QMU Module Co-Ordinator Handbook
This handbook is for staff working at collaborative partner organisations, who are responsible for running a QMU module on a validated programme. ‘Validated programmes’ consist of modules that have been approved by QMU but which are not direct copies of modules delivered in Edinburgh. This means that the partner organisation is responsible for deciding how the module should be delivered.
What does the handbook cover?
The handbook covers the basic points you need to know to run a QMU module. More detailed information on procedures and regulations website:
As module co-ordinator it is your responsibility to ensure that your module follows the correct procedures and regulations. Your Programme Leader has overall responsibility for the day-to-day management of the programme and should be consulted for advice if you are in doubt.
Key contacts and sources of help:
- Your Programme Leader is the key contact for course organisation at your own institution.
- Your programme administrator can help with student records and assessment arrangements.
- The Collaborative Academic Lead can help with any queries about QMU processes and regulations.
- The QMU module co-ordinator who is responsible for a similar module at QMU (your QMU module counterpart) can advise you on specific questions about your module.
- The School Office at QMU will deal with all queries relating to student records and marks collaboration email address
- For IT problems or technology queries, contact IT Support
(You may want to record the names and email addresses of key contacts here)
Collaborative Academic Lead
The Module Co-ordinator is responsible for making sure the module is delivered and assessed in the way it should be, as laid out in the module descriptor.
The Module Co-ordinator will normally do at least some of the teaching and assessment on the module. Sometimes he or she will need to co-ordinate the inputs of other people. The Co-ordinator makes sure that everyone teaching on the module knows what they are doing, where they are supposed to be and how their contribution fits in with other people’s. The Module Co-ordinator is also responsible for reflecting on how well the module has gone and, if need be, proposing improvements for the next time it is delivered.
The duties of the Module Co-ordinator are as follows:
- to advise the Programme Leader on the staffing and other resources needed for the module;
- to ensure that the teaching and assessment of the module complies with the approved module descriptor and that all required sessions are timetabled;
- to maintain the currency of the curriculum content;
- in the first week, to provide students with the curriculum, reading lists and assessment schedules;
- to be responsible for the assessment of the module including the co-ordination of marking and moderation and the preparation of examination papers;
- to ensure that students are provided with feedback on their performance;
- to provide the Programme Leader, in accordance with published deadlines, with the marks and grades of students who have studied that module;
- to evaluate the delivery of the module and contribute to the evaluation of the programmes of which the module forms a part.
What information will you receive from QMU?
For each module, we will supply:
- Module descriptor
- Suggested outline of content to be taught each week
The module descriptor provides the contract with the students. All students studying the module and all staff teaching on the module should be given access to the module descriptor. The learning outcomes, content, delivery pattern and assessment as laid down in the descriptor must be followed exactly. You are not allowed to make changes to what is set out in the descriptor. For example, you may not use a multiple-choice exam to grade the students, if the module descriptor says that the assessment is by essay or presentation.
f you do feel that you need to make changes, for example in response to student feedback, then those proposed changes must be discussed with the programme leader before implementation. If such proposed changes don’t conflict with the current module descriptor, then they may be implemented after agreement with the programme leader. However, if any proposed changes imply a change to the module descriptor, then this can only be implemented after approval by the relevant School Academic Board. They can therefore usually only be implemented in the next delivery of the module.
For more information see the section on Working with the module descriptor.
Working with Module Descriptors
Module Descriptors - what each section means
Code - This is code used by the QMU management Information system
SHE Level/SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework covers all qualifications in Scotland and allows for comparison between different types of award. The University levels are:
|SHE Level||SCQF Level||Description|
First year of a standard undergraduate degree; HECert
Second year of a standard undergraduate degree; year 2 of an HEDip
Third year of a standard undergraduate degree (Ordinary degree level)
Final year of a standard undergraduate degree (Honours degree level)
Credit Rating - 1 credit is equivalent to 10 hours of student effort. QMU degrees are built up of credits as set out below:
|Credit Rating||SCQF Level|
Certificate of Higher Education
120 credit points at SCQF Level 7
Diploma of Higher Education
+120 credit points at SCQF Level 8
+120 credit points at SCQF Level 9
Degree with Honours
+120 credit points at SCQF Level 10
120 credit points at SCQF Level 9/10
60 credit points at SCQF Level 11
120 credit points at SCQF Level 11
180 credit points at SCQF Level 11
 These are notional hours, not actual hours of face-to-face teaching. Student effort includes reading in their own time and work done on assessments.
