Support in the ARF /Pt 2
Alongside the new changes to the Academic Regulatory Framework, OCA is introducing a number of new mechanisms designed to better support students.
What is the support in the ARF?
These are the Active Study Policy, Reasonable Adjustments Policy, and a revised Mitigating Circumstances Policy, and also the changes to degree pathways.
OCA research shows that pace of study is linked to the likelihood of a student completing a unit. Over 3000 records show the median average time taken for students to complete units at OCA is 13 months. The majority of students complete degrees in an average of 6-7 years. Plus there is correlation between the time taken to submit assignment one and completion of the unit; students completing studies submit a month earlier than those who go out of time or withdraw on average.
Getting started, and remaining actively engaged throughout increases the likelihood of completing a unit. If you submit your first assignment within three months, you are more than twice as likely to complete as you are to exit. If that submission takes more than three months it is almost 50/50 whether a student will complete or exit.
Active Study Policy
To support this faster pace of working, we are introducing the Active Study Policy. Student Loans Company and Office for Students legally require OCA to ensure students are engaged with study.
Students need to actively engage with their studies throughout. This is in any 60 day period, in a meaningful way. If you are struggling to remain engaged we will be in touch and help you plan your studies and keep on track.
Meaningful engagement is defined as submitting an assignment, attending a tutorial with a tutor, engaging with specific support at OCA, attending a study event, or OCA groupwork, updating a learning log, or applying for assessment. In other words, all of the things you normally do as a student.
OCA will monitor these forms of engagement, and where there is no evidence of activity, and we can’t get in touch with a student to confirm, students will be withdrawn from study.
We hope however this will encourage students to be more engaged with study, from the start, and ensure that more students are completing their units.
Reasonable Adjustments Policy
To support students with declared disabilities we are developing a Reasonable Adjustments Policy. This details the support that is available to all students with a declared disability. This support includes unit time, printed materials in different fonts, and alternative assignment tasks.
All of these can be put in place when you need it, just get in touch.
It is really important if you do have a disability to engage with the Learner Support Team so they can go through the Reasonable Adjustments procedures with you and find out the best way to support your study and way of working.
Mitigating Circumstances Policy
The revised Mitigating Circumstances Policy introduces deferrals. This is different to an extension and makes a break in study either within a unit, or between units. Getting a deferral follows the usual mitigating circumstances procedure.
This can be for up to twelve months and you can pick up your studies where you left off. For example, if you’ve submitted assignment three, but something comes up in your personal life, then after approval from the mitigating circumstances panel take a break for four months, come back and pick up at assignment four.
This process ensures that students won’t be classified as inactive for the purposes of the Active Study Policy. Remember though that this needs to be approved in advance; this cannot be applied retrospectively.
Lastly, there is the changes to degree pathways. Units need to be studied in a particular order so students have the skills for the next unit. A good example of this is Photography 1: Expressing Your Vision, and Photography 1: Context and Narrative; you need to complete Expressing Your Vision to gain the experience and skills needed to complete Context and Narrative.
This will give students more support, and a better structure for studies.
What does this mean for me?
All of these new policies will come into effect from the 2nd January 2020. This applies for new students, and existing students.