Why does the University use electronic attendance monitoring?

One of the most important uses of the student ID Card is to register your attendance at lectures, seminars and workshops. Students are required to pass their card across the front of the electronic card reader in each teaching venue, which records your presence at that time.

Research has shown that consistent attendance and good academic performance are closely linked; it is therefore important that we know you are attending regularly. The University is also committed to helping its students to resolve any problems that may be impacting adversely on their studies. We have a wide range of support services available to you but we do know that sometimes students may be reluctant to ask for help. By monitoring student attendance we hope to be able to identify students who need support at an early stage and put in place measures to help them continue their studies.

The University also has to report details of all student attendance to the Scottish Funding Council, Students Awards Agency for Scotland and to advise the UK Border Force/Home Office when Tier4 sponsored overseas students are not in full attendance. It is therefore very important that we monitor student attendance across the University and the electronic monitoring system based on your Student ID Card helps us to do this effectively.

Do I need to 'swipe' my card against the attendance readers?

Although we use the term ‘swipe’, the card does not actually need to be ‘swiped’ against the attendance readers -  it can be read by simply holding the card within close proximity (for example 5cm) to the reader.

How do I know my card has been registered at the attendance reader?

The light will turn green and the sensor will "beep".

If your sensor light turns red, please visit the Student Services Desk (Level 0 of the Saltire) or GCU London Student Office to have your card checked.

What if the light turns red when I present my card?

There may be a problem with your card which you should report to the Campus Life Desk on the first floor of the George Moore Building or GCU London Student Office as soon as possible so that your card can be checked. If the card is not working through no fault of your own then you will not be charged for the new card. Please also check that you are using the most recently issued card - the library number will be higher on the most recently issued card. If you use an old card your attendance may not be recorded.

If I have a lecture back to back in the same venue do I need to present my card to the reader again?

Yes.  The attendance monitoring system needs to record your attendance at every individual teaching event you are scheduled to attend, to ensure that your presence is recorded correctly. However you do not need to register your card again in the middle of a double teaching session of the same module.

What happens if I forget my card?

Students who have forgotten their Student ID Cards will be marked as absent. We will not update your records if you advise us retrospectively that you have forgotten your Student ID Card on a particular day.

What happens if I am absent because I am ill or I have an important appointment?

You can let us know if you have been ill or cannot attend, e.g. because you have a doctor’s appointment by informing your School Programme Administrator. Submitting an absence notification does not change your attendance figure, but it does help explain your absence; staff will monitor the number of reported absences and contact students who have an above average level of absence. You will still receive notice about poor attendance, because it is important that you are aware of how much learning you are missing.

Do I need approval to be absent from the University?

The University does not run an approval system for absence. We expect students to approach their studies sensibly and not to miss classes unless it is absolutely unavoidable.  Any absence notifications will be used by your School to identify students with a large amount of absence, and to contact them regarding the reasons for their poor attendance pattern.

What if I am early or late for a class?

It is vital that you arrive at your classes on time.

The system is configured to recognise swipes between the period of 10min prior to 15min after the scheduled start time of a teaching activity as being an attendance swipe for that class.  Any swipes outside of this 25 minute window will not be recorded against your expected class attendance.

Please note that it is at the discretion of each lecturer whether they allow late arrivals to join the class.

What happens if the system becomes unavailable?

The infrastructure has been designed to be as robust as possible. The attendance readers may however become unavailable in the event of a network or power failure and in some cases your attendance may not be recorded. The University will be aware of this when taking decisions about your level of attendance and any warning for withdrawal from your course.

How does the University monitor my attendance?

The University’s attendance monitoring system relies on you demonstrating evidence of attendance by registering your presence in class with your Student ID Card and being proactive about advising your School academic tutor if you have problems. You are responsible for your attendance. The School will send you two reminders about poor attendance; if you fail to respond to these by improving your attendance then a third and final notification will lead to your withdrawal from your programme of study.

From the start of teaching all Schools will check the attendance data from the attendance readers on a weekly basis and use this to identify students with poor attendance. You are expected to attend all your teaching sessions. Where your attendance record indicates that you are not doing so, we will send you an email to your University email account advising you that your attendance is of concern.

You do not need to reply to this email but you do need to ensure you attend all classes and register your attendance with the electronic reader. If you have a personal matter that is impacting on your ability to attend class then you should book an appointment to discuss this with your School’s Academic Tutor.

If your attendance does not improve you will be sent a further email expressing concern and advising that you are in danger of being withdrawn from the University for poor attendance. Finally, if you are still not attending consistently a decision will be made about withdrawing you from the University. In doing this the University will consider your absence records to check if you have notified us of any required absence or have discussed any problems relating to your attendance with your School Academic Tutor. We do not wish to lose students; we wish to support them to complete their studies and we encourage you to discuss any problems with us. However we are obliged to withdraw and report students who are not attending as required and if there is no indication that you are studying on your course then you will be sent a formal letter informing you that you have been withdrawn from the University. This will result in any student loans or bursaries being cancelled.

If I let the University know when I cannot attend a class will this be recorded and will you still contact me about my absence?

We will have a record of your absence if you have informed us and will review absence levels as part of the attendance monitoring process. Where students have high levels of absence they may be contacted by your Programme Leader/ Academic advisor to ask if there are any ongoing issues which the University can help with.  Where we know you have been absent for a notified reason we will continue to alert you to your poor attendance record because it is important that you consider how this has impacted on your learning and whether you need to seek any help. However we will use the absence information you provide to us to inform decisions about withdrawal from your programme of study; dependent on the length of your absence and the reasons for it, you may be advised it is in your best interests to suspend your studies until such time as you are able to study without interruption.

What can I do if I am told I am being withdrawn from my Programme of Study?

You will only be warned that you are being withdrawn from your programme of study if you are not attending your classes and do not notify us of the reason why. In this case we have to assume that you no longer wish to study with us.

We are obliged to inform our funding council, SAAS and the UK Border Force/ Home Office about students who have left.  It is very important that you attend classes, register your attendance in class and let your School know of any problems you have with attendance.

Do I need to check my GCU email?

Yes - All formal notifications emailed to students will be sent to your GCU email.

You should therefore ensure that you check this email account on a regular basis.

Please view the IT Help page for students on information on how you can setup email forwarding from your GCU email account to your personal email, if would so desire.

When can I find the University's policy on student attendance?

The University has two attendance policies, one for taught students and one for research students. Both policies can be found on the Student Regulations page.

I have a Tier 4 Student Visa, can I travel out of the UK during Term Time?

All Tier 4 students should be actively studying during term time however occasions can arise when students do have to leave the UK due to emergency/personal reasons or undertaking research field trips. In such occasions, it is important to obtain permission from your academic school and complete a Permission to Leave form when leaving the UK.

If the absence is authorised and you are given Permission to Leave, the period you will be permitted to be out of the UK will depend on your course and level of study, for which the University can continue to sponsor you under Tier 4.

Please visit the VISA Team's website for further information and steps in order to request Tier 4 Permission to Leave.