Careful, claimants

April 19, 2018

While the result of the University and College Union pensions ballot was awaited, the Office for Students published on its website “Guidance for students affected by recent industrial action in relation to the USS pension scheme dispute”, to help explain how students affected by the strikes could take action.

In this, it says: “Where lost teaching has had an impact on assessments or other work that has had to be submitted, you may be able to submit a claim for this to be taken into account as part of the university’s mitigating or extenuating circumstances process. For instance, it may be appropriate to agree that deadlines for course work or dissertations should be extended.”

Soon afterwards, the regulator republished a blog on learning analytics (“Can automated student support information management systems provide equity of attainment?”) that the Higher Education Funding Council for England had published in February. That article urges providers to track student activity in detail to assist them in their “learning”. This would include attendance at lectures and other activity making use of the “contact hours” on offer.

A student making a “claim” could be confronted with digital evidence of non-attendance at lectures and other “learning opportunities”. Perhaps the OfS could publish another blog joining the dots?

G. R. Evans

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