Criteria for a pass in the academic award stream for all modules/units

In order to gain academic credit for a course module/unit, there are two types of assessment. Contributions to the discussion forums are termed 'formative assessment' - that is they do not carry a mark, but are designed to help prepare for the assignments and to check that you are meeting the learning outcomes of the unit. Contributing to the discussion is a course requirement; if you do not contribute sufficiently well, you will not be permitted to submit an assignment and complete the course. The assignments are 'summative assessments' - that is they are the main part of the requirement to achieve a pass for the unit. You will receive a mark out of 100, a mark of 50 being required for a pass at the Masters level.


1. Contribution to the Discussion Forums. This is an important part of the course for those who want to gain academic credit. Each of the Modules/units has five Topics, each covering a different aspect of the subject that you are studying. Each of the Topics has a discussion forum where you are asked a question related to the resources and the focus of the Topic. Taking part in this discussion is an important aspect of your learning on this Topic. You will find that sharing your thoughts with other participants will deepen your understanding about the Topic. Try to think of this discussion as a face to face meeting. Be prepared to make an active contribution and offer your ideas but also comment on the messages that other participants have made and the resources you will find in the Topic. Please see full details in the section of the Student handbook called Discussion contributions.

Minimum requirements: Students need to make an absolute minimum of at least one substantial discussion contribution in each of three separate topics during the semester, before being permitted to submit an assignment. “Substantial” means a well-considered contribution to the discussion (this could be one which demonstrates critical thinking, appropriate referencing, and/or application of new knowledge from the Topic; this can also be a well-researched response to another student’s contribution).


We have suggested the following criteria for a “substantial” contribution:

  1. a clear attempt to answer a question from the tutor or a fellow student
  2. a response to another person's contribution, relating this to one's own experience or knowledge/reading
  3. a contribution demonstrating reading about the topic, e.g. through appropriate referencing
  4. a contribution demonstrating critical thinking or application of new knowledge

Substantial contributions will normally be in excess of 50 words.


2. Final Assignment. Each module/unit has a final assignment, found in Topic 5. Full instructions are given in each one, and you are referred to the Student Handbook where there is much information about the assignment process, including the importance of making sure to avoid plagiarism. The grading of the assignment will require a Masters level of achievement and will cover the following criteria:

  • The assignment should be satisfactory in covering learning outcomes which are identified at the start of each Topic (the assessment criteria are clearly shown under each headline competence/learning outcome in each Topic) (again, at a Master's level)
  • The assignment should be satisfactory in its structure, evidence of critical thinking, and use of references
  • There should be no evidence of plagiarism


Quizzesthese are to help you gauge progress and are not for credit. In some modules/units, there are two assignments for credit. We have identified an 'assignment tutor' who will help with guidance about general issues relating to assignments – this will take place on the Student Corner.


Criteria for gaining a 'certificate of participation' for those taking part in the Continuing Professional Development stream. You should have accessed the resources, taken part in each of the quiz questions where they are present, and contributed in any way to at least one of the discussion forums. 


If you want to study for a Certificate, Diploma, or Masters-level award with us, please also read our Regulations here.