5 Learning & Teaching Environment. 5-1
5.1 Learning and Teaching Strategy. 5-1
5.1.1 Developing the Learner Experience. 5-1
5.1.2 Developing the Learning Curriculum.. 5-3
5.1.3 Developing the Learning Community. 5-4
5.3.1 Learning Environment 5-7
5.3.2 Consistency of Learning. 5-7
5.3.3 Assessment of Work-Based Learning. 5-8
5.3.4 Information Provisions. 5-8
5.3.5 Data Protection and Intellectual Property. 5-8
5.3.6 Roles and Responsibilities. 5-8
5.3.7 Learning and Teaching Standards. 5-9
5.3.8 Staff Training and Support 5-10
5.4 Continuing Professional Development 5-11
5.4.1 Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CRILT) 5-11
5.5 Guidelines for Programme Delivery. 5-12
5.5.1 Publication of Programme Information. 5-12
5.5.2 Admission & Registration. 5-13
5.5.3 Annual Planning and Agreement of Schedule of Programme Delivery. 5-13
5.5.4 Decisions to Cease Delivery of a Programme. 5-16
5.5.5 Notification of Resources Required to Support Teaching & Learning. 5-17
5.5.6 Teaching Assignments & Timetables. 5-17
5.5.7 Scheduling of Teaching Activities. 5-17
5.5.8 Teaching Load and Availability. 5-19
5.5.9 Postponement of Lecture/Late Start 5-21
5.5.11 Programme Information. 5-22
5.5.13 Feedback to learners. 5-23
5.5.14 Communication with learners. 5-23
5.5.15 Recording Learning Events. 5-25
5.6 Policy on Student Attendance and Engagement 5-27
5.7 Student Engagement and Quality Enhancement 5-28
5.7.1 National Student Engagement Programme. 5-28
5.8 Prevention and Resolution of Bullying and Harassment (Students) 5-32
5.8.2 Reporting Instances of Bullying and/or Harassment 5-36
5.8.3 Informal Procedure. 5-36
5.9 Student Complaints Procedure. 5-40
5.10 Disciplinary Policy & Procedures. 5-43
5.10.1 Authority and Timelines. 5-44
5.10.4 Disciplinary Committee. 5-45
5.10.6 Rules Regarding Both Major and Minor Offences. 5-46
5.10.8 General Violations of College Code of Discipline. 5-47
5.10.9 Academic Violations. 5-48
5.10.10 Library and Information Technology Violations. 5-48
5.10.11 Residential Violations. 5-48
5.10.12 Alcohol Violations. 5-48
5.10.13 Illegal Drugs Violations. 5-49
5.10.14 Gambling Violations. 5-49
5.10.15 Key, Combination and Card Access Violations. 5-49
5.10.16 Fire Safety Violations. 5-49
5.10.17 Personal Injury Violations. 5-50
5.10.18 Theft and Damage Violations. 5-50
5.10.19 Fire Safety Violations. 5-50
5.10.20 Personal Injury Violations. 5-51
5.10.21 Theft and Damage Violations. 5-51
5.11 Drugs and Alcohol Policy. 5-51
5.11.1 Aims of the NCI College Alcohol Policy are to: 5-51
5.11.3 Policies and Procedures - Drugs and Alcohol 5-52
5.1 Learning and Teaching Strategy
This section outlines the principles and practices underpinning the learning and teaching strategy at NCI that allows for the delivery of dynamic, learner-centred academic programmes in line with the College’s values of inclusivity, community and integrity. NCI’s learning and teaching strategy is informed by three mutually dependent principles:
- Providing students with learning experiences that are effective, inclusive and empowering;
- Providing students with learning that is useful and relevant, that facilitates employment and participation, and that develops values that contribute to justice and prosperity in the society in which we live; and
- Enriching our learning community by extending the flexibility and reach of our programmes and by nurturing the professional development of our staff.
None of these principles can be considered in isolation when it comes to achieving excellence in teaching practices and learning experiences, since, for example, providing students with learning experiences that are effective and with learning that facilitates employment and participation requires programmes that are developed and reviewed in accordance with the most current requirements of industry and are delivered by teaching staff that are informed by the most up-to-date scholarship in pedagogic practices
NCI’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy (2018-2022) is not simply a technical strategy that outlines how the College will achieve pre-determined outcomes and thus demonstrate compliance to regulatory bodies and engagement with the short-term skill requirements of particular industries. Rather, this strategy speaks to the very purpose of NCI and what the College represents as an institute of teaching and learning. NCI’s strategy aims to develop the learner experience, the learning curriculum and the learning community because we believe that effective teaching requires an institution, and its staff, to always be learning, from its own and sectoral best practices, from the views of its primary stakeholders, and the philosophico-pedagogical discussions surrounding student partnerships, technology-enhanced analysis of student progression/attainment, and assessment of, as and for learning.
The Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy (2018-2022) also identifies the core activities in each of the three areas outlined above. These activities are informed by the research presented in Enhancing Student Engagement in Decision-Making: Report of the Working Group in Student Engagement in Irish Higher Education (2016)
5.1.1 Developing the Learner Experience
The ‘learner experience’ refers to every aspect of students’ engagement with the college. In practical terms, it is most apparent in the activities engaged in and services availed of by learners from the time of initial registration to the occasion of their conferral, but this can be expanded to include activities undertaken during the application process and their identification with the college following graduation. The ‘learner experience’ refers not only to students’ engagement with the academic components of their programme but also to student involvement in the decision-making processes in the institution in relation to governance and management, quality assurance and teaching and learning.
The primary activities to be undertaken in this area are concentrated around six distinct objectives.
- Enhanced Teaching
In order to foster teaching practices that are responsive to the diverse requirements of our learners and adaptive to current pedagogical research and effective uses of appropriate technologies and innovation, NCI has endeavoured to (i) establish guidelines for determining evidence-based best practices for teaching in specific subject areas, (ii) improve the existing peer-review of teaching policy to encourage greater staff engagement, and (iii) develop a teaching innovation resource to support sharing and implementation of best practices amongst teaching staff at both the local school and larger institutional levels.
- Enhanced Student Participation
Providing all students with an opportunity to meet with relevant teaching staff at least once a semester and improving the student feedback mechanism so that it is integrated into the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will ensure learners are more engaged with the delivery of their programmes and more willing to participate in the reviews that inform any quality enhancement initiatives.
- Enhanced Assessment Practices
As the entire Higher Education sector is engaged in a debate about assessment for, as and of learning, NCI believes it is equally important to also address the more practical components of assessments that concern learners. For this reason, the college is committed to (i) further extending the processes in support of greater student feedback, (ii) providing learners with fully transparent marking schemes in advance of all assessments, and (iii) continuously evaluating the peer review of marking schemes to ensure greater challenge and openness to learners, and improved collaboration on marking.
- Enhanced Modes of Delivery
NCI’s mission of improving access to education and widening participation amongst under-represented demographics in Higher Education and Further Education and Training has meant that more flexible modes of learning content delivery have always been sought as they have proven more suitable and responsive to our learners’ requirements. The college will continue its commitment in this area by (i) increasing blended learning options across all programmes, (ii) extending fully on-line programmes and block-delivery, short duration and professional development programmes, and (iii) developing best practice guidelines for work-based learning.
- Enhanced Library, Technology & Learning Spaces
As programmes respond to the opportunities afforded by technology-enhanced learning and accommodate the changing requirements of the college’s learners, it is vital that the learning environment develops in conjunction. For this reason, NCI aims to (i) provide spaces to facilitate collaborative learning, (ii) establish pedagogical design guidelines for all NCI teaching spaces, outlining how technology enhanced teaching practices can be implemented, and (iii) extending ‘bring your own device’ policies for all programmes.
- Enhanced Student Support & Wellbeing
Further supporting students’ learning and wellbeing should be at the centre of all initiatives designed to enhance the learner experience. For that reason, NCI is determined to (i) develop and implement support strategies specifically designed for international students, (ii) to formulate guidelines to assist students to ideally reduce, or at least manage, stress more effectively, and (iii) to introduce improved policies for supporting students with learning difficulties.
5.1.2 Developing the Learning Curriculum
Preparing students for employment and offering students opportunities to acquire new skills to improve their employability are the key objectives of the programmes delivered by NCI. However, it is no longer acceptable to simply prepare students for the employment market as it exists or is emerging during their time of study. Graduates must be able to respond to the challenges posed by the dynamics of an ever-changing jobs market and to identify opportunities for employment in transdisciplinary areas that do not yet have clearly mapped out entry routes or progression options. For this reason, NCI believes that encouraging independent learning and critical research skills in students is a crucial component in all learning, teaching and assessment activities, in addition to installing the values necessary for graduates to be fully engaged and informed citizens committed to lifelong learning and the ideals of participatory democracy.
- Programme Development
Developing new and enhancing existing programmes is a core function of NCI’s teaching staff and is comprehensively monitored by the college’s quality assurance system. The college actively seeks out opportunities to improve and increase its provisions in the areas of business, computing, education and psychology, while always attempting to identify potential new subject areas and opportunities for transdisciplinary learning. NCI is also committed to ensuring that all proposals for new and reviews of existing programmes are informed by the most current research in curriculum design, best practices in technology enhanced learning, and national guidelines for enhancing student engagement.
- Graduate Skills Development
In addition to the Minimum Intended Programme Learning Outcomes (MIPLOs), all programmes delivered by NCI will endeavour to develop and implement teaching, learning and assessment strategies that facilitate the development of problem-solving, collaboration and critical thinking skills, and capacity for creativity and entrepreneurialism in our learners by the time of graduation.
- Graduate Values Development
In addition to the Minimum Intended Programme Learning Outcomes (MIPLOs), all programmes delivered by NCI will endeavour to develop and implement teaching, learning and assessment strategies that ensure values such as social justice, ethics, sustainability, community and client-focused thinking are instilled in our learners by the time of graduation.
5.1.3 Developing the Learning Community
NCI values itself as both an institute of learning and a learning institute; the college not only provides excellent learning opportunities to its students but also learns from its primary stakeholders, in particular from their changing requirements and their feedback regarding the quality of services provided to them. In essence, NCI is a learning community in which the primary stakeholders, i.e. the learners, members of the immediate and more distant communities, and its staff, are engaged as partners in the delivery of programmes and provision of services to each other. While NCI’s immediate community largely comprises its students and staff, the local and regional business districts, and the national education environment, recent developments in the Higher Education sector means the college is now also part of more global communities. As the college population has expanded, inclusivity and improved access opportunities now means our learning community now includes a considerable international student population and learners who were previously considered outside the standard reach of education and training. As our community of learning becomes more diverse, it is of vital importance that all students and staff are capable of responding to the challenges and utilising the opportunities that arise.
- Serving our Learners’ Needs
NCI’s commitment to providing inclusive learning environments and widening participation in higher and further education means that the college must respond to and accommodate a diverse range of learners’ needs. For this reason, we endeavour to identify and support the individual requirements of (i) learners attending college for the first time immediately after post-primary school, (ii) adult learners or all ages and abilities, (iii) international students, and (iv) professional workers. Whether attending NCI full-time or part-time, or enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree programme or a special purpose award, all learners’ needs and feedback will be valued equally, and used to inform the quality enhancement initiatives undertaken in the college at local programme and larger institutional levels.
- Serving our Communities
Changing lives and improving society through education is at the core NCI’s philosophy. As such, it is embedded within the communities it serves and committed to ensuring that its learners come to embody and act on the same principles in their professional activities. While the college must remain attentive to the demands of larger, global communities due to the increase in international students and the changes in Ireland’s business model, it continues to prioritise its responsibilities as an educational institute within the North Inner-City and within the Irish Business community. Serving the needs and responding to the changing requirements of both these communities is testament to NCI’s genuine engagement with its stakeholders, a quality that the college aims to instil in its community of learners by example.
- Serving our Staff’s Needs
NCI acknowledges that any strategy intended to create a supportive learning community that values diversity and inclusivity, and is informed by best practices in learning, teaching and assessment must facilitate the professional development of its teaching staff so that best practices are recognised and shared, the implementation of innovative learning and teaching practises is encouraged, and an environment of critical inquiry self-reflective research is fostered. Accordingly, NCI is committed to (i) developing the education and professional capacity of all staff, (ii) facilitating teaching staff in the completion of activities aimed at improving professional competence, and (iii) embedding research and scholarship in teaching and learning as a core output of the college.
The Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CRILT) fulfils a crucial function in this area as it provides staff with the opportunity and the necessary resources to develop self-reflective teaching practices informed by the most current scholarship and that place learner-centredness at the forefront of any quality enhancement initiatives in the areas of learning, teaching and assessment. Please refer to Section 5.4 below for further information on the professional development activities coordinated by CRILT.
5.2 Blended Learning
As part of NCI’s commitment to widening participation in higher and further education, blended learning performs a crucial role in certain programmes due to the flexibility, independence and diversity of resources it provides to learners. NCI defines ‘blended learning’ as “the integrated combination of a number of pedagogic approaches – usually traditional learning with e-learning approaches”.
In this definition, the important term is “integrated combination”, which means blended learning is not simply a collection or mixture of pedagogic approaches but rather is the planned and appropriate use of different media, learning environments and teaching scenarios to deliver more engaging and effective learning experiences.
The rationale for incorporating blended learning into the teaching and learning strategy of a programme is that it provides, encourages and/or allows for:
- Flexible and adaptive learning to suit students’ needs
- Expanded collaboration and goal-oriented activities
- Self-directed and autonomous learners
- Improved learner engagement through multiple modes of learning, i.e. visualization, animation, simulation, narrative, interactivity, etc.
