The main difference between studying in higher education and studying at school or college is that you will be expected to take more responsibility for your own learning. One of the aims of higher education is to develop your skills as a lifelong learner so that you can face new challenges later in life and know how to deal with these successfully.
About your course
The basic foundation of your course, including modules, credits and learning outcomes
Taking responsibility for your learning means that you will have to organise your own time to ensure that you can engage with your studies. Engagement can include attendance at timetabled sessions; watching online lectures; completion of work required before those sessions (e.g. viewing and reading material available on Canvas, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment); additional reading of books and journals or engagement with other materials to enhance your knowledge of a subject; accessing additional resources, such as study skills workshops; and completion of assessment tasks; using specialist university facilities such as labs and studios.
You will be withdrawn from the University if you fail to engage with the academic requirements of your course of study within 6 weeks of the course start date, following repeated and reasonable attempts by the University to contact you.
When you enrol on a course, you will be able to access the course guide through e:Vision, which contains essential information that you should refer to throughout your period of study.
The University’s Academic Regulations set out requirements and expectations for the University’s undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and research degree programmes. They provide a framework for the University to operate within to deliver programmes and make awards.
By accepting the offer of a place on your chosen course, you have entered into a formal contract with the University of Wolverhampton for the provision of education and other services.
As a student, you have accepted and agreed to abide by the terms and conditions, Bye-Laws, Academic Regulations, Rules and Codes of Conduct of the University of Wolverhampton.
See also your Student Rights and Responsibilities.
The course you are studying will relate to one or more credit levels. In the UK, there are eight credit levels. Levels 4-8 refer to higher education qualifications:
- Level 3: Often found in foundation years
- Level 4: Normally studied in the first year of a 3-year undergraduate degree
- Level 5: Often studied in the second year of a 3-year undergraduate degree
- Level 6: Usually studied in the final year of a 3-year undergraduate degree
- Level 7 and 8: Postgraduate study
These levels relate to the national Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ). The qualification you will achieve is equivalent to all other awards at that level across the country. Course learning outcomes are written to show what you will have achieved having completed your course. For example, the course learning outcomes for a Bachelor’s Degree will be written at Level 6, demonstrating what you will have achieved by completing a degree, and will have learning outcomes outlining what you have achieved by completing Levels 4 and 5.
We ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those of other universities by using Framework for HE Qualifications and Subject Benchmark Statements. Subject Benchmark Statements describe the nature of study and the academic standards expected of graduates in specific subject areas. They show what graduates might reasonably be expected to know, do and understand at the end of their studies in specific subjects. Your academic staff will help you understand what is required for individual assessed pieces of work through the use of assignment briefs, but you should be aware that the expectations of your work will change throughout your degree.
By the end of Level 4, you will be expected to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the underlying concepts and principles associated with your subject and an ability to evaluate, interpret and communicate these concepts.
By the end of Level 5, you will have demonstrated an ability to apply underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they were first studied, including in employment. You will also have knowledge of the different approaches to solving problems and be able to evaluate these approaches. Importantly, you will understand the limits of your knowledge and how this influences your analyses and interpretations.
At the end of your BA or BSc (Level 6), you will have demonstrated that you have a systematic understanding of key aspects of your subject, some of which will be informed by research on the subject. You can apply the methods and techniques you have learned to initiate and carry out projects. You will also be able to apply your own critical evaluation to arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data to make judgements and to frame appropriate questions to identify a solution or solutions.
If you are undertaking a Master’s degree (Level 7), your systematic knowledge of the subject material will be at the cutting edge of the subject, and you will demonstrate a critical awareness of current research and advanced scholarship. You will also demonstrate a practical understanding of how research techniques are used to create and interpret knowledge.
Your course will consist of a number of modules, which are blocks of teaching and learning based around a particular theme or topic relating to the subject that you are studying.
Each module is given a number of academic credits. The number of credits relates to the amount of study time that you will need to do in order to complete the module. As a general rule, 1 credit = 10 hours of study – so, for a 20 credit module you would expect to study for 200 hours.
Most full-time students take three modules (60 credits) per semester (you will normally study for two semesters in one academic year), and therefore you should expect to study for around 55 hours per week. This time includes:
- Contact time with members of staff
- Preparation time for study and teaching
- Independent learning
- Preparing and completing assessment activities.
You will collect academic credits every time you pass a module. These credits accumulate towards the total number of credits required for the qualification that you are studying.
120 credits at level 4
+ 120 credits at level 5
+ 120 credits at level 6
= 360 credits for degree
There are different types of modules:
- Core: Compulsory modules. You must study and pass these modules in order to complete your course
- Optional: Related to your course. These modules provide you with a choice of topics that you may wish to study.
