Non-matriculated courses do not confer formal membership of the University or college membership, and this includes most PG Cert and PG Dip courses. However, all DPhil, MPhil and MSc/MSt courses will involve college membership. Many of the non-matriculated courses available are offered by the Department for Continuing Education, and many non-matriculated graduate students have a college association with Kellogg College. Non-matriculated courses are often part-time and undertaken at long distance.
These features of non-matriculated courses need to be taken into account in the assessment of the students’ needs, the recommendations that are made in the SSP, and the support that disabled students receive from the University, their department and