- More effective and varied teaching strategies, i.e. problem-based learning, learner collaboration, meaningful contexts and case studies, continuous assessments, simulations, practice-based learning, etc.
Programmes delivered through or that include elements of blended learning utilise the College’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), currently Moodle, and virtual classroom technology platform, currently Adobe Acrobat, to present, organise and manage student learning activities.
Faculty involved in the delivery of a blended learning programme or blended learning content must endeavour to make the learning experience as similar to the conventional face-to-face classroom setting as possible. This may involve adapting their presentation style, modifying the content to be delivered and/or incorporating additional formative assessment activities to encourage engagement in the online classroom. Mapping the Minimum Intended Learning Programme Outcomes (MIPLOs) to the teaching and learning strategy for a blended learning programme is completed as part of the initial validation conducted by QQI. This process allows the Programme Director and Module Owners to discuss the design of the teaching and learning content with the instructional designer, thus ensuring that the presentation style and formative assessment activities are directly related to the MIPLOs.
The instructional settings to be used in the delivery of a blended learning programme include:
- Traditional Classes
- On-line Classes - fixed schedule with opportunities for learner interaction using
virtual classroom technology
- Flexible Activities
- Digital Actions – online activities that are time flexible
- Independent Learning – self-directed learning using on-line, print and
- Collaboration – learners collaborating with other learners
See Chapter 13 for further information on Programmes Using Technology Mediated Learning.
5.3 Work-Based Learning
Work-based learning is defined as credit bearing learning that takes place in a workplace setting and is a mandatory element of a programme of study. As such, work-based learning can be of any duration. At present, NCI delivers work-based learning in the following formats, either as the primary mode or a component part of a programme’s learning and teaching strategy:
- Collaborative arrangements to provide in-company training
- Accredited placements offered as part of undergraduate degrees
- Industry based projects/dissertations offered on postgraduate degrees
- Apprenticeship programmes
NCI’s policy on work-based learning has been developed to ensure that the learning environment is managed using the same principles as the traditional learning environment. Accordingly, this policy is informed by the following principles:
- All activities must be consistent with the College’s strategic plans, (ideally) arise from School plans and be congruent with the School’s existing academic provision, bringing clear benefits to all those involved;
- All activities should only be delivered with other organisations that have
- the academic OR professional standing to successfully contribute to or deliver programmes of study to appropriate academic and professional standards;
- the financial standing to sustain them;
- adequate infrastructure facilities and resources to support them, including appropriate staffing; and
- the legal standing to contract to their delivery;
- All activities should be equivalent in quality and standards to comparable programmes delivered solely by the College, and be comparable in student learning, support and experiences to those programmes based solely at NCI; and
- All activities should give adequate opportunity for student representation and feedback;
Programmes delivered solely through, or that consist of components of, work-based learning are subject to the College’s existing processes for programme monitoring. The Vice Dean of the School is responsible for ensuring that the annual School Report and contains the observations and recommendations of the relevant Programme Reviews, which contain the outcomes of the Programme Committee Meeting, the Class Representative Meeting, External Examiner reports and learner feedback surveys. Such programmes are also subject to revalidation every 5 years using the programme revalidation process.
5.3.1 Learning Environment
The work-based learning environment should be safe and appropriate to the learning taking place. All environments should be appropriately vetted and due diligence carried out on prospective employers. A tri-party agreement between the learner, the employer and NCI must be completed in all cases. In the unlikely event of a minor or vulnerable adult going on placement, the appropriate child protection arrangements should be put in place.
Please refer to Chapter 3 (Section 3.6.13) on the due diligence process conducted when developing programmes delivered through collaborative provision for further information on how the learning environment is assessed prior to the delivery of programmes involving work-based learning. Chapter 3 (3.6.9) also provides details on the quality assurance system that ensures the standards of this learning-environment are maintained as the programme is delivered.
5.3.2 Consistency of Learning
Each learner must be visited in accordance with the programme validation requirements by the academic supervisor/placement supervisor to ensure that the learning outcomes associated with work-based learning can be achieved.
The ratio of learners to academic supervisor/placement supervisor will normally be no more than 8:1 or the equivalent of a module workload in the case of supervisors who are undertaking only this role. All supervisors, placement tutors and workplace mentors must be appropriately briefed on the nature of the programme, the nature of the learning and how this is being managed at NCI. Those involved in assessing learners must have undertaken training at NCI.
All supervisors, placement tutors and workplace mentors must be appropriately briefed on the nature of the programme, the nature of the learning and how this is being managed at NCI. Those involved in assessing learners must have undertaken training at NCI.
5.3.3 Assessment of Work-Based Learning
All assessment of work-based learning is subject to NCI’s quality assurance procedures for assessment. Work-based learning must be designed so that judgement is not dependent on a single marker and that it can be externally examined.
Work-based learning may or may not be graded. When considering the grading of work-based learning, consideration should be given to impact on the award classification of the learner, the experience and expertise in assessment of those grading the work and the level of the programme.
5.3.4 Information Provisions
Each learner shall receive a placement handbook or in the case of apprentices, a programme handbook, outlining the processes, expectations of them as a learner and the responsibilities of NCI and the employer. Each workplace mentor shall receive a handbook outlining the processes, expectations of them as an employer and the responsibilities of NCI and the learner.
5.3.5 Data Protection and Intellectual Property
When designing work-based learning, the nature and types of data that must be shared for the placement to be effective should be made clear to both the learner and the employer. The data that may need to be shared between the employer and NCI may include but is not limited to:
- Attendance data
- Results data
- Commercially sensitive information for the purposes of validating assessment outcomes
- Submissions of student’s work-based assessment
5.3.6 Roles and Responsibilities
The following individuals have particular responsibilities concerning the monitoring and maintenance of academic standards in work-based learning activities.
126.96.36.199 Academic Supervisor
The Academic Supervisor is based at NCI and is responsible for supervising the learner’s successful completion of the work-based learning modules as set out in the programme schedule. In particular, they will liaise with the workplace mentor to review the delivery of the programme and the development of the learner, paying close attention to the Minimum Intended Programme Learning Outcomes and the Minimum Intended Module Learning Outcomes, as appropriate, and assessing the learner’s achievement of these as evidenced through the learner’s submitted evidence.
188.8.131.52 Workplace Mentor
The Workplace Mentor is an experienced officer within the organisation where the learner is completing their work-based learning. They are responsible for supporting the learner’s personal development and encouraging their independent learning by providing confidential feedback to reinforce what the learner does well and to identify the areas where they need to improve. Ultimately, the Workplace Mentor assist the learner in taking increased initiative for their own learning and development, and greater responsibility for managing the mentoring relationship.
The Workplace Mentor also supports the development of the learner by leveraging internal learning and development opportunities that are relevant to the learning outcomes of the programme/module(s); challenging the learner to demonstrate what they have learned and correct any misunderstandings; and facilitating the learner in reinforcing knowledge by working on tasks where they can directly apply their learning.
184.108.40.206 The Placement Tutor
The Placement Tutor supports and evaluates student teachers during the placement by means of meetings, site visits and portfolio assessments. The Placement Tutors work with the Module Leader and the Programme Director and are members of the Programme
220.127.116.11 Placement Co-Ordinator
The placement co-ordinator has overall administrative responsibility for the placements. They assign Placement Tutors to each student. They monitor progress and make sure that students and Placement Tutors keep up-to-date submissions. The placement co-ordinator will also act as liaison with the placement setting.
18.104.22.168 Mentor Teacher
An experienced professional who works in the co-operating institution and who agrees to act as a mentor for the student teacher while he or she is fulfilling the placement.
5.3.7 Learning and Teaching Standards
The following standards must be met when delivering blended learning programmes and/or content.
- MIPLOs and Minimum Intended Module Learning Outcomes (MIMLOs) should be the same regardless of the mode of delivery unless approved during the programme validation and explicitly specified programme schedule.
- Lecturers should apply good pedagogic design to their production and planning of student learning activities. This is achieved by mapping such activities against the MIPLOS and/or MIMLOs
- Where possible, the amount of student contact hours should be the same. In a blended learning context, “contact hours” are designated as:
- Learning events where learners have opportunities to ask questions contiguously, i.e. conventional classroom or online class environment
- Guided learning activities, i.e. interactive exercises that are pedagogically designed to enable the student to achieve a specific learning outcome)
- Learners should be provided with opportunities to review archived instructional materials for revision and assignment purposes.
5.3.8 Staff Training and Support
To ensure the above standards are consistently met, staff are provided with ongoing support and continuing professional development opportunities in the area of technology mediated and technology enhanced learning, in particular in the design, production and implementation of learning and teaching strategies suited to NCI’s VLE.
Any staff member asked to participate in online delivery is required to undertake training sessions aimed at improving online pedagogy and ensuring consistent and appropriate teaching methodologies, regardless of prior online delivery experience outside of NCI.
Please refer to Section 5.4 below for further information regarding the professional development opportunities for faculty in the areas of learning and teaching.
22.214.171.124 Synchronous Online Delivery
Training on the use of the virtual classroom platform is currently modelled on University of Maryland Sloan online training. It addresses 5 key competencies
- System training
- Avoiding standard practice
- Discussing motivation
- Course design
- Institutional support
Modules set for synchronous online delivery must be discussed with an instructional designer. This provides the lecturer with an opportunity to become cognisant of how module delivery may have to vary in an online mode, while also allowing for discussion with, and feedback from an expert regarding the planned learning and teaching strategy, and the resources available.
Each module will have a Learning Experience Monitor (LEM) assigned for the first 2-3 weeks of delivery. The LEM will be an individual trained in pedagogical approaches for online delivery who will assist lecturers in refining their technique and navigating the online system. They will also advise the IT department if there are any technical issues that require monitoring.
126.96.36.199 Asynchronous Online Delivery
Content developed for asynchronous delivery is subject to the following process:
- Development of Traditional Content
- The module developer develops content in accordance with the approved module descriptor in traditional text and/or slide style. This includes instructions with respect to assessments and how formative assessment should be accommodated.
- Slides and accompanying text are proof read by a second reader who is a subject expert in the area
- Treatment by the instructional designer.
- The content is then reviewed by the instructional designer and converted into appropriate content using the VLE or other SCORM based tools.
- The voice recording is prepared to be overlaid on the content.
The choice of content to be delivered in this manner should be chosen carefully as the resources required to maintain and update this type of delivery are significant. This mode is suitable for historical and/or theoretical concepts that are not likely to change frequently.
5.4 Continuing Professional Development
NCI recognises the importance of teaching and learning for both its students and its staff. Furthermore, the College also appreciates that in order to be a teaching and learning institution, its staff must be provided with opportunities to learn and to use this learning to inform their teaching practices. For these reasons, NCI places great emphasis on building its capacity to increase existing, and develop new knowledge, through engagement in advanced research and professional activities, and the provision of professional development opportunities. The learning thus achieved can then be utilised by staff in their teaching activities, such as, programme design, development and delivery; curriculum and module content; and facilitating student engagement.
Having a faculty that is fully engaged with developing best practices, facilitating independent learning and knowledge dissemination, and involved in collaborative enhancement sets an excellent example for the College and encourages a similar attitude in the student community. In addition, providing teaching staff with continuing professional development opportunities in the area of learning and teaching further strengthens the College’s commitment to realising ‘students as partners’ in the development, delivery and enhancement of its academic programmes.
5.4.1 Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CRILT)
CRILT coordinates the teaching enhancement services provided to all teaching staff at NCI. At the core of this service is the Teaching Enhancement course available on the College’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This course is available to all new and existing faculty and associate faculty, and addresses the six competence areas identified for accomplished teaching by the CRILT. These are:
- Teaching Effectiveness
- Reflection on Practice
- Digital Capacity
- How College Works
CRILT provides professional development workshops and specialist seminars in each of the above areas to improve the College’s capacity to provide an excellent student learning experience informed by the principles of reflective practice and continuous enhancement. Proficiency in the above competence areas is demonstrated by staff accessing the online resources and completing the associated activities.
CRILT also coordinates the induction of new teaching staff through its “New to Teaching” seminar series, which addresses assessment and feedback, teaching strategies, and developing teaching skills. New teaching staff can also request to meet with a specialist teaching practice mentor to address a particular area of concern.
As the Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching is delivered through CRILT, the centre has access to a wide range of scholarship on best practices. These are often made available to teaching staff in the form of online resources accessed through the Teaching Enhancement course on NCI’s VLE. Furthermore, its ‘Accomplished Teacher’ workshop is specifically designed for NCI teaching staff and those involved in supporting student learning. This workshop provides staff with the opportunity to share best practices in the area of learning and teaching, and facilitates collaborative learning in the six core competency areas mentioned above. CRILT are also responsible for implementing the ‘Accomplished Teacher’ framework. Please refer to Chapter 8 (Section 188.8.131.52) for further information about this framework and to Chapter 8 (Section 184.108.40.206) to understand how the above professional development opportunity is mapped against the appointment criteria for faculty at different grades.
5.5 Guidelines for Programme Delivery
Identifying and responding to the needs of all our learners equally and conscientiously; providing a learning environment that facilitates increased student engagement in learning, teaching and assessment activities; and developing a culture where students are partners in the quality assurance system and quality enhancement initiatives are some of the core activities outlined in the college’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy. Accordingly, NCI has developed the following policies, guidelines and associated procedures to address some of the practical considerations that must be maintained when delivering programmes that respond to learners’ requirements in an environment conducive to effective learning, teaching and assessment practices.
