Page 1

Faculty of Health Postgraduate Distance Learning Programme Sport & Exercise

MSc/PgD/PgC in Applied Sport & Exercise Science (Distance Learning)


John Erskine 17/01/13

Page 1

Award Handbook 2009-2010 MSc/PgD/PgC Applied Sport & Exercise Science

CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... 5 1.1 WELCOME................................................................................................................................5 1.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION.................................................................................................5 2 WHAT ARE THE AWARDS ABOUT?................................................................................ 7 2.1 WHAT ARE THE AIMS OF THE PGC/PGD/MSC APPLIED SPORT & EXERCISE SCIENCE AWARD?


2.2 WHAT ARE THE ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS?....................................................................8 2.3 DO I NEED AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE QUALIFICATION?.........................................................9 2.4 ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS................................................................................................9 2.5 ELECTRONIC ENROLMENT....................................................................................................10 2.6 ACCREDITATION OF PRIOR LEARNING (APL/APEL)..........................................................10 2.7 COSTS.....................................................................................................................................10 2.8 DATA PROTECTION...............................................................................................................12 2.9 AMENDMENTS TO PERSONAL DETAILS................................................................................14 3 WHAT ARE THE STRUCTURES OF THE AWARDS?.................................................. 15 3.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE DISTANCE LEARNING STUDY PROGRAMME..................................15 3.2 PATTERN AND MODE OF DELIVERY......................................................................................17 3.3 DISTANCE LEARNING CALENDAR 2009/2010.......................................................................20 3.4 WHAT ARE THE LEARNING OUTCOMES OF THE AWARDS?.................................................22 3.5 THE MASTERS CHALLENGE...................................................................................................22 4 HOW WILL I STUDY AND WITH WHAT RESOURCES?............................................ 25 4.1 THE CHALLENGES OF POSTGRADUATE STUDY AND DISTANCE LEARNING.........................25 4.2 OUR APPROACH TO DISTANCE LEARNING............................................................................26 4.3 INDUCTION AND ENROLMENT ONTO THE COURSE – COURSE WORKSHOPS.......................27 4.4 MODULE TEXTS AND OTHER DIRECTED/SUGGESTED READING..........................................29


Award Handbook 2009-2010 MSc/PgD/PgC Applied Sport & Exercise Science

4.5 BLACKBOARD.........................................................................................................................30 4.6 COMPUTER HARDWARE/SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS..........................................................31 4.7 WHAT TO DO IF COMPUTER ACCESS FAILS..........................................................................32 4.8 THE MODULE HANDBOOK....................................................................................................33 4.9 LEARNER GROUPS (GROUP BASED ACTIVITY)...................................................................34 4.10 ACCESS TO LEARNING RESOURCES....................................................................................34 5 WHAT SUPPORT WILL I GET?....................................................................................... 41 5.1 ACADEMIC SUPPORT .............................................................................................................41 5.2 STUDENT SUPPORT................................................................................................................43 5.3 IT SUPPORT............................................................................................................................44 5.4 LIBRARY AND LEARNING RESOURCES SERVICE SUPPORT...................................................44 5.5 EMPLOYABILITY....................................................................................................................45 5.6 PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND CAREERS ADVICE..........................................46 5.7 DISABLED STUDENTS.............................................................................................................48 6 HOW WILL I SUBMIT WORK AND BE ASSESSED?.................................................... 50 6.1 SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS...................................................................................................50 WEIGHTING.................................................................................................................................51 6.2 FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT......................................................................................................55 6.3 SUBMITTING WORK...............................................................................................................56 6.4 ASSESSMENT DEADLINES AND EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES.......................................57 6.5 GETTING FEEDBACK..............................................................................................................60 6.6 WITHDRAWALS AND INTERMITTING ON AWARDS...............................................................60 6.7 ASSESSMENT REGULATIONS..................................................................................................61 6.8 CRITERION REFERENCING....................................................................................................63 6.9 CLASSIFICATION OF THE AWARDS........................................................................................66 6.10 THE MASTERS RESEARCH DISSERTATION/PROJECT..........................................................68 7 HOW IS THE AWARD MANAGED?................................................................................. 72 8 APPENDICES & MODULE DESCRIPTORS.................................................................... 77 8.1 APPENDIX A: A GUIDE TO DISTANCE/DISTRIBUTED LEARNING TERMINOLOGY................77


Award Handbook 2009-2010 MSc/PgD/PgC Applied Sport & Exercise Science


The content of this Award Handbook is accurate as at 17/01/2013. Any changes/updates to this document will be notified during the delivery of the award(s).


1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Welcome Welcome to these awards, offered by Sport & Exercise, a programme area within the Faculty of Health at Staffordshire University. The Award Leader for the MSc. in Applied Sport & Exercise Science is John Erskine, Principal Lecturer in Sport & Exercise in the Faculty of Health. This Award Handbook contains the background information that you will need to help you to decide whether you wish to enrol upon one of these programmes and to explain, should you enrol, the requirements for effective study.

1.2 Background Information The Department of Sport and Exercise has a long and successful history of involvement in Sport and Exercise Science and has offered undergraduate awards in sport related subjects since the 1970’s. In 2004 it became the first institution in the world to offer online post-graduate education in the sport and exercise sciences. In the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), staff were recognised as producing internationally excellent research, and in the most recent Subject Review teaching quality was rated “Excellent”. The two core 15 credit modules, alongside a further 3 30 credit modules (selected from a choice of 6) and the 60 credit dissertation module that make up the MSc in Applied Sport & Exercise Science are all delivered online using content that is stored on one of the University’s computers. This means that you will need to be familiar with personal computing and be comfortable using ‘standard’ software on such a computer (at home/work or here at the University) in order to be able to complete the programme successfully. If you have not had any prior experience of distance learning, you will need to think carefully about how you might feel about this style of delivery. Distance learning is especially appropriate if you are self-motivated, goal-oriented and work well independently. If you learn best through reading, and communicate best through writing, then, again, you will find this learning environment especially to your liking.


We will provide you with a wide range of support systems for this form of delivery – see Section 5. This Award handbook provides you with information about: •

the prior knowledge you need to have to give you confidence on embarking upon the study programme

what you will expect to know and understand when you have finished the course

the activities that you can expect to be doing during the course and how long these should take

the way in which you will be able to assess your own progress over time, and the way in which you will be assessed during the course of the study programme

the support you can expect from the award-tutor and the rest of the team at Staffordshire University

the entrance requirements for the course and the costs

These on-line set of awards offer a significant challenge and opportunity for you. Staff on the award are excited by this approach to learning and teaching and will support you in delivering a learning experience that will allow you to develop both personally and academically. Welcome to our awards in Applied Sport & Exercise Science! John Erskine Sport & Exercise Faculty of Health Staffordshire University Leek Road Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire United Kingdom st4 2df

Tel: +44 (0)1782 294043 (direct line) +44(0)1782 294018 (Sport & Exercise Office) Fax: +44 (0)1782 294321 Email:


2 WHAT ARE THE AWARDS ABOUT? 2.1 What are the aims of the PgC/PgD/MSc Applied Sport & Exercise Science award? The awards are an example of Staffordshire University’s commitment to nonstandard delivery methods, lifelong learning and the promotion of postgraduate education. A key aim of Staffordshire University is to widen participation in higher education through offering courses that facilitate access to higher education among individuals whom otherwise may not have that opportunity. Accordingly, the awards are delivered in a part-time distance learning format through a Virtual Learning Environment (Blackboard). This delivery format is attractive to those individuals with one, or more, of the following circumstances: in full time employment, are not able to obtain day release from work, do not have an accessible locally based university offering this subject area, and who need to study in a more flexible format than that offered by traditional delivery methods. Each student studies 6 modules (2*15 credit modules at the outset of the award followed by 3*30 credit modules and a final 1*60 credit masters dissertation module). The goal of this specific combination of modules is to 1. Deliver a multi-disciplinary understanding of contemporary issues that apply to sport & exercise science; 2. Develop key practical and analytical skills and knowledge to maintain and enhance employability; 3. Offer a stimulating learning environment whilst supporting students in their development as an independent and reflective learner; 4. Provide students with experiences designed to enhance critical analysis with respect to current literature, theory and practice in applied sport & exercise science; 5. Enable students to use advanced investigative, analytical and practical techniques to advance knowledge in their field of study; 6. Provide students with a sound basis for progression to further study or employment in the field of sport & exercise science. 7. Support those students working towards accredited status within BASES


There are three stages in the progression to the award of the MSc. 1. Postgraduate Certificate [PgC] in Applied Sport & Exercise Science [60 CATS credits] 2. Postgraduate Diploma [PgD] in Applied Sport & Exercise Science [PgC plus further 60 CATS credits] 3. MSc in Applied Sport & Exercise Science [PgD plus further 60 CATS credits]

2.2 What are the Admissions Requirements? PgC Applied Sport & Exercise Science Normally, an honours degree (minimum 2ii classification) in a related subject such as sport science, sport studies or exercise science. Candidates with appropriate degrees (or equivalent) in other subjects will also be considered if they have related employment experience or a demonstrable interest in (or a commitment to) sport & exercise science. Candidates with a relevant Higher National Diploma (or professional equivalent) and/or and several years relevant experience may be admitted after an individual assessment of their qualifications and experience. PgD Applied Sport & Exercise Science Progress is via the PgC in Applied Sport & Exercise Science stage MSc Applied Sport & Exercise Science Progress is via the PgD in Applied Sport & Exercise Science stage It is possible that applicants may be asked to attend an interview at the University in order to establish/confirm their eligibility. You should also note the comments relating to accreditation of prior learning.


2.3 Do I need an English Language qualification? If your first language is not English, you need: •


a minimum score of 6.0 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) as administered by the British Council in most countries OR, a minimum score of 550 in TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or 213 in the computer-based test. [TOEFL results must include a minimum score of 4.5 for the TWE (Test of Written English)] OR, Cambridge Proficiency Grade C

If you are unsure as to whether your English is adequate, please contact Tracy Walker at the English Language Centre: You can find information about courses offered at: There is also a Liaison Tutor for International Students, Mary Thomas, who can be contacted via e-mail at

2.4 Attendance requirements Induction Workshop: Although the course is delivered mostly via distance learning, a two-day induction workshop is offered at the University prior to beginning the course. Once you have been offered (and accepted) a place on the course, you will be sent details of the induction process. Attendance for U.K. based students is required, attendance for non UK based students is recommended, but not compulsory. Those who choose not to attend will be given information on-line and via e-mail. For those wishing to complete the Masters level, there is a 1-day presentation day at the University campus for those who have completed their dissertation. You will be asked to give an oral presentation of your research and undergo a viva voca examination. Attendance at this is COMPULSORY, without which we cannot award the degree. Further details of this will be given in the dissertation handbook and in section 6.10.1


2.5 Electronic Enrolment All new and continuing students will undertake electronic university enrolment. Each student will be contacted via letter and e-mail outlining details of the process to be undertaken. It is essential that all online students undertake this task as soon as possible.

