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Foundation Programme Guidelines

Teaching and learning method

At MSA we try to avoid a “top-down” approach in lectures, so there is a lot of two-way interaction during lectures. You are expected to participate actively in lectures, having done your prescribed reading in advance of the lectures for each week. The content for each week is dealt with in the lecture sessions.

Class sizes for tutorials are small giving you the opportunity to work closely with your teacher and peers. Written exercises, debates, discussions, question and answer and analysis are common features of tutorials.

Prescribed books and unit readings

You are required to obtain a copy of all prescribed texts for each unit (new, second-hand or borrowed). All unit readings and prescribed books are available from the Van Schaik bookshop on campus, and the purchase (or loan) of these texts is considered important for your academic success.

Attendance

Attendance at all classes is compulsory, and a class role or register is taken at the beginning of each session. A minimum of 85 percent attendance is mandatory to be eligible to sit examinations in any unit. Mutual respect and good classroom habits are expected.

Tutorial attendance

Attendance at tutorial sessions is compulsory. Weekly tutorials are assessed and will contribute to your final semester result.

Assignments and tutorials

All tutorials and assignments with related assessment criteria are detailed in the relevant unit guides. Unless otherwise specified your assignments should be Word processed. Specific conventions for the presentation and submission of assignments can be found in the ‘Foundation Programme Student Handbook’, and correct referencing is always expected. It is also important to remember to keep an up-to-date electronic (soft) and hard copy of all assignments you submit to safeguard against the loss of work through accident or error.

Assessment

Although mark allocations will differ from unit to unit all assessments across the board are standardised in terms of their weightings. Summarised assessment weightings per unit in the Foundation Programme:

  • CASS (continuous assessment) 50 percent
  • exam 50 percent.

Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

We are actively committed to preventing plagiarism, cheating and collusion for the protection of our reputation and standards for current and future students.

Plagiarism is considered an incredibly severe offence in an academic institution, and severe penalties may be imposed on students who engage in, or who support other students engaged in, activities which seek to undermine the integrity of the unit assessment process.

There are specific policies that deal with plagiarism, cheating and collusion, which are all referenced in the student handbook, as well as online in our Policy Bank.

Due dates and extensions

The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the unit guides. All assignments must have an assignment cover stapled to them.

If you are unwell and need an extension, your teacher must be contacted for approval, and your work must be accompanied by a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner.

Late assignments

If you are late in applying for an extension or you don’t have a good reason for handing your work in late, you should still submit the work. Five per cent of the total marks available for that assessment component will be deducted for each day your work is late.

Consultation

Consultation with teachers gives you the opportunity to clarify concepts, do revision, get help with assignments and reinforce learning.

In the second week of semester teachers will advise you of their availability for individual and group consultation outside of class times. Classes and consultation appointments are the only times you may see teachers, unless the teacher asks you to attend a meeting with them.

Lines of communication and support for students

Academic issues relating to a particular unit of study should be directed to your unit teacher. All other academic issues must be directed to the Head of the Foundation Programme .

Any personal issues you have may be discussed confidentially with your teacher or Foundation Programme student support officer.

If you have issues relating to enrolment or fees you should contact Student Administration.

Student tutors and mentors are available for consultation on academic and social areas of concern, and class representatives are also elected to provide a further channel of communication. The class representatives attend regular meetings with the academic staff in which both parties can raise issues of importance.

Tutors

Your tutors have undergone training and are qualified to assist you in your academic endeavours. These tutors are your peers who have passed through the Foundation Programme and previously excelled in the unit they will tutor you in. They are available to you for two hours every week from the beginning of week three. Tutors are strategically placed in residences both on and off campus and may be available to you in the evenings for individual or small group sessions. Day students also have specific tutors assigned to them – you will be able to meet your tutors during lunch times during the week. Your tutors work in collaboration with your teachers.

Mentoring

The demands of being at university often highlight a wide range of social, academic and personal issues that for some students may produce feelings of stress or anxiety. There are many commitments which can be overwhelming, and while it is not possible to reduce the number of these commitments, it is possible to redefine the way you approach them and the how you deal with any problems you may face.

Lead by your teacher and student support officer, the Foundation Programme Mentoring Programme aims to help you cope with the challenges you may experience as a result of entering the programme (like living away from home for the first time or managing time efficiently). You are encouraged to make use of this free service. Foundation Programme staff and undergraduate tutors and mentors aim to help you settle in to campus life and achieve academic success.

Mentors

Mentoring is a peer/buddy system designed to aid the student with transition and social issues students are faced with. Very often students may find it difficult to approach staff members to talk about sensitive issues. For this very reason we have trained a small number of student mentors who are available to you when you need to talk to students of your own relative age about issues, whether these are academic or non-academic. Mentors are not qualified counsellors but can lend an ear and if necessary guide you to a qualified person who can assist.

Teachers

Each of your teachers is available to you for one or two hours each week for consultation purposes. Teaching staff will inform you of their consultation times in class (during week two of the semester).  Unfortunately they may not be available to you outside of their allocated consultation time. These consultation sessions may be based on the need to clarify work already completed in class, to ask a question or questions about tutorial activities or assignments that need to be completed, or any aspect of your unit you are unsure about. You do not need to make an appointment to see your teacher during this time. Teachers are in their offices during the hours in which they communicate their availability. Teacher’s timetables are posted on their office window for your ease of reference.

Your teacher may also invite you to a consultation session with them if they feel that they would like to provide you with additional academic support. Should you wish to make an appointment with a teacher outside of his or her consultation times for a particular reason, you should e-mail your teacher in this regard.

Teacher and student support officer

The teacher and student support officer aim to provide guidance, advice and support concerning academic, social and transition issues that students are faced with. Upon consultation the student will be advised or channelled in the appropriate direction taking into consideration the issue at hand.

Mathematics intervention

Some students find mathematics a difficult subject to come to grips with in higher education. For this reason mathematics intervention classes are built into the formal Foundation Programme academic timetable to assist students with the demands of both ADP 1017 (Mathematics A) and ADP 1010 (Mathematics B). Two one-hour classes are timetabled per week for students in the Foundation Programme who need additional mathematics support. Students who were enrolled at NSC level in Mathematical Literacy and GCSE Core are strongly encouraged to attend these classes each week.

Continuous improvement

MSA is committed to ‘excellence in education’ and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning we regularly seek feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways you can provide feedback is through unit evaluation surveys.

Over the past few years the Foundation Programme has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these benefits include a more co-ordinated approach to teaching and learning, clarification of assessment criteria and consistent assignment submission and return procedures across all units.

Moodle

The Foundation Programme staff use Moodle, a learning and communication portal, to communicate important subject-specific information with you.

Teachers may place information such as lecture notes and additional reading on the shared drive for you to access. Please note that handouts are not given out during class – it is your responsibility to print these.

Library access

The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please visit the Monash South Africa Library.

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