5.5.1 Publication of Programme Information
The publication of programme information should be carried out with reference to the Policy on Public Information
220.127.116.11 Full-Time Programmes
Full-time programme information is made available for the production of marketing material 18 months prior to the intake date. Any programmes that are not yet approved by QQI should not be advertised in the prospectus unless the validation has been applied for using the processes described in the Policy on the Development & Validation of Programmes Leading to HE awards. If this is the case, all materials for this programme should prominently and clearly specify that programme validation is pending using the phrase ‘Subject to QQI validation’. If the programme is not yet approved only a broad indicative outline of the curriculum should be included in any pre-publicity materials. Detailed curricula should not be published until validated.
18.104.22.168 Part-time Programmes
Part-time programme information is made available for the production of marketing material 9 months prior to the expected intake date. Any programmes that are not yet approved should not be advertised in the prospectus unless the programme submission document has been submitted to the awarding body using the processes described above. If this is the case, all materials for this programme should prominently and clearly specify that programme validation is pending using the phrase ‘Subject to QQI validation. If the programme is not yet approved only a broad indicative outline of the curriculum should be included in any pre-publicity materials. Detailed curricula should not be published until validated.
5.5.2 Admission & Registration
Learners may not be admitted or registered on a programme that has not been through the validation process as outlined above. The Certificate of Validation or equivalent documentation must be received prior to admission and registration unless permission is received from the awarding body.
Offers may be made to applicants pending validation of the programme. Offers should not be made unless the programme has been submitted to the awarding body for validation.
5.5.3 Annual Planning and Agreement of Schedule of Programme Delivery
As part of the annual budgeting cycle, the schedule of expected overall programme delivery is agreed by Executive Group. This will be based on the strategic plan of the College and operational considerations such as availability of location, expected market demand etc.
Figure 1 outlines the process and interplay between the relevant functions within the College throughout this process.
The schedule for full-time programme delivery is set 18 months ahead of the expected intake date. It should be available by mid-March. Executive Group may opt to remove a programme from the advertised set of programmes based on application information made available in March preceding the intake date. Due to the impact on the CAO process, this decision must be taken in time for the change of mind process in July. All applicants to this programme should be contacted.
The schedule for part-time programme delivery is set 9 months ahead of the expected intake date. This schedule will include indicative days, timeframes, locations and expected intake per cohort
Figure 5‑1: Programme Delivery Planning Process
5.5.4 Decisions to Cease Delivery of a Programme
22.214.171.124 Cessation of an Approved Programme
Where an Approved Programme does not operate for two years or more due to lack of learner demand, the Programme Committee may decide not to include the Programme in the next Programmatic Review for revalidation.
The decision to withdraw a programme from CAO or not to offer a programme in a particular year due to lack of demand is taken by Executive Group, having consulted with the Dean of School concerned.
It is National College of Ireland’s policy that should a programme commence, it will be offered to completion for the specific intake of students.
126.96.36.199 Non-Commencement of an Offered Programme
In cases where an offered programme may not run for reasons such as non-viable numbers, unsuitability of location or unavailability of appropriate teaching staff, learners are offered the following.
- Transfer to the same programme at another NCI location if appropriate
- Full refund on fees paid for that academic year and appropriate guidance as to other education options.
In such cases, the decision to not run a programme in such cases as above is made at least 5 working days prior to the proposed start date for programmes at levels 5-6 of the National Qualifications Framework. For all other programmes, the decision is made at least 10 working days prior to the proposed start date. Refunds are made to those persons or organisations that originally paid the programme fee.
Prospective Learners are notified in all correspondence and publications that programmes may not commence for reasons such as those outlined above.
188.8.131.52 Cessation of a Programme that has Commenced
In exceptional cases where a programme is terminated after it has commenced and prior to the normal completion of the programme for reasons such as non-viable numbers, unsuitability of location or unavailability of appropriate teaching staff, learners will be offered the following options
- Transfer to the same course at another NCI location if appropriate
- Endeavour to facilitate transfer to a similar programme with another provider using procedures agreed under the HECA PEL Scheme Action plan
- Full refund on fees paid for that academic year and appropriate guidance as to other education options
Where appropriate, a statement of credit will be provided for successful completion of modules. Refunds are made to those persons or organisations that originally paid the fee.
5.5.5 Notification of Resources Required to Support Teaching & Learning
A report on additional software, hardware and information resources shall be made available to the IT department and Library & Information Service as part of the annual budgeting process.
5.5.6 Teaching Assignments & Timetables
Teaching assignments for the following year (all semesters) should be made by 28th February (for September – May delivery) or 30th September (February-December delivery). This is completed by the Dean or Vice Dean of School as appropriate.
These assignments will be made based on decisions made regarding programme delivery for the following year and expected intakes. Expected intake should be calculated based on previous years’ trends of intake/retention and/or completion.
The Dean of School will provide detail of any resourcing requirements to the HR Department by 28th February (for September – May delivery) or 30th September (February-December delivery).
Teaching assignment, capacity requirements and arrangements for tutorials should be provided to the Central Timetabling Office by 28th February (for September – May delivery) or 30th September (February-December delivery).
184.108.40.206 Subject Teams and Module Owners
For modules that are shared across multiple programmes, module owners must be identified by each School.
220.127.116.11 Notification of Module Teams
Arising from the assignment of teaching loads, module teams will be identified for modules that are shared by several programmes. Details of the module teams will be provided to all faculty via the staff portal
18.104.22.168 Notification of Programme Teams
Arising from the assignment of teaching loads, programme teams will be identified and details provided to all faculty via the staff portal
5.5.7 Scheduling of Teaching Activities
To ensure that all learners at NCI are provided with the same high standard of learning opportunities and within learning environments that are suited to their requirements, the following policy and associated procedures have been developed for the scheduling of teaching activities.
NCI also recognises the importance that effective scheduling of teaching activities plays in enhancing the student experience. Therefore, the following conditions apply when compiling the academic timetable.
22.214.171.124 General Principles
When compiling the timetable of learning activities for the College, the Central Timetable Office (CTO) employs the following general principles:
- Public Holidays, Good Friday and the Christmas Closedown period are not considered teaching days. Please refer to Academic Calendar for exact dates.
- Teaching activity starts sharply on the hour. All rooms should be vacated five minutes to the hour to allow time for students to vacate the room and enable the following session to start on time.
- Teaching activities take precedence over non-teaching activities. Bookings for Open Days may be requested as part of the timetable construction process however, due to the demand on teaching space there is no guarantee that rooms required will be available.
- All teaching activity must be recorded in Syllabus+ and attached to relevant student sets. No teaching activity must be recorded as an ad hoc booking.
- All campus space designated as teaching space is considered owned by CTO in Syllabus+ and the CTO has responsibility and authority to allocate this teaching space in accordance with this policy.
- Teaching activities will not be arbitrarily scheduled at the same time every year via rolling over of activity bookings in Syllabus+.
126.96.36.199 Priority Scheduling
Teaching activities are scheduled within priority blocks to ensure that teaching activities with specific requirements or constraints are given the resources that they need. Priority is as follows:
- Teaching activities with set timetables as their times and dates are inflexible.
- Any activity that requires to be scheduled at a specific time of the day.
- All other teaching activities.
188.8.131.52 Daytime Programmes (Full-time and Part-time)
The teaching hours for daytime programmes at NCI are 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday, with the following conditions:
- Classes on a Wednesday must finish at 1pm to facilitate student recreation;
- Students and teaching staff will have at least one hour free from 12pm – 2pm each day; and
- Classes will only be scheduled during the 5pm-6pm timeslot on a needs must basis.
To enhance the student experience, NCI also endeavours to ensure that:
- No more than 4 consecutive hours of teaching activity will be scheduled for all students
- No more than 3 consecutive hours of teaching will be scheduled for School of Business where possible
- No more than 2 hours of consecutive teaching in the same module will be scheduled. Daytime block delivery is an exception to this.
- The time between students start and end times on a particular teaching day will not exceed 9 hours.
- Compulsory learning activities do not clash with optional academic activities
- A learner will not be scheduled for just 1 hour of teaching on a single day, where possible and permitted by resources
- A learner will not have more than 2 hours between scheduled teaching on any given day, where possible and permitted by resources
- Teaching activities for Higher Certificates in the School of Business are not scheduled before 10am, where possible and permitted by resources
- Tutorials, Labs and Practicals are scheduled after the relevant lecture(s) but ideally not on the same day
184.108.40.206 Evening Programmes (Part-time)
The teaching hours for part-time evening programmes are 6pm – 10pm Monday – Friday and 9am – 6pm Saturday with the following conditions:
- At least a 1 hour break will be scheduled between 12pm – 2pm on Saturdays for both students and teaching staff
- Evening classes will not commence before 6pm on any given weekday, except in exceptional circumstances. In these cases, the relevant school must submit a request to the CTO by the published deadline
- No teaching activities will take place after 10pm Monday – Friday or anytime on Sundays.
220.127.116.11 Daytime Block Delivery
The teaching hours for programmes that include the block delivery of learning content are 9am – 6pm Monday – Saturday with the following conditions:
- students are generally scheduled for a maximum of 3 days in a single week
- students are scheduled for either one or two 3-4 hour blocks a day with a maximum of an hour break between blocks for lunch
5.5.8 Teaching Load and Availability
While NCI recognises that poorly scheduled teaching activities can have adverse effects on student experience, the college also acknowledges that the requirements of teaching staff must also be considered to ensure a high standard of teaching activities for all learners. For this reason, the CTO adheres to the following conditions when compiling the schedule of teaching activities.
- No regular, ongoing teaching activities are scheduled between 1pm – 6pm on Wednesdays to facilitate meetings and other activities.
- If a staff member is scheduled to teach until 10pm on a given evening, then generally they will not be scheduled until the end of the morning the next day, except by agreement between the staff member and the Dean of School.
- Teaching staff can be assigned a maximum of four hours continuous teaching activity before a break is scheduled.
- The time between teaching staff starting and ending teaching on a particular teaching day will not exceed 9 hours, except by agreement between the staff member and the Dean of School.
- No teaching day can exceed 12 hours from start to finish.
The CTO adheres to the following conditions relating to teaching load and availability when scheduling teaching activities that are delivered by Faculty.
- Whether a faculty member is assigned to teach a daytime, evening or block module, or a combination of delivery modes, is decided by the Deans of School. Once a faculty member has been allocated a daytime, evening or block module to teach, it will be assumed by the CTO that they are fully schedulable during the teaching times for these delivery modes indicated above.
- On the assumption above, Faculty assigned to only teach on full time daytime modules can be scheduled up to 5 of the 5 teaching days. Faculty assigned to evening modules or a combination of evening and daytime modules can be scheduled for 5 of the 6 teaching days, except by agreement between the staff member and the Dean of School.
- Any Faculty member that would like to request a reduction in their availability for the standard teaching times listed above, due to such things as research activity, must request this in writing to their Dean of School and then this must be communicated to the CTO by the agreed deadline.
- The standard teaching load per week for Faculty Staff is 12 hours, and Faculty can expect to be scheduled up to those 12 hours. For Faculty members with agreed higher teachings loads, they will be scheduled up to the maximum agreed.
- Any reductions in teaching loads, due to such things as research activity, must be formally agreed with the Dean of School and communicated to the CTO within the agreed deadline.
18.104.22.168 Associate Faculty
The CTO adheres to the following conditions relating to teaching load and availability when scheduling teaching activities that are delivered by Associate Faculty.
- Associate Faculty availability will be taken into account when scheduling, but there can be no guarantee that all teaching activity assigned to associate faculty can be timetabled within their notified availability.
- 2 hours is the minimum of hours that can be scheduled in one day.
- Within an Associate Faculty’s availability, and within the guidelines of this policy, Associate Faculty can expect to be scheduled within the full range of teaching hours listed above, although they will only be scheduled for a maximum of 5 of the 6 teaching days, except by agreement between the staff member and the Dean of School.
- There is no stated minimum or maximum teaching hours that Associate Faculty can be scheduled for during the week, although normally Associate Faculty will not be scheduled for less than two hours per week of teaching activity and no more than 18 hours per week of teaching activity, unless approved by the Dean of School.
5.5.9 Postponement of Lecture/Late Start
Classes should be postponed only in the case of emergency and missed lectures must be made up. In the case of known non-attendance, faculty should arrange to swop with colleagues and/or arrange alternative sessions with students.
NCI policy and process for assessment is detailed in Chapter 4 of the QA Handbook. Assessment should be carried out in accordance with this policy and process.
22.214.171.124 Annual Agreement of Module & Programme Assessment Strategy
The Programme Team, both the current iteration and those who are due to deliver the programme the following year, will meet before the commencement of term to review the current programme and module assessment strategy. The assessment strategy for the following year should be agreed no later than the 30th of June (for September – May delivery) or 31st October for (February – December delivery). This will allow time for faculty to prepare and for the support services (e.g. disability support, IT) to ensure that the assessment strategy can be supported.
This annual review refers only to the nature of the assessment instrument or the number of coursework elements. Proposals to change the overall assessment structure and/or the weighting of assessment must be processed through the module modification process as outlined in Chapter 3 (3.8.3).
Consideration will be required for the co-ordination of the inputs of module teams in agreeing assessment strategies for shared modules.
126.96.36.199 Variation in Assessment
It is College policy that the assessment strategy for shared modules will be the same for the purposes of consistency and quality assurance. However, it is recognised under the principles of assessment that in some circumstances a variation in assessment may be required e.g to allow for blended delivery, international delivery, learners with specific learning needs or other pedagogical reasons. Such variation shall be approved at the original validation or through differential validation as appropriate. If a validation process is not being undertaken, proposals for variation in assessment should be submitted to the module owner. This will then be reviewed at subject team level from which a recommendation will be made to the School Committee.
