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Preparing to submit work

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Module Guides

Your Module Guide will provide you with all the essentials module information which includes:

  • Pass criteria for a module
  • Core and elective modules
  • Regulations specific to your course (if applicable)
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Group Work
  • Assessment Criteria
  • Weightings and mode(s) of assessment for each module
  • Submission of assignments
  • Marking and Feedback dates
  • Grading and Marking Schemes

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Pass criteria for a module

The minimum pass criteria to pass a module which uses percentage marks are that you:

  • achieve an overall module mark of 40% (50% for level 7 modules) or above;
  • achieve the specified pass mark in all of the module assessment tasks where this is a requirement.

The minimum pass criteria to pass a module which uses pass / fail grades only or a combination of percentage marks and pass / fail grades are that you:

  • achieve an overall pass grade;
  • achieve other pass criteria as defined in the module information.

There could be Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements which mean that a different pass criteria is stipulated for some modules. This will be made clear to you in module information. For more details on percentages, grades and subsequent awards, please refer to the Standard Assessment Regulations on University Rules & Regulations > Study > Assessment and Exams section.

For re-assessment, visit the Marking and Feedback section.

Core and Elective Modules

  • Core Modules are those which students must pass in order to achieve a named award.  Core modules may be compensated (unless an exemption from Standard Assessment Regulations has been approved) but cannot be substituted. Students are permitted one re-registration on a core module;
  • Elective/Specialist Modules may be chosen from a limited list, specific to a course. The elective list may change from year to year and modules can be added or removed throughout the time a course is running. Elective modules may be compensated or substituted;
  • Independent Study Modules are credit bearing modules that are created for individual students who need to retrieve a credit deficit in a core module, which is no longer available, to enable them to gain an award. In such cases, the agreed learning outcomes for the module must be consistent with those of the core module that is being replaced.

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Blackboard Module Sites

At Sheffield Hallam University, every taught module must have a Blackboard module site for providing core information to students though many will link to additional learning resources and activities outside of Blackboard. Your Blackboard module sites should include the following:

  • Essential module information – refer to Module Guide above.
  • Link to the Resource List Online for the module.
  • Learning materials such as lecture notes and hand-outs.
  • Assessment criteria and arrangements for coursework submission – refer to Preparing to submit your work section.
  • Contact and availability details for all teaching staff.
  • Provisional marks and feedback when they are released – refer to Marks and Feedback section.
  • Formal submission points for the electronic submission of coursework – refer to Preparing to submit your work section.

If these are not available, contact your Module Leader for this information. 

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Assessment Criteria

Assessment criteria is developed to evaluate to what standards students achieve the module learning outcomes.  Assessment criteria can also form the basis for feedback about a student’s performance and what they need to do to demonstrate a higher level of achievement. 

Assessment Tasks

An assessment task is an individual piece of assessed work. A collection of related, small assessment sub-tasks e.g. a collection of phase tests or experiments can form a single assessment task.

Assessment tasks within a module marked by percentage may have different weightings; the weightings refer to the relative contribution the individual assessment tasks make towards the overall module mark. These are normally expressed as a percentage e.g. a coursework essay may count for 30% of the whole module mark and an exam for 70% of the module mark. There may be a requirement for one or more assessment tasks to be passed at a minimum pass mark, if the module is designed in this way. If you have to pass an assessment task in addition to achieving an overall minimum pass mark this will be published in your module documentation.  Assessment tasks can include the following:

  • Exams are fixed, time constrained assessments, which are good at assessing the recalling of knowledge and assessing the full breadth of a module’s content, allowing tutors to assess students across a range of topics;
  • Essays are good at developing and assessing the ability to organise, integrate and express ideas together with critical thinking and problem-solving;
  • Practical work is linked to real-world application, required when students need to develop skills to a professional standard, applicable for such disciplines as Nursing, Computing, Education and Sport;
  • Portfolios can be used to record actions, thinking and reflection.  The use of portfolios promotes reflective thinking and personal and professional development planning (PPDP);
  • Group Work can allow students to learn about a topic, learn about themselves and how to work in a group to complete group-based tasks effectively.  Many ‘real world’ activities require group effort and a group-based assessment can mimic these complex and multi-skill types of activities.  Use of group work can develop team-working skills such a cooperation, negotiation, leadership and time-management;
  • Dissertation/Project is a substantial piece of work compiled from research undertaken by the student, such as a final-year project in undergraduate honours degrees or Master’s degrees.  Dissertations allow students to develop a deep insight into a chosen area of study, develop critical-thinking, originality and independence of enquiry to produce a comprehensive piece of original research.

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Group Work

Benefits of group work

Working in groups can provide you with valuable learning opportunities. It can help you learn to see other people’s point of view and to learn from and with one another. The ability to work collaboratively is an important life skill and is in demand from both professional bodies and employers. Problem-based learning frequently involves elements of group work and research evidence shows that this consistently results in enhanced student learning. Working in groups can help you develop a number of interpersonal skills:

  • emotional intelligence;
  • conflict resolution;
  • negotiation;
  • giving and receiving feedback.

Examples of these skills can be given at interview, demonstrating how you resolved a particular group situation and perhaps what you would do next time if the same situation arose to bring about a resolution. See our Group Work resources for additional help for both you and your group to succeed in your task and make the most of the experience. Group Work can be assessed in a number of ways. Please check your assessment criteria to identify how you are expected to demonstrate learning.

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How to manage group work

Managing group working can be a serious challenge when the work is assessed. In successful groups all members of the group contribute. This is achieved by:

  • clear goal setting;
  • clear professional communication between members of the group;
  • an agreed leader who brings the rest of the group together and monitors steady progress towards the shared final goal.

When organising to work in a group, it is useful to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the potential group members. Belbin Team Roles are often used to describe different ways people behave in groups. Successful groups tend to have a balance of different personalities, with a range of strengths which reduce the impact of any weaknesses.

Problems usually arise when one or more members of the group fail to ‘pull their weight’. This can be for genuine reasons (i.e. illness) and less genuine reasons. Whatever the reason, the group must address it quickly and try to resolve the problem between themselves in the first instance. If it can’t be resolved quickly the group should contact their tutor in good time to receive further support. In summary:

  • ground rules should be pre-determined and clearly communicated;
  • monitoring group performance should be student-led;
  • create an opportunity for tutor feedback and intervention where necessary.

See our Group Work resources for  help for you and your group to succeed in your task and make the most of the experience. Group Work can be assessed in a number of ways. Please check your assessment criteria to identify how you are expected to demonstrate learning.

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Submitting Group Work

Take a look at the Submitting your Work – Group Work section.   

Self and peer assessment

Self-assessment and peer assessment is where you assess your own work and that of other students. It is done to help you take greater responsibility for your learning and to develop your ability to reflect objectively on your own performance and that of your peers. The goal of peer and self-assessment is to identify your mistakes, strengths and weaknesses and use these to plan the next learning steps. To do this successfully you need to really understand the assessment criteria and be able to apply these to your own work and that of your peers.  As students you will not have experience in marking and for some peer-assessment is a real challenge, potentially full of tensions and anxieties, so it’s important to be sensitive when assessing your peers. The best feedback is objective, constructive and specific. Consider the kind of feedback that would help you develop as a learner and use this as a model. Your module leader should explain the marking criteria, why you’re using peer-assessment and the process. In summary:

  • take time to understand the assessment criteria.
  • ensure you are clear about your role in the overall process.
  • make your feedback and evaluations specific, objective and constructive.

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Academic Conduct

You are a Sheffield Hallam student on and off campus. It’s important that you help to create a safe and supportive environment by championing and adhering to our student conduct rules and regulations. Visit University Rules & Regulations > student conduct for more details. 