2.6 Accreditation of prior learning (APL/APEL) The University has a mechanism whereby it is possible to give credit (in the form of Credits under CATS and exemption from part or whole modules) on the basis of an individual’s prior learning record. This may either be in the form of prior formal learning or prior experiential learning. If you feel that either of these criteria may apply to you in respect of one or more of the modules within this course, then please refer to the following web area where you can obtain information on the policy and an accompanying student handbook:

Once you have read this information, and if you still take the view that it may apply in your own case, please feel free to contact the award leader to discuss it further.

2.7 Costs The cost for studying individual modules is £25.00 per credit for Home/E.U. based students and £31.50 per credit for overseas students. This equates to £375 per 15 credit module, £750 per 30 credit module for Home/E.U. based students and £472.50 per 15 credit module, £945.00 per 30 credit module for overseas students. The current total fees (2009-010) for the awards in the programme can be summarised as follows. Note that fees for all modules are set annually for all Pg awards, normally commencing in September. Home& EU Overseas


MSc Applied Sport & Exercise Science (6



Modules – 180 credits) PgD Applied Sport & Exercise Science

£ 3000


(5 Modules – 120 credits) PgC Applied Sport & Exercise Science

£ 1500


(3 Modules – 60 credits) For example an E.U. based student studying part time would pay £4500 in total to obtain the MSc. award given the current fee structure; with an overseas student would paying £5670. Please note that VAT is not payable on these fees and that fees are reviewed on an annual basis and maybe subject to alteration. Further information on university Pg. fees can be found at this easy to use guide For all modules you will typically be required to purchase a core text (occasionally more than one text is needed per module). Details on how to purchase the core text will be provided before the start of each module. Certain modules may also require access to further specific learning resources. For example, for the ‘Research Methods and Data Analysis 2’ module you will need to have access to SPSS (a statistical analysis computer package). We organise the purchase and distribution of the package to you. Please note this software has a four year license. Authorisation codes have to be renewed annually but if you lose or misplace the software you will be required to replace it at your own cost. Certain modules may require access to specific learning resources. For example the Physiological Support of Athletes module requires usage of a CD-Rom and accompanying Quick Time viewer software. Please note that the quoted costs do NOT cover the cost of overnight accommodation whilst you are attending the induction workshop – and does not cover the cost of travel to and from any workshop nor any food or incidental expenses. You must also budget for the cost of additional course text-books, purchasing (or accessing) a computer and any associated telephone charges (and possibly Internet Service Provider charges) whilst you are on line.


Specific information about the induction workshops: the location and joining instructions, the exact duration, the content/itinerary, details of accommodation adjacent to the University etc. is provided in advance of each event. If you are travelling to the induction workshops from outside the UK then we can help with transport arrangements from your point of entry into the UK and any work permit or visa requirements that you may have. If this is the case then please contact us well in advance. We can then provide you with a 24-hour contact number to alert us should there be any last minute changes that affect our plans. 2.7.1 British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences The British Association of Sport & Exercise Science is the UK professional body for sport & exercise scientists. It is strongly recommended you join at the earliest opportunity. Annual subscriptions are age related but are not likely to exceed ÂŁ40 per year. The Award Leader will provide full details. The BASES website can be located at Note that with a student subscription you can receive a number of full text articles form Human Kinetics journals.

2.8 Data Protection Throughout your time at the University, we will gather data about you, from your initial application to us, through to your graduation and beyond. When you electronically enrol, you will be asked to complete a consent form for the release of data under the Data Protection Act 1998. This is to allow us to disclose information to prospective employers or other universities. This consent will remain in perpetuity unless, at any time, you tell us that you wish to withdraw your permission.


We have a responsibility under the Act to ensure that your data is kept safe and secure and is as up-to-date as possible. We will rely on you to tell us when certain data changes (e.g., home address, name etc). The data we gather will be used in accordance with our registration under the Data Protection Act 1998. We have a statutory and legal requirement to supply some of the data to third parties, such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, Social Security, your Local Education Authority, the Student Loans Company, and the Police (in connection with potential criminal offences). Under our registration we are able also to pass your data to other named categories of third parties such as the Students’ Union (to enable you to have membership), our Alumni Office, and Professional Bodies. This list is not exhaustive. Sometimes, particularly as you get to the end of your course, prospective employers or other universities could contact us to verify details about you, such as your assessment results and degree classification or to ask for a reference. We will only provide this information if you have explicitly agreed for us to do so (by signing the consent form). If you have not given your consent to disclosure, we will require you to contact us directly to give permission to release the information, or require that the third party sends us a statement from you agreeing to the disclosure. Obviously, this can be very time-consuming – and it could jeopardise your chances of a job. If, at any time, you wish to object to the accessing, processing or disclosure of your personal data, you can do so in writing to: Bernard Shaw, University Data Protection Officer, Staffordshire University, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DE.


2.9 Amendments to Personal Details It is important that you notify the Faculty Office of any changes to your personal details such as your home address, your name, or your landline or mobile telephone number. Notification of your results, or of any referral requirements, will be sent to the home address that we have on file or your university email account. Please tell the office if want your results sending elsewhere. Your certificate will bear your name as it appears on your student record. It is very important that you check your university email inbox regularly – this is the address that will be used to send you information about your award including feedback relating to your formative and summative assessments and for general communications from tutors, administrative staff, finance and so on. The best way to do this is to access the MyPortal (see Section 4.10) area of the University website. The MyPortal area also allows you to change for example address details, photo and some other aspects of your personal details.


3 WHAT ARE THE STRUCTURES OF THE AWARDS? 3.1 Introduction to the distance learning study programme There is one intake each year for all of the study programmes. Completion of any 60 taught credits will lead to the PgC in Applied Sport & Exercise Science. Subsequent successful completion of the remaining 60 credits will lead to the PgD in Applied Sport & Exercise Science. Finally, successful completion of the 60 credit dissertation module will lead to the MSc in Applied Sport & Exercise Science. The structure of the award requires at identified intervals a choice to be made regards the module to be studied and students will be given information about each module at the outset of the award, so that informed choices can be made. 3.1.1 Module Outlines A brief outline of the content of the modules that contribute to the award follows. In ‘Physical Activity and Mental Health’, the current state of evidence regards the relationship between physical activity and mental health is examined. Physical activity theories and models are critically evaluated using a range of sources of evidence including traditional review, meta-analysis and epidemiological research. A central focus of the module is behaviour change with respect to physical activity. The mental health benefits of activity with respect to selected mental illnesses is also evaluated and practical physical activity interventions examined. ‘The Practice of Sport and Exercise Psychology’ covers issues pertinent to the practice of sport and exercise psychology. In the first part of the module a range of psychological techniques available to practitioners are outlined (e.g., self-talk, imagery). Theoretical and empirical evidence for the effectiveness of these techniques will be considered. Students will be required to consider what


psychological techniques are most appropriate and how they should best be applied to a range of scenarios (e.g., enhancing confidence in a novice exerciser, helping an elite athlete cope with a career ending injury). In the second part of the module the skills required to practice effectively (e.g., counselling skills, communication skills and reflective practice) are considered along with issues surrounding the delivery of psychological interventions to different groups (e.g., disabled athletes) are considered. Ethical issues that may arise during the consultancy process in sport and exercise settings are considered and discussed throughout the module. The module ‘Physiological Support of Athletes’ focuses on the development of laboratory and field based practical competencies in functional and biomechanical tests used in the physiological support of athletes. The reliability, validity and appropriateness of such tests will be directly examined and the knowledge gained used as part of the assessment of the module via the production of an appropriate testing regime for a given athlete. The module ‘Coaching Behaviour: Theory, Research and Application’ examines the effectiveness of coach education programmes. Best practice models and approaches to coaching will be critically reviewed and the dynamics of the coach-athlete relationship examined. The module also reviews talent identification from a coaching perspective in a number of countries. The Skill Acquisition in Sport Module The module ‘Drugs and Injury in Sport Science’ initially examines drugs use and abuse in sport and focuses on developing a personal, evidence based defendable position on the issue. Physiological and biochemical approaches to drug usage in sport and as well as the effectiveness of drug control measures and agencies in selected sports. The injury section of the module considers the application of physiological and biomechanical principles to sport injuries. A case study approach examining selected injuries is adopted alongside an


introduction to a range of techniques to aid the management and rehabilitation processes associated with sports injury. The module ‘Research Methods and Data Analysis’ develops and enhances research methods, statistical and qualitative analysis skills. Key analytical techniques will be addressed via data sets related to sport & exercise science. The final module relates to the ‘Masters Dissertation. This module involves the planning and execution of a research project. The actual format of the project can be one of a number of options – the production of a peer reviewed journal article, standard dissertation or a portfolio of research. No matter what format is chosen, specific tasks must be completed (and are part of the assessment process) related to the planning, execution and write up of the project. A formal presentation and defence of your research is also a key feature of the module. Each of the modules has a specific set of learning outcomes, and these are given on the opening page of each of the appropriate module descriptors and module handbook. Taken together, the combination of formative assessments (self-assessment questions) and summative assessments are designed to address all of these outcomes (see Assessment Section).

3.2 Pattern and mode of delivery Each credit at postgraduate level equates to 10 learning hours. So a 15 credit module has 150 learning hours associated with the module and a 30 credit module has 300 learning hours. For each module we outline how many hours a week we expect you to be engaged in ‘core’ activities. The remaining hours allocated for the module are divided between optional activities (e.g., further reading) along with time set aside for assignment preparation. Fifteen credit modules will follow an 8-week guided study programme. It is anticipated that core tasks will typically amount to an average of 6 hours of engagement per week, representing a total of 48 activity engagement hours for the module. The number of independent study hours is 102, representing a combination of


further and additional reading and a series of optional tasks (48 hours) and specific preparation for the module assignments (54 hours). The thirty credit modules will follow a 12-week guided study programme. It is anticipated that core tasks will typically amount to an average of 8 hours engagement per week, representing a total of 96 activity engagement hours for the module. The number of independent study hours is 204, representing a combination of further and additional reading and a series of optional tasks (96 hours) and specific preparation for the module assignments (108 hours). The phasing of the modules is outlined below. If you have not studied sport & exercise science at undergraduate level, then it may well be that additional time will be required to undertake and complete the tasks set you on a weekly basis to the required standard.


