CAL Bank of Assessed Work FAQ

General

What is the College of Arts and Law Bank of Assessed Work?

The Bank is a Canvas course containing anonymised written and non-written forms of assessment with feedback.  Written pieces of work include essay and exam answers and dissertations.  Non-written include presentations and oral exams. 

The Bank also contains essay writing materials linked to some of the live essays as well as hyperlinks to other sources of support such as the College’s Academic Writing Advisory Service and the University’s Academic Skills Centre. 

What is the purpose of the Bank?

The Bank contains real pieces of assessed work across a quality range so that you can understand how marking criteria are used and the academic standards expected at different levels.  It is designed to help you evaluate the work of fellow students thereby enabling you to evaluate your own work using the criteria used by markers.  Even though you may not be taking the same module or studying in the same subject area, the process of reviewing the work alongside the marking criteria and the markers' comments should be useful to you.

What level is the work on the Bank?

The Bank has work on for undergraduates (first year – level C, second year – level I and final year – level H) and for postgraduate taught student (level M).

Where can I look at PhD theses?

These are available in the library and some departments also have their own collection.

Do other Colleges have Banks of Assessed Work?

Yes.  The College of Arts and Law started their Bank in 2012 and other Colleges followed around 2015 after the university encouraged them to create similar resources.

To find out who to contact about your College’s Bank, please contact your department in the first instance.

How do you choose which modules go on?

When the Bank first started, modules were initially identified in order to get a spread of examples across each school and department within the College.  In recent years, a lot of nominations have been made independently by academics and the team on the Bank has also approached relevant colleagues where there appear to be gaps for certain year groups or subjects.  Students also often make suggestions.

Will all modules be on the Bank eventually?

This is very unlikely due to the sheer number of modules within the College.  We currently have 700 pieces of written work live from around 250 modules and this number is always increasing so while you may not be able to find the exact module that you are taking, if you have a good look, there is likely to be an example that you will find helpful.

Can I suggest a module?

Of course.  The best way to do this is to speak with the academic who runs the module.  He or she can then make contact with the bank team to get the process started.

Where do all of the essay and exam examples come from?

Over the last 6 years, hundreds of current and former students have been kind enough to give us permission for us to include their anonymised work on the Bank.  So, the pieces of work are 100% real examples that someone submitted as part of their degree with areas of strength and areas for improvement.  They are not ‘stock’ answers, rather they are examples of how one person approached a piece of work.

What about plagiarism?

All pieces of work are uploaded to Turnitin before they are made live on the Bank. This means that if any work was taken from the Bank and submitted again, it would be immediately recognised.

Access

How do I access the Bank?

At the start of each academic year, invitations are sent to all current Arts & Law undergraduate and postgraduate taught students.  We also invite Liberal Arts and Science students as they take a lot of Arts & Law modules.  We also invite all Arts & Law academics and various other interested parties.

I can’t see the Bank on my dashboard on Canvas. What should I do?

This is a really common query. If you click on the Courses tab on the left hand side and then scroll down to ‘All courses’, you should see the Bank listed alphabetically as ‘College of Arts and Law Bank of Assessed Work’.  To add it to the dashboard, click on the star shape to the left of the course name in the ‘all courses’ list.

The Bank isn’t on my dashboard or on my all courses list. What should I do?

Please email the team at calengagement@contacts.bham.ac.uk  from your University of Birmingham email account and let us know and we can look into this for you.

I’m doing a ‘Widening Horizons’ or ‘Module Outside the Main Discipline’ in the College of Arts and Law. Can I access the Bank?

If the module that you are taking is live on the Bank, we do send invitations to non-Arts & Law students.  This is to ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to see examples.  If  your module is not live, then you wouldn’t be invited to the Bank automatically.  However, we do consider requests from people who ask to access the Bank when they have a good reason.  If you would like to enquire about this, please email calengagement@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Permissions

How do you choose who to ask for permission?

When we meet with academics about a nomination, they often select pieces of work that they would like to see live in particular.  However, we often run reports which show us the marks which students received and we then contact a spread of people to ensure that we have enough examples across the mark range.

Why have I been asked for permission more than once?

We currently receive module nominations all year round and so occasionally we do contact students several times.  However, this is preferable as this way, students know if their work is likely to be made live.

If I give my permission, will my work definitely be added to the Bank?

In most cases, yes.  However, in recent years, we have started asking a lot more students for each module and so occasionally, if we already have enough work at a particular mark, we may not include every piece of work.

I’ve given my permission, but I’ve now changed my mind. What should I do?

This is absolutely fine.  We have a database which identifies which student has written which piece of work and we can remove any pieces of work where for whatever reason, permission is retracted.  We will also write to you to confirm that this has been done.

 

I have a question that isn’t answered here.

Please email us at: calengagement@contacts.bham.ac.uk.