Referencing | Plagiarism | AI and you: learning and assessment


The standard referencing style at Sheffield Hallam University is APA 7th.

This will not affect students who currently use other referencing styles for consistency with subject or professional practice. Check with your tutors to see what referencing style you are expected to use.

Referencing is an essential part of academic writing.  If you are to avoid plagiarism you must acknowledge the work of other people when you refer to them in your work. This means properly referencing your sources and citing them in the text. Visit University Rules & Regulations > student conduct for more details.

APA 7th is the referencing style most used at Sheffield Hallam University; however some subject areas use different referencing styles. Check with your tutors to see what style you are required to use.

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Referencing Guidance

When you write an assignment you will be drawing constantly upon information you have read in books, journal articles and other sources. You are required to acknowledge these sources through referencing. Accurate referencing is very important because:

  • it demonstrates that you have researched or read around the subject which you are writing about
  • it provides evidence for your arguments
  • it allows any reader of your work to find the original sources you used
  • it shows that you are not passing off someone else’s research as your own thoughts

You should reference whenever you use someone else’s work in your own work; not only when you quote but also when you paraphrase or summarise someone’s ideas.

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Referencing Resources

There are lots of resources to help you learn how to reference using APA 6th, including apps and online tools which make putting together a reference list quick and easier. Visit:

Referencing software can help you keep an accurate record of the resources you have used and can automatically create correctly formatted citations and bibliographies to insert into your work.  Try the online tool RefWorks or follow our Lib Guides > Referencing > Tools guidance to help select the online tool or app that works for you. Different referencing tools and apps that use APA can sometimes produce slightly different references. To ensure consistency in your referencing, it is recommended that you use only one referencing tool / app rather than a mix of different ones.

Always check and correct your references before submitting your work and make sure you’re aware of the University’s Rules and Regulations webpage > student conduct guidance. 

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It is important that all students are aware of what constitutes academic misconduct, appreciate its importance and are able to avoid unintentional academic misconduct. Plagiarism is one of a number of definitions of academic misconduct.

Plagiarism is using the ideas or work of another person (including experts and fellow or former students) and submitting them as though they are your own original work without proper referencing.

  • Self-plagiarism – is the submission of work that is the same as, or broadly similar to, assessments you have submitted previously for academic credit, without proper acknowledgment and the prior consent of the module leader for subsequent assessments.
  • Collusion – is the unauthorised collaboration between two or more students in the preparation and production of an assessment, which is then submitted by each of them as their own individual work.
  • Cheating –unfair behaviour relating to an examination where you have breached a condition of conduct. Visit University Rules and Regulations webpage > Study > Assessment and Exams section for examination policies. 
  • Contract cheating – this may take the form of buying or commissioning (including seeking to commission) either a whole assessment or part of it, for example, from internet sites, essay ‘banks’ or ‘mills’. It may also take the form of a student who sells or offers to sell their own assessed work to other students.
  • Fabrication of falsification of data – submitting work containing data measured in the field, in the laboratory or other setting, any part of which is untrue, made up, falsified or fabricated in any way.
  • Breaches of Confidentiality and/or unethical practice – failure to follow confidentiality, anonymity or research ethics protocols.
  • Dishonest or unfair practice – the use of any form of dishonest academic practice not specifically categorised above.

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AI and you: learning and assessment

This guidance outlines how you might make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) without breaking the rules on the University Rules & Regulations > student conduct webpage.

Sheffield Hallam University wishes to gratefully acknowledge the work of the Senior Education Leadership team at UCL, who agreed that we can use their guidance as the basis for these pages.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT, DALLE-2, CoPilot, and most recently Google Bard have attracted attention, with the suggestion that they will write your assignments for you.  All of these can be helpful tools for generating content that might contribute to assessed work.