This recommendation will be approved at the Academic Standards & Policy Committee.
5.5.11 Programme Information
188.8.131.52 The Programme Handbook
The programme handbook provides information to the student on his/her programme. The programme handbook will refer to common information for the programme, i.e. programme learning outcomes, award information, contact details for key services policy for late submission, policy for extensions, deferrals etc. In order to ensure that learners are fully aware of requirements, it is good practice to cross reference the module guide to the programme guide and/or to the student portal.
Approval of the Programme Handbook
The programme handbook is approved annually by the Programme Director and forms part of the initial validation documentation set. . In the case of programmes that may have more than 1 person dealing with different cohorts of learner on the same programme, the School will appoint the director who should take responsibility for the completion on the handbook.
Publication of the Programme Handbook
The programme handbook should be published electronically on the student portal. It should be available prior to the commencement of teaching and at orientation/induction. A template for completion of the Programme Handbook is available in Appendix 1.
184.108.40.206 The Module Handbook
In accordance with best practice, European Standards & Guidelines for Quality Assurance and Assessment & Standards (2015), the module handbook has been created to supplement the approved module descriptor. The guide gives more specific guidance to learners about what they can expect from class, the basis of their assessment and what is expected of them in terms of class participation and wider reading etc. as appropriate to their module. In many cases this information already exists and individual lecturers have been provided it in a number of ways. This handbook brings these practices together into one common template for use by all. The module handbook is closely linked to the programme handbook.
Whilst all sections of the outline will be appropriate to all modules, there will be variance in the detail required to ensure full information is provided to learners. Technical and numerate modules may not require much guidance as to readings. However, learners should be referred to appropriate examples of computing codes, mathematical models etc.
Variations in Assessment of Common/Shared Modules
Where a module is delivered over multiple programmes or delivery modes, it is recognised that there will be variances in the specific weeks that a subject is dealt with, submission dates of assignments or under approved circumstances the assessment structure or assignment brief may vary. Where a module falls into this category, lecturers are encouraged to collaborate on the module guide and agree variations to ensure that learners are provided with the correct information.
Approval of the Module Handbook
The module handbook is approved by the module owner. The module owner is appointed by the School to ensure the academic integrity of the module as it is taught across the College.
Publication of the Module Handbook
The module handbook may be made available in hard copy, on Moodle or on the student portal. Whilst it is preferable that a common place is used e.g. Moodle, it is recognised that this may not be feasible for this initial implementation. The information on the handbook may be placed on Moodle as a document download or the Moodle week by week schedule can be used to provide the same information.
A template for completion of the Module Handbook is available in Appendix 2.
5.5.12 Use of Moodle
It is expected that all faculty will make use of Moodle as a single point of contact for module information. Faculty may opt to use Moodle in different ways but at a minimum, the following information should be made available:
- Link to programme handbook
- Link to programme and module details on Coursebuilder
- Link to the module handbook
5.5.13 Feedback to learners
Faculty should identify the date that feedback will be provided on all formative and summative assessment. This will normally be within 3 weeks of the assessment in the case of coursework. If for unforeseen circumstances the published date cannot be met, faculty should inform learners in good time.
The feedback provided to learners should be detailed and constructive.
Formal feedback days are available for end of semester examinations. These dates should be agreed as part of the academic calendar and published. A student may request formal feedback of examination scripts at the end of each semester (or assessment period in the case of non semesterised programmes). This should not be confused with requests for review or recheck which take place at the end of the second semester.
5.5.14 Communication with learners
220.127.116.11 Use of email/SMS texting
Learners should be emailed using the contact functionality within QuercusPlus. This ensures a record of the correspondence with the learner/class group is maintained.
- Broadcast SMS texting or emailing of current students is to be used in the following circumstances only:
- Notification of a cancelled class
- Notification of a change in class time
- Reminder of critical deadline eg closing date for Careers events, graduation deadlines
- Reminder of student services/learning development seminars
- Notification that examination results are published
- Notification that the publication of examinations results has been delayed
- Notification of registration dates
- Notification of change in library opening hours
- Broadcast SMS texting or emailing of applicants is to be used in the following circumstance only
- Notification of interview
- Notification of interview change
- Reminder of deadline for acceptance of offers
- Notification of registration dates
- Broadcast SMS texting or emailing of prospective students is to be used in the following circumstance only
- Invitation to open days
- Invitation to recruitment events
- Invitation to revision events
- Broadcast SMS texting or emailing of graduates/alumni is to be used in the following circumstance only
- Invitation to alumni/graduate seminars
- Invitation to alumni/graduate reunions
- The use of Broadcast SMS or email facility should not be used for any other reason. The Registrar must approve use of this facility and the student/prospective student/ phone number/email address for any other reason
18.104.22.168 Source of Telephone Number and email address
- The telephone number used will be that as stated in the student record held on QuercusPlus
- The email address used will the students current NCI email address or in the case of applicants, the email address provided by the applicant
- The student will be automatically enrolled on the above services at registration or application. (this will be actioned using the Application/Registration Checks option on QuercusPlus – true = opt in; false = opt out. Acceptance of the service is to be incorporated into the Registration /Application form
- During the year or the recruitment process, the student/applicant may opt out of these services and must do so at the Academic Affairs office by filling in the withdrawal of SMS service form
- It is the duty of the Director of Student Services to ensure that this is actioned on NCI systems
- The contact number or email address used will be that as provided by the prospective student forthe particular service that the contact number was sent for
- The prospective students may opt out of the service at any point using an unsubscribe text or form (to be clarified)
- It is the duty of the Director of Marketing to ensure that processes are in place to ensure that this opt out is actioned on NCI systems
- The record of numbers is to be stripped at the end of each recruitment season
- The telephone number/email address used will be that as stated in the alumni record held on QuercusPlus /Alumni office system
- The graduate will be enrolled on these services if they opt to do so
- The graduate must opt out of these services and must do so at the Alumni office by filling in the withdrawal of SMS service form
- It is the duty of the Alumni Officer to ensure that this is actioned on NCI systems
The content of any text or email will comply with normal business practices and data protection/freedom of information legislation.
Faculty should use the messaging functionality for classes in QuercusPlus. Administrative staff should use the distribution lists provided by the IT department
All staff should use the information supplied by reports from the MIS system and the XIAM texting service. Note, that SMS messages should only be sent to those students who have agreed to be contacted in this manner.
This policy applies to the use of Email and SMS in the context of general information being provided to a group of students. When corresponding with an individual student, normal business rules apply
5.5.15 Recording Learning Events
The use by learners of devices to record learning events is strictly prohibited. However, it is permitted in exceptional circumstances and to enhance access and engagement for learners with a disability or learning/health difficulty. The following policy and procedure applies to audio recording only; visual recording is permitted in no circumstances outside of the blended learning context and for formal assessment purposes.
Academic staff can provide personal permission to a learner to record their lecture and/or tutorial if they wish to do so. There is no obligation for academic staff to provide such permission. However, academic staff are obliged to allow audio recordings of their learning events for learners authorised by the Disability Office and in accordance with their educational needs assessment.
Learners who are not authorised by the Disability Office to record lectures and/or tutorials must request permission from the relevant academic member of staff prior to the learning event taking place. Where a learner records a lecture without seeking and obtaining prior approval it will be treated as misconduct, which will result in the College taking disciplinary action against the student(s) responsible.
Teaching staff who wish to record their own lectures for professional development purposes may do so only after advising the learners present. A learner may request that a lecturer stop recording in order to protect confidentiality and personal data.
22.214.171.124 Reasonable Accommodation
NCI is committed to the principles established by the Equal Status Act 2000 and Disability Act 2005 to make reasonable accommodation to learners with a disability. The use of recording devices, i.e. dictaphones or computer-based recording devices, in lectures and/or tutorials should normally be allowed by academic staff once the learner has been deemed eligible by the Disability Office (DO) through an Educational Needs Assessment (ENA). The ENA must indicate which accommodation is the most suitable to that learner’s requirements and recording will only be permitted under those circumstances. Academic staff will be informed of this authorisation and the rationale for this via the ENA report, which will be supplied electronically to Programme Coordinators.
Learners authorised by the Disability Office to use a recording device in lectures and/or tutorials must agree to the following conditions in writing. The original student agreements by the DO and a copy will be attached to the student record. If a learner has not signed the agreement, they will not be authorised to use a recording device.
- recordings are for personal use only and for the purpose of private study. No further use is permitted. Students must not transfer, disseminate, publish in another media, or otherwise disclose the recording to any third party including the National College of Ireland;
- the processing of any personal data is in accordance with GDPR (2016);
- the lecturer concerned retains the rights to any recording made of a lecture and/or tutorial and also owns the rights to the electronic distribution of a lecture and/or tutorial. Any unauthorised commercial exploitation of recorded material by the NCI or student is prohibited;
- any recorded material used in a written assessment must be acknowledged and correctly referenced within their text. If the learner does not understand how to do this correctly, they should seek advice from appropriate academic or library staff;
- misuse of recorded material, including but not limited to unauthorised re-distribution, disclosure, dissemination, publication on any media including but not limited to social network sites, will be deemed a form of misconduct, which will result in the College taking disciplinary action against the student(s) responsible; and
- all recordings must be stored securely in read-only format and with password protection. They must be destroyed after the successful completion of the course.
When recording a learning event, the learner must be aware that:
- other students in the lecture and/or tutorial are to be informed by the lecturer that recording is taking place and that such recording is solely for a student’s private study and that it will be destroyed on completion of the module;
- on occasions, where sensitive issues or personal experiences are being discussed, lecturers or other students can insist that recording stops in order to protect confidentiality and personal data. In this event, all recording devices will be switched off immediately;
- where a lecturer feels that a recording is negatively affecting the quality of the students’ discussion then he/she may direct that recording cease; and
- recorded lectures and/or tutorial or seminar discussions may not be used in any way that brings into disrepute or intends to bring into disrepute the Faculty member, other Lecturers, or students whose comments are recorded as a part of the teaching activity and where it is used in this way, it shall be treated as a form of misconduct which will result in the College taking disciplinary action against the student(s) concerned.
126.96.36.199 Blended Learning Programmes
By their nature, blended learning programmes are designed to be recorded and archived for further and future use. Learners enrolled on such programmes will, at registration, consent to this recording and archiving. The conditions outlined above do not apply to these programmes. However, learners enrolled on a blended learning programme may insist that recording be ceased where sensitive issues or personal experiences are being discussed.
5.6 Policy on Student Attendance and Engagement
NCI expects its learners to engage with and attend all learning activities and events associated with their course of study at the National College of Ireland. Student Engagement and Attendance data is captured and monitored for the following purposes
- The early identification of at risk or habitual non-attenders. The College recognises the value of engagement monitoring to help identify students who may be in danger of leaving their course of study. Through early identification of such students, the College has the opportunity to proactively offer assistance and guidance to encourage progression and to avoid potential discontinuation
- Meeting statutory requirements for receipt of funding under certain initiatives
- Meeting its legal obligations for reporting to the Garda National Immigration Bureau for international students
- Meeting the arrangements agreed with employers or other organisations for specific programme delivery
- Meeting the college’s duty of care obligations under health and safety legislation
- Informing physical resource planning
See Chapter 6 (Section 6.11) for the full Policy on Attendance and Student Engagement.
5.7 Student Engagement and Quality Enhancement
While students are ultimately responsible for their level of engagement with the academic components of their programmes, i.e. the teaching, learning and assessment activities, such a limited understanding of student engagement can have a negative impact on learners’ experience of the institution as a whole during their period of study. However, even within this very limited understanding, student engagement is dependent on certain institutional conditions, cultures and policies that either allow or preclude more active involvement of learners’ in their studies. For this reason, it is important to adopt the definition of student engagement proposed by Enhancing Student Engagement in Decision-Making (2016), which refers to student involvement in decision-making processes in higher education institutions in relation to governance and management, quality assurance, and teaching and learning. This report builds on V. Trowler and P. Trolwer’s definition of student engagement as:
The investment of time, effort and other relevant resources by both students and their institutions intended to optimise the student experience and enhance the learning outcomes and development of students, and the performance and reputation of the institution.
Student engagement, therefore, refers to one of the core components of quality assurance and enhancement: the involvement of students as partners within a learning community during the development, delivery and review of programmes and their associated teaching, learning and assessment activities. Accordingly, NCI subscribes to the findings of the above report, in particular that student engagement can be greater facilitated within institutions that position themselves as a site of democratic citizenship, a learning community and a critical institution.
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the Enhancing Student Engagement in Decision-Making (2016) report was the establishment of the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP), which aims to assist higher education institutes in building capacity to embed the principles needed to develop a culture of student engagement, primarily in the areas of quality assurance, teaching and learning, and governance and management.
5.7.1 National Student Engagement Programme
The National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP) is intended to develop student capabilities and assist higher education institutions build capacity to allow for enhanced engagement. NStEP operates according to the principles proposed by the Working Group on Student Engagement in Irish Higher Education. These guiding principles are:
- Democracy: The institution will adhere to democratic principles, and will encourage these principles in staff, students, and in wider society.
- Student as partner: The implications of perceiving students as partners, rather than as consumers are substantial and deep. The student as partner is an active member of an institution with which s/he shares a strong sense of allegiance and commitment.
