Advice for Students

The way we learn will be different for a while. We are now learning by working online and not attending College. Our message for all students is – keep studying and producing work. All your work will be important for your grades and your course. Remember to also enjoy this learning experience!

You will find resources on Moodle, to support your learning, how to get the best out of online learning and activities and links that you can use to stay safe and well at this time – https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk (Your login details are the same as your College login details).

We have set up a dedicated helpline for students and parents: 01639 648000.

Ontrack

Students are now able to access their Ontrack Page through Moodle. Students need to login to their Moodle account and then locate the Ontrack Tile on the Moodle front page – it’s better to log in using a PC where possible as some content doesn’t display correctly on mobile phones.

What is Online Learning and Blended Learning?

You all have a College email account and Office 365, so please check your College emails regularly in addition to the College Website. You can access your programme Moodle pages through the website https://www.nptcgroup.ac.uk or  https://www.nptcgroup.ac.uk/student-zone/in-college/student-portal.

Online learning is a term used for learning directly from your computer instead of in a classroom with your tutor. This is not a new way of working and many of you will have been using Moodle in class and for assignments. This type of learning enables you to work from home at your own pace. All the materials you need to assist you are available on your programme Moodle pages.

Your tutors have planned and uploaded work for you to complete during this time away from college and this will be regularly updated as we progress. If you are not able to complete electronically, we will accept hand-written work, we are currently organising collection points.

It is very important that you engage with your Moodle online and E-learning activities and resources, which have been planned, prepared and uploaded by your tutors. The assignments, projects, tests and support resources are there to help you learn new knowledge and skills in a very different way to your usual learning.

Read our tips for studying at home

Moodle

The login details for Moodle are always exactly the same as the log in details you use to log on to the network.

Also, please check the following:

• That you do/don’t have caps lock on as passwords are always case sensitive.
• That there is no ‘space’ in your password.
• That you are clicking on ‘Log In‘ in the top right corner of the screen and the login screen then has a blue background.
• That you are accessing Moodle through a browser window, like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge. (The downloadable Moodle app is not up-to-date enough to work with our Moodle).
• If the above doesn’t work, then you will need to contact your tutor to have your password reset.

Will my lecturer be there to help me if I am stuck?

You will be able to contact your tutor using your college email or Moodle. If you do not know your tutor’s, email address it is usually teachers: name.surname@nptcgroup.ac.uk 

Tutors are in the process of creating programme or class Microsoft Teams, providing a safer virtual environment, the activities available include discussions sessions similar to chat rooms; uploaded specific documents for your group and group video conferencing organised by your tutor. You will be invited to join Teams.

You can post a question on Teams and the tutor will get a notification of your communication. We are organising teachers into small groups so there should always be one person to deal with your query. Tutors will come back to you as soon as possible.

How will my exams be graded?

On Friday 22 May 2020, Ofqual published the extraordinary regulatory framework for VTQ qualifications on gov.uk. This includes qualifications regulated by Qualifications Wales.

The extraordinary regulatory framework (ERF) is now in force, which enables awarding organisations to deliver valid and reliable results to as many students as possible so that you are able to further your plans to continue in education or go into the workplace.

Interactive Tool

To help you see the approach for Vocational and Technical Qualifications this summer, Ofqual has launched a new interactive tool.  The tool allows you to search for your specific qualification to find out how results will be generated for the majority of students. Please read the questions tab as this explains the terms and processes used.

We cannot give full individual explanations for all vocational and technical qualifications, the tool is an outline and your tutors will be preparing the documentation in line with the requirements of each qualification. No results will be published or given until the Awarding Boards have approved the results submitted by the College.

Estimation/Calculation – Centre Assessed Grade

Your Centre Assessment Grade is your tutor’s judgement about the grade that each learner would most likely have achieved had teaching, learning and assessment proceeded as normal.

Your final grade will be calculated and given by the Awarding Body, not the College.

How will the teacher know my work is authentic? (Presenting your work for marking)

You must on all work put your full name, student ID number and date – this will help to show the work is authentic and your own.

