We hope the second semester of this academic year is going well for you so far.
We have had a few questions and thoughts from students about the way we record your attendance and why we do it, so we wanted to give you some information to hopefully explain these processes.
Why is my attendance recorded?
Coming to teaching sessions is a crucial part of your time here at University, and the best way to put yourself in a position to succeed. We record attendance because we want to help support you do the best you can in your studies, and also to check you are ok. If someone’s attendance suddenly changes, it can be because something is going wrong for them and we want to be able to help.
There are also more formal expectations about attending teaching and these are set out in the University’s Code of Practice on Student Attendance / Engagement and Reasonable Diligence. The Code explains the process to be followed when a student is found to be showing a cause for concern due to a lack of attendance. Broadly, we expect students to attend 70% of teaching sessions, although ideally students should try and attend all of them if they can.
What if I have a legitimate reason to miss a session?
If you miss a session because of being unwell or another legitimate reason, just let us know by submitting a Declaration of Absence. If you miss sessions for RAP-related reasons, that is also of course fine. There is no need to worry – you won’t be penalised.
The University recognises that there may be times when you need to be absent from the University for a longer period of time due to unforeseen circumstances (such as a bereavement or illness of an immediate family member). Students may also be permitted to undertake a period of study in or outside the UK, not based at the University of Birmingham (e.g. fieldwork or to work on your thesis or dissertation). For this kind of absence, you will need to submit an Authorised Absence request before travelling. As you can see above, you must have an exceptional reason for travelling during term time.
What happens if my attendance is low?
If your attendance is consistently lower than expected on your programme over a space of time, a process called ‘Reasonable Diligence’ will begin. This is a supportive process and not a punitive one; It is designed with the intention to help students achieve the most out of their learning and support their wellbeing. The first step is an email to the student to check they are ok and to see if they need any additional support. Receiving an email like this does not mean you are in trouble.
When is attendance captured?
My Attendance is being used in all small group teaching sessions, this includes seminars, workshops and practicals and it is vital you log your attendance as soon as you are given the code by your academic. Law students are also required to log their attendance at lectures.
What if my lecturer doesn’t give out a code?
If a lecturer does not provide an attendance code for a teaching session, don’t worry. This will not show as an absence on your record. Attendance codes are expected to be provided by your academic tutors, so if you have not been provided with a code and you are expecting one, please request this from your tutor if you are able.
Can I share a code with a friend who wasn’t present?
No. The code is only for people who are at the session, and shouldn’t be shared. Students are reminded of their duty to observe the University’s Code of Practice on this matter.
What should I do if I am worried about my attendance?
If you are worried about your attendance or are experiencing challenges that prevent you from fully engaging with your studies or University life, we encourage you to speak with your personal academic tutor in their office hours or make an appointment with your wellbeing team.
What should I do if I am having problems recording attendance?
Firstly, don’t worry.
If you experience issues with the My Attendance app and cannot log your attendance at your teaching session, you should complete an attendance confirmation form. Please save the following link should you need to complete a form for any teaching at which you were unable to log your attendance: CAL Attendance Confirmation Form.
If you have been experiencing IT issues with the app, you need to contact us or the IT services as a matter of urgency to resolve this issue. You can log a call via the IT portal: https://universityofbirmingham.service-now.com/itportal/?id=uob_kb_article&sys_id=8a49650a1b829910c2a61178b04bcbaa or call them on 0121 414 7171 or visit them in the main library behind the reception desk.