- Inclusivity and diversity: Institutions will actively seek to gain insights and contributions from all sectors of the academic community in their governance and decision-making processes. This will go beyond the formal legislative requirements, to provide myriad formal and informal engagement opportunities. As institutions become more socially and culturally diverse, student unions will work to ensure that the diverse nature of the student body is represented on the executive team.
- Transparency: Institutions will be transparent in the life-cycle of their decision-making processes, while student unions will be transparent in their internal lines of governance, and in the relationship between elected officers and permanent staff. They will ensure that suitable measures are in place to facilitate knowledge transfer from year to year.
- Students as co-creators: Students will be expected to take responsibility for their own learning. Irish HEIs will embrace innovative teaching and learning techniques which value active involvement from the students.
- Collegiality and parity of esteem: Irish HEIs and student unions will promote collegiality between staff and students across the institution. Central to collegiality is the development of an open and trustful relationship between individual staff and students within the institution.
- Professionalism and support: Students and their representatives will contribute fully and act in a professional manner when they are involved in the structures and processes of the HEI. This professionalism is the joint responsibility of the institution and student union. The institution will recognise that staff and student members on committees may have different life experiences and areas of expertise but all are equally valued in the ongoing evolution of the institution. It will be the responsibility of the institution to provide the necessary supports to the student representatives as to enable them to fulfil their role.
- Feedback and feedback loop: Institutions will welcome and encourage open and prompt feedback from students. Suitable measures will be put in place across the institution to ensure that students are facilitated in providing feedback in a safe and valued manner. Feedback practices will be transparent and the feedback loop will be closed in a timely fashion.
- Self-criticism and enhancement: Student unions and institutions will continue to be self-critical of their student engagement practices. They will use evidence-based techniques to assess and critique the effectiveness of their strategies for building a culture of engagement.
- Consistency: Institutions and student unions will ensure that values and practices with regard to student engagement are applied consistently through particular institutions and across institutions, and may put procedures in place to allow departments to share good practice measures.
Not only does NCI recognise these principles in terms of its own short-term goals and long-term objectives regarding student engagement, the college was one of five HEIs involved in the pilot phase of assessing our own institutional capacity for student engagement and identifying areas for enhancement towards improved practice.
The institutional analysis outputs from the pilot phase were compared and five common themes were identified. These themes were developed into projects each lead by one of the institutions which completed the pilot. The working titles of the projects are:
- The Role and Recruitment of Class Representatives
- The Design, Review and Delivery of Programmes
- Student Feedback Opportunities, Data and Follow Up
- Students in formal System Level Procedures, Strategy and Decision-Making
- Staff Roles and Capacity Building
NCI is the lead institution for Project 1, which aims to develop:
- A set of national guidelines on how the role of class representative should be defined in accordance with the requirements and characteristics of the institution;
- Best practice case studies for the recruitment of class representatives;
- Analyses of existing systems to mentor and monitor the retention of class representatives;
- Examples of how class representatives can be recognised and rewarded by their institutions; and
- Strategies for utilising the class representative mechanism to realise the long-term objective of installing students as partners in quality assurance and enhancement.
NCI’s involvement in NStEP since the very beginning testifies to the college’s active role in developing student capabilities to engage in quality enhancement, quality assurance and other related activities at all levels of the higher education system, and in developing processes and resources to strengthen the value placed on student engagement and support the sharing of best practices.
5.7.2 Learner Feedback
Effective and prompt learner feedback plays a crucial role in NCI’s Quality Assurance system and, in particular, the quality enhancement initiatives therein. Following a review, conducted in 2015, of the learner feedback mechanisms operating in NCI, the College focused its attention on improving learner feedback processes in accordance with the ‘virtuous circle’ principle. This effective practice involves four stages: (i) promotion of feedback mechanism, (ii) completion of feedback activity, (iii) evaluation of data and (iv) actions supported by ongoing communication with feedback participants.
188.8.131.52 Module Evaluations
Module evaluations are the primary internal source of learner feedback regarding the delivery of academic programmes in NCI. This mechanism is designed to obtain learners’ views on the academic content of a module and the teaching activities through which it was delivered. Students are invited to complete their module evaluations during Week 8 (or equivalent for block teaching) of each semester. The quantitative responses and qualitative feedback provided by students is anonymised and aggregated. This information is then compiled in a report that is sent directly to individual lecturers. These reports are then reviewed by the lecturer and their respective Dean of School.
The Quality Assurance and Statistical Services (QASS) Office coordinates the module evaluation mechanism. Gathering students’ views on the delivery of their programmes during Week 8 of each semester is intended to facilitate module conveners reviewing the feedback and responding effectively to the concerns of learners. Receiving learner in such a prompt manner is crucial to NCI being seen to be responding to the opinions of its students through the responses of its teaching staff to their module evaluations and any quality enhancements initiatives they may implement as a result. The QASS Office also compiles the module evaluation reports at programme and school level, which are then presented to the Programme Committee and School Committee, respectively. This serves to close the feedback loop by providing those responsible for the delivery, review and enhancement of academic programmes with examples of best practice and areas for immediate improvement. Please refer to Chapter 7 (7.18) for further information on how the learner feedback gathered through module evaluations is used in the context of NCI’s Quality Assurance system.
184.108.40.206 Irish Survey of Student Engagement
NCI has participated in the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) since the 2013/14 academic year. In contrast to the feedback obtained via module evaluations, the data obtained via ISSE allows NCI to compare its institutional feedback to national standards. ISSE now plays an increasingly prominent role in the academic calendar of the 27 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that participate as it provides them with effective and prompt feedback from learners at the beginning and the end of their studies. ISSE surveys learners in the first and final years of their studies, therefore useful information regarding trends and trajectories across the entire student lifecycle can be obtained. By assisting HEIs to understand their own performance regarding student engagement in the context of other providers’ in the sector, ISSE provides potential opportunities for the identification and sharing of best practices for enhancing student engagement between HEIs.
Each participating institution receives quantitative data and qualitative responses regarding student engagement from its own students. Since 2016, the Quality Assurance and Statistical Services (QASS) Office has analysed this information against both national standards and HEIs of a comparable size. The QASS Office presents its analyses of the local institutional report to the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Committee (LTAC), focusing on the following areas:
- Response rates
- Levels of student participation in/outside the classroom
- Learner interaction with and support from staff
- Feedback to/from staff regarding teaching and assessment activities
As the LTAC is attended by the Director of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CRILT), the Deans and Vice Deans of each School, and two student representatives, this occasion is an important example of closing the feedback loop as the various stakeholders involved in enhancing student engagement are informed of and can discuss NCI’s performance in comparison to previous years and other providers in the sector to identify good practices and potential improvements that can then be communicated to the entire college community.
By collecting data on students’ engagement with the learning and teaching environments, ISSE provides institutions with the data required to make evidence-based decisions in this area. It also functions to improve learner feedback by:
- increasing transparency in relation to the student experience in higher education institutions
- enabling direct student input on levels of engagement and satisfaction with their higher education institution
- identifying good practice that enhances the student experience
- assisting institutions to identify issues and challenges affecting the student experience
- serving as a guide for continual enhancement of institutions’ teaching and learning and student engagement
- documenting the experiences of the student population, thus enabling year on year comparisons of key performance indicators
- providing insight into student opinion on important issues of higher education policy and practice
- facilitating comparison with other higher education systems internationally
The data gathered by ISSE and disseminated amongst higher education institutions, in conjunction with the research presented in Enhancing Student Engagement in Decision-Making (2016), has been crucial to developing and foregrounding the objectives the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP). Like ISSE, NStEP is a collaborative partnership involving the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), with working groups consisting of institutions’ and students’ representatives managing the national projects. Please refer to Section 5.7.1 above for further information on NStEP.
5.8 Prevention and Resolution of Bullying and Harassment (Students)
NCI is committed to providing all its learners with a learning environment that is free from bullying and any form of harassment. The College aims to provide a campus culture marked by mutual regard, personal dignity and support for everyone’s skills and abilities, and strives for a campus environment where employees and students may reasonably expect to pursue their work/studies in a safe and civil space, free from discrimination, harassment, threatening or violent conduct or offences against individuals or their property.
Bullying and harassment by fellow students, employees and non-employees of the College will not be tolerated. Employees include full-time faculty, part-time faculty, Associate Faculty, administrative support staff and security staff of the College. Non-employees include service providers; users of College facilities; other business or community organisations, including any person with whom the College might reasonably expect students to come into contact with, i.e. those who supply or deliver goods/services to the College; maintenance staff and other types of professional contractors; and volunteers.
Students also have a responsibility to create and contribute to the maintenance of an environment free from bullying and harassment or from conduct likely to contribute to bullying and harassment. Management and employees of the College will take appropriate measures to ensure that bullying/harassment do not occur, such as:
- Providing a good example by treating all in the College with courtesy and respect;
- Promoting awareness of the policy and the complaints procedures;
- Being vigilant for signs of harassment and bullying and take action before a problem escalates;
- Dealing sensitively with a student who makes a complaint of bullying or harassment;
- Explaining the procedures to be followed if a complaint is made to them;
- Ensuring that an alleged perpetrator is treated fairly;
- Ensuring that students making a complaint are not victimised for doing so; and
- Monitoring and following-up after a complaint is made to ensure that harassment or bullying is not recurring.
Appropriate disciplinary action, including expulsion for serious offences, will be taken against any student who breaches this policy. In the case of employees, the College’s Disciplinary Procedures will be invoked. In the case of non-employees, sanctions could include the suspension of contracts or services; exclusions from the College campus or other work environs; or the imposition of other sanctions as appropriate. A complaint of bullying or harassment from a student which is found to be vexatious following investigation will be dealt with through the Student Disciplinary Procedures.
The scope of this policy extends beyond the College, for example, to sporting and other events organised by the College which take place outside the IFSC campus or other off-campus locations. It may also extend to student social events organised by the NCI Students Union.
The number of instances of reported bullying and harassment will be monitored, as well as how complaints are resolved. Such information will be used to evaluate this policy and the associated procedures in order to implement changes as appropriate. The policy will also be updated in line with changes in the law, relevant case law or other developments.
Learners are informed of and must agree to the terms and conditions of this policy during the annual registration process. The policy is available online, with links provided to each learner in their respective programme handbook.
220.127.116.11 Definition of Bullying
Bullying has been defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity and respect. A single isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition may be an affront to an individual’s dignity and respect but it would not be considered an instance of bullying.
A pattern of the following behaviours are examples of types of bullying. This list is not exhaustive and includes behaviour towards other students, employees and non-employees of the College.
- Exclusion with negative consequences
- Verbal abuse/insults
- Physical abuse
- Being treated less favourably than others
- Intrusion – pestering, spying or stalking
- Menacing behaviour
- Undermining behaviour
- Persistent unjustified criticism or sarcasm
- Blame for things beyond the person’s control
Bullying does not include reasonable and essential discipline arising from the good management of the performance or conduct of a student or actions taken which can be justified as regards the safety, health and welfare of students. For example, a student whose performance is continuously signalled at a level below that which is required may feel threatened and upset but this in itself does not indicate bullying.
Cyberbullying refers to bullying which is carried out using the internet, mobile phone or other technological devices. Cyberbullying generally takes a psychological rather than a physical form but is often part of a wider pattern of bullying behaviour.
18.104.22.168 Definition of Harassment
Under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004, harassment is any form of unwanted conduct related to any of the nine specific discriminatory grounds defined below, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating or offensive environment for the person. The unwanted conduct may include acts, requests, spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material.
Many forms of behaviour may constitute harassment, including:
- Verbal – jokes, comments, ridicule, songs, recordings
- Written – including text messages, e-mails, notices, or misuse of social media.
- Physical – jostling, shoving, or any form of assault
- Visual – such as posters, emblems, badges, recordings or misuse of social media
Intimidating behaviour in the forms of bodily gestures, postures or poses; isolating or excluding an individual from social activities; and pressurising an individual to behave in a way they might find offensive or degrading, are all further examples of harassment.
The nine specific discriminatory grounds are defined as follows:
Gender – male, female, transgender
Civil Status – single, married, separated, divorced, widowed, or in a civil partnership within the meaning of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Acts 2010 or being a former civil partner in a civil partnership that has ended by death or been dissolved.
Family Status – responsibility as a parent or as a person in loco parentis in relation to a person under 18, or as a parent or the resident primary carer of a person over 18 with a disability which is of such nature as to give rise to the need for care or support on a continuing, regular or frequent basis.
Sexual Orientation – heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual or asexual.
Disability, defined as
The total or partial absence or a person’s bodily or mental functions, including the absence of a part of a person’s body;
The presence in the body of organisms causing, or likely to cause, chronic disease or illness;
The malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of a person’s body;
A condition or malfunction which results in a person learning differently from a person without the condition or malfunction; or
A condition, disease or illness which affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or which results in disturbed behaviour, and includes a disability which exists at present, or which previously existed but no longer exists, or which may exist in the future which is imputed to a person.
Age – applies only to employees over the maximum age at which a person is statutorily obliged to attend school. The minimum school leaving age is currently 16 years, or the completion of three years of post-primary education, whichever is the later.
Race – race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins.
Religious Belief – includes different religious background or outlook, including the absence of religious belief.
Membership of the Traveller Community – “Traveller Community” means the community of people who are commonly called Travellers and who are identified (both by themselves and others) as people with a shared history, culture and traditions including, historically, a nomadic way of life on the island of Ireland.
22.214.171.124 Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is defined in the Equal Status Act as any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. A single incident of such behaviour may constitute sexual harassment.