- Pre-requisite: Modules that have to be passed in order to study another module – for example, a specific module at one level in order to choose an option module at another level.
- Co-requisite: Modules that must be studied either at the same time (usually the same semester) or in the same academic year as another module and at the same level.
- Prohibited: Modules that may not be studied in combination with other modules as denoted in the Course Guide.
Module learning outcomes are statements of what you will be able to do when you successfully pass a module.
They will say things like, "On successful completion of this module you will be able to reflect on your own professional practice as an individual and give constructive feedback to your peers". All learning outcomes are assessment
Each module will contain one or more assessment activities, designed to ensure that you have an opportunity to demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for that module. The assessment brief (see the section on ‘Assessment’) will indicate which learning outcomes are being addressed.
How will I learn
From your school or college experiences, you may be used to working in small groups and being closely monitored by your tutors; however, this is less common in higher education, particularly on courses with large numbers of students.
We use a blended learning approach that uses a mix of recorded lectures, online learning resources and face-to-face teaching and activities.
You will be expected to do independent learning to enhance your knowledge and understanding of a topic. Timetabled sessions aim to introduce new ideas and concepts, which you can study further in your own time. Additional resources will be highlighted as part of your module that will help you to find additional information for your independent learning, but you will need to use and develop your organisational skills to engage fully with your course.
Different modules will use a range of approaches to engage you with your studies.
Lectures are often used to provide an introduction to a topic and to help you to structure your independent study. Lectures can involve large numbers of students (sometimes over 200), and there are often fewer opportunities to participate actively.
Group sizes in seminars are usually smaller than those in a lecture, which provides an opportunity to discuss a specific topic in more depth. Seminars are generally more interactive than lectures and will give you an opportunity to present your views and ideas and hear what other students think about a topic.
Tutorials involve smaller groups than seminars and can sometimes include a one-to-one meeting with a member of staff. Tutorials are opportunities to discuss your understanding of a topic or a piece of work (e.g. an assessment task).
Depending on your course, practical sessions may include work in different environments, such as laboratories; studios; fieldwork; sports facilities; health facilities, etc. Practical sessions give you an opportunity to practise the application of your knowledge and skills.
There are times when you will need to work with other students, possibly towards the completion of an assessment task. Group work allows you to gain skills in communication, teamwork and organisation.
Work placements provide an opportunity to gain experience in a working environment, varying in length from a few weeks to a full year.
To be successful in your studies, you will have to do more than attend taught sessions. You will be expected to study independently and develop your own thoughts, opinions, and ideas. You will be set tasks before or after your taught sessions, but you will also be expected to develop your own skills and abilities. For example, you need to do your own reading around your subjects, your own research on topics, reflect on your own learning, plan how you can develop your own skills and abilities and act on any feedback you receive from your tutors.
In higher education, we often talk about ‘critical evaluation’ what we mean is that we want you to look at information and question where this information is from, who wrote it, where is the evidence for what is said, do you agree or disagree with what is said, why do you think this and what do you think are the key points that come out of this information.
We want you to be curious and take an active part in and for your own learning.
Student tips to get the most out of your studies
- Try to always show up on time for your lesson - whether online or on campus. Not only does this allow you to be the most prepared for learning, but it also gets you in the correct routine for the working world.
- Education is about critical debate; however, there is a time and a place. If you have a question, raise your hand (you can do this virtually as well as physically) to ask or wait until the end of the lecture.
- Know what spaces are suited for different styles of learning. Libraries have different zones for different levels of discussion but they are working areas. More sociable spaces can be found all over campus, where you don’t have to be as quiet.
- Everyone at university is an adult and it is expected that you will act that way. Respect and maturity is a necessary part of a good education.
- Inappropriate behaviour and conduct isn’t something that is welcome within a university environment. Remember, you are investing in yourself - to be removed from University before you graduate is a very poor investment!
Tutor hints and tips
- Don't be frightened to ask questions, it's what we expect you to do. We will ask you questions for a number of reasons such as we want to hear your views and opinions, we want to know if you have understood what has been said, we want to know if we need to clarify anything, we want you to share your own experiences and this makes our classes much more interesting.
- Use the Canvas courses. Each module will have its own Canvas course and within this course, you will find learning materials your tutor has posted, videos, additional reading, assessment briefs and much more.
- Use the resources of the library. There is a brilliant website www.wlv.ac.uk/skills. If you are not sure how to use the resources, find books and so on, people are very willing to help you.
- Give yourself time to learn. A university course is not just about attending lectures it is about you using resources to develop your own ideas, thinking and knowledge.
- Never let things get on top of you. If you are having difficulties, talk to your tutors, we are here to help.