  • If you are completing research for an assignment and you have used resources such as the internet, eBooks or magazines you will need to reference these – information is available on the Library page on Moodle. There, there you will find a massive amount of information available to support and guide you: https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk
  • It is important to ensure you do not plagiarise (copy) other peoples work. If you are able to use Turnitin via Moodle, please do so as any work copied without referencing will be seen as plagiarism and potentially disqualified (https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/1160275/mod_resource/content/1/Submitting%20a%20paper%20in%20Turnitin.pdf)
  • Please ensure you save your work, as it could be required for sampling at a later stage by the awarding body.
  • The work you produce now may be needed as proof of your capabilities for an interview for University or potential employment.

Teachers will be able to monitor your use of Moodle and assess your work online so please ensure you check-in and use the information and activities provided regularly. Teachers will mark and return work as promptly as possible with supportive feedback and further guidance.

Post-16 distance learning resources

For those students who are moving on to higher education in September, the Welsh Government is working with universities in Wales to create online learning experiences and events for learners in Year 13. These resources are being made available early to enable you to carry on with your learning and prepare for the transition to higher education.

Click here to find out more

Will my EMA & WGLG be paid?

The Colleges have received assurance that eligible students will continue to receive their EMA payment throughout the Welsh Government term time closure. The College will need to show Welsh Government that students have continued to be involved with their tutors and their learning programme throughout the closure for them to qualify for these payments.

If your personal circumstances have changed because of the pandemic, you can still apply for EMA for the academic year 2019/20. The deadline is 31 August 2020, however, please be aware that the timescales for processing applications may be a little longer than usual.

Applications can be downloaded from www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/ema

Please remember that EMA payments can only be made for college term times. EMA payments are paid fortnightly. If you have any specific concerns about payments while the College is closed, please contact studentsupport@nptcgroup.ac.uk

WGLG

The College has been advised that the Minister for Education has agreed that the WGLG (Welsh Government Learning Grant) can continue to operate in the same way as EMA while institutions are closed for face-to-face learning. We are currently working to make the payments now to the 320 eligible students. We will need to show Welsh Government that students have continued to be involved with their tutors and their learning programme throughout the closure for them to qualify for these payments. Therefore, it is important that students continue to engage with their online learning programme.

Free College Meals & Period Dignity

The College is pleased to report the TESCO e-voucher system that will be used to support the College Free
Meals service is now operational. The Student Support team is working hard to distribute the vouchers and the same will happen again in two weeks. If you are eligible and haven’t emailed to get a voucher please contact studentsupport@nptcgroup.ac.uk to be put on the distribution list.

We are currently making provision for over 800 students.

If you don’t have a TESCO that you can access – contact us to agree on another solution. We have found Free College Meals solutions for a further 18 students.

The College is a member of the Welsh Government Period Dignity Programme. In line with advice from Welsh Government, the College will be sending all those eligible students an additional payment with their next Free College Meals e-voucher so they can purchase sanitary products whilst they are not in College.

How do I contact a Safeguarding Officer?

The Student Support Team has been improving the information available to students on the Safeguarding area of Moodle.

The new information available signposts students to the range of local external support services. . The Safeguarding team is now operating remotely to support students. The email address is: safeguarding@nptcgroup.ac.uk

Do you know someone who is experiencing violence and abuse?

Click here to find out what you can do to help

Is the counselling service still available?

Just like teaching staff, the College Counsellors are now working remotely and can support you by email and over the phone. You will need to complete a referral form on Moodle: https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk/mod/folder/view.php?id=249682. Once you have completed the form you will need to send the form to counsellorreferral@nptcgroup.ac.uk. One of the team will get back to you and agree on the best solution for you.

Study Coach Support

The study coach team are able to offer support to any student who needs help. The coaches can be contacted on studyskillscoach@nptcgroup.ac.uk. The study coach team are able to help you with – support around assignment submission, proofreading, organisation and upskilling. They are preparing additional online resources that will be available on Moodle once completed.

