Attendance monitoring frequently asked questions

What if I know I'm going to miss a class?

If you know in advance that you are going to be absent you should report this through the Student Portal, guideance on doing this is provided in  the 'view attendance data/log abscene' link on MySunderland - your absence will be automatically logged in the attendance monitoring database.  This will allow us to distinguish between a 'known' absence and an unexpected one. Attendance monitoring staff will take this into account when deciding whether to get in touch with you about your absence record.

What if I forget my card or forget to 'tap in' to the class - or can't get to class at the last minute?

It is your responsibility to make sure that you bring your card with you to all sessions and register your attendance by either 'tapping in' on the fixed readers or 'swipping in' if a hand held reader is provided. This cannot be 'corrected' afterwards if you have forgotten your card or failed to 'tap in'.  You can however log this as an absence via the Student Portal, you will not be given a mark for the session and won't be taken into account when deciding whether to get in touch with you about your absence record.

The same applies if you are unavoidably absent because of something which happened at the last minute and you couldn't notify it in advance.  

What happens if I'm in the same room for two classes in succession?

You will need to 'tap in' again between classes.  The system will know you've turned up for the first class but it won't know you're there for the second one if you don't tell it.  So please 'tap in' again if the session shows as two different events on your personal teaching timetable.

What happens if I swap seminar groups? or practical groups?

Make sure that you're allowed to swap groups....the numbers may be carefully managed so that you can't, or you may need to check with your lecturer or the timetabling team...but if you are allowed to swap classes for a particular week (say because you've got a doctor's appointment or placement which clashes with your usual group session) you should 'tap in' to the group session you've attended.  You should then submit an absence for the  original class session you aren't attending using the student portal and selecting the absence reason - 'attending an alternative session' - please provide details of the alternative session date and time in the comments box provided.

One of two things should happen - the attendance monitoring team will see that you're logged an absence to attend an alternative session and should sort that out (you may get an email if there are any queries about what happened and your reason for swapping group) or it may be that the classes have been lined in the system so that the system will do it automatically.  But if you 'tap in' you will be logged as having attended the alternative session even if it's not your usual one.

What if there is a problem 'tapping in'?

The fixed reader should display a 'thank you' when you 'tap in' to show that your card has registered your attendance, you should also hear a 'bleep'.   If the system displays an 'error' message your card may not have registered. If you think that your card hasn't been accepted you can check your attendance record using the on-line student portal

You should ideally leave it a until the next day before checking to allow time for the data to be downloaded. If you think there's a problem you should report it by emailing so  it can be investigated or by visiting the Gateway Receptions either at City Campus or St Peter's Campus - staff on receptions will be able to check your card isn't damaged in some way.

What if I keep missing classes?

The processes described above should deal with all the minor or occasional reasons for being absent. However if your absence starts to get more serious we will take more structured action.   

  • If you have not attended any classes for two weeks and you have not been in touch to discuss a problem with us, you will receive an email asking you if everthing is alright and offering advice. If you do not respond to this and continue to be absent from classes you will received further contact by email and
  • after four weeks' absence you will be warned that if you continue not to attend you may be withdrawn from your programme for non-attendance.  If you do not respond quickly at this point we will send you a letter informing you that you are being withdrawn from our programme. This gives you an absolute last chance to discuss your situation with us. 
  • After six weeks' absence you will be withdrawn from your programme.  At any point in this process you may make contact by seeking help and advice.   This will stop the withdrawal process while we talk to you about what is best for you.

Some degree programmes which are subject to professional body rules have additional regulations around minimum attendance requirements.  Where this is the case, this will be made clear to you by your programme leader and in the handbook.   If you are unsure about this please ask - any such rule will be in addition to the university regulation and will usually be more demanding.

What else should I be aware of?

Please remember that:

  • you can contact your programme leader or personal tutor for advice;
  • you can also speak to someone in the Students' Union
  • we have various Student Support Services, such as Health and Well-Being, Student Financial Advice, Counseling and Disability Support, with staff who can offer help and support;
  • we have a 'leave of absence' policy which allows you to take time out of your studies and come back when your problems have been addressed.  This is subject to discussion about what is appropriate to you - speak to your programme leader, your personal tutor or someone in Health and Well-Being;  
  • if you miss too much of your programme you may need to take 'leave of absence' and rejoin next year - you can't assume that you can have several weeks out and then just pick up where you left off;
  • if you feel that your attendance has not been handled in accordance with university procedures you should raise this in the first instance with the contact in the faculty office and if this does not resolve the issue you can use the complaints procedure;
  • a copy of the university regulations is available online should you need to access a copy

You also need to be aware that:

  • if you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa we will use the attendance monitoring data to report your attendance to the UK Visa and Immigration section of the Home Office. This is in additon to the processes described above:
  • if you are a UK or EU student receiving a student loan, this will continue - and you will be liable for repayments - until you formally withdraw from the programme, even if you are not attending.
Why have you introduced this system?

Those of you who were with us before September 2015 will remember having to sign into classes on paper registers.  This was effective but cumbersome.   It distracted students from the class, it took a lot of staff time to handle the paperwork (time which we would rather spend helping you) and it took about two weeks to convert the registers into data which we could use to see who might need further help and advice.   The electronic system will do this immediately so that we can offer help more quickly.

Why do I need a new card?

The system requires a chip-enabled card.  A big advantage of a chip-enabled card is that we will be able to develop its use for a range of different purposes so that you won't have to carry lots of cards around with you.  We'll give you more information about this as we develop the functionality.  The following link provides information about Campus Cards, how you upload a photo for your card, what to do if you lose your card and other useful FAQs

What if I arrive early for a class?

Please do not register your attendance at the reader any earlier than 10 mins before the expected 'start time'.  The readers automatically switch to the next expected class 10 minutes before the class is expected to start so if you swipe in any earlier your attendance will be recorded at the wrong session.   For example, if your class is due to start at 11:00am you can swipe in any time after 10.50am but no earlier.

I have collected my new campus card, what next?
  • Please use your card to 'tap' into all your timetabled classes
  • You will be able to do this via the reader located in your classroom or via a handheld device which will be passed round by your academic
  • please present your card to the reader carefully and ensure it has enough time to register your attendance.
  • you will be able to register your attendance in class 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time, please note if you register any earlier  your attendance will not be recorded against the correct session and your attendance my be affected.
How do I know my campus card has worked?

The reader will display 'Thank You' once you have registered your attendance.

How do I know if my card has not worked? And what do I need to do?

The reader will display an 'Error' message, please try your card again as you may not have given the reader enough time to register your attendance.  If you receive an error message again please report it to the Gateway Reception either at St Peters Campus or City Campus.  Staff on the Gateway will check your card at a test reader to clarify if the card is damaged, if the card is damaged in any way they will order a replacement.    You can also check if your swipes are recording by logging into your attendance record on the student portal.  

What happens if my Campus Card is not available to collect despite having done everything I need to do?

If for some reason your card is not available to collect at the start of term and you are unable to log your attendance at the readers you should report this by submitting an absence through the online Student Portal   Please ensure you choose the absence reason 'Campus Card not available to collect' . The attendance monitoring team will pick this up and record it in the database so your attendance is not affected.  Please note: you should only log an absence using the absence reason for a period of 1 week as your card should be available within that time.