3.2.1 MSc/PgD/PgC Applied Sport & Exercise Science: Part-time Schedule Yr 1

8 week

8 week

12 week period

12 week period






The Practice of Sport

Activity &

& Data

Support of Athletes

& Exercise



(30 credits)



(15 credits)

(30 credits)

(15 credits) Yr 2

12 week period

30 week period

Skill Acquisition in Sport* (30 credits) OR Drugs and Injury

Masters Research Project*

in Sport Science

(60 credits)

(30 credits) OR Coaching Behaviour: Theory, Research & Action (30 credits) * modules shared with other awards All of these modules have been written for delivery through ‘distance learning’, and are hosted on a server that is based at Staffordshire University. In order for you to access this server (if you are not on campus) you will need to have reliable web access. The ‘distance learning’ environment that we have used for these modules is called ‘Blackboard’ In order to access Blackboard you will


need a username and password. This will be given to you when you enrol on the course, and you will then be able to log on. As always, we expect that there will be occasions (hopefully very infrequently) when our Blackboard server is unavailable due to technical reasons such as maintenance, (or perhaps you are forced to use a computer that does not have the plug-in installed). In such cases, we will arrange for you to submit assignments as attachments to a conventional email message. It is also important that you install and run one of the many anti-virus programmes that are available to protect your machine (and ours!). You can also download inexpensive (or free) firewall protection software that can offer an added degree of security if you are going to be spending a greater amount of time on-line.

3.3 Distance learning calendar 2009/2010

MSc. Applied Sport & Exercise Science


The table below and overleaf identifies the teaching sessions for 2009-2010

MSc. (Applied) Sport and Exercise Science (Year 1) Week Commencing 2 Day Workshop

7-Sep-09 14-Sep-09 21-Sep-09 28-Sep-09 05-Oct-09 12-Oct-09 19-Oct-09 26-Oct-09 02-Nov-09 09-Nov-09 16-Nov-00 23-Nov-09 30-Nov-09 07-Dec-09 14-Dec-09 21-Dec-09 28-Dec-09 04-Jan-10 11-Jan-10 18-Jan-10

Inter-module Break

25-Jan-10 01-Feb-10 08-Feb-10 15-Feb-10 22-Feb-10 01-Mar-10 08-Mar-10 15-Mar-10 22-Mar-10 29-Mar-10 05-Apr-10 12-Apr-10 19-Apr-10

Easter Vacation

26-Apr-10 03-May-10 10-May-10 17-May-10 24-May-10 31-May-10 7-Jun-10 14-Jun-10


3.4 What are the learning outcomes of the Awards? Learning outcomes specify what you should be able to do when you have completed successfully a specified amount of studying. They therefore provide a way for you to keep track of your skills knowledge development. Learning outcomes are specified below for the Certificate, Diploma and Masters level of the awards. These are also specified for each module (see module descriptors and module handbooks) and each Activity that you undertake.

3.5 The masters challenge The overall challenge involved in taking this Masters degree is: •

to achieve an advanced level of analysis of the concepts, challenges and problems of sport and exercise science;

to be able to assess critically the achievements and limitations of practice and to explain differences between theory, policy and practical implementation;

to actively challenge orthodoxies, displaying creativity and innovation;

produce material of a professional standard.

3.5.1 MSc Applied Sport & Exercise Science (4 x 15 CATS credits) At the end of a PgC in Applied Sport & Exercise Science students will have: 1. Gained a critical understanding of current issues relating to theory and research in specific areas of applied sport and exercise science. [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Analysis, Communication, Enquiry, Problem Solving] At the end of a PgD in Applied Sport & Exercise Science students will have: 1. Gained a critical understanding of current issues relating to theory and research in specific discipline areas of sport and exercise science [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Analysis, Communication, Enquiry, Problem Solving]


2. Gained a critical understanding of current issues relating to theory and research in further wider discipline areas of sport and exercise science [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Analysis, Communication, Enquiry, Problem Solving] 3. A critical appreciation of selected research methodologies and be able to choose, conduct and interpret the appropriate statistical and/or qualitative analysis for a data set. [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Analysis, Enquiry, Application, Problem Solving, Reflection]. At the end of a MSc in Applied Sport & Exercise Science students will have: 1. Gained a critical understanding of current issues relating to theory and research in selected discipline areas of sport and exercise science [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Analysis, Communication, Enquiry, Problem Solving] 2. Gained a critical understanding of current issues relating to theory and research in further discipline areas of sport and exercise science [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Analysis, Communication, Enquiry, Problem Solving] 3. A critical appreciation of selected research methodologies and be able to choose, conduct and interpret the appropriate statistical and/or qualitative analysis for a data set. [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Analysis, Enquiry, Application, Problem Solving, Reflection]. 4. Sufficient grounding and knowledge of the subject field to develop a career as a sport and exercise science professional. [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Application, Reflection]. 5. Developed critical skills of enquiry and research skills necessary to collect, synthesise, interpret and present research evidence in applied sport and exercise science. [SU: Knowledge & Understanding, Learning, Enquiry, Analysis, Problem Solving, Communication, Application, Reflection]


Table 1 below maps the Award outcomes to Staffordshire University Learning Outcomes: Award

S.U. Learning Outcomes

Outcomes Knowledge & Certificate Diploma Masters

Understanding * * *




* * *

* * *

* * *


Problem Solving * * *




* * *

* *

* *

4 HOW WILL I STUDY AND WITH WHAT RESOURCES? Unless you have undertaken a distance learning course before, the experience of studying in this way will present you with significant challenges. It is likely to take you a while to ‘find your feet’. Even those of you who are used to distance learning may find the use of a web-based learning environment and the extensive use of web-based learning resources a challenge. Therefore, it is important that you read this part of the handbook carefully and fully appreciate how your studying is to be directed and supported and how you are going to access the resources that you need. We are confident that the support mechanisms we have in place will result in you meeting such challenges and that you will soon enjoy the benefits of a D.L. approach.

4.1 The challenges of postgraduate study and distance learning The most obvious difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study is the greater degree of independent learning that is involved. This is particularly the case with a distance-learning course. In a conventional programme you have lectures and seminars to attend which provide a structure and discipline to your learning. With distance learning you still have a structure to guide your studying (indeed this is often more explicit than in conventional face-to-face teaching), but the discipline of getting down to work on a regular basis has to be more self-generated. In a conventional mode of course delivery you also have regular direct contact with other students and tutors, where you can check your progress, ask questions, share experiences etc. We have chosen the Blackboard Learning Environment so that you can easily contact other students and tutors on your course and open discussion of the course content is encouraged. You will see from the discussion over the rest of this section (and the next section on support) that we have included various features that should reduce the isolation you may feel and which provides for a degree of interaction and


mutual support. We cannot pretend however that weekend workshops, electronic discussions or phone calls can entirely reproduce the benefits of regular face-to-face interaction - but this is to an extent, a feature of the flexibility and convenience of distance learning. We will provide guidance on ‘how to be a successful distance learner’ in the introductory workshop and there are various books and on-line resources which provide useful advice and tips that we can point you towards.

4.2 Our approach to distance learning Distance learning is a generic term covering a range of different approaches to studying away from an institution. We have adopted an approach with the following characteristics: 4.2.1 Key features of distance learning on this award We have combined a structured programme of independent study that you undertake in your home (or work) environment. We have chosen a ‘wrap-around’ method for designing the study guide that you work through for each module. This means that we utilise books, papers, reports, CD Roms, DVD’s and internet resources to provide much of the core content and then ‘wrap around’ a structured programme of directed reading, tasks and assessment. To ensure that you have easy access to key readings, we will give you specific details of how to obtain and access core and supporting text material. If a module does not have a core text(s), we will provide you with packs of key papers at the outset of the module. You will also be directed to access resources on-line such as institutional web pages, on-line reports, databases and electronic journals many of which have full text access.


4.2.2 Support for Statistics and Research Methodology We are keenly aware that prospective students often have concerns about their knowledge and understanding of statistical procedures. Whilst individual modules may introduce you to specific statistical concepts and approaches relevant to a given subject area, two modules will dominate your developing expertise in statistical and research concepts. Research, Methods and Data Analysis 2 will devote a large portion of content to both statistical and research methodology. In addition to providing you with our own resources we will supplement your learning by accessing appropriate web resources that are available and importantly we will guide you to resources that are commensurate with your level of understanding. We also organise the purchase and distribution of SPSS (a statistical analysis computer package) for this module, with an accompanying 4 year license. Authorisation codes have to be reviewed annually but if you lose or misplace your software you will be required to replace it at your own cost. In conducting the 60 credit Masters Research Project, you will be assigned a Dissertation Supervisor who will act as your guide with respect to any statistical and research methodology issues that arise and within the module we will again provide resources to support a range of statistical procedures common to specific areas within the field of study. 4.2.3 Ethical Considerations Ethical matters related to the research process will be examined in both Research and Data Analysis 2 and Masters Dissertation modules. The award team has approved a procedure for ensuring that research proposals are scrutinised carefully with regard to ethical and risk related issues before either participants are recruited or data collection begins. This will be covered in more detail in the masters Dissertation module.

4.3 Induction and enrolment onto the course – course workshops A two day workshop will be held at the University at the beginning of your studies. Once you have been accepted onto the course, and have confirmed that you will take up the offer of a place, you will be allocated a temporary


account within our virtual learning environment (Blackboard). Prior to the first workshop, you will receive information about how to get to the University and places local to, or on the campus where you can stay whilst you are here. We’ll also provide you with course joining instructions and a timetable of events. Normally, workshops run from a.m. on the first day through to midday on the second day. During the first day, we complete the introductions of staff/students and if you have not already electronically enrolled we will guide you through this process – this is when you formally sign up for the course and become a ‘student’ at the University! The initial workshop also allows all of the course participants and tutors to get to know each other (we have dinner together on the first evening), and enables you to learn about Blackboard and to become familiar with its operation. The rest of the first workshop centres on accessing on-line learning and library resources – an absolutely core skill required of learners on our award. All UK based students are required to attend the first introductory workshop (in order to become familiar with the Blackboard learning environment), Introductory workshops will normally be held twice per year. One module on the award, the Masters ‘Research Project’ module, requires face to face attendance as part of the assessment process.

It should be noted that non UK based students will not be disadvantaged by non-attendance at the induction workshop. Workshop materials and related activity will be made available to non U.K based students. Specific information about the workshops: joining instructions, duration, actual content/itinerary, accommodation adjacent to the University etc. is provided in advance of each event. If you are travelling to the workshops from outside the U.K. then we can help with transport arrangements from your point of entry into the U.K. and any work permit or visa requirements that you may have. If this is the case then please contact Emma Cowdell well in advance on +44 (0) 1782 294 069 or email (or contact John Erskine email:


4.4 Module texts and other directed/suggested reading We have chosen the references and books that are listed below as core text or texts supporting the modules in this study programme. Where you are asked to go away and read a section of one of these, it is important that you make some time to read the appropriate section in some detail. These may include, for example, web-based group discussion or formal assessed reports and synopses. You will need to study the reading material in detail rather than taking a superficial impression of the content. Push yourself to think deeply about the significance of what is written about and your reaction to it. Not all modules will have a core text, but may use other resources such as a learning pack to deliver core learning resources to you. Currently if a module is supported by a Core Text(s), we arrange for the University bookshop, John Smiths (e: t: 01782 416911) to send out the core text(s) to you. You pay for the cost of the books, and we pay the postal charges. To find out which core text(s) are required please view each module handbook. Some of these texts we suggest are referred to throughout the study programme and will serve as a basic reference for the course. There are also a number of web references (URLs) embedded within the activities (and tasks) associated with each module. These should be visited and read in exactly the same way as the directed reading in the set textbooks. If you want to download any of the documents then as long as you are using them for personal research that’s fine. Please bear in mind that some of the files are quite large and so the download might take a while. All of these URLs have been checked as valid, and you should be able to visit these directly from the word documents within Blackboard simply by clicking on the appropriate link. If you find that any of them are not accessible then please let the module tutor know as soon as possible.