Many forms of behaviour can constitute sexual harassment, including:
Physical conduct of a sexual nature – this may include unwanted physical contact such as unnecessary touching, patting or pinching or brushing against another employee’s body, assault and coercive sexual intercourse.
Verbal conduct of a sexual nature – includes unwelcome sexual advances, propositions, requests or pressure for sexual activity, continued suggestions for social activity outside the workplace after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome, unwanted or offensive flirtations, suggestive remarks, innuendos or lewd comments.
Non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature – this may include the display or sending of pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures, calendars, objects, written materials, e-mails, text messages or faxes. It may also include leering, whistling or making sexually suggestive gestures.
Gender-based conduct – this includes conduct that denigrates or ridicules, or is intimidating or physically abusive for, an employee because of their gender, such as derogatory insults.
126.96.36.199 Permitted Behaviour and Consent
To constitute harassment, sexual or otherwise, the behaviour complained of must firstly be unwelcome. It is up to each individual to decide (a) what behaviour is unwelcome, irrespective of the attitude of others to the matter; and (b) from whom, if anybody, such behaviour is welcome or unwelcome, irrespective of the attitudes of others to the matter. The fact that an individual has previously agreed to the behaviour does not stop him/her from deciding that it has become unwelcome. It is the unwanted nature of the conduct which distinguishes sexual harassment and harassment from behaviour that is welcome and mutual.
Furthermore, to constitute harassment, the behaviour must have the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. The intention of the perpetrator of the harassment is irrelevant; the effect of the behaviour is what is relevant. The fact that the perpetrator has no intention of the student is no defence.
If the student is below 18 years of age or is a vulnerable adult and conduct of a sexual nature occurs, the College’s Child Protection Guidelines and Principles for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults should be referred to for further guidance.
5.8.2 Reporting Instances of Bullying and/or Harassment
Instances of bullying and/or harassment reported by students will be treated with fairness and sensitivity and in as confidential a manner as possible. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the course of any investigation consistent with the requirements of a fair investigation. Depending on the nature of a complaint, it may be possible to resolve the matter through an informal intervention or through mediation.
A student who makes a complaint in good faith, who supports a complainant, who gives evidence in proceedings or who gives notice that they intend to do any of the foregoing will not be victimised. The College will ensure that both parties to the complaint receive appropriate support e.g. counselling or other intervention as appropriate. No assumption will be made about the culpability of an alleged perpetrator in the course of investigating a complaint.
As well as the roles set out below, the Learning Support & Development Officer in Student Services or the Director of Student Services can provide information and advice to students who believe they are experiencing harassment or bullying and to students against whom allegations of harassment or bullying have been made.
5.8.3 Informal Procedure
This procedure involves the student who believes that they are the subject of bullying and/or harassment making the individual responsible for such behaviour aware of the issue and asking them to stop the offending behaviour.
Where a student finds it difficult to approach the other party directly, they should seek help and advice on a confidential basis from a contact person. A contact person acts as an initial point of contact for someone who believes that they are being treated in a way that constitutes bullying or harassment. The role of the contact person is to listen and be a point of contact for the complainant. They can also explain the procedures in place to resolve complaints. This could involve providing the complainant with a copy of the NCI Student Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Bullying & Harassment, outlining the options available and explaining roles within the College. The contact person does not get involved in any other way in the complaints procedure and does not act as an advocate for either party.
Where the informal procedures can be used to achieve a resolution, a separate person will be designated to deal with the complaint on behalf of the College. The complaint made to this designated person could be verbal or written. If verbal, a written note of what is complained of should be taken by the designated person and a copy given to the complainant. The designated person should then establish the facts, the context and determine if the complaint falls under the definition of bullying or harassment.
If the behaviour complained of does not constitute bullying and/or harassment as defined, an alternative approach should be put in place and a rationale recorded. If the complaint is not supported by concrete examples, it must be deemed that there is no complaint to be answered by the person complained of as they have no recourse to repudiating an accusation that is not supported by concrete examples. If the behaviour complained of falls under the definition of bullying or harassment and includes concrete examples of inappropriate behaviour, the person complained of should be presented with the complaint and their response established.
Following this, an approach should be agreed to resolve the issue so that both parties can return to a harmonious learning environment where bullying/harassment will not be a factor going forward. Informal resolutions could include, for example, clarification of what bullying or harassment is, agreement to alter style, agreement by the person complained of, if they accept that their behaviour was inappropriate, that the conduct will not be repeated, or an explanation to the complainant about what occurred from the point of view of the person complained of which dispels the complaint.
The Lecturer, Programme Director, relevant Vice-Dean or other member of the College Staff should be kept informed as appropriate.
Mediation is an assisted process for resolving differences which aims to help the parties come to an understanding and reach agreement. The objective is to assist the parties themselves to resolve their complaint in a mutually agreeable way with the help of a neutral third party, a Mediator. This process is only pursued in instances when the informal procedure explained above fails to resolve the issue to a satisfactory level for either or both parties involved.
Participation in the mediation process is voluntary. The agreement of both parties to participate in mediation is required. Information disclosed and exchanged during mediation is confidential and remains within the mediation process. It must not be given by the mediator to an investigator if there is a subsequent investigation under formal procedures.
The role of the Mediator is:
- To manage the mediation process
- Explain the role of the Mediator
- Explain the process to the parties and ensure that there is common understanding of the mediation process.
- Establish the ground rules
- Gather information and identify the issues where there is disagreement
- Facilitate the process of reaching understanding and agreement.
In both scenarios, the designated person or the mediator should keep a record of the complaint, any meetings held and actions agreed, and signed records of the final agreement. The purpose of the records, which do not include details of discussions, is to provide evidence that the complaint was responded to and whether or not a resolution was achieved. Following a resolution under informal procedures, consideration will be given to putting in place supportive interventions for the parties involved.
5.8.4 Formal Procedure
The College recognises that it may not always be appropriate to use the informal procedure to resolve instances of bullying and/or harassment, especially when the behaviour is deemed to be of a grossly inappropriate nature. Furthermore, if a resolution cannot be achieved through the informal procedures or through mediation, the matter will be dealt with under the formal procedures. Formal procedures will be used where bullying or harassment continues after an informal procedure has been followed or where the student making the complaint wishes it to be treated formally. Formal procedures involve submitting a formal complaint and a formal investigation. Choosing not to use the informal procedure or declining to participate in a mediated process will not reflect negatively on a complainant in the formal procedure. If mediation was attempted and was unsuccessful, the Mediator will not have a role in the formal procedures.
When a formal complaint is being made, then the student should contact the Registrar as soon as possible. If the complaint is against the Registrar, the Vice President Academic Affairs & Research should be contacted. The complainant will make a formal complaint in writing which is signed and dated. The complaint document should be confined to the precise details of the alleged incidents, including dates and the names of witnesses, if any. The complainant will be informed of the steps involved, timeframes and possible outcomes. They will also be given a copy of the College’s Student Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Bullying & Harassment.
A meeting will be organised with the person against whom the complaint has been made. They will be given a copy of the complaint document and the College’s Student Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Bullying & Harassment. They will be informed of the steps involved, timeframes and possible outcomes. If a complaint of harassment or bullying is made against a person who is not a student or employee of the College and it transpires that it is not possible to secure their participation in either a formal or informal process, such individuals will be kept informed of any developments and given an opportunity to respond to them. The outcome of an investigation and any potential sanctions will be explained to such individuals and/or any person or company for whom they work.
The investigation of any complaint will be handled with fairness, sensitivity and with due respect for the rights of both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator. The principles of natural justice will be adhered to when an investigation is being conducted.
An appropriate Investigator who is not connected with the allegation in any way and who can be considered impartial may conduct the investigation or, if the circumstances require it, an investigator external to the College may be appointed. More than one person may be appointed to conduct the investigation. Where more than one person is appointed to carry out an investigation, consideration will be given to the gender or diversity balance of those conducting the investigation.
Terms of Reference using the following structure will be established for the investigation:
- The investigation will be conducted by <name>.
- The scope of the investigation will cover the specific complaints made by <the Complainant> in his/her complaint document dated <date>.
- In adhering to the principles of natural justice <the Respondent> will be furnished with documentation detailing the allegation and with all other information upon which the Investigator may rely on in arriving at a decision.
- The <Respondent> will be given reasonable time to consider the documentation and an opportunity to respond in writing.
- In the course of the investigation, the Investigator will meet with <The Complainant>, and with any of his/her witnesses or relevant person(s). The Investigator will also meet with the <Respondent> and with any of his/her witnesses or relevant person(s). These meeting will take place on a one-to-one confidential basis.
The Investigator may also identify appropriate witnesses.
Copies of witness’ statements will be furnished to both the Complainant and the Respondent.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent may be accompanied at the investigative interview by another student, or a friend or a family member or a representative of the Students’ Union.
In the interests of the parties involved and in the interests of integrity of the investigation process, all parties to the investigation are expected to adhere to the highest standards of confidentiality in regard to the content and process of the investigation. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation to the greatest extent consistent with the requirements of a fair investigation. For clarity, this means that the Complainant and the Respondent should not discuss any matter in relation to the investigation with any person other than their respective representatives or with the Registrar in the context of procedural matters. On no account should either party discuss subject matter, the investigation or the investigation process with a witness or potential witness. Similarly, witnesses should not discuss the subject matter, the investigation or the investigation process with any person other than the Investigator or the Registrar in the context of procedural matters.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be provided with a written record of all meetings, and any documentation or material in relation to the allegation and with all other information upon which the Investigator may rely on in arriving at a decision. Both parties will be given an opportunity to respond in writing, or if necessary in person, to this material before the Investigator considers the evidence.
On completion of the investigation, the Investigator will furnish a written report containing the findings and the reasons for the final decision. In arriving at a conclusion, the Investigator will consider whether or not, on the balance of probabilities, the behaviours complained of occurred. Where a complaint is not upheld, the Investigator will consider, whether or not, on the balance of probabilities, the complaint was false, malicious or vexatious. A complaint not being upheld does not necessarily mean that the complaint was vexatious.
Where a complaint is upheld, the report will recommend whether or not the College’s Student Disciplinary Procedures should be invoked.
The Investigator will furnish the Report to the Registrar within three weeks of the sign-off of final interviews. The timeframe for the investigation will be impacted by the availability of parties for interview and by the number of witnesses or parties for interview. The objective of the Investigator will be to complete the investigation and report as quickly as is practicable but depending on the circumstances it could take up to three months to complete from the date of the initial interview with the Complainant.
The complainant, the respondent and any witnesses have the right to be accompanied by another student, a friend or family member, or a representative from NCI Students’ Union.
188.8.131.52 Outcomes from the Investigation
Where a complaint is upheld against a student, the matter may be dealt with under the College’s Student Disciplinary Procedures. This could lead to disciplinary sanctions up to and including expulsion being imposed. In the case on non-employees, sanctions could include the suspension of contracts or services, exclusions from the College campus or other work environs, or the imposition of other sanctions as appropriate.
Complaints that are found to be false, malicious or vexatious may also be dealt with under the College’s Student Disciplinary Procedures. A record of the investigation will be maintained by the Registrar in accordance with the Data Protection requirements.
When the Investigator’s Report is issued to the Complainant and the Respondent, they will be given the opportunity to comment on the findings within a set timeframe. No action will be taken by the College before this process is completed. The College will respond to any comments submitted and will advise the parties of the appeals process.
The appeal will be heard by a party not hitherto involved in the investigation or not connected with any of the issues considered under the investigation. This could be a member of management in the College or an external third party. The appeal will focus only on the aspect(s) of the case cited by the appellant as being the subject of the appeal. Appeals arising from any Student Disciplinary Procedures initiated will be dealt with under that process.
184.108.40.206 Action Following Investigation
Regular reviews will be conducted by an appropriate party to ensure that the bullying/harassment has stopped and that there has been no victimisation for referring a complaint in good faith. Appropriate supports will be considered for both parties. Retaliation of any kind against a student for complaining or taking part in an investigation concerning bullying/harassment will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.
220.127.116.11 Statutory Rights
Using this complaints procedure will not affect a complainant’s right to make a complaint under the Equal Status Act. A complaint of harassment, including complaints relating to expulsion in circumstances amounting to discrimination or victimisation, may be made to the Director of the Equality Tribunal, who may refer the complaint to an Equality Officer or, with the parties’ agreement, for mediation. A complaint must be made within 6 months of the alleged occurrence of the harassment or of the most recent occurrence of such harassment. The time limit of 6 months may be extended up to a maximum period of 12 months where reasonable cause is shown.
5.9 Student Complaints Procedure
While NCI will always try to resolve any issues that learners have with their programme of study through its quality assurance system and continuous enhancement of the student experience, the College recognises that sometimes more serious problems can arise. NCI takes student complaints seriously and endeavours to improve its processes and services by supporting students in expressing their dissatisfaction and seeking resolution to problems encountered. To ensure that learners have an appropriate means of lodging in/formal complaints that cannot be remedied via any other local mechanisms, NCI has developed the following student complaints procedure.
NCI’s student complaints procedure seeks to provide an accessible, fair and straightforward system to resolve legitimate complaints in a timely fashion. Such complaints can relate to the delivery of academic programmes and the provision/availability of services. Most concerns can be successfully addressed and remedied through informal means, i.e. before a before complaint is made. However, if informal resolution is unsuccessful or not to the satisfaction of the learner, the formal procedure can be pursued.
Complaints should only be made by the individual who has had a negative experience or is personally dissatisfied, not by someone else on their behalf, even with their prior consent. Confidentiality will be maintained where appropriate and retaliation or victimisation as a result of a complaint will not be tolerated. Complaints found to be malicious or vexatious will be dealt with under the College’s disciplinary procedures.
