UPDATED: A BAMMJ student has started a petition to eliminate a docking system for missing seminars and lectures

jess howells

This story has been adjusted due to inaccuracies. 

Jess Howells, a BAMMJ (Multimedia Journalism) student, has kick-started a petition to challenge a pilot system that docked marks off students. 

The petition has earned over 500 signatures and aims to challenge a pilot docking system for Level C and H journalism students that deducted 2% for missing a class and 1% for being 10 minutes late.

However, when she set up the petition, the second year journalism student was unaware the participation points scheme was a pilot, which made staff review it early after the first semester as opposed to the end of the year as originally planned. The results revealed an increase in not only participation but in grades as well and lecturers reported the classes as more “buzzy”. From now on, the docking will only be applied to group work or individual work in a group context as opposed to individual projects.

Jess said: “I set up the petition just to show that the majority of the students were upset, not just me. After the meeting I’m happy that they have scrapped the policy from individual work and I personally understand their reasons for keeping the policy on group work”.

Previously, she has been docked for two group projects and one individual project due to illnesses and family grievances. However, students reported a variety of reasons marks were reduced for including their cars breaking down and attending interviews for projects. Concerns were raised that BAMMJ staff were going against university policy after the PR team sent out a statement originally stating it was. However, it has recently been corrected to say:

‘Students are expected to be engaged participants in their learning and for a small number of programmes, the level of student participation may be monitored to inform the assessment process.  In these instances, it will be clearly stated in the assessment criteria that attendance for the purposes of engagement (e.g. as a part of group work, or to presentations etc.) will be considered as a part of the marking process.’

The full statement can be viewed here.

However, students have said the pilot impacted their projects. One student, who preferred not to be named, allegedly had to miss an interview for his documentary due to a compulsory seminar after he was not given permission to miss it despite asking multiple times.

He said: “We therefore had to give up the opportunity to the detriment of our i-doc content. Shockingly, the four-hour seminar failed to provide substantial information that would adequately benefit us as we prepared for an upcoming assignment.”

However, Programme Leader, Mat Charles, has advised students to contact their representatives or unit leaders about mitigating circumstances of a variety of natures or look in the student handbook for more help.

In an email he sent out to BAMMJ students, he wrote: ‘I must stress that our decision to introduce this pilot was only ever with your best interests at heart. The aim is to encourage each and every one of you to achieve your full potential.  Each member of staff on the BAMMJ team is committed to this.’

The participation points will remain in place for:

  • Broadcast journalism 1&2 without including the radio Features for Change assignment (where marks will be given back)
  • Features and Online 1&2 excluding the individual investigative feature. Any students who had their marks deducted will have their work moderated at the exam board.

Any students who had their marks deducted for other units will have their work moderated at the exam board.

An earlier version of this article claimed that it was not Bournemouth University policy to reduce marks and it never has been, based off the original statement released by BU. It also stated that the system was added to the course this year however it was agreed on early last year and implemented at the start of the academic year.