There are a number of important copyright issues relating to any resource material provided by the university to you (as distance learning students of the university.) Please refer to the appropriate University web page here: for more information and clarification.

4.5 Blackboard In order to provide for the effective management of the web-based learning resources on this course we are using the Blackboard package. The Blackboard virtual learning environment is a commercial product produced by Blackboard Inc. of the USA. It is becoming widely recognised as a high quality environment for on-line study. It can be accessed and used over the internet and provides an integrated and flexible environment for hosting and structuring study guides, providing access to learning resources and enabling ‘student-student’ and ‘student-tutor’ interaction and submission of coursework. We selected Blackboard for delivering this distance-learning course because of the intuitive user interface and comprehensive learning facilities it provides. Our Blackboard courses are structured around modules, and within the modules, the specification of activities for students to actively do – rather than just passively providing information for them to read. Each Activity you undertake is further broken down into a series of Tasks and we provide guidance on how much time should be spent on each of these tasks. This fits well with our own preference for a structured programme of study providing a range of learning activities. Full documentation on how to use Blackboard along with initial training sessions will be provided in the first workshop and there is also an online introduction to Blackboard. There is also a support service provided by the University for dealing with problems in using software (see Section 7).


4.6 Computer hardware/software requirements As far as hardware is concerned, we recommend that you use a computer (either a PC or a Mac) with the following specifications as a minimum: 1 GHz processor (or faster) 512 Mb of RAM At least 20 GB of hard disc space An internet service provider (ISP) with a broadband, cable or satellite internet connection (or >56K modem dial-up in an emergency) Note: For Macintosh computer users the minimum specification is the PowerMac. Information Services and faculty support for Macintosh users is limited and available on a ‘best endeavours’ basis only. In addition two modules Research Methods and Data Analysis 2 and the 60 credit Research Dissertation module use SPSS statistical software and we cannot support MAC users of this software. We therefore recommend PC usage for these two modules. If your modem or processor speed is any slower than this, or if you have less RAM, then I think that you will find the connection to the University server will be too slow, and the refresh sequence for the pages will take a considerable time. Whichever ISP you use, you also really need to establish a connection speed of at least 44,000 bps or the same may well apply. Make sure that you comply with all of the guidance and advice (particularly that relating to the safe use of the equipment and any Health & Safety implications) provided by the computer manufacturers and/or your employers. You should be aware that there are occupational health considerations of study at computer work-stations and these will be fully reviewed at your Initial Workshop. As far as software is concerned, you will need to have pre-loaded a standard web browser – the three most common are Netscape, Explorer and Firefox. You will also need a Java plug-in to enable your browser to deal with the learning environment programming that we are using. The java plug in is available as a free download from You will


also need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader© installed on your computer – and this is a freely available download from This program allows you to read the many web-based files to which you will be directed which are in ‘portable document format’ (PDF). You will be able to download one copy of some of these if you wish, and save them on disc for offline personal reading and study. You should also have access to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as some of the web-based documents to which you will be directed during the study programme are available in one or other of these formats.

4.7 What to do if computer access fails Computer-based systems are not 100% reliable! You may find a number of reasons why your computer access to necessary resources and facilities fails you. One option that you will always have is to use the various sources of technical and academic support that are available (see section 5). However the following back-up methods may provide you with a fallback position – we would advise that where appropriate you set these up in advance as a precaution. Your computer breaks down or is stolen! – in order to keep up with the work on the module, try and find an alternative computer that you can use. This may be at a friend’s house, at work, or a local internet café, library or school. There may be problems with using Blackboard from such machines (because of the ‘plug-in’) but if you can still get onto the web you can temporarily manage without Blackboard by: •

using a paper study guide if you printed one earlier

submitting work to tutors by email attachment (having notified us that you need to do this)

interacting or sharing files with other students using standard email


Your Internet service provider is down! – this can happen occasionally! One precaution is to be signed up with more than one ISP – your back-up can be one which currently only charges you for telephone time at local call rate without any fee payable if you don’t actually use it. Your have problems with your phone line! – use the advice above for computer breakdown. Something just won’t work! – ring the technical support line (see section 7) for help in diagnosing the source of the problem.

4.8 The Module Handbook Each module will have Module Handbook that you should read before working independently through the course materials. This study guide will also be contained within the ‘Course Information’ folder of the Blackboard virtual learning environment. 4.8.1 Standard content of modules within Blackboard Module handbook: this will specify module themes, overall learning outcomes, structure, delivery and assessment timetable and key learning resources. Activity Learning Outcomes: each module will consist of a series of Activities (usually 8/9) that you are expected to work through on a week-by-week basis. Each Activity will have a set of written Learning Outcomes and details of the tasks to be completed to achieve those learning outcomes. Tasks: within each activity a series of Tasks will be specified. These will include a range of activities such as reading specified papers or book extracts, writing brief evaluations, categorising definitions, watching or listening to on-line video/audio resources, analysing documents, working through large web-sites, reflecting on your own experience etc. An estimate of the amount of time it should take you to complete each task will be provided. At various points you will be directed to submit work to the module tutor or share work with others in your designated learning group. The work submitted to the tutor will


sometimes count towards the formal assessment for the module. At other times it will enable you to receive individual or collective feedback; this will be clearly specified in the module documentation.

4.9 Learner Groups (Group Based Activity) At various points in the programme of work specified in the module handbook and within Bb, you will be directed to share work and/or interact with other students in a (learner) group. We are utilising the learner groups so that you are not always working on your own – working collaboratively is an important skill and one that we will seek to use. The learner group should also provide you with a small group of other students who you can get to know, share notes and discuss work with.

4.10 Access to learning resources The University web portal ‘MyPortal’ is a central gateway to multiple relevant services via the web, which is personalised and provides functionality that is relevant to individual student users. It allows you to • • • • • • • • • • •

Access your university email and library account Access personal email Access e-resources Receive targeted news, announcements and events Receive targeted links and RSS Newsfeeds Enrol online Allows you to update personal details such as contact address View award and course information Access Blackboard, learning resources, PebblePAD, ASK and Live Help Customise your view of the portal Create your own favourites page using a selection of available portlets

As such this is the ‘one stop shop’ for all online DL students and needs to be the gateway you use to access all university resources. It can be found from the link above or from the Staffs Uni Home page at Click on the Quick Links...My Portal... and then login with your username and password.


We have already discussed the ‘module handbooks’ and ‘module learning packs’ that are to be provided for you. These are directly and easily accessible. You will need to make use of other learning resources in carrying out some of the specified tasks, doing follow-up work and researching topics for a number of the modules (particularly your dissertation). The key ones are as follows: Web sites – you will be directed to particular web sites as part of module study guides and should become (if you’re not already) a proficient user of the web. You can simply click on the web addresses from within Blackboard rather than having to type them in. Searching the web for material will be a bit more involved and we will provide guidance on how to best make use of Internet ‘search engines’. Electronic Journals – there are a wide range of electronic journals now available because the University subscribes to them and you will need specific password and access information to get to these. Full details on how to access these will be provided to you during the first workshop or via print based documents within Bb if you do not attend the induction workshop. A list of relevant available journals is provided in the following box. It is important you quickly become familiar with these sources of electronic information and in particular you identify those journals that Staffordshire University has signed up to, in terms of full text access. Detailed information about accessing and using online library resources can be found in our online library learner pack. Subscription Journals Journals accessible on-line and off-campus through library subscription CINAHL British Journal of Sports Medicine Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness Ebsco Host


SportDiscus Full Text Access: This is a major resource for online full text materials (journals, magazines, books) covering key areas of Sport Science. SPORTDiscus with Full Text™ is recognized as the leading research database covering sport, exercise, fitness, sports medicine, and other sports related disciplines. It contains over 240 full text titles, and also offers comprehensive, bibliographic coverage of sport, fitness and related disciplines. It features more than 750,000 records with coverage on journals and smaller scholarly works dating to 1800, and over 20,000 dissertations, theses and references to articles written in 60 world languages. Note some key journals (mainly those published a Routledge), have a 12 month delay in full text access (e.g. European Journal of Sport Science, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Journal of Sport Sciences, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport, Sport Education & Society). However we may have access to these journals via other purchased databases, so it is always useful to use the check for it at Staffs button to see if recent articles in these journals can be accessed via other means. A list of the full text materials available via Sport Discus can be found at

PsycARTICLES: Electronic full-text output of the American Psychological Association’s entire Portfolio (50 titles in all) from 1987 onwards (unless otherwise stated). A selection of the more relevant titles include: Journal of Applied Psychology Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance Psychological Bulletin Psychological Review International Journal of Stress Management (2003–) Lexis-Nexis Newspaper database containing the broadsheets (except the Financial Times) and all local newspapers within the UK in full-text.


SwetsWise (also available via IngentaSelect) Cross disciplinary host for our online full-text journals (Sport subscriptions listed below): Age & ageing Clinical Biomechanics European Journal of Special Needs European Physical Education Review Gait & Posture Health Promotion International Human Movement Science International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport Journal of Applied Sport Psychology Journal of Public Health Medicine Journal of Sport and Social Issues Journal of Sport Sciences Leisure Studies Managing Leisure Scandanavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports Sport Education and Society Free Journals Free access on-line journals: Highwire (Science based host – useful for physiology, medicine and nutrition journals) Electronic books E-books E-books are the electronic equivalent of a hard copy book. They are full-text resources and also include pictures, graphs, tables etc, etc. You can read the full-text of these resources on screen or print of selected pages. E-brary


An e-book library, contains 15,000+ e-books covering all subject areas. Search the entire collection by keyword, subject, publisher etc. Print or copy and paste the results. You will need to download the small free ebrary reader plugin for off campus use. You will not be able to access e-brary textbooks until the reader is downloaded from: NetLibrary A collection of specifically purchased academic e-books plus thousands of publicly accessible texts. To browse the academic texts go to our online library catlogue and enter netlibrary in the author search. For a guide to using netLibrary go to the QuickStart Guide. Available on and off campus.

