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Masters Discussion Forum

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This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > Masters Advice / Support


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Making a complaint


User: helebon - 31 January 2018 15:15

I've finished my postgraduate course and I'm in the process of making a stage 2 appeal for a module. I was not informed of the submission day for a particular assignment which led to problems and rushed work.

I made the stage 1 appeal and the response was....' the online university resources showed the submission date'. It didn't show the date, and I was not informed by staff, students or by any other notification at the time.

Luckily on the day I was informed that I had not submitted I did several screenshots of the online resources page and emailed them to the module leader, as evidence there's no submission date shown. That person has since changed role.

I have looked today at the online resources page for last academic year, it has been adjusted to show the submission date for the assignment.

Cheeky university! I'm so glad I took the screenshots the day I was informed I had not submitted.

The university has dismissed everything in my appeal but I will take to stage 2 and a complaint stage 1.

Anyone else experienced their uni not taking responsibility in an appeal?

User: Cat123 - 31 January 2018 18:27

I've had this at complaint stage one. I think you will just have to persevere and escalate. Maybe speak to your SU for advice. As you have evidence you have a case to pursue.

User: tru - 31 January 2018 20:55

I agree with Cat123. Do talk to your Students Union. If they have a lawyer, do talk to their lawyer. It is better to engage in legal advice early on since uni may deny all responsibility even after their "investigation".

In the perfect world, you would have a referee (preferably someone respectable and quite high up the chain) who is willing to vouch for you. However, understand that sticking out for you may give them repercussions so it is very rare that anyone would.

User: helebon - 31 January 2018 21:22

Thanks for the replies, I saw the SU today for the second time, they have been helpful. I'm going to ask for a partial refund on the course in the complaint as there were other course issues. I will ask the SU if they have a lawyer.
I have definitely now lost any chance of getting a reference but I had to choose, stay silent and get a reference or make a complaint and have no referee. It's ok, if I kept silent I would always be wondering what if.

User: Tudor_Queen - 01 February 2018 00:07

It is good that you got that screenshot. I was on an appeals panel where the student claimed something had not been entered on the system and the two senior staff members claimed it had been and print screened it showing it was there. The student insisted it wasn't there before. The tech man explained that things could be added without an audit trail - so the student couldn't be proved right/wrong. The student didn't have evidence so they accepted the word of the two senior member of staff.

User: TreeofLife - 01 February 2018 09:08

If the deadline was in your handbook or elsewhere, and/or if other students submitted on time with no issue, I don't see how you will have a case that the online submission system didn't have a submission date so you didn't know when to submit it. Why didn't you ask the admin team or other students or senior members of staff? You are expected to show some initiative and responsibility too.

User: tru - 01 February 2018 09:38

helebon,

Prepare for the fight of your life. Uni's first stance is normally denying responsibility and hope that you will go away. They will make life very stressful and very difficult for you. More often than not, they will "advise" you that you need their reference letter, so keep quiet and go away. You may need to fight multiple rounds over several months before you make progress, if at all. Your evidence had better be strong. Get that Students Union lawyer ready. You likely will need it. I myself had a pretty tough time battling the many rounds at institute, faculty and grad school level. It still gives me the shivers when I remember how stressed and alone I felt during that time. We will likely see you coming back and venting here very often.

User: tru - 01 February 2018 09:42

Perhaps you could also read the post "I Want To Publish The Story Of My Legal Battle With UNSW Over A PhD. What Do You Think" by CWI to understand what you are up against. I don't think that your case is anyway near as bad and as ridiculous as CWI, but the process of denial and making life difficult is a common theme.

User: helebon - 01 February 2018 10:28

Thanks for our replies. Uni marks are so subjective and I feel conned! Like its a scam and a sham course at a sham uni. I'm put off academia now... There have been complaints about the same course from other students and some have intermitted because of this.

I have a friend that did a related course in the same department, same uni and finished feeling disappointed with the course. I should have taken note of the warning signs years ago.

User: pm133 - 01 February 2018 12:30

Yes I must admit to thinking the same thing as ToL when I saw your post.
Did you make any attempt to be proactive about this? Did you make enquiries about any deadlines or responsibilities on your own part regarding each module or did you expect them to tell you everything?
If it's the latter then you are on dodgy ground here I think.
If it is the former and you have an email trail or suchlike and all other students had the same problem then you may have a strong case.
Either way be prepared to be asked the reasonable question of how someone at your level allowed themselves to get so close to a submission date without checking up with the course leader. This sort of thing really should be getting checked on the first week of the course.

User: helebon - 01 February 2018 12:40

I intermitted and returned to the master's course. Then I was not added to the online resources for two months, the admin person has taken responsibility for this (in an email).
I have a trail on a social media group page which shows students had a similar problem and other problems with the course. My supervisor said nothing about the submission dates, I had only had one supervision session with them at this point (a few months before this submission date).
The student services guidance officer confirmed it is the course leaders responsibility to inform students of submission dates.

User: pm133 - 01 February 2018 12:45

Quote From helebon:
I intermitted and returned to the master's course. Then I was not added to the online resources for two months, the admin person has taken responsibility for this (in an email). I have a trail on a social media group page which shows students had a similar problem and other problems with the course.

I am not sure what your first sentence means.
As for the rest, well at least you have some mitigation and some evidence of a systematic issue.
The next question would be regarding the two month delay in listing you on the online resources page. That is a very long time. What did you do to chase that up? Did you personally approach or email the course leader requesting details of submissions etc. in the absence of access to the online resources?

User: helebon - 01 February 2018 12:50

Intermitting means the same as intercalating - suspending studies for a period of time but keeping your place as a student, (normally 1 to 2 years) then returning.
I intermitted for two years and the course leader refused to see me when I returned. I requested a meeting by email but the response was 'does not merit a meeting'. Of course, it did merit a meeting, I was off for two years.

User: pm133 - 01 February 2018 15:56

Quote From helebon:
Intermitting means the same as intercalating - suspending studies for a period of time but keeping your place as a student, (normally 1 to 2 years) then returning.
I intermitted for two years and the course leader refused to see me when I returned. I requested a meeting by email but the response was 'does not merit a meeting'. Of course, it did merit a meeting, I was off for two years.

That is an incredible response from the course leader. "Does not merit a meeting"? This is why I cannot work with people. My response to that would be pretty blunt to be honest. Did you specifcally ask via email about your obligations on the course including deadlines?

User: helebon - 03 February 2018 10:07

It has been suggested to me by someone with a legal background I could contact the OIA, but there is a cut off time, so I need to get on with this quickly. The Student Union haven't mentioned this independent body and I've not heard of it before.

The OIA is an independent body set up to review student complaints.
Free to students, the OIA deals with individual complaints against Higher Education Providers in England and Wales.

http://www.oiahe.org.uk




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