Co-requisites - Any modules which must be taken at the same time as this module.
Aims - This tells you what the purpose of the module is. This section lets you know whether the module is intended to be introductory, intermediate or advanced. It also summarises what the module is about.
Learning outcomes - This is a very important section. This tells you what the student should learn by the end of the module. When you are delivering the module you must include lessons and activities that will enable the student to learn these things.Most or all learning outcomes will be assessed – this is indicated in the column ‘Assessed in this module’. This means that assessments must be designed to measure whether or not the student has met the outcomes. The general principle behind assessment is that a student should pass if, and only if, they have met the learning outcomes of the module.
Learning experiences - This section provides a breakdown of the different types of activities the student should engage in during the module. This tells you how many hours of lectures, tutorials and practical classes you are expected to deliver. It is okay for you to add additional classes if you feel they are needed but you must provide the minimum amount set out here. You are not required to outline the teaching pattern in this section, for example, what learning experience will happen when. This allows for flexibility when delivering the module.
Note that QMU normally allows about 30 hours of contact time per 20 credit module. We provide less contact time the higher the SCQF Level. In other words, we expect students to become more autonomous in the course of their studies. We expect most learning to take place outside of the classroom through students’ own reading and the work they do on their assessments.
Lectures:- The traditional class where the tutor speaks; students listen and take notes. These days lectures can be very interactive, allowing students to ask questions, providing time for students to discuss ideas with each other and so on. It is good practice to alternate delivery of content with more active student participation every 20 minutes or so.
Tutorials:- A smaller class (usually no more than 20 students) which provides an opportunity for discussion and feedback. The tutor will normally ask questions to check that students have understood the material and to encourage debate. Students may also be required to use this time to work in groups on set tasks and then feedback to the whole class.
Seminars - Similar to a tutorial. A smaller class (usually no more than 20 students) built around discussion and exploration of the module content. Sometimes students will be asked to prepare a short paper or presentation.
Laboratory work - Sessions in which students are guided to undertake practical experiments.
Practicals and workshops - These are sessions in which students practise their practical / clinical skills
IT workshops - These take place in a classroom with computers and are dedicated to teaching students how to use the software they need. They may also be used to engage students with electronic resources that help them learn more about their subject, such as through simulations, online quizzes and so on.
Directed reading - This is where students are set tasks and asked to read material in between classes, in their own time.
Self-directed learning - This refers to time that students study either by themselves, in pairs or in groups. They will usually be set a task, but they must use their own initiative to give shape to the task, for example by selecting and assessing journal articles, or by profiling contemporary or topical issues in their field.
Problem-based learning - A method of teaching whereby students are set a problem and work in groups to research and solve it.
Work-based learning - Learning that is based wholly or mostly in a work setting, normally under the supervision of a work based mentor from the same organisation but supported by a lecturer.
Assessment pattern - This section tells you what assessments the students must do. The assessment pattern will have been approved as part of the validation process as an appropriate method of assessing the learning outcomes. It cannot be changed without approval from QMU.
Some assessments are described as ‘formative’. This means the students do them in order to receive feedback from you as to how well they are doing. The mark does NOT count towards the final mark for the module. Other assessments are described as ‘summative’. They DO count towards the final mark for the module.
Sometimes module co-ordinators are tempted to add additional formative assessments such as class tests. You should be careful about how many formative assessments you offer. If students have too much assessment they won’t have time to absorb the material and think about it in any depth. Always discuss with your QMU module counterpart if in doubt.
Assessment weightings tell you how the overall mark for the module will be calculated when two or more marks are put together. If there are two components of assessment, weighted at 70% and 30% respectively, the mark is calculated by adding 70% of the first mark to 30% of the second mark. The QMU computer system does all this automatically. All you need to do is to provide the percentage mark for each component and the computer will calculate the overall mark.