Staying in Touch with Tutors

It is very important that you stay in touch with your tutors during the time you are working at home. This will mean you can be updated on changes that need to be put in place, this may include:

  • Telling you when assessment and assignment final dates are agreed – work will need to be in and marked by tutors so your grades can be uploaded to exam boards when required.
  • Opportunities to learn through new and different websites and activities.
  • Taking advantage of organised online chats to involve all your class in discussions. Students from your group may have found interesting information that may help you with your own assignments.
  • Changes to schedules due to your tutor’s personal commitments, remember they also have children and partners working from home, so please work with the schedules they set. Please also be patient if they are not always available when you want to speak or communicate with them.
  • If you have any issues connected to your online or remote learning please contact student support and they will forward your concerns to an appropriate person: studentsupport@nptcgroup.ac.uk
  • Try to send or upload assignments and work to your tutors regularly, this will mean they can mark your work and return it to you quicker.

Mental Health & Wellbeing

The College has information and activities available to help students stay safe and well at this time. Information, activities and useful links in the Safeguarding section on Moodle and in the eSTEP programme.

The College also recommends the Young Minds website. The site has lots of information that has been put together just for young adults: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself

The College is also promoting the advice provided by the World Health Organisation on protecting our mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. It says we all should:

1. Stay connected with people
Increasing numbers will join those already in self-isolation so now might be a good time to make sure your child/ partner has the right phone numbers and email addresses in case contact is required. Make sure they have regular check-in times with classmates and tutors. If they need to self-isolate in the future, they will need to strike a balance between having a routine and making sure each day has some variety.

2. Avoid burnout
With weeks and months of the coronavirus pandemic ahead, it is important to have downtime. Mind recommends continuing to access nature and sunlight wherever possible. Do exercise, eat well and stay hydrated.

3. Anxiety
It is suggested to practice the “Apple” technique to deal with anxiety and worries

1. Acknowledge – Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
2. Pause – Do not react as you normally do. Do not react at all. Pause and breathe.
3. Pull back – Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Do not believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
4. Let go – Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You do not have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
5. Explore – Explore the present moment, because right now, at this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.

Library Services

You will be able to access online library resources 24/7. Visit the library page on moodle for digital textbooks, journals, and lots more: https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk.

Library staff will be on a rota to provide a live chat on Moodle to answer questions from students. They will be able to direct students to information and online resources for assignments and answer questions about using Teams/Office 365, etc. In addition to the live chat, we have also set up a forum on Moodle and will answer queries by e-mail and via our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter).

Staff can also provide advice for students about proper referencing.  As well as responding to questions, staff will be able to check students’ bibliographies and reference lists and provide feedback prior to submission.

We are unable to universally extend the due date of library books that are already on loan; however, no fines will accrue on any books that fall overdue during the closure. We are advising students to hang on to their library books and return them to us when we reopen. They do not need to contact us to extend the loans.

Please send enquiries and requests for support to libraries@nptcgroup.ac.uk

Higher Education Students

This applies to all students on HE/University courses (HNC/HND/Foundation Degrees/CertHE/DipHE/BA/Degree Apprenticeships) at NPTC Group of Colleges.

All face-to-face teaching and assessments have been suspended from the end of Friday 20th March 2020. You should continue to engage in learning activities remotely and complete assessments as provided by your tutors (eg. engage on a regular basis with course Moodle pages and check for updates communicated by your tutors.) Many students use Virtual Learning Environments other than Moodle, for example, Blackboard.

You may receive communications from your partner university but you should be aware that much of this information is not relevant to you. Therefore, please only consider information that you are provided with by the College or your HE tutors.

Your tutors should be communicating directly with you and you should be able to communicate directly with them. If you cannot contact your tutor, please email kimberley.mann@nptcgroup.ac.uk.

If you require study skills support, please email arthur.thomas@nptcgroup.ac.uk.

Please be assured that we are doing everything possible to support you with your studies and to ensure you can graduate.

Access to HE Diploma

Calculating grades for the award of the Access to HE Diploma – Guide

Useful Links

Moodle

Office 365

Microsoft Teams

Skype