1) I have received my course / login details. What do I do now?
Once you have access to your course materials, we would recommend that you first spend some time reading through them, like you would a book. This will help to give you an understanding of all the topics covered within your course and how it flows. If you want to have the assignments out beside you as you do this, you may find it helpful to go through and highlight, or make notes in the sections that will help you answer the assignment questions.
2) How do I set out my work?
If you have a look in the study guide (a copy of this will have arrived with your course materials if you opted for the 'Course Pack', or alternatively, a copy is available for download in the ‘Resources’ section of your dashboard), this will explain how your work should be presented in terms of layout, font, margins etc.
3) Do I need to answer all of the assignment questions?
Yes, unless otherwise stated, you will need to answer all of the questions within each assignment. You should answer each question separately (i.e. not as 1 long essay covering all of the questions), with the question included in full, above each of your answers.
4) What is the word limit?
Unless otherwise stated, there are no specific word limits for the assignment questions, but we would generally suggest that you aim for around a page per question.
For those assignments that do have a specified word count, we would suggest that you stay within 10% either side of the word count (i.e. on a 1000 word limit, you should have a minimum of 900 words and a maximum of 1100 words).
5) Do I need to do any research, or will all the answers be in the course materials?
Although you will find the answers to the assignment questions within the materials, your tutors will also want to see that you have carried out some wider reading and that you can apply what you have gained from this to your answers. Be careful here though. People often resort to copying and pasting large amounts from the internet or other sources. Your answers need to be your own - your tutor wants to see what YOU know, so it is important that any wider reading you quote is used to support your work and not purely form your answers.
REMEMBER - any wider reading that you do quote, must be referenced. You'll find a guide to referencing your work in the 'Resources' section on your dashboard.
6) Can I answer the assignments in any order?
No, your answers will need to be submitted one at a time, in numerical order. If your assignments are not submitted in order, your tutor will automatically give you a 'refer' mark.
7) What happens if I do not pass an assignment?
Don't panic. If you do not pass an assignment, you will be able to resubmit your work - it will not affect your final certificate. If you're unsure how to improve your work, please contact your tutor - they will be able to point you in the right direction.
8) Is there any recommended reading for my course?
There is no need to go out and purchase additional reading materials. Although wider reading is important, there are many free sources you can use (websites, books from your local library, relevant articles from your local newspaper etc.) Google Books can be particularly useful as you can read chapters from books online - if you are only looking for a quote to use within an assignment, this is very useful! For those of you with Kindles (or the Kindle App on your iPhone / iPad or Android device), there are many free or very cheap titles available on Amazon.
9) When can I start submitting my work? Are there any deadlines?
You can start your assignments whenever you are ready. There are no specific deadlines for each one, so don't worry if life gets in the way of your studies for a while - it happens. You have a period of 12 months (depending on your course) of tutor support time, so you can submit your work at any point within that period. We do however, suggest that you avoid trying to submit all of your work at the last minute, so that you have some time to allow for any resubmissions if necessary.
10) I do not have Microsoft Office installed on my PC. What should I do?
If you do not have Office, there are free alternatives available. The one we would recommend is Open Office. For those of you using a Mac, we are unable to open files saved in .pages format, so please save your work in either .doc or .pdf format for submission to your tutor for marking.
Good luck with your studies!