Anonymous marking - At QMU all assessments are marked anonymously wherever possible. Students are asked to identify themselves only with their student number and never to put their name on their work. This helps to demonstrate that the assessment process is fair and unbiased. Some types of assessment can’t be anonymously marked, such as oral presentations, performances or clinical exams.
Content - This section summarises the material you must cover in your classes.
Main texts - These are a selection of the most important texts. Students don’t need to read all of them and it is best if they go and look for other texts and journal articles in addition to those listed. The purpose of listing the key texts is to help your library to identify what books to buy. If you become aware of any new texts that would be relevant, especially texts published in your own country which our staff might not know about, please inform your QMU module counterpart.
Source of Importance Information
Good Academic Practice:
QMU Guide to Harvard Referencing
Student guide to Turnitin and Grademark
Running your Module
Your QMU module co-ordinator counterpart can help you with information on what should be covered in the module, including a suggested breakdown of what should be taught each week. You may vary the order in which things are taught to suit your needs. However, you must cover all the material that is set out in the module descriptor.
It is very helpful if you can think of examples and case studies that relate to your own local context. This will make the material much more relevant to your students.
It is your responsibility to set the assessment(s) for your module. The assessments need to be as described in the module descriptor. So, for example, if the descriptor says “two 1500 word case studies” you must design two different case studies. The maximum word limit for each must be 1500 words. This cannot be varied without permission from QMU committees. However, you will normally be free to set the topic of the assignment and the specific questions.
Assessments should be drafted before the start of the semester in order to allow enough time for consultation before the assignment is set to students. QMU staff must check all draft assessments to confirm that they are suitable for the learning outcomes and the level of the module. For modules at SCQF Level 9 and above, the external examiner will also be given the opportunity to comment on the assessment. Your Programme Leader will advise you of the process to be followed in order to confirm the assessment before issuing it to students.
Pay close attention to the following points when designing assessments:
- Make sure that the assessment relates to the learning outcomes of the module. For example, suppose one of the module learning outcomes is “Undertake critical analysis and evaluation of key communications theories and how these can be applied to inform communications campaigns in practice”. The assessment must include scope for students to analyse and evaluate key communications theories as related to communications campaigns in practice.
- Make sure that the assessment relates to content that students will cover in class. (This may seem obvious but sometimes there is a miscommunication somewhere, especially if more than one tutor is involved in teaching. As module coordinator it is your responsibility to make sure all assessed topics are delivered.)
If it is a group assignment, consider what alternative you might use for an individual assignment for any students who have to resit. For exams, you will need a different question paper for the main exams and for resits. You will also need to change the questions every year. It is okay to recycle questions from a bank of previous questions. If you are unsure about the type of questions to use, it may be possible to get advice from QMU via the Collaborative Academic Lead. For written assignments, you should provide details of what students will be asked to do and the guidance they will receive when the assignment task is given out. Where possible you are encouraged to set a topic that is relevant to your own country or relates to contemporary issues. For example, you might ask students to apply their theoretical knowledge to a recent story in the news. This will make the assignment more interesting, more relevant and will reduce the likelihood that students copy each other. It may be helpful to allocate some face to face time with the class to discuss assignment expectations and allow for clarification.
In all cases, the marking criteria must be defined in advance. The marking criteria must be linked to the learning outcomes of the module and to the QMU grade descriptors (these are usually found in the programme handbook).
It is good practice to tell students at the start of the module what the module is about, what the learning outcomes are and how they will be assessed. Students should normally be given at least six weeks to research and prepare a written assignment. So if it is due at the end of November you must give students all the information and guidance on the assignment by the middle of October at the latest.
Extenuating circumstances (impaired performance)
Students sometimes have problems that stop them from being able to submit work on time, for reasons beyond their control. It is not unusual to allow students up to three weeks’ extension to the deadline for submission of coursework for problems such as illness, bereavement or a family crisis. All extensions must be authorised through the proper procedure. Check with your Programme Leader regarding the procedure to be followed in your institution.
