Students are required to complete all components of each module to pass. Information regarding the requirements of each module can be found on individual module websites. This rule is in accordance with University Regulation 36.2, which ‘sets out general requirements and expectations in terms of progress, attendance and the completion of work.’ The following is excerpted from regulation 36.2:
1. Students are expected to engage fully with their course of study, take responsibility for their own learning and co-operate with their department and wider University as members of the University community. Students must comply with the requirements for their course as set out by the department.
2. Students are expected to inform departments of any health problems, changes in circumstances or other difficulties that may affect their progress. If a student fails to inform the department, these circumstances cannot be taken into account.
3. Students may be required by the Head of Department to meet with staff in the department. Students may also be required to meet with administrative staff in the wider University.
4. If a student’s progress or behaviour persistently fails to meet the expectations set out in this Regulation and departmental course requirements, the Head of Department may recommend to a Continuation of Registration Committee that the student be required to withdraw (under section 36.4.4).
Attendance at lectures, screenings and seminars: FAQ
Why is attendance at classes important?
The Department expects all students to attend all the lectures, screenings and seminars for each module followed. We take non-attendance seriously, as it affects both your own learning and the collective progress of the group. It gives your teachers a perspective on your work which can be fed into one-to-one tutorial situations as well as in writing references.
What must I do if I cannot attend a class?
In each module the seminar tutor will keep a record of who is present, and note all absences. If you are unable to attend your seminar group you must inform the seminar tutor, giving the reason for your absence. You are expected to do this in advance of the class, but if it is not possible then it is acceptable to so within 48 hours of the class taking place.
You must do this either by email, or by a note in the tutor’s pigeonhole in the office. The note/email must be copied to your Personal Tutor.
Failure to notify your seminar and personal tutor within the 48 hours will result in the absence being recorded as unexcused. The judgement as to whether the absence is excused or unexcused will be made by your seminar tutor. He or she may consult your Personal Tutor or the Departmental Senior Tutor if necessary.
What are acceptable reasons for absence?
This is largely a matter of common sense. If you are ill, or you have (say) a family crisis which means you need to be away from the campus urgently, these can be acceptable reasons. It is advisable to provide documentary evidence. You should bear in mind that if you are persistently ill or in personal difficulties such that you cannot attend for some time, you may be referred to the Departmental Senior Tutor, who may discuss the option of temporary withdrawal with you, until you are fit to study again.
What are unacceptable reasons for absence?
You cannot be excused a class because you have an essay to write. You are expected to organise your time to make space for this.
You cannot be excused for ordinary extra-curricular activities, such as film-making or involvement in university societies.
Regular healthcare appointments, e.g. physiotherapy, counselling etc. should not be made at times which repeatedly clash with a class. If you are receiving counselling because you find the social and intellectual interaction of seminars difficult, this does not exempt you from attendance, even if you feel you are not able to contribute a great deal.
If you are suffering from psychological difficulties which prevent your attendance for more than a brief period of time, you may be referred to the Departmental Senior Tutor, who may discuss the option of temporary withdrawal with you, until you are fit to study again.
What are the consequences of missing a significant number of seminars?
At the end of each term the department will consider the attendance records of all students, and review the positions of those who have missed four or more seminars in any module.
 Even if some of your absences are excused ones, you will normally be set a piece of extra work (normally a 2,000 word essay or a piece of work broadly equivalent to this) in order to ensure that you have fulfilled the learning requirements of the module. The details of the work and the deadline for submission will be communicated to you by the module leader. The work will be marked as a pass or a fail. In order to pass the module the work will have to pass, and in these circumstances your grade for the module will be unaffected.
 If there are four or more unexcused absences the Department returns a note to the University Registry indicating the absences, and you will receive a letter about this.
In these circumstances a deduction of 20% will be made from the total module mark. You will be set a 2,000 word penalty essay, and completing this will enable you to recoup some but not all of the lost marks. The maximum mark which can be awarded for a penalty essay is 40, and the essay will count for 20% of the module mark. A mark of 40 for one penalty essay would result, for example, in a module mark of 62 being reduced to 58. The details of the essay and the deadline for its submission will be communicated to you by the module leader.
If you believe that you have a case for waiving any extra work set you can appeal to the Head of Department. Two penalty essays can be set if you miss seminars in both term one and term two.
What happens if I do not submit a penalty essay?
If the essay is not submitted by the required deadline 20% of the module mark will be recorded as a zero. (A mark of zero would result, for example, in a module mark of 62 being reduced to 50).
It is very important that mobile phone use is not disruptive. In lectures, screenings, seminars and tutorials mobiles must be switched off. Sending and reading text messages is not acceptable. Should your phone ring during a class, you must switch it off immediately.
Screenings, lectures, seminars and individual study
Each of your modules runs for 22 weeks (including two reading and viewing weeks). Each involves, on a weekly basis, two screenings for film modules (except for Theories of the Moving Image), and a combination of lectures and seminars (see section 3 above).
1. Screenings are a key aspect of film modules. You are required to attend two screenings of each film. The first is designed to prepare you for the related lecture. The second screening, placed after the lecture, allows for a more focused examination. Learn to make notes during screenings, of factual points (e.g. characters’ names, unless you have a printed list of credits), of your own impressions or of points in response to tutors’ comments during the lecture. Most screening rooms are equipped with low-level lighting. Re-reading and transcribing your notes soon after a screening is a vital preparation for lectures and seminars.
Although video and DVD back-up is often available from the library, big-screen communal viewings are crucial, providing the opportunity for a more thorough examination of textual details, and replicating the ‘normal’ film viewing experience. Note that there is no automatic guarantee of module films being available in the library before related lectures and seminars are due to take place.