Staffordshire University Information Services (IS) Portal servicing online, parttime and distance learners can be found here: University Libraries – – for U.K and Ireland based students, under a recent agreement between University libraries (called SCONUL), all distance learning students can now join their local University library (with a few exceptions) and use most of the facilities available including borrowing books. If you live reasonably close to a University this should prove a very valuable resource particularly when you are undertaking your dissertation. Details of this facility will be provided. Clearly if you live within travelling distance of Stoke or Stafford you can make use of our own libraries as well – our catalogues can be searched over the web to find out what materials are held and whether or not they are available. Details of the SCONUL scheme will be made available in the ‘Course Information’ folder of Bb within each module.


Public Libraries – public libraries may hold some books of relevance to the course. They may also provide searching facilities and facilities for ordering inter-library loans. Inter library loans – these will cost you money but provide a way of borrowing a copy of any published book or a photocopy of journal papers for your own use. You should be able to order these through any library you are a member of. On-line bibliographic databases and on-line library catalogues will provide you with a way of finding the books or papers you want to access. Licensing agreements Although students registered with the University will have full access to all the Library on-line journals and databases, in very rare circumstances, there are a few countries which do not have the same copyright laws (i.e. China) and students may not be able to access certain e-journals or databases. If this is the case, then the student can either apply to the Library Document Delivery Service for a particular article via the website: Laboratory Resources at Staffordshire University There are a number of dedicated sport and exercise science labs in the department based at Stoke-on-Trent and you can of course access these resources if you so wish. We have a dedicated biomechanics laboratory, an extensive exercise physiology lab and a sport & exercise psychology lab facility, and you will also have access to other laboratory space dedicated to specific areas of research, including a clinical biochemistry laboratory, an electroencephalographic (EEG) laboratory, pain laboratory and cardiovascular laboratory. Recently funding has been secured to enhance to enhance our capability in qualitative research which will result in the creation of a ‘qualitative lab’ which will include a sound proof room for one-to-one counseling with video and microphone facilities a one-way mirror for observation and video editing


facilities. Technical Staff (n = 3) are available to provide support for your research work if required.


5 WHAT SUPPORT WILL I GET? Support from others whilst studying a course is important for all sorts of reasons. You may need support in the form of guidance on academic matters so that you can, for example, clarify instructions, ask for further explanation and talk over ideas on essays or research work. You may need support from others who are studying. For example, this might involve giving you reassurance that you are not the only one finding the course difficult (or easy!). You may need assistance in trying to track down particular papers or books, or in using a piece of software or in solving technical computing problems. You may be looking for help in finding out about future career opportunities. These types of support are all important regardless of how you are studying – whether it be face-to-face or at a distance. However, some types of support can become more important and/or more problematical because you are not oncampus and physically proximate to tutors, other students and support services. We have therefore tried to provide access to and standards of support which will work for you as a distance-learning student – there are limits to what can be done, for example we can’t sign you up with the University Doctor (home-visits could be a problem!) – but in many respects you should be able to achieve a comparable level of support to campus-based students.

5.1 Academic support There are a number of people who can provide academic support during your period of study. With respect to each module, we will ensure that each module has both a Module Leader and Support Tutor (an academic member of staff) to guarantee the smooth delivery of modules in the event of staff illness or unavailability. Module Tutor – for matters relating to the specific module you are studying at the time


Award Leader – for matters relating to the award as a whole such as choice of modules, general problems you are having with studying or accessing learning resources, changes to award routes etc… Personal Tutor - You will be allocated a personal tutor. Although you will not have face-to-face meetings with your personal tutor in the traditional sense you will be contacted by the personal tutor at selected times during the year to discuss your progress. This may take the form of an email or a phone call. In addition if there is an issue you wish to raise with a member of staff but don’t feel comfortable contacting the award tutor, personal tutor, or any other tutor on the award, then you are able to contact a designated member of staff who is external to this award. The designated contact for this award is Jamie Cleland (Senior Lecturer in Sport Sociology) who is contactable on or 01782 295993. Sport & Exercise Office - for general information and matters relating to enrolment, change of address, referrals, payment of fees and so on. The key contact here is learning office is Emma Cowdell ( 5.1.1 Protocols for contacting members of staff In contacting academic staff we would request that you follow the following protocol: URGENT enquiries/messages, either use email - including the word “urgent” at the beginning of the message title and copying the message to - or telephone +44 (0) 1782 294069 . Telephoning between 9.00 and 5.00 (U.K.Time) may enable you to speak to the relevant person directly. At other times, messages can be left on answer phones.


OTHER enquiries/messages that are not urgent use email, fax or telephone if discussion is necessary. The standards that we will aim to follow in dealing with enquiries are: URGENT enquiries/messages will be replied to as soon as possible but normally within a maximum period of 24 hours of the message being received. All urgent emails/messages sent over the weekend will be dealt with as soon as possible on Monday morning. OTHER non-urgent enquiries/messages-we will normally reply within 72 hours of the message being sent. If any key member of staff is to be unavailable for an extended period due to other commitments or illness, we will notify you that this is the case and whom you should contact as an alternative.

5.2 Student Support You can find information on Student Guidance by accessing the website below: hp For information on a wide range of additional student support services that the University provides is available at the following web site: h_Service.php This includes comprehensive information on Counselling, Disability Services, Childcare, Healthcare and Chaplaincy. You will find telephone or e-mail contact details here. Finally, the University has designed a Guide ‘a2z4u’ to provide simple and straightforward information on where to get advice and help on a range of issues. It provides information on the many services which the University and


the Students’ Union offer plus useful telephone numbers. The Guide will be kept up-to-date on the University website at

5.3 IT support IT support is available from the University Information Services (IS). If you have a problem with using your computer, the I.T. email addresses and phone numbers (provided on the Student Centre website of the page will provide a diagnostic service to try to identify the type of problem that you are having, and therefore who you can contact to fix it. This applies to issues such as the technical specification of hardware, software support and ISP problems. Please make a note of the phone numbers in case you cannot access the site for some reason!

5.4 Library and learning resources service support For online students the first ’port-of-call’ is the Help Desk. It can be contacted by phone at +44 (0) 1782 294771 and is staffed during term-time between the following hours: •

9am – 8.00 pm

Monday to Thursday

9am – 5.00


1pm – 6pm

Saturdays and Sundays

During University vacations the Help Desk is staffed from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 6 pm. For specialist subject help in the area of sport & exercise science you may wish to contact the following staff: Geoff Walton tel: +44(0)1782 294448 e-mail Pam Dunning tel: +44 (0)1785 353606 e-mail:


Staff on the Help Desk can assist and give general advice on all electronic services (e-journals and databases). However, the best way for Distance Learning students to contact the Help Desk is to use the on-line contact facility at For specific problems accessing e-resources use this link at

5.5 Employability Increasingly, employability is being recognised as a priority within higher education. Universities need to be able to enhance their students’ potential for employment as a consequence of the studies that they undertake - not just in terms of subject knowledge but more widely in respect of their overall prospects for entry and mobility within the employment market. The University has produced an Employability Policy that details its commitments to enhancing student’s employability -- you can find it here: There’s also a separate area of the University website devoted to employability issues, containing some links and resources; you can find this here: Finally, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) has a comprehensive employability resource page here: and the UK Higher Education Academy has some great tools and employability resources available here: The British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences (BASES) in their career information to postgraduates, outline that opportunities for graduates in sport & exercise science are growing.


Importantly the award equips you with a range of skills that enhance employability, in any career, regardless of whether that career is in sport & exercise science, or in a separate field entirely.

5.6 Personal Development Planning and Careers Advice Central to a more explicit recognition of the acquisition of key skills and competencies, both generic and subject-specific, is the notion of personal development planning (PDP). The University is committed to the continuous development and implementation of a framework to support student PDP and you will have the opportunity if you so wish to engage with university supported PDP software. The University careers service is able to provide a wide range of information and advice on potential career paths. The contact details are found below: There are no ‘guaranteed’ careers in sport and exercise science and carving out a successful career can be a challenging experience. Yet people do work full time in this area. Also, a growth in careers is likely to be facilitated by high profile sporting events (e.g., Olympics 2012) while the importance of exercise participation is frequently highlighted in the media and augmented by national reports, such as that by the Chief Medical Officer (2004) highlighting the health benefits of physical activity. BASES in their careers information to postgraduates outline that opportunities to sport and exercise scientists are growing. Graduates can enter a range of careers in sport and exercise science including teaching in higher and further education or working as an applied sport scientist with a national governing body, national institute of sport or with professional sports teams/individuals. The NHS is increasingly recognising the importance of physical activity and there is a need to increase the capacity and capability of


the public health workforce to facilitate community exercise and physical activity interventions. The BASES website hosts useful information related to careers in sport & exercise science and this can be located at The following sources may be useful as an initial starting point for post-award career opportunities: •

For academic and academic related job vacancies (e.g., lectureships, PhD positions) you should visit: This site is run with the full support of HEFCE. You can search all the vacancies by keywords or job discipline and can also join the free email service alerting you to appropriate positions available.


The BASES website also regularly has a number of jobs in sport and exercise settings. a=list&dbtSearchFor=Job


Importantly the award equips you with a range of skills that enhance employability, in any career, regardless of whether the career is in sport or exercise science, or in a separate field entirely. Specifically at the end of the award you will have developed and demonstrated: good communication skills (both written and oral), the ability to work independently, the ability to critically analyse literature, good problem solving skills, an understanding of how areas of sport & exercise science can be applied to alter behaviour. These skills can be applied to a wide range of careers.

5.7 Disabled Students Staffordshire University welcomes disabled students and is committed to providing timely and effective support where that is appropriate. Key to this is that disabled students let the University know of their support requirements at the earliest possible opportunity – arranging support can be a lengthy process and we always aim to have support in place at the beginning of a student’s course. Support is tailored to meet the needs of individual students and is normally organised on the student’s behalf by the University’s Disabled Student Centre. A full description of the services provided by the Disabled Student Centre can be found at: dvisory_Service_Homepage.php The Disabled Student Centre works closely with Sport and Exercise to make sure that the full range of support options are explored and delivered. Disabled Student Advisors are based on the Stoke, Stafford and Shrewsbury campuses. Telephone: 01782 292783


or e-mail: We can help you to find out if you are entitled to Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). Again, contact the Disabled Student Centre for help with this. These allowances are intended to cover any extra costs or expenses you have while you are studying that arise because of your disability. They are not intended to pay for disability related costs that you would have whether you were a student or not. Further details are available from Student Finance England. Call Student Finance England on 0845 300 50 90 to obtain the latest guide to financial support for students in Higher Education. Alternatively, visit the web site at If you have a disability, information about this is circulated to relevant tutors, provided you have consented to this, so that they are aware of any necessary adjustments which may need to be made to your learning environment. The University’s Disability Equality Scheme provides information on actions the University is taking to ensure equality for disabled people. If you would like to read this, it can be found at: If you require this information in an alternative format, please let us know and it will be organised for you.