If a student misses an exam through illness or some other justifiable reason, they will normally be allowed to take the exam again as a first attempt.
Sometimes a student will need to take a longer break from study. The regulations2 allow this but it can pose practical problems. Students in this position should meet with the Programme Leader to discuss how long they need to take out and how they can complete their programme once they come back.
In all cases, the student must supply evidence to support their claim for extenuating circumstances. Full guidance is available on the Quality website.
However, it should be noted that there is a maximum number of years within which students must complete their course. Normally, a student cannot take more than two years out.
Marking and Moderation
You will normally be the first marker for the module you run. Mark each assignment according to the agreed marking criteria. You should provide a final mark in the form of a percentage. You should always do this by referring to the Grade descriptors in the assessment regulations, as well as, of course, the module’s learning outcomes.
For each piece of written work, you must write feedback for the student. The feedback should state what was good about the work and how the student could improve it to get a better mark. It is important that the comments match the mark that is given. Again, please refer to the QMU grade descriptors so that your feedback aligns with the grade band. In other words, if you say that several things about the work are ‘very good’, the student will expect a very good mark (Grade B). Make sure your comments are legible if they are handwritten.
You don’t need to supply written feedback on exams. But it is helpful to people checking your marking if they can have some idea of why you have awarded marks, so make some annotations on the script. Providing the students with some feedback on their performance can be helpful following exams. Whole class feedback indicating general areas of strength and areas for improvement can be discussed with the students.
A sample of student work for each module must be ‘moderated’ by another academic. This person is the called the moderator. The moderator will look over the sample of marked scripts and compare it with the feedback provided. The moderator‘s role is to check that marking and feedback are consistent and align with the criteria set for the assignment. In most programmes, moderation will be conducted by QMU staff. For some longer- established programmes, the moderator will be another member of the programme team in your organisation.
Even if work is being sent to QMU for official moderation, it can be very helpful for new markers to have a colleague check a sample of their marking. Your Programme Leader will advise you on the moderation procedures used by your institution.
In most cases, work will be sent to QMU for our staff to look at. This enables the University to be sure that marking is fair and reliable and allows for detailed conversations with staff at the partner organisation about how to interpret QMU’s marking requirements. This discussion will be reflected in the moderation form that QMU moderators use for each component they moderate. If the QMU markers think that you haven’t marked the work in the way they recommend, they will ask you to look again at the marks. QMU moderation may be handled through Grademark (if your institution uses this) or through Sharepoint. Your programme leader will give you more information on this.
For written assignments marked through Grademark, the QMU moderators will select the sample themselves. You must also upload the moderation form and module report. For other types of assessment (such as presentations and exams) a sample of exam scripts and videos will be uploaded to an external shared drive such as Sharepoint.
The information supplied for moderation should include:
- Sample of work for each component of assessment. If a module has three assessments – a presentation, an essay and an exam – there should be a sample of presentations, a sample of essays and a sample of exam scripts. The same students need not be in each sample. Please identify clearly which component is which.
- For each piece of written work, include a copy of the feedback written by the original marker for the student. (Assessments marked online include the feedback automatically.)
- The size of the sample moderated must be at least the square root of the total number of students (rounded to the nearest whole number) plus all borderline fails. The sample should include a range of performance and the minimum size should be six pieces of assessed work.
- Complete list of marks, broken down by component. Each mark should be recorded as a percentage. For example, if a piece of work was marked as 30 out of 60 this should be recorded as 50%.
- Percentage weighting of each component of assessment. This must match the module descriptor.
- Copy of the assignment guidelines that were issued to students. This tells the moderator what exactly the students were asked to do. For an exam, supply the exam paper.
- Copy of the marking criteria used by the marker. This tells the moderator how marks were allocated.
For modules at SCQF Level 9 and above, QMU also appoints an External Examiner. This is an academic from another university who is an expert in the subject. He or she will also view the sample of work to confirm whether the standards expected of a UK degree have been met. External examiners are independent and provide an annual report on the quality of the programme.