At Sheffield Hallam, we believe these tools are potentially transformative as well as disruptive; that they will feature in many academic and professional workplaces; and that rather than seek to prohibit your use of them, we will support you in using them effectively, ethically, and transparently.  

Artificial Intelligence and Academic Integrity – AI&AI

It is important you do not use AI tools to generate an assignment and submit it as if it were your own work.  Our regulations state:

Contract cheating/concerns over authorship: This form of misconduct involves another person (or artificial intelligence) creating the assignment which you then submit as your own. Examples of this sort of misconduct include: buying an assignment from an ‘essay mill’/professional writer; submitting an assignment which you have downloaded from a file-sharing site; acquiring an essay from another student or family member and submitting it as your own; attempting to pass off work created by artificial intelligence as your own. These activities show a clear intention to deceive the marker and are treated as misconduct.

What is AI good for?

  • Answering questions where answers are based on material which can be found on the internet. 
  • Drafting ideas and planning or structuring written materials. 
  • Generating ideas for graphics, images, and visuals. 
  • Reviewing and critically analysing written materials to assess their validity. 
  • Helping to improve your grammar and writing structure – especially helpful if English is a second language. 
  • Experimenting with different writing styles. 
  • Getting explanations. 
  • Debugging code. 
  • Getting over writer’s block. 

On some courses, using specific kinds of artificial intelligence might be forbidden, because of the skills your tutors want you to develop. Seek your tutors’ guidance.

Limitations and drawbacks of using AI.

 AI tools are powerful and easy to use, but they can provide misleading or incorrect information. They can offer shortcuts that reduce the need for critical engagement, a key to deep and meaningful learning. You need to be aware of the difference between reasonable use of such tools, and at what point their use might be regarded as a way of avoiding necessary thinking on your part.

Artificial and human intelligence are not the same; AI tools do not understand anything they produce, nor do they understand what the words they produce mean when applied to the real world., the creators of ChatGPT, have provided helpful guidance for educators and students:

  • Whilst their output can appear plausible and well written, AI tools frequently get things wrong and can’t be relied upon for factual accuracy. 
  • They perform better in subjects which are widely written about, and less well in niche or specialist areas. 
  • Unlike a normal internet search, they don’t look up current resources and are therefore some months out of date. 
  • They cannot currently provide references – they fabricate well formatted but fictitious citations. 
  • They can perpetuate stereotypes, biases, and Western perspectives. 

More fundamentally, overreliance on these tools will reduce your opportunities to hone your writing, critical thinking, and evaluation skills.

You can develop these skills through interrogation of the outputs from AI. By studying what these systems produce you can evaluate its validity and reliability.  Some of your tutors may well ask you to use AI for exactly this type of task, perhaps as part of a formal assessment.

Acknowledging, referencing, and citing AI generated material in your work.

If you your tutors have not forbidden the use of AI, and if you decide to use it to produce an assignment, you must describe and reference how you have used it.


You must acknowledge the use of AI: name the tool and how it was used using the following style. 

  • No content generated by AI technologies has been presented as my own work 
  • I acknowledge the use of <insert AI system(s) and link> to generate materials for background research and self-study in the drafting of this assessment. 
  • I acknowledge the use of <insert AI system(s) and link> to generate materials that were included within my final assessment in modified form. 

Description of use of AI.

You must describe how the information or material was generated, including the prompts you used; what the output was and how the output was changed by you. You should use the following style of wording, depending on the nature of use:  

  • The following prompts were input into <AI system>: <List prompt(s)> 
  • The output obtained was: <Paste the output generated by the AI system> 
  • The output was changed by me in the following ways: <explain the actions taken> 

You should keep your drafts as evidence of the way in which you have made use of AI in the production of your assignment.


You must reference (or cite if appropriate) using APA7 referencing [unless explicitly told to use a different form of referencing by your tutor or lecturer].


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Last updated: 22nd January 2024 NB.

For all enquiries regarding this page, please contact the ADI Team.