruskin University Academic Appeals procedure

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          Anglia Ruskin University operates an academic appeals process which provides
          students with the opportunity to appeal against an assessment decision.

          If you are considering submitting an academic appeal, you are strongly advised to
          consult the Academic Regulations (available at and
          to discuss the matter with your Programme Leader, Student Adviser and/or the
          Students' Union prior to the submission of any academic appeal.

          There are very precise grounds for an appeal: - these are detailed in the Academic
          Regulations and also at:

          Please note that you cannot appeal against academic judgement. This means that
          you cannot query the mark for a piece of work that you are given (eg: you cannot
          appeal against a mark of 45% because you were hoping for a mark of 63%).

          Any academic appeal must be submitted by using the official Notification of Appeal
          proforma available at: and
          also from your Student Adviser and the Students’ Union.

          Any academic appeal must be submitted no later than 25 working days after the
          relevant meeting of the Faculty Awards Board. To avoid any confusion, these dates
          are   published    widely around the institution and are available at

          If you have a query about the Academic Appeals process, you can contact the
          Academic Appeals Unit by e-mail:

       Complaints procedures

          It is recommended that the following text is included within all Student Handbooks:

          Anglia Ruskin is committed to dealing with any complaint a student may have about
          treatment by an employee or a department of the institution or concerning
          maladministration by a committee of Anglia Ruskin as quickly and fairly as possible.

          The Secretary and Clerk’s Office administer a formal complaints process, full details of
          which are available at:

      Staff are requested not to reproduce information from Anglia Ruskin University Student
      Handbook or the Rules, Regulations and Procedures as this may mislead students and
      potentially lead to inaccurate versions of information being reproduced.

      The web address for the Assessment Regulations (a sub-set of the Academic Regulations)
      may be found at:

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12.   Students’ views and their role in quality assurance and enhancement

         Student representatives 
         Programme Subcommittee structure (or partner institution equivalent)
         Module/course/practice evaluation
         Annual monitoring and the role of the student in this process

Guidance and Support

13.   Academic guidance including the role of the Student Advisor, Pathway Leader and
      Personal Tutor (brief details also contained within Anglia Ruskin University Student
      Handbook under Academic Life)

      Guidance for staff on the role of the Personal                   Tutor    may    be    found    at:

14.   Help and guidance on study skills, assignment writing, group work, presentation skills,
      personal development planning (PDP) etc.

      Guidance for staff on Personal Development Planning for students may be found at:

15.   Guidance on using the Harvard referencing system and details of how to reference other
      sources. The Anglia Ruskin University Student Handbook includes a section on
      referencing under Assessment.

      Guidance on referencing may be found at:

16.   Learning resources information to include, for example, library and IT facilities – access,
      opening times, borrowing rights etc. (for both the partner institution’s and Anglia Ruskin
      University’s library and student IT facilities).

17.   Pointers towards student services, for example, pastoral care, counselling, financial
      advice, careers guidance, the Students’ Union and other support services (details are
      included in Anglia Ruskin University Student Handbook under Support). In relation to the
      Students’ Union, where a Partner Institution has a Students’ Union colleagues should
      include reference to both the local and Anglia Ruskin provision.

      Guidance for students on Anglia Ruskin University Student Support may be found at:

Additional Information

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18.   Staff profiles

      It may be useful to include a profile for staff teaching on the pathway. These could include
      information under the following headings (alternatively a copy of the abbreviated CV
      provided for the approval process could be used):
            Post held
            Research interests
            Seminar/Conference papers

19.   It has been suggested that students at partner institutions should have access to the
      Academic Agreement between the partner and Anglia Ruskin. Reference could be made
      here as to where students can access this (ie in the partner institution’s library).

20.   Frequently Asked Questions

      This section is likely to be mostly pathway/programme specific as most generic items
      should be covered above.

Any comments/queries regarding this document should be forwarded to Caroline Watts
(, Quality Assurance Division, Academic Office.

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