Marks are not confirmed until the work has been checked by both the QMU markers and the external examiner and the official results have been ratified by the exam board. It is usually best to give students their feedback and provisional mark as soon as internal marking is complete, to avoid unnecessary anxiety. Internal marking is complete when all scripts have been first marked, moderated, and, where applicable, moderated by QMU. However, it must be made very clear that the mark isn’t final until it has been ratified by the Board of Examiners.
To summarise, the steps of the marking process are:
Module co-ordinator marks scripts within the specified deadlines.
Any internal moderation is completed by another member of staff at your organisation (if applicable)
A member of QMU staff moderates a sample of scripts
If the QMU moderator is content with the marking, provisional grades and feedback can be issued to students. If the QMU moderator is not content, the entire cohort may need to be re-marked first.
External examiner moderates a sample of scripts
Board of Examiners confirms marks
Final marks issued to students. Any students who have failed are informed of what they need to do to resit.
In order to pass a module, a student must achieve:
|Overall Module Mark||40%||50%|
|Mark in each individual Component||30%||40%|
If a student does not meet both the above minimum levels, he or she fails the module and has to resit. This means that students can’t afford to be casual about any component of assessment, even if it is worth only a small percentage of the overall mark. They must reach the minimum level (30% for undergraduate, 40% for postgraduate) in each component.
Normally, the student will resit only those components they fail.
For more information on assessment, see the quick guides available here:Assessment Info
The full regulations are available on the Quality website.
QMU has a number of procedures that allow us and you to check that everything is running as well as it should. You will be involved in some of them:
- Module evaluation. Towards the end of the module, each time it runs, you must collect feedback from students. QMU supplies a standard form to use but your Programme Leader will advise you as to whether your institution has its own form. You can then use the students’ feedback to help you plan any adjustments to the module for the future. It is very important to collate the student feedback into a module report as student feedback is an important driver for changes to how a module is delivered.
- Programme Committee meetings and Joint Boards of Studies. It is important that staff on the team get together to share their experiences and address any issues that arise. Sometimes you will meet without QMU staff being present but once a year there will be a meeting with representatives from QMU. This is called the Joint Board of Studies and you will be asked to attend.
- Exam boards. The exam board is a meeting of staff involved in assessment to confirm the marks and make sure all students have been treated equitably. Only the exam board can decide whether students can progress to the next level, can resit or have to withdraw. All module co-ordinators are expected to attend.
Support and Resources
Library, IT and Hub
You and your students will have access to various electronic resources from QMU. The most important systems are:
- The Hub. This is a virtual learning environment that allows you to post specific module content and guide students in online learning activities. The Hub can best be accessed directly through the QMU home page, rather than through the ‘remote desktop’. (Not all partners use the Hub as many have their own virtual learning environment. Your Programme Leader will tell you whether the Hub is relevant to you.)
- Library resources. These include a number of journals databases, electronic journals and e-books.
- The ‘QMU Remote Desktop’ (also known as Horizon). This allows students to use all the standard software available to on-campus students, such as Microsoft Office, Mind Manager or SPSS (if needed). Students receive a QMU email account.
Access to all systems is controlled by a QMU username and password. To get an account, ask your programme leader to contact the Collaborative Academic Lead. We will need a copy of your CV (to approve your appointment) and a contact email address. New accounts take a few weeks to process so please ensure your form is submitted in good time.
You will then be sent your username and temporary password. This information will go to the personal email address you specified.
The next thing you have to do is register with our password management service. Visit Here in your web browser and complete the sign-up process using your @qmu.ac.uk email address and the temporary password you were given.
You will be asked to provide answers to three security questions. It is very important that you answer the security questions with information that is memorable to you. You will need this when you reset your password.
Security questions include:
- A memorable date
- Your favourite colour
- The name of your first pet
Note that there are different ways of writing dates so you might want to take a note of the format you have used. (Eg 23 August 2019 or 23/8/19)
Next, you need to change your password to something that is personal to you. This will stop anybody else logging in to your account. To change your password go to https://passwordreset.microsoftonline.com/
- Your password must be at least 7 characters long. This makes it much more difficult for the password to be guessed or ‘cracked’.