2. Lectures introduce or develop knowledge of a particular textual, historical or theoretical/critical issue or area of which the week’s film or book is an illustration, provide historical material and offer guidelines for a more informed second viewing of the film, further library or audio-visual research, and signal points for discussion in the seminars.
Learning from lectures can be difficult. It is quite easy to lose the thread of a lecture if your attention wanders even for a brief moment, although most lecturers do recap during the lecture. Film lectures are usually illustrated with film extracts, which also allow you a ‘breathing space’. During a lecture, you have to do three tasks simultaneously:
Do not write everything down: you cannot do that, listen and understand at the same time. Try to write down the main points, and use seminars to clear up any queries.
3. Small group seminars normally emphasise close textual work, debate theoretical issues prepared through reading, and test ideas exposed in lectures. Teaching methods may involve split seminars and smaller group work and in some cases you may be required to prepare short seminar presentations. Seminars are meant to be a dynamic and supportive environment for the development of your ideas, as well as of more general communication skills, especially the ability to construct and express arguments.
Seminars work best if everybody contributes to them. This includes:
i) preparing: making notes on the screenings or on your reading, preparing topics when required, doing the required reading.
ii) listening to what is being said, both by the module tutor and other students.
iii) talking: this includes making spontaneous interventions, not just speaking when asked a question. Many students find this initially terrifying, because they feel intimidated by the module tutor, or by other students in the group, or simply because they are unused to speaking in public. To overcome this, bear in mind that many people in the group will feel the same (even if they don’t look it). The point is to advance a collective discussion, and that involves trial and error. Remember that talking will be easier if you have prepared for the seminar and if you listen attentively throughout. It is also valuable to write up your thoughts after a seminar (perhaps as part of PDP – see below).
4. Individual study. This will be the newest and perhaps the most difficult aspect of your work. The undergraduate study experience is very different from taking A Levels in a number of crucial ways. Schools and sixth-form colleges are judged and funded on students’ exam results, and you may have experienced schooling situations in which A level teachers play a very direct role in assisting you in the preparation of your coursework, even to the extent of carefully scrutinising drafts and correcting mistakes for you before work is submitted. Universities are not subject to the same pressures, and generally take the view that a study environment in which students have to take the initiative for improving the quality of their work will offer better preparation for life beyond education. Module and personal tutors offer office hours to give you the opportunity to discuss how you might approach an assignment or act on critical feedback, but you are expected to be proactive in making use of this facility. Organising your own individual study time requires planning and discipline; it will have a bearing on what you get out of lectures and seminars, and ultimately on the overall quality of your work. Individual study includes sourcing books and articles on reading lists (often frustrating and time consuming), reading and making notes on them, planning and writing your essays, preparing seminar presentations, keeping up with journals and with your film viewing outside module films (films shown on campus and those in the video library). Try to plan realistically: leaving essay preparation and writing to the last minute is one of the most common problems. If you have persistent difficulties planning your work, consult your personal tutor.
Reading and Viewing Week
The department has reading and viewing weeks in weeks 6 of the autumn and spring terms. During these weeks no lectures or seminars are held. It is intended that you should use the time for reading and viewing and to prepare material for the second half of term.
The timetable for your year of study is displayed on the Common Room noticeboards.
PDP (Personal Development Planning)
PDP is a University initiative which encourages you to reflect on your own learning, performance and achievement and to plan for your personal educational (and career) development. You will thus be encouraged to keep a record (on-line in a blog or off-line in a file) of the developments of your ideas, of your approach to your studies and our achievements, which you will be able to revisit, reformulate and apply to your work (this record will be personal to you and confidential).
The aim is for you to pursue your degree more proactively and more effectively, to use your initiative, to make you more organised and, if need be, more motivated.
The department supports this initiative in a variety of ways:
5. THE UNIVERSITY: SUMMARY OF USEFUL SUPPORT SERVICES
The Senior Tutor and Student Counsellors
The Senior Tutor and Student Counsellors offer a confidential service dealing with various academic and personal problems including financial problems, problems connected with the law and university regulations, problems involving the provision of facilities for students with disabilities, or harassment of any sort. You may consult the counsellors of your own accord, or you may be referred to them by your personal tutor. The Senior Tutor and Student Counsellors are to be found on the ground floor of University House as part of Student Development and Support. The receptionists, Marie Proctor and Ruth Leigh can be contacted on extension 23761.
The Students’ Union
All students may become members of the Students’ Union and can join any student society or run for office in the annual elections. The Union offers a number of services including an Advice and Welfare Service which complements the help and support provided by the Senior Tutor’s Office. The Students’ Union is constituted so as to ensure that each Faculty is represented on the Union Executive. An Arts representative will be elected early in the term. Anyone who has a problem that cannot be resolved and who feels the Union can help should contact this representative.
Lord Rootes Memorial Fund
Film students have been enabled to realise important and sometimes expensive ambitions through assistance from the University’s Lord Rootes Memorial Fund. Grants are available “to enable students to undertake, normally during the summer vacation, projects or expeditions by individuals or groups entailing observation and the intelligent use of experience in the scientific, technological, cultural, social or business context”. Information about the Fund is usually publicised in the autumn term with a deadline for submissions in December. Since applications need to be well considered, persuasively presented, and fully costed it will be advantageous to make an early start, especially if you wish to organise a group endeavour. You may find it useful to browse through reports from past recipients of Lord Rootes awards; these are held in the Modern Records Centre of the university library and are available for consultation on request. You will find that a wide range of projects submitted by students from this department has gained support and that the sums awarded have been as much as two thousand pounds.