6 HOW WILL I SUBMIT WORK AND BE ASSESSED? To achieve the qualification you are seeking, you obviously need to be successful with the formal or summative assessments included in the award programme. However, assessment should also provide feedback on how well you are doing through the course and thereby help you to improve on your performance. For this reason there is virtue in having assessments or submitted activities which do not count towards the grades you get for individual modules and for the overall award – these are often referred to as ‘formative’ assessments. We have included both formative and summative assessments in the study guides developed for each of the modules in the award and both types are discussed in this section of the handbook.

6.1 Summative assessments Every module you take contributes to the overall final grade that you achieve. In order to pass the Awards, you will need to pass all of the relevant modules listed in section 3.1. . Please note that you must attempt ALL of the summative assessments on EACH module that you study to enable the Award/Progress Review Board to be confident that all of the module learning outcomes have been met. If you do not make a separate submission for ALL of the separate summative assessments for EACH of the modules that you study then you will fail the module(s) in question. All of the assessment for the award consists of coursework rather than traditional ‘in person’ examinations. The coursework takes a number of forms including essays, reports, annotated bibliographies and a range of shorter submitted tasks (such as short responses to questions, evaluations of documents, critical analyses and comparisons). Specific details about the format required for each assessment are provided in Module Handbooks and in the Assignment area of Bb. Make sure that you read the instructions and guidance on assessments carefully. If you are in doubt, contact your tutors using the methods outlined in section 5.1.1.


Please note that while we are happy to answer questions about any assignment staff will not look at drafts of work prior to submission for any of the 2*15 or 3*30 credit modules. We will however comment on one draft of the dissertation prior to submission (please see the dissertation booklet for more guidelines). The assessment workload has been devised to ensure that the distribution of work across the award is appropriate, equitable and balanced. This balance comprises two elements: •

the workload is approximately equal regardless of the combination of modules taken


you should experience a range of assessment types across your award that are delivered in such a way that the assessment load is as even as possible throughout the duration of the course.

You are given guidance about the word length that is expected for each piece of summative assessment. A balanced range of formative and summative assessment will examine achievement and progress in line with the learning outcomes of the award. The assessment workload has been devised to ensure that the distribution across the award is (a) appropriate, (b) equitable and (c) balanced. Table below outlines the assessment loading policy which is within the Sport and Exercise Framework at M level, and will be implemented to maintain parity within and across modules (A copy of the Sport and Exercise Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy is available on request). Level (M)

No of Assessments

Type of Assessment

15 credit




3000-4000 words




2250-3000 words




1800-2400 words




1500-2000 words




1200-1600 words


Weightin g


30 credit

60 credit




750-1000 words




4500-6000 words




3500-4500 words




3000-3500 words




2500-3000 words




2000-2500 words




1500-2000 words 10000-20000 words (including a professional equivalent, such as a paper in the format for submission to a peerreviewed journal)


We have adopted a “bandwidth� approach to the wordage limit associated with assessment loading, with minimum and maximum levels. This facilitates a degree of flexibility down to the modular level so that different assessment formats are not tied to a single figure in terms of word limits, but have a small tolerance level within which they can operate depending on the exact nature of the assessment. Loadings for Modules contributing to the Applied Sport & Exercise Psychology Award. The table below outlines the range and variety of summative assessment methods encountered by students on the award. Assessment for Modules for Applied Sport & Exercise Science Physical Activity and Mental Health A 1200word essay (40%). The Practice of Sport & Exercise Psychology

A 1800 word essay (60%). One case study (2000 words) A 50 minute video/DVD of an initial session with a client (individual or group) A 2000 word reflection on the session

Physiological Support of Athletes

A 2500-word critical proposal for a battery of physiological monitoring tests relevant for a group of athletes or individual athlete. (50%) A 2500-word report interpreting and critically


evaluating a set of data derived from physiological monitoring tests on an Coaching Behaviour: Theory, Research and

athlete/group of athletes. (50%) A 2000 word essay (40%) critically discussing


the value of using best practice coaching behaviours al A 3000 word portfolio( 60%) of the module examining critical understanding of selected contemporary coaching topics investigated

Skill Acquisition in Sport Drugs & Injury in Sport Science

within the module A 3000 word negotiated position statement (60%) and a 2000 word reflection (40%) An on-line statement and accompanying reflection and justification of your personal position about a drugs related topic/issue (2500 words, 50%). A Portfolio (2500 words, 50%) of 3 selfselected case studies illustrating critical analysis of the principles of injury prevention,

Research and Data Analysis 2

management and rehabilitation Analysis of Quantitative Data Set (50%) – equivalent to 1,500 words Analysis of Qualitative Data Set (50%)

Masters Dissertation

equivalent to 1,500 words 2000 word research proposal (10%)

(60 credits)

Dissertation in the format for submission to peer-reviewed journal (70%) 20 minutes presentation and 20 minute Oral Defence (20%)

As an assurance of quality, another member of the academic staff will also second mark a proportion of your work. Specimens of submitted work will also be scrutinised by the external examiner for the Award.

6.1.1. Academic Dishonesty


You will also need to read carefully the University policy on academic dishonesty – particularly on cheating and plagiarism, which can be found here: Access the pdf document Breaches of Assessment Regulations: Academic Dishonesty. One issue that is an acknowledge problem in the University sector is Plagiarism and it is a serious matter. It is defined in the University’s Award Regulations as ‘the representation of another person’s work, without acknowledgement of the source, as the student’s own for the purpose of satisfying formal assessment requirements’. It is a form of cheating and the consequences will be the same as if you were caught cheating in any exam your award may not be granted or your classification may be reduced severely. One obvious form of plagiarism is when you copy another student’s piece of work. Another form of plagiarism is copying large chunks from a textbook, journal article or web site. Your assignments should be original! Merely changing the odd word or making slight alterations to the order of words taken from another source still constitutes plagiarism. It is expected that you make reference to the work of others. It is even acceptable to have quotations from other sources but it is not acceptable to include material from another source without citing that source. A number of different strategies are being used to counter plagiarism -- part of the problem may be a lack of awareness on the part of you, the learner. As part of the on-going learning experience, you will be provided with access to a set of guidelines establishing referencing and citation conventions, and methods for the identification of sources for all of the assessments that you submit. In addition, a range of assessments are used with their focus on analysis, evaluation and reflection and this, in itself, goes someway to combating the problem. As an assurance of quality, another member of the academic staff will also second mark a proportion of your work. Specimens of submitted work will also be scrutinised by the external examiner for the Award.


The University has signed up to the JISC anti-plagiarism project ( This offers an online interactive facility which allows the comparison and evaluation of any student work submitted electronically against a database of electronic sources (including against work submitted by students at other institutions.) This will detect any instances of copying. A sample of assignments from each module will be screened through this facility to check for plagiarised content. You will be kept informed of any further developments in this area. Please note that staff reserve the right to request a telephone/face to face interview if there is doubt about the authenticity of the submitted assessment.

6.2 Formative assessment Formative assessment doesn’t count towards your module grades but is an important part of undertaking a distance learning course. Information in the weekly Activities will direct you to undertake many tasks that are not assessed – this is part of the ‘active learning’ approach that is fundamental to the way in which we have approached the design of the course. We would advise you work through all of these tasks because only by doing this will you be able to achieve the knowledge and skills you need and fully gain from the experience of study at postgraduate level. For some of the formative tasks you will be able to self-assess immediately by comparing your answers or notes to those included in the study guide. For some of the formative tasks you will be directed to submit work to the tutor or share work with your learner group. You will sometimes be provided with individual feedback from tutors on such formative assessments, sometimes with collective feedback commenting on the profile of work across the group. When work is shared with your learner group, you can compare your work with that of others, comment on each other’s work and sometimes work collaboratively on producing joint documents that are then evaluated.


6.3 Submitting work The University operates a policy of anonymous marking for all written coursework for all students. We will provide you with Assignment Templates that you attach as a first page to your assessed work and which are removed ahead of grading. You will also be required to have your student username as a running head on each page of your submitted work. Normally you will be asked to submit assessment work via the digital dropbox facility of Bb. Our award administrator will then print off your assignments, remove the front sheet template and distribute to staff for marking anonymously. You will receive a confirmation time and date that your assignment has been received. Feedback will be given and a mark awarded by the module leader, then your work returned to you via the Award Administrator. 6.3.1 Standard method The standard method for submitting work is to use the Blackboard digital dropbox facility. Full details on how to use this (and practice in using it) will be provided in the introductory workshop and in documentation within the assignments area of Bb. It is quite straightforward. You create files on your own computer, send these to Blackboard as a ‘learner page set’ and then submit this to the module tutor. You will automatically receive a message confirming receipt of your work. 6.3.2 Back Up methods If for any reason you are not able to access Blackboard you should use one of the following back up methods: Email your file as a an attachment to the module tutor – you should warn the tutor that this method is to be used (by email or phone message) and then send an email clearly indicating that there is submitted work attached. The tutor will then reply to confirm receipt of the work.


Print out your work and post it to the module tutor – you should warn the tutor that this method is to be used (by email or phone message) and then post it with sufficient time to meet the deadline and a method of confirming date of posting and guaranteeing delivery.

6.4 Assessment Deadlines and Extenuating Circumstances Each piece of summative assessment within a module has an identified date deadline for submission. These dates are outlined to you in Bb within the assessment guideline documents that you receive for each taught module. These deadlines must be adhered to. Work submitted for formal assessment after the deadline will be considered a late submission and receive a mark of zero and count as an assessment opportunity. This policy does not override the Extenuating Circumstances policy and process. It is vitally important that you do everything that you can to meet these deadlines when submitting formally assessed work. If you do not do this, you will only get behind with the programme of work and compound the pressure on you at later points in this and subsequent modules. You will need to invoke the extenuating circumstances procedure if you fail to meet this deadline in every case and without exception. Details of the extenuating circumstances procedure and the form to fill in can be found at: We recognise that there may be times when you are unable to complete work due to circumstances beyond your control (e.g., personal illness or personal difficulties). If you find yourself in such a position, you must make a claim for extenuating circumstances (EC). This is an anonymous system operated across the University to ensure that all students are treated fairly..