- Your password must contain 3 of these 4 types of character:
- Uppercase letters (ie A to Z) o Lowercase letters (ie a to z) o Numbers (ie 0 to 9)
- Non-alphabetic characters (ie $, !, £, % etc)
- An example of a suitable password would be:Fr@nce98
- Your password cannot be the same as your username. This would be a very insecure password, as it is very easy to guess.
- Your password cannot contain your full name or part of your name.
You will use the same username and password to access the following systems:
- Hub (virtual learning environment)
- E-Portfolio (if applicable to your course)
- QMU Email
- QMU remote desktop
For security reasons, passwords only last for one year. You can use your diary or an online calendar to set a reminder to yourself to reset your password before it lapses.
If your password lapses you will need to reset it. Go to: Password Reset
You will be asked security questions to confirm you are who you say you are. These are the security questions you were asked when you registered. (See above.)
If you can’t remember your memorable information or can’t reset your password for some other reason, contact IT Support Once you have a new password, you need to check your security information so that this problem doesn’t recur. Visit http://aka.ms/ssprsetup in your web browser and complete the sign-up process using your existing @qmu.ac.uk email address and current password.
Full information about password management is on our website: Password Management
You should now be set up to use QMU systems. Further information about the various different systems is below.
Hub (if applicable to your programme)
You can log in to the Hub at Here
Here you will find a user guide for students. You should have been added to all your modules but if not, contact your Collaborative Academic Lead or the School Office.
In many programmes the Hub is used for submitting assignments. It also provides access to the plagiarism checking software, Turnitin
If you have a problem with logging in, check the following:
- Has your password lapsed? (Passwords only last for one year) If yes, then reset as described in section 3 above.
- Is your password ok but you can’t get in to the Hub? Contact IT Support and provide details of the problem.
- Can you log in but not see your modules? Contact Collaboration Support and they will add you to the right modules.
With your QMU account, you can see the electronic library resources that are available to your students. Please encourage them to explore these resources. In particular, encourage them to visit the library website as there are a number of electronic journals and e-books which they can access through their QMU account.
Students on healthcare programmes
Useful resources which will help in your studies are available from the Library website
Please take some time to familiarise yourself with all the information and, if possible, watch the library induction video. This will explain how you can find resources and how best to access them from a distance.
To find books, you can go to the Library Catalogue and search using the title, author or keywords.
To find journals, it is best to use one of the journal databases. There is a list of databases relevant to each subject here:Library Database
When you find a useful article you will click on the link to read it. At this point, you may see only the abstract. There may be options on the screen to pay to download the full article or you may see a message saying you don’t have access. Don’t panic! You can use our Shibboleth service to log in and access the full text without paying anything. Look for the“Shibboleth, Institutional, or Federation login” link, select Queen Margaret University from the drop down list and enter your normal QMU username and password when prompted.
Reading, referencing and plagiarism
Your students should be encouraged to read a range of resources in order to research their assignments. The table below gives an approximate indication of the minimum number of sources students should use at different levels of their programme. Please note that this is only a rough guide. Students should always be encouraged to read as much and as widely as possible.
|SCQF Level||Number of sources||Type of Sources|
textbooks, government reports, lecture notes
Journals, book chapters, government reports, policy papers, ‘grey literature’
mainly journals, plus government reports, policy papers, ‘grey literature’
Note that web resources should only be used with care. Students should NOT use Wikipedia or similar sites.
If students are unused to writing academic essays they may make the following common mistakes:
Cutting and pasting text from a source (a book or website). This is plagiarism and it is not acceptable, even if the student acknowledges where the text came from. Students must write essays in their own words and support their statements with references to the sources they have read.
Forgetting to acknowledge the source from which an idea comes from, even though they have used their own words. This is bad academic practice and students must be marked down for it.
For full information on preventing plagiarism, see Policies and Codes on the Quality website.
For full information on how to cite references within the text of an essay, see: QMU Referencing
As well as advising students about your own particular module, you will be expected to help students with their general personal and academic issues. This is an additional role which does not relate to the module you are teaching on. Ask your Programme Leader about your institution’s policy and procedures for supporting students.
You can see the QMU procedures and guidance relating to personal academic tutoring under Policies and Codes on the Quality website.