The student complaints procedure can be used to submit a complaint about any aspect of the academic provisions in NCI or any other service provided directly by the College. The procedure does not, however, cover the following categories of complaint, for which separate procedures exist:
- Grievances relating to personal harassment or discrimination on gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or membership of the traveling community;
- Requests for reviews of academic decisions;
- Complaints relating to the Students' Union; and
- Appeals against decisions taken under disciplinary proceedings.
The procedure is available for learners currently enrolled on a NCI programme of study. Additionally, any individual who was a registered student but who has graduated or otherwise left the College may also avail of the procedure providing that any such complaint is made within three months of the individual leaving the College and that the acts or omissions being complained of occurred whilst they were a registered student.
The following process is designed to resolve issues and dissatisfactions as speedily and effectively as possible. Most can be successfully addressed and remedied through informal means but a formal process is available if this proves unsuccessful or unsatisfactory. All complaints, whether formal or informal, will be dealt with respectfully in the context of the College’s policies and according to the resources available.
5.9.2 Informal Complaint
To make an informal complaint, the learner should:
- Approach the person responsible for the Learner’s complaint
The Learner should first address concerns directly to the person responsible to attempt to resolve the matter informally.
If this recourse proves unsuccessful or unsatisfactory, the learner should then:
- Approach the person responsible for the area about which the learner has the
This may be the learner’s Programme Director or Dean of School, or the relevant Head of Service Unit. Many concerns can be dealt with informally by explanation and discussion. If the Learner needs help in expressing their concern or are reluctant to approach the person(s) responsible, the Learner can seek advice from their Programme Director, Student Support Officer, the Students’ Union Executive or the Registrar.
5.9.3 Formal Complaint
If it is not possible to resolve the learner’s issue or dissatisfaction informally by discussion and explanation, the learner can lodge a formal complaint with the Office of the Registrar. This formal complaint must be submitted in writing and contain the following:
- The Learner’s name and contact details
- The nature of the complaint, providing clear and concise information
- What action, if any, has already been taken by the learner to attempt to resolve the concern
- What prior action(s), if any, have been taken by the College in regard to this matter
- Statement of the learner’s expectations regarding how this complaint can be satisfactorily resolved
In the case of complaints regarding academic provisions, a copy of the complaint should also be submitted to the relevant Dean of School.
18.104.22.168 Acknowledgement of Complaint
The learner can expect to receive a written acknowledgement of their complaint within 20 working days of its receipt. They can also expect to be kept informed if there is undue delay in coming to an appropriate resolution. The learner will also be kept informed of any decisions to refer the complaint to a suitable staff member or to another office for redress, or to pursue and remedy the complaint according to another College procedure.
22.214.171.124 Investigation and Response
The learner’s complaint will be investigated as quickly as possible. The investigation may include individual face-to-face discussions with the complainant and the relevant staff member or head of service. Once the investigation has been completed, the complainant will receive a written response detailing what actions, if any, are to be taken.
If the learner remains dissatisfied after the conclusion of the investigation described above, they can write directly to the President who will either personally investigate the complaint or will identify a suitable person/office who has not been involved in dealing with the complaint to investigate further.
Please Note: The President cannot be involved in complaints at an earlier stage. They are the final point of appeal within the College and complaints addressed to them that have not gone through the appropriate channels outlined above will be referred to Dean of School or Registrar as appropriate.
126.96.36.199 Monitoring and Feedback
All formal complaints will be monitored by the Registrar, with annual reports provided to the President and presented to Academic Council for consideration. This monitoring process is part of the College’s efforts to continually improve its academic provisions, administrative processes and delivery of services to all cohorts of learners.
188.8.131.52 Referral to Office of the Ombudsman
If a student has exhausted NCI’s internal complaint procedure and remains dissatisfied with the proposed recommendations, remedies offered or how the complaint itself was handled, they are entitled to refer their complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman (OO).
OO will week to determine if there was any maladministration in the handling of the complaint and, if so, what were the effects. While the OO handles complaints and determines appropriate redress first and foremost, its secondary role is to drive improvements in public administration and ensure institutional learning to prevent recurrence.
If OO decides to carry out an investigation, they must inform both the complainant and NCI of the results. NCI must also be afforded an opportunity to consider the matter and make representations before any adverse finding or criticism is made.
The Ombudsman may investigate any action taken by or on behalf of NCI in the performance of administrative functions if that action has resulted in an adverse effect, intended or otherwise. This actions must have been either:
- taken without proper authority
- taken on irrelevant grounds
- the result of negligence or carelessness
- based on erroneous or incomplete information
- improperly discriminatory
- based on an undesirable administrative practice
- a failure to comply with section 4A of the legislation or
- otherwise contrary to fair or sound administration
A complaint is excluded from OO’s jurisdiction if a person has already initiated court proceedings or has a right of appeal to another body; the complaint was not made within 12 months of the action occurring; or the complaint relates to the terms and conditions of employment.
5.10 Disciplinary Policy & Procedures
As members of the College community, learners have an obligation to know and abide by, in addition to the laws of the state, all College policies and procedures, including the College Disciplinary Policy. Through its policies and regulations statements, the College has made an effort to outline the behavioural expectations it holds. In general, the College expects that the common sense of a mature and responsible individual will determine if the behaviour is one that should be avoided, but may be adjudicated upon by the College. The provisions of the Disciplinary Policy continue to apply when a learner is outside the campus on an academic exercise, attending College events or representing the College in any way. Learners should be aware that they are viewed by the public as representatives of the College and they are expected to behave in a manner that reflects positively on themselves and the College.
5.10.1 Authority and Timelines
The Registrar shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable (and generally this will be within 5 working days of receipt of notice in writing to her/him), deal summarily with what s/he considers to be a minor offence or refer to the Disciplinary Committee that which s/he considers to be a major offence. Where a learner admits to having committed a minor offence to the Registrar, if s/he deems it appropriate, may, with the consent of the learner, deal with the case in a summary manner.
5.10.2 Minor Offences
Minor offences regarding damage or related matters shall be dealt with by the Registrar who shall in her/his own discretion decide the appropriate penalty, if any, that should be imposed in each case. Similarly, minor academic offences such as, learner(s) during lectures, classes, research work, field exercises, seminars or any other academic work, be responsible for any breach of good conduct or discipline, or fail to obey instructions from any member of staff, or breach of any regulations, such as a member of staff may require a learner(s) to withdraw from a particular lecture or class or other academic activity, the staff member if he/she thinks fit, may bring the matter to the notice of the Registrar for appropriate action to be taken.
The Registrar will then decide the nature of the breach and may request the staff member to provide a written report on the matter.
Minor offences dealt by the Registrar will be concluded as follows:
- First Offence – Written warning put on learners file
- Second Offence – Second written warning put on learners file
- Third Offence – Registrar will refer learner(s) to Disciplinary Committee
Any decision or any penalty or sanction imposed in this manner may be appealed by the learner concerned in writing to the Disciplinary Committee within 10 working days of receiving notification of the decision or penalty. The written notice of appeal must state briefly the grounds on which the appeal is made.
The learner(s) will be notified in writing that they are requested to attend a Disciplinary Committee. The learner(s) will be given no less than 72 hours notice to attend the committee.
Decisions of the Disciplinary Committee, on appeal from the Registrar, shall be final in relation to minor offences. The Registrar may from time to time establish regulations relating to the handling of minor offences. The Disciplinary Committee shall be advised of these regulations.
In the event and need for an investigation, the Registrar will appoint a member of the Academic Council to investigate the matter and provide the Registrar with a complete and comprehensive report into the incident, and generally this will be within 5 working days of receipt of notice. This role will also include the interviewing of individuals concerned, research material that may be required to conduct the investigation and assist the Disciplinary Committee in its reaching conclusions.
The Registrar will then distribute this report for the attention of the Disciplinary Committee and the learner(s) concerned. The learner(s) will be notified in writing that they are requested to attend a Disciplinary Committee. The learner(s) will be given no less than 72 hours notice to attend the committee. In circumstances where cases extend beyond the normal expected timeframes, the Registrar will appoint an independent member from Academic Council to ensure that the learner (s) concerned is provided with appropriate updates and at appropriate intervals up to the conclusion of the relevant committee business.
In such circumstances as determined by the President of the college “and without prejudice”, the college has the right to immediately suspend any learner(s) whom the college believe to be a threat or danger to the college, to staff members or fellow learners, until the disciplinary process is complete.
5.10.3 Major Offences
Without prejudice to the general power of the Registrar to decide whether an alleged offence is major or minor, the following examples (and this is not an exhaustive list) would normally be regarded as major offences:
- Plagiarism or the use of unauthorised material during an examination/assessment
- or other breaches of the examination regulations
- Failure to adhere to invigilators instructions
- Misuse of college IT systems in breach of college policies and procedures
- Furnishing false information to the College with intent to deceive
- Forgery, alteration or misuse of College resources, documents, records or identity cards
- Verbal or Physical abuse of another person
- Malicious destruction, damage or misuse of College property or of private property on the campus
- Unauthorised retention of library materials
- Forcible occupation of College buildings and grounds
- Unwarranted interference with the College safety equipment, fire fighting equipment and alarm systems
- Referral of learner (s) by Registrar who have committed three minor offences
5.10.4 Disciplinary Committee
The Disciplinary Committee is appointed by the Academic Council and shall be constituted as follows:
(a) A Nominee of the President of the College
(b) Three members of the Academic Council
(c) One Nominee of the Learner Body
The Learner Body may nominate one alternative member and the Academic Council on an annual basis will appoint a panel of eight members of the Academic Council to represent the council on Disciplinary matters for one year. The eight members of the panel will be appointed on conclusion of the first Academic Council in each academic year.
Four members shall constitute a quorum. The Disciplinary Committee shall endeavour to reach its decision by consensus but in the event of a disagreement its determinations shall be decided by majority. The disciplinary Committee shall in its discretion decide the appropriate penalty, if any, that should be imposed in each case. In the event that there is a tied vote of the Disciplinary Committee, the nominee of the President shall exercise a casting vote.
(a) The decision of the Disciplinary Committee on major offences may be appealed by the learner concerned or by the Registrar (on behalf of the College) to the Appeals Committee appointed by the Academic Council. The Appeals Committee shall be constituted as follows:
- Three members of the Academic Council
- One Nominee of the Learner Body
Four members of the Appeals Committee shall constitute a quorum. The President may nominate an alternative when s/he is unavailable. In the event of a tied vote the President or his/her nominee shall exercise the casting vote.
(b) Notice of Appeal from decisions of the Disciplinary Committee shall be lodged in writing within 10 working days by the learner(s) on receiving notification of the decision or penalty of the Disciplinary Committee. The written notice of appeal must state briefly the grounds on which the appeal is made. The Appeals Committee shall endeavour to reach its decision by majority and shall in its discretion decide the appropriate penalty, if any, that should be imposed in each case. The learner(s) will be notified in writing that they are requested to attend the Appeals Committee. The learner(s) will be given no less than 72 hours notice to attend the committee.
(c) Decisions of the Appeals Committee shall be final.
(d) For Disciplinary procedures relating to breach of examinations regulations please refer to Chapter 4 (Section 4.22.5)
5.10.6 Rules Regarding Both Major and Minor Offences
(a) The provisions of this paragraph shall apply to major offences and minor offences equally.
(b) A member of the Disciplinary Committee may not be a member of any Appeals Committee considering the same case.
(c) No member of the Disciplinary Committee or of the Appeals Committee shall adjudicate in any case in which she/he is to prosecute or be a witness. An accused person has the right to speak in her/his own defence and call witnesses, including character witnesses, at hearings of the Disciplinary Committee and of the Appeals Committee. Persons reporting instances may also call witnesses. An accused person may also be represented at any hearing. The Disciplinary Committee and the Appeals Committee may seek advice from any expert or person they think fit and shall have the right to invite such persons to attend at any hearing of the Disciplinary Committee or the Appeals Committee.
(d) The College may make regulations governing the conduct of disciplinary and/or appeal hearings and the procedures applicable to disciplinary issues.
(e) The learner under normal circumstances will attend a Disciplinary/Appeal Committee hearing when established. In unforeseen circumstances where the learner cannot attend, the committee will be rescheduled. The college maintains the right to insist that a learner requested to attend a Disciplinary/Appeal Committee, must attend the committee sessions. If the learner refuses to attend for his/her own personal reasons, the learner will be advised that failure to attend may result in further action being taken against the learner and/or the committee will continue their investigation in the learner’s absence based on the report presented to them. The Disciplinary Committee may make a decision and or recommendations on the learner concerned in their absence. The Appeals Committee decision is final.
Without prejudice to its right to impose such penalties or make such recommendations as are considered appropriate in any case the Registrar, or Disciplinary Committee, or Appeals Committee as the case may be, shall be empowered to:
(a) Suspend a learner from College for any specified period of time
(b) Expel a learner from College
(c) Prohibit a learner from sitting any examination or assessment
(d) Impose such fines (not exceeding ¤1,000) as are considered appropriate
(e) Require a learner to attend additional or other lectures or courses or undertake additional academic work
(f) Refer a learner for medical/psychological assistance to the College doctor
(g) Place a written warning on a learner’s personal file. This may be first, second or third written warning.
5.10.8 General Violations of College Code of Discipline
- Failure to comply with the reasonable directions of a College official acting in the performance of his/her duties.
- Failure to comply with the reasonable directions of law enforcement officers or fire department personnel acting in the performance of their duties.