Send the completed form to Sue Reade [Administrative Assistant (Quality) t: +44 (0) 1743 261137 email:] or post it to her at EC043 Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY3 8XQ. The form includes full instructions on how it should be completed and what kind of evidence you will need to support your claim. You may wish to contact the module or award leader to support your application. Note that there are only three types of claim which you can make:•

‘M’, for ‘mitigation’ which means that you were able to hand work in on

time but its quality has been affected by your extenuating circumstances. If your claim is upheld you will be given a ‘further assessment opportunity’ i.e. you can submit the assessment again to try for a better mark. •

‘L’, for ‘late’ which means that you are allowed an extra 10 working days

(i.e. week days) to complete the assessment. If your claim is upheld and you submit your work within this time frame there is no mark penalty, but if you submit after the 10 days your work will be marked at zero. •

‘N’, for ‘non-submission’ which means that your circumstances were such

that you were unable to submit the work at all at this assessment point. If your claim is upheld you will then be required to submit your work at the next assessment point. No mark penalty will be incurred. You must claim either ‘M’ or ‘L’ or ‘N’ against EACH element of assessment for EACH module you want to include in your claim. Attention to this detail is very important if the Faculty’s Extenuating Circumstances Panel (ECP) is to make the correct decisions in relation to your claim. If you experience difficulty in completing the form or with the process, please ask for advice from the Faculty Office, Students’ Union Advice Centre or from the Student Guidance Officer. The bases of any successful claim for EC are that:-


the circumstances affecting your assessment were unforeseeable or unpreventable.

you have provided evidence of these circumstances (e.g. a doctor’s note, a statement from a student counsellor or practice nurse, a crime number and police contact, a death certificate, or, sometimes, a supporting statement from your personal tutor.)

Claims likely to be approved by the ECP include claims for sickness, personal or family issues (psychological, family illness or problems, relationship breakdown), work obligations for part-time students and chronic medical conditions or disability. Claims unlikely to be approved include claims based on holiday commitments, traffic problems, financial difficulties, ignorance of assessment deadlines, poor time management, acute medical conditions outside the assessment period, failure to provide appropriate evidence, foreseeable or preventable problems, minor illness and poor IT practice (e.g. failure to ‘back-up’ work). Always remember to submit your claim for extenuation as quickly as possible. Claims submitted after the deadline are only considered as appeals to the Dean of Students, Francesca Francis. All claims are considered by the Faculty’s ECP. This is chaired by a senior Faculty manager. Only this individual and the administrator(s) preparing the information will know the identity of any students submitting a claim. You will be notified in writing of the result of your claim. If you are not happy with the Panel’s decision, we suggest that you contact the Faculty office in the first instance. If you still feel that the situation has not been satisfactorily resolved, then you can appeal in writing to the Dean of Students, Francesca Francis.


Straightforward claims are dealt with by the Chair of the ECP and an administrator soon after they have been received. Decisions relating to these claims are then reported to formal ECP meeting held at the end of each teaching block. This Panel also deals with more complex claims referred to it by the Chair for further discussion.

6.5 Getting feedback You will receive feedback on submitted work. We will normally supply this within 25 working days following submission - sometimes this might not be possible but our aim is to work to this timescale. Feedback is usually by email, although, for some work, the use of postal mail may be more appropriate. You will be advised which method is to be used for particular pieces of work. Marks will be given in a grade point format along with tutor comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the particular assignment. All marks/grade points are provisional until they have been confirmed by the Award Board. The award board usually meets in the first week of September and you will receive notification of the outcome from the award board approximately one week after the award board. In addition there is also a progress review board that meets in late March each year at which progress on the first two modules of the year is noted, and if required, resubmission opportunities outlined (see section 6.7).

6.6 Withdrawals and intermitting on awards You will have been considered to have attempted a module if you have not informed the module/award leader of a wish to intermit or withdraw from the module/award within a period of 2 weeks from the commencement of that module (or 3 weeks if it is your first module of study). If you intermit or withdraws after that period they will defined as having ‘attempted the module’ and be expected to undertake the assessments related to the module and be liable for the fees associated with that module. If summative assessments are not submitted, you will then receive a zero mark for the module, leading to


module failure, and be referred, unless a claim for extenuating circumstances is received. If you request to intermit or withdraw from a module/award within the 2 week period (or 3 weeks if it is the first module studied) and have not submitted any summative assessment for the module, then you will be deemed not to have attempted the module and will not be liable for fees associated with that module. Students may be withdrawn from modules if they have not ‘engaged’ with the module during the first two weeks of that module. Engagement will be judged as a consequence of examining log on data to Bb and any requested interactions within the module. After this 14 day period, those students who are considered not to have engaged with the module will be contacted by the module leader requesting an explanation of their lack of engagement. If levels of engagement remain at a low level for a further two weeks, the module leader will withdraw the student from the module, with the student liable for the payment of fees for that module. If you legitimately withdraw from a module, you can reclaim your module registration fee for that module, less an administration charge of ÂŁ50. You are permitted to intermit (suspend your studies) on awards in the usual way, taking into account the position above with regard to module withdrawal. If you wish to suspend (intermit) your studies contact the Award Leader in the first instance using the guidelines in 5.1.1.

6.7 Assessment regulations A copy of the University Postgraduate Academic Award Regulations can be obtained here: Regulations for Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters Awards


These assessment regulations specify the levels of performance that can be achieved – in the case of this award; these are pass, merit and distinction. All assessment on the awards is presented in the form of Grade Points. While specific criteria are provided for each assignment please find below a copy of the grading system used in the course along with generic criteria for each level. For those of you who are more familiar with results quoted in percentages a comparison between grade points and percentage marks are given.




80 – 100


74 – 79


70 – 73


66 – 69


63 – 65


60 – 62


56 – 59


53 – 55


50 – 52


46 – 49


43 – 45


40 – 42


30 – 39


15 – 29

University equivalent threshold standards

Pass with Distinction

Pass with Merit


Compensatable Fail


Grade criteria An outstanding piece of work which meets all of the requirements of a merit grade and in addition: Demonstrates creativity and innovation. There is substantial evidence of critique, challenge and original thought. The arguments presented are compelling and authoritative and demonstrate synthesis to support new ideas. A piece of work which meets all the requirements of a pass grade and in addition: Presents arguments which have been underpinned by a thorough exploration of data and conceptual based evidence which may go beyond the boundaries of the discipline. Discussion communicates ideas and arguments logically, concisely, clearly and effectively. Proficient, fluently, presented arguments that demonstrate understanding of theoretical issues in the application of knowledge. Work includes critical analysis that demonstrates breadth and depth of literature and knowledge in the subject area, and originality in presentation. The use of evidence demonstrates an understanding of the advancement of the boundaries of knowledge and is used as a basis for problem - solving. Referencing is complete and accurate. Work meets some but not all of the requirements of the assessment brief. Overall the work has inconsistent and poorly developed argument and knowledge. There is limited evidence of critical analysis. There is insufficient literature presented and/or key works are omitted. Referencing is incomplete and/or inaccurate. Work does not meet the requirements of the assessment. Overall the work lacks sound fluent argument and knowledge.



1 – 14



The work is largely descriptive and lacks critique, evaluation and analysis. Structure of the work is confused and illogical. Referencing is grossly incomplete and/or inaccurate Non presentation

6.8 Criterion referencing In addition to the standard assessment regulations the following specific provision relating to the general compensation of failures and progression should be noted: Under normal circumstances, a failure of one 15-credit module can be compensated provided that a mark of at least 40% has been achieved in the failed module and an overall average of 50% in all the modules have been achieved. However the exception to this rule is the ‘SHP94021-M Research Methods and Data Analysis’ module. No compensation is allowed and you have to pass all the elements of the module. At the masters stage (the dissertation module) no compensation is allowed and all elements of the module have to be passed. Compensation of a module means that it is not possible for you to achieve an overall merit or distinction at the certificate, or at subsequent diploma or masters levels. If you fail a module (including the project/dissertation), you have the right to be reassessed in the failed component(s) on one subsequent occasion (to a timescale determined by the Award Board at the time of initial failure) within the period of two calendar years from the date of the examination board. When you successfully retrieve a failure in a module or part of a module, the mark recorded will normally be the minimum pass mark for the whole module. You can only attempt the assessment of any module twice.


If you do not complete the assessment required for a particular module, the assessment is deemed incomplete. You normally have the right to complete the assessment for presentation on one subsequent occasion, and to a timescale determined by the Award Board (at the time of initial failure), within a period of two calendar years from the date of the Award Board.



6.9 Classification of the awards. All assessment on the awards is presented in the form of Grade Points and the following section is largely abstracted from the University’s Postgraduate Regulations document. This will enable you to understand how the classification of your award is calculated. For those of you who are more familiar with results quoted in percentages a comparison between grade points and percentage marks is given below. Modular Performance All Masters (M) level modules are assessed in terms of a 15 point grade scale. •

Grade Point 0 is a Non Presentation

Grade Points 1 – 3 (1= 1-17; 2=18-34; 3= 35-39%) are Fails

Grade Points 4 – 6 (4=40-42; 5=43-46;6=47-49%) are Compensatable Fails (Note this does not apply to the Research Methods and Data analysis or Dissertation modules)

Grade Points 7 – 9 (7=50-52; 8=53-56;9=57-59%) will be deemed equivalent to a Pass

Grade Points 10 – 12 (10=60-62; 11=63-66;12=67-69 %) will be deemed equivalent to Pass with Merit

Grade Points 13 – 15 (13=70 to 72%; 14= 73 to 75%; 15 is 76% and above) will be deemed equivalent to a Pass with Distinction.

Classification of Award Examination Boards shall have the discretion to make awards at Pass, Merit and Distinction at the Certificate, Diploma and Masters stages. In the exercise of such discretion, Boards will consider profiles of student achievement in all modules of the award deemed comparable to the general principles set out below. For up to date information on how the awards are classified, regulations for compensation, information on retrieval of failed modules you should access the University’s Postgraduate regulations which can be found at:

66 The award board usually meets in the first week of September and you will receive notification of the outcome from the award board approximately one week after the award board. In addition there is a also a progress review board that meets in March each year at which progress on the first two modules of the year are noted, and if required, resubmission opportunities are outlined. You will receive notification of any resubmission opportunities within a month of the Progress Review board. Two important elements that are worth highlighting are the process of compensation of modules and the process regards retrieving failed modules. 6.9.1 Regulations for compensation Compensation is the process where a marginal fail in one module is considered in relation to a higher grade in another module and where the aggregate score of the two modules is at least the same as that for two passes. However in the calculation of the overall aggregate score for the award it is the actual score that has been achieved in the failed module that is used. Compensation between modules is permitted subject to a maximum of 15 Level M credits at the Certificate level (excluding the Research Methods and Data Analysis module) and 30 Level M credits overall at the Diploma level. No compensation is permitted at the Masters stage, including the major project. Where compensation is permitted within a module (i.e. where one failed piece of coursework is considered alongside passed coursework and the aggregate score is at least the equivalent of an overall pass), this is specified in the module descriptor and noted in the Module Handbook. When a module is compensated the grade achieved is recorded as a 7C. 6.9.2 Retrieval of failure of a module(s) Where a student fails a module (including the project), he or she has the right to resubmit the failed component(s) on one subsequent occasion and to a


timescale determined by the Examination Board at the time of initial failure within the period of two calendar years from the date of the Examination Board. The University does not undertake to make special arrangements to enable the student to be re-assessed. Where a student successfully retrieves a failure in a module or part of a module, the mark recorded will normally be the minimum pass mark for the whole module, that is, 7R in the case of a Level M. A candidate may attempt the assessment of any module on not more than two occasions (i.e. first attempt plus one resit). If a candidate fails a module at the resit stage, the Examination Board has the discretion to allow the candidate to register on and take the complete module again, with attendance, on one further occasion, the Grade Point of 7R for a Level M module being recorded upon successful completion.

