The Academic Engagement Monitoring Policy for Student and Tier 4 visa holders 2020/21 is replacing the previous Attendance Monitoring Policy for Tier 4 students.
Staff are expected to familiarise themselves with the content of the policy, which takes effect from 21 September 2020, and with its relevant implementation process.
UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) has introduced concessions to normal attendance monitoring requirements for Student and Tier 4 visa holders for 2020/21 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the increased use of distance learning.
In 2020/21, teaching at the University of Bath will follow a blended learning model, with all students able to study 100% distance learning if necessary, to allow flexibility throughout the pandemic.
As such, online engagement will be monitored in lieu of engagement by physical attendance.
Physical attendance monitoring may be reviewed for 2021/22.
Key points about the new policy
No physical attendance will be monitored in 2020/21. Academic engagement will be monitored instead, through online ‘engagement points’, whether students are studying via a blended learning model or fully distance learning (from the UK or overseas)
The Student Immigration Service will review the engagement of all taught students on a Tier 4 visa and Student visa retrospectively on a weekly basis to ensure students are engaging regularly
Students on taught courses (undergraduate courses or postgraduate taught students who applied for their visa after the end of the Pilot Scheme on 5 October 2020) will be required to meet a minimum of one engagement point per week during the course of the academic year. Online engagement points may include Moodle log-ins, Moodle coursework submissions or Panopto log-ins. It is anticipated that future DD&T development will allow the use of other online platforms for monitoring purposes
Doctoral students will continue to be monitored through meetings with their supervisors and progress reports, but will also be expected to meet further engagement points, as appropriate. These may include regular email correspondence with the Student Immigration Service
It is important to note that, if a student stops engaging with their distance learning for more than 30 days, whether overseas or in the UK, we are required to withdraw sponsorship of their Student / Tier 4 visa
Due to above point, as well as monitoring weekly, the Student Immigration Service will follow-up more frequently any student failing to engage at all, to mitigate against having to withdraw sponsorship after 30 days of non-engagement
Specific concessions may be applied on a case-by-case basis, should students have valid COVID-19-related reasons for failing to engage as expected
From 1 January 2021, EU / EEA and Swiss nationals coming to the UK for the first time, and wishing to study for more than 6 months, are required to obtain the new Student visa which replaces Tier 4. Any EU / EEA or Swiss national sponsored by the University of Bath for a Student (or Tier 4) visa are subject to the monitoring requirements outlined in our Academic Engagement Monitoring policy
Alternative engagement points must be agreed between the department and the Student Immigration Service for specific groups of students if the standard online engagement points do not apply to them (e.g. students will not be using Moodle or Panopto in semester 1). Please ensure you liaise with the Student Immigration Service as soon as possible, to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place before teaching starts
The Student Immigration Service will monitor Student / Tier 4 visa holders’ overall engagement, however the primary responsibility for monitoring student attendance and engagement lies with academic departments and all staff need to be mindful of this.
The University is required to meet strict reporting deadlines by the Home Office, and also needs an audit trail where a potential problem is identified. The cooperation of all staff is required to ensure that the University remains compliant with its duties as a Sponsor.
New and continuing Student / Tier 4 visa holders will be made aware of the new policy requirements.