- Failure to provide complete and truthful information to a College official.
- Failure to carry or surrender one’s learner ID to a College official upon his/her request.
- Forgery, alteration, or misuse of any college document of identification
- Criminal convictions or actions that bring the College into disrepute.
5.10.9 Academic Violations
- Misrepresenting academic work as one’s own, when it is not – e.g. plagiarism, cheating on projects or exams of any type, etc.
5.10.10 Library and Information Technology Violations
- Violations of the NCI Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy
- Violation of pertinent state laws:
Data Protection Act Intellectual Property Act, 1998 Copyright Act, 1963 (as amended) Prohibition of Incitement to
Hatred Act, 1989 Criminal Damage Act, 1991 Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998, Criminal Justice Act 1999
- Damaging or unauthorised taking of any library or information technology resources.
5.10.11 Residential Violations
(These are outlined in the Residence Handbook)
5.10.12 Alcohol Violations
- Under-age possession of alcohol.
- Under-age consumption of alcohol.
- Consumption of alcohol in public areas, the restaurant or other areas of the Campus.
- Purchasing or providing alcohol to a minor.
- Hosting an unauthorised on-campus function where alcohol is served.
- Attending an unauthorised on-campus function where alcohol is served.
- Illegal distribution of alcohol.
- Possession of an unauthorised quantity of alcohol.
- Public intoxication.
- Abuse of alcohol.
- Possessions and/or use of paraphernalia intended for the abuse of alcohol.
5.10.13 Illegal Drugs Violations
- Use of illegal drugs.
- Possession of illegal drugs.
- Distribution of illegal drugs.
- Possession and/or use of illegal drugs paraphernalia.
5.10.14 Gambling Violations
- Engaging in illegal gambling.
5.10.15 Key, Combination and Card Access Violations
- Unauthorised or inappropriate use or loan of keys, combinations, or access cards to any College or operated facility.
- Neglectful or intentional misuse or improper storage of any keys, combinations, or access cards to any College owned or operated facility.
- Tampering with or damaging any door or lock of a College owned or operated facility.
- Entry into any College property that is not normally accessible to an individual, including misuse of College issued keys, combinations, or access cards, or actual forcible entry.
- Propping or any internal or external door of a College owned or operated facility.
- Three or more “lock outs” which require Residential Life staff assistance.
5.10.16 Fire Safety Violations
- Violation of fire safety policies.
- Illegal or unauthorised possession of firearms, explosives (including fireworks), other weapons (i.e. hunting knives, bows and arrows, martial arts weapons, etc.), or dangerous chemicals on College premises or at College-sponsored events.
- Use and/or possession of burned or burning candles or incense.
- Use and/or possession of prohibited electrical appliances.
- Tampering with fire prevention, fire safety, or fire fighting equipment.
- Causing an unnecessary emergency evacuation on College premises or at a College sponsored or supervised event.
- Failure to follow fire drill and/ or other emergency procedures including evacuation.
5.10.17 Personal Injury Violations
- Harassment and Bullying
- Conduct that is disruptive, lewd, indecent, or infringes upon the rights of others (i.e. use of profanity, obscenity, public nudity, sexual activity in public places, water fights, etc.)
- Physical Assault - physically beating another and/or inflicting any menacing touch to his/her person or clothes.
- Verbal Assault - a verbal attach that is a threat to someone’s physical safety.
- Specific conduct that threatens or endangers the health/safety of a particular person.
- Threats - statements or action that causes an individual(s) to fear for his/her safety.
- Coercion - statements or action that is intended to compel or force an individual to act in a manner that is contrary to their chosen style.
- Harassment - behaviour(s) or statements(s) that have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual(s) academic, social, or work-related functions.
- Unwanted sexual contact.
5.10.18 Theft and Damage Violations
- Attempted or actual theft of College, individual, or group property.
- Unauthorised possession of College, individual, or group property.
- Tampering with or damaging any door or lock of a College owned or operated facility
- Entry into any College property that is not normally accessible to an individual, including misuse of College issued keys, combinations, or access cards, or actual forcible entry
- Propping or any internal or external door of a College owned or operated facility
- Three or more “lock outs” which require Residential Life staff assistance
5.10.19 Fire Safety Violations
- Violation of fire safety policies
- Illegal or unauthorised possession of firearms, explosives (including fireworks), other weapons (i.e. hunting knives, bows and arrows, martial arts weapons, etc.), or dangerous chemicals on College premises or at College-sponsored events
- Use and/or possession of burned or burning candles or incense
- Use and/or possession of prohibited electrical appliances
- Tampering with fire prevention, fire safety, or fire fighting equipment
- Causing an unnecessary emergency evacuation on College premises or at a College sponsored or supervised event
- Failure to follow fire drill and/or other emergency procedures including evacuation
5.10.20 Personal Injury Violations
- Harassment and bullying
- Conduct that is disruptive, lewd, indecent, or infringes upon the rights of others (i.e. use of profanity, obscenity, public nudity, sexual activity in public places, water fights, etc.)
- Physical Assault – physically beating another and/or inflicting any menacing touch to his/her person or clothes
- Verbal Assault – a verbal attack that is a threat to someone’s physical safety
- Specific conduct that threatens or endangers the health/safety of a particular person
- Threats – statements or action that causes an individual(s) to fear for his/her safety
- Coercion – statements or action that is intended to compel or force an individual to act in a manner that is contrary to their chosen style
- Harassment – behaviour(s) or statements(s) that have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual(s) academic, social, or work-related functions
- Unwanted sexual contact
5.10.21 Theft and Damage Violations
- Attempted or actual theft of College, individual, or group property
- Unauthorised possession of College, individual, or group property
5.11 Drugs and Alcohol Policy
A ‘Framework for Developing a College Alcohol Policy’ was produced by the National Working Group on Alcohol Consumption in Higher Education. The National College of Ireland's alcohol policy is based on a continuing concern about the high rates of consumption of alcohol by third level students and the health risks associated with it. NCI's Alcohol and Drugs Policy is underpinned by the following principles from that Framework.
5.11.1 Aims of the NCI College Alcohol Policy are to:
Ensure that the social and academic life on campus is conducive to the health and well being of students and staff.
- Ensure that the College environment is safe for students and staff and complies with health and safety regulations.
- Promote the College as a supportive environment which enables students and staff to make healthy choices that promote health and well being.
- Provide support services for those who may require assistance during their time at the College.
- Promoting the health and well being of students and staff
- Promoting personal responsibility and social obligation to the College community
- Enhancing a campus environment where low-risk drinking is the 'social norm'
- Promoting low-risk drinking and discouraging high-risk drinking
- Providing an atmosphere free from pressure to drink for those who choose not to drink
- Providing alcohol-related information and education for all students and staff
- Supporting and promoting alternative to drinking thus creating choice and a balanced social programme
- Promoting opportunities for brief interventions to reduce high-risk drinking
- Providing confidential and effective supports for those who seek assistance as a result of problem drinking
- Reducing the incidence of alcohol-related problems among College students and staff
- Promoting a caring environment for those who experience difficulties related to alcohol
NCI, recognising the place of moderate alcohol consumption in many areas of society, considers it important to create an environment within the College which promotes a sensible attitude to drinking, while accepting the potential of alcohol abuse to adversely affect the well-being of individuals. It is assumed that all students are responsible adults and will only consume alcohol in moderation. The College has the following policies to provide guidelines and promote a healthy and responsible environment.
These policies are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that we continue to address these important issues successfully.
5.11.3 Policies and Procedures - Drugs and Alcohol
All national laws and college policies pertaining to alcohol and other drugs apply to all members of the National College of Ireland community including students, faculty and staff as well as campus organisations. These policies include but are not limited to:
- Any faculty, staff, Learner or campus organisation wishing to conduct an event on campus where alcohol will be served must complete the appropriate Alcohol Function Agreement Form with the Director of Student Services. Alcoholic beverages may only be consumed in areas designated on the Alcohol Function Agreement Form
- As one would expect, the sale of alcohol must adhere to all pertinent national laws (i.e. no public intoxication, no one shall sell or give away any alcoholic beverages to an underage person or an intoxicated person, etc.)
- The use of alcohol must not adversely affect other people or their property
- Excessive drinking is not an excuse for behaviour that violates the College Code of Discipline
- The use and distribution of illegal drugs or the misuse of legal drugs is dangerous to the individual as well as the greater College community
Smoking is a serious danger to the health of the smoker and those who are in the presence of the smoke. NCI has a strict no smoking policy and smoking is not permitted within an NCI premise. Disciplinary action under Section A of the Disciplinary Code will be taken against anyone found in breach of the College no smoking policy.
5.12 Policy on Recording of Learning Events
5.13 Policy on Recording of Learning Events
5.13.1 General Policy
The general policy is that the use by students of recording devices to record learning events is prohibited and only in exceptional circumstances will their use be permitted. This policy applies to audio events only. Visual recording is not permitted outside of the blended learning context.
If academic staff wish to allow any student to record their lecture and/or tutorial for personal use, then they are free to do so; but there is no obligation to do so in any case other than those authorised by the Disability Office in accordance with an educational needs assessment.
Students who are not authorised by the Disability Office to record lectures and/or tutorials must request permission from the relevant academic member of staff prior to the lecture and/or tutorial taking place. Where a student records a lecture without seeking and obtaining prior approval it will be treated as misconduct which will result in the College taking disciplinary action against the student(s) concerned.
Recordings undertaken in this context are subject to the conditions of recording outlined in below.
Teaching staff who wish to record their own lectures for the purposes of professional development and improving their teaching may do so but they must advise students that they are doing so. A student may request that a lecturer stop recording in order to protect confidentiality and personal data.
5.13.2 Students with a disability or learning difficulty
The College is committed to the principles established by the Equal Status Act 2000 and Disability Act 2005 to make reasonable accommodation to students with a disability. The use of recording devices (for example, dictaphones, or computer-based recording devices) in lectures and/or tutorials should normally be allowed by academic staff if the student has been deemed eligible, by the Disability Office (DO) through an educational needs assessment, because of their disability. The educational needs assessment must indicate which accommodation is the most suitable. Only in these circumstances will a recording device be provided.
Academic staff will be informed of this authorisation and the rationale for this via the Educational Needs Assessment (ENA) report which will be electronically supplied to relevant lecturers and programme co-ordinators via email and via NCI360
Students who are authorised by the Disability Office in accordance with an educational needs assessment to use a recording device in lectures and/or tutorials will be obliged to agree in writing to the conditions of recording as outlined in 1.3.
The original student agreements are to be held by the AT Office and a copy will be attached to the student record on NCI360. If a student has not signed the agreement, then he or she will not be authorised to use a recording device until this takes place
5.13.3 Conditions of Recording Lectures and/or Tutorials
Recordings are for personal use only and for the purpose of private study. No further use is permitted. Students must not transfer, disseminate, publish in any media or otherwise disclose the recording to any third party including the National College of Ireland;
The processing of any personal data is in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.
The lecturer concerned owns the rights to any recording made of a lecture and/or tutorial and also owns the rights to the electronic distribution of a lecture and/or tutorial. Any unauthorised commercial exploitation of recorded material by the NCI or student is prohibited;
Any recorded material used in a written assessment must be acknowledged and correctly referenced within their text and, if the student does not understand how to do this correctly, they should seek advice from appropriate academic or library staff;
Misuse of recorded material (including but not limited to unauthorised re-distribution, disclosure, dissemination, publication on any media including but not limited to social network sites) will be deemed a form of misconduct which will result in the College taking disciplinary action against the student(s) concerned;
All recordings must be stored securely, in read only format and password protected. They must be destroyed after the successful completion of the course.
In relation to the recording of the lecture and/or tutorial:-
- other students in the lecture and/or tutorial are to be informed by the lecturer that recording is taking place and that such recording is solely for a student’s private study and that it will be destroyed on completion of the module;
- on occasions, where sensitive issues or personal experiences are being discussed, lecturers or other students can insist that recording stops in order to protect confidentiality and personal data. In this event, all recording devices will be switched off immediately;
- where a lecturer feels that a recording is negatively affecting the quality of the students’ discussion then he/she may direct that recording cease;
- recorded lectures and/or tutorial or seminar discussions may not be used in any way that brings into disrepute or intends to bring into disrepute the Faculty member, other Lecturers, or students whose comments are recorded as a part of the teaching activity and where it is used in this way, it shall be treated as a form of misconduct which will result in the College taking disciplinary action against the student(s) concerned.
5.13.4 Blended Learning Programmes
By their nature, blended learning programmes are designed to be recorded and archived for further and future use. Students enrolled on such programmes will at registration, consent to this recording and archiving.
The conditions outlined in above do not apply to these programmes, however students enrolled on a blended learning programme may insist that recording be ceased where sensitive issues or personal experiences are being discussed.
5.14 Visual Recording
Other than in the case of formal (formative & summative) assessment, the use of visual recording is prohibited outside of the Blended Learning context.
5.14.1 Reference Sources:
University of St. Andrews 15.2; Recording lectures & tutorials
Blended Learning NCI student portal; https://myncistudent.ncirl.ie/ITFacilitiesServices/DocLib/Blended%20Learning%20IT%20Support.aspx
Policies from AIT; TCD; UCC were also consulted and are available on the portal for review at
JISC (2010) Recording Lectures: Legal Considerations
 For the purposes of this policy a learning event may be lecture, tutorial, seminar or online learning event. For the avoidance of any doubt, under no circumstances can a meeting between students, lecturers or any other person be recorded. This applies whether or not the student concerned suffers from a disability within the meaning of the Equal Status Act 2000 as amended.
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