6.10 The Masters research dissertation/project The research dissertation is the culmination of the Masters course and the significance accorded to this piece of work is reflected in the number of credits allocated to it within the Masters programme. It is worth 60 Masters level credits – reflecting 600 hours work. Initially students will follow a 9 week guided study programme (approx 90 – 140 hours). During this process we will discuss and agree upon a member of staff here at the University who will act as your dissertation supervisor, and the ‘title’ and scope of the work will be determined during the initial phase of the module by agreement between you and this person. The role of the project supervisor can be summarised as follows: •

Oversee the general development of the student project.

Advise the student on the academic feasibility of the project including its resource implication.

Advise the student on academic matters regarding the progress of their project.

Monitor and evaluate student progress and advise the examination board of any matters of an unsatisfactory nature.


There are three stages to the dissertation module. In the first stage, which occurs towards the end of the nine-week guided study period, students will provide a detailed research proposal (2000 words) which outlines the rationale, proposed method, proposed analyses, costings, a schematic timetable of research and consideration of ethical issues to the Sport and Exercise Dissertation Approval Committee (if necessary it may also be referred to the University Ethics Committee). Please note you will normally be expected to fund your own data collection. Information regards University and Faculty ethics related matters will be of interest and should be examined early on in the research dissertation process. The second stage is to submit a dissertation in line with the guidelines provided. The dissertation will comprise an abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion and conclusion. The final stage is to deliver a 20 minute oral presentation of the research and undergo an oral examination relating to the dissertation. Attendance at this event is compulsory. In addition, to the above assessments you are required to submit to the module leader three, two monthly, progress reports, following a template provided at the beginning of the module. You are required to submit one electronic and two bound hard copies of their dissertation. Please refer to the Dissertation Module Handbook for specific information on milestones, management and assessment criteria of the dissertation. The final dissertation will normally be marked by your project supervisor and by another member of the course teaching team. Your project may also be sent to the external examiner. The assessment of the dissertation will specifically take into account:


the clarity of the identification and specification of the chosen topic;

evidence of the library skills necessary to research previous literature on the chosen topic;

the quality of the selection and analysis of appropriate theoretical, methodological and empirical literature relevant to the topic

the originality and quality of the personal research undertaken

the quality of the conclusions drawn from the analysis

the quality of the presentation of the report

the relation of the topic/problem to appropriate conceptual and theoretical issues

the various different theoretical and empirical contributions to the chosen topic

the construction and maintenance of a coherent approach to the problem

the contribution to the field of inquiry through the reconsideration of different theoretical expositions and/or the creation and analysis of useful data sets.

6.10.1 The Presentation and Oral Defence This will take place at the University at the end of the dissertation module. You will be expected to deliver a 20 minute presentation about your project work to your supervisor and other academics. Your project supervisor will provide you with further information about its duration, the expected content and scope of the discussion and the specific assessment criteria that are associated with the Presentation well in advance of the event. For those students who are unable to travel to the University for their Presentation, alternative video conferencing arrangements may be arranged (or we can discuss whether we can use a webcam), but it will not be possible for us to accept a written submission as an alternative to a physical presentation of the project. In terms of the verbal defence, you will be required to answer a series of questions related to your project over a 20-30 minute period. Again exact


criteria in terms of the format and assessment criteria will be set out well in advance of the event. You must successfully pass the viva voce examination in order to pass this module. 6.10.2 Work-based projects Work-based projects are positively encouraged. In these circumstances, after discussion with the University supervisor, we will agree with you how best to nominate a second ‘work-based supervisor’. This will usually be your line manager (or another appropriately qualified work colleague who has been agreed between you and your University supervisor). This work-based supervisor will not be involved in any ‘formal summative’ assessment relating to the production and delivery of the dissertation but should keep in regular contact (Telephonic/email) with the University supervisor during the duration of the project. They will also be expected to fill out a pro forma at the end of the project work that will be reviewed by your project supervisor and, in this way, their views will feed into the overall assessment considerations.


7 HOW IS THE AWARD MANAGED? There are a number of people with key roles in the management of this award. They are: Award Leader – has overall responsibility for managing the postgraduate award. Module Leader – have responsibility for the writing, delivery, support and assessment of individual modules in the programme. Postgraduate Coordinator – has responsibility for coordinating the management of postgraduate awards. Students The University highly values feedback from its students. An effective academic representation scheme allows for immediate feedback from current students which can help to improve both processes and curriculum. We have a Sport and Exercise Postgraduate Board of Studies, and deals with the postgraduate provision offered by the Sport and Exercise Programme Area. We value student input to that committee and the process we have developed is as follows: Each student will be contacted by the course administrator via email two weeks prior to each scheduled Post-graduate board of studies. The email will ask for your views on issues relating to your academic studies. All comments received will be presented anonymously to the pg board of studies. The Postgraduate Board of Studies will also be required to respond to issues identified. In addition, we are currently trialling the use of a Social Network on one of our DL awards to provide an avenue for students to interact with each other outside the formal constraints of the Bb VLE, and are hopeful that this will provide an avenue through which geographically diverse students will feel able to find a voice.


Sport and Exercise - Postgraduate Board of Studies (PGBS) The awards are managed by the Postgraduate Board of Studies (PGBS) membership of which includes; the award leaders, key teaching staff and Information Services; has representation of postgraduate students’ views, and; is chaired by the Postgraduate Coordinator. The board is held at least twice a year to discuss student issues and award management. The PGBS is also responsible for Award/Progress Reviews to review progress, decide upon module grades and the overall level of performance of students. Sport and Exercise Operation Team (SEOT) Since January 2004 Sport and Exercise has held a Sport and Exercise Operations Team (SEOT) meeting at least once a month where, chaired by the programme area manager, senior staff discuss and decide upon the implementation of University and Faculty policies and plans and issues arising from programme area committees such as the Postgraduate Board of Studies. All staff can contribute to the agenda and receive notes of the meeting. Module and award evaluation Each module is organised by a module leader whose responsibility it is to ensure efficient delivery of the module. All modules are designed and evaluated in accordance with Faculty policy and Teaching Learning and Assessment Strategy. Students are required to complete a feedback form for each module they study, or provide comments through alternative methods. The process also provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their own learning and evaluate their own approach to studying. Students are requested to complete the forms in as detailed a manner as possible, as the information provided informs the ongoing review and development of the module.


As part of a Staffordshire University Learning and Teaching Fellowship awarded to John Erskine (PL in Sport and Exercise), an automised approach to the construction and analysis of module evaluations undertaken by online students was developed in 2008. This project has allowed not only unique aspects of online delivery to be evaluated by students in a standard manner, but also allows module leaders to add additional questions from an agreed question bank, to obtain specific feedback on a unique identified area of the module (e.g. reaction to problem based learning and reaction to assessed discussion contributions). The output provided by the software allows standard qualitative and quantitative data to be adopted by module (and subsequently award) leaders when responding to student feedback within their module reports.

Quality Management Responsibility for the management of quality at Faculty level resides with the Faculty Learning and Teaching Enhancement Quality Committee and its subcommittees. These committees – on which Sport and Exercise are represented - consider and approve routine learning and teaching quality matters including for example, new and amended modules, award amendments, external examiner approval, and extenuating circumstances. They also oversee the Faculty’s Annual Monitoring Process. The Annual Monitoring Report provides a response to the actions from the previous academic year and identifies actions for the current year. Annual monitoring reports are produced by the award leaders and postgraduate coordinator and are considered at Programme Area (SEOT), Faculty and University level to ensure parity of quality control between programmes. These reports are produced using external examiners’ reports, Award board results, progression data, student and staff module evaluations, student feedback and PGBS minutes.


Distance Learning Representative

Faculty of Health Online Coordination Group


Sport and Exercise Postgraduate Board of Studies

Faculty Learning, Teaching & Quality Enhancement Committee

Award Leader(s)

Module Leader(s)

University Committees (e.g., Learning and Teaching etc)


In addition to the above, there is opportunity for formal feedback from students after each module. This will be done by circulating on-line module feedback questionnaires. These will be used to gather student feedback on a variety of aspects including: •

the modules offered;

the quality of delivery and module organisation;

on-line curriculum content .

Module leaders collect student feedback and undertake a Module Report which is received by the Award Leader. This material is then used to complete an Annual Report (with accompanying Action Points), which is scrutinised by the Course Committee, the Faculty Quality Committee and the University Quality Committee. An Award/Progress Review Board will be convened at specified times in order to review progress, decide upon module grades and the overall level of performance of students. The external examiner will normally attend the Award/Examination Board on these occasions. If you need to pursue something that you feel cannot be resolved through other channels then the University has a comprehensive Complaints Procedure. You can find full information here: For advice, guidance or information on the academic side of your student career, you may also find the link below useful: .php


8 APPENDICES & MODULE DESCRIPTORS 8.1 Appendix A: A guide to distance/distributed learning terminology Masters level education at University requires, like many other new lifestyles, a grasp of a distinct vocabulary. Activity: The weekly allocation of material for the module. Award/Progress Review Board: The committee that meets at the end of every assessment period in order to review your progress and agree award outcomes. Award Leader: The staff member in charge of a particular Award. He/she has overall responsibility for the management of the programme and acts as your source of information for technical aspects of the programme, and advice about pathways, modules etc. Compulsory: Any module that you have to take in order to obtain your MSc. PgD or PgC Core: See Compulsory. Co-requisite: Any modules that must be taken at the same time as some other module. Credit: The basic unit of study that accumulates towards your final award. One credit corresponds to 15 total learning hours (teaching time, independent study time and assessment preparation time). This system of credits (called CATS) is widely recognised, and allows you to change Universities in mid-degree more


easily, since another University will know thereby exactly the weighting of the modules you have taken. All of these M-level modules are rated at 15 Credits. External Examiner: A competent professional with relevant experience from outside the University who reviews the modules we offer and the marks we give for your work, in order to ensure that its standards are appropriate, rigorously assessed and compare favourably with other study programmes around the country. Module: The basic academic unit of study. Module Tutor/s: The individual or team responsible for teaching, managing and assessing any given module. Task(s): Work to be carried out within each weekly activity.


MSc Award Handbook  

Award Handbook for students enrolled on the onlione MSc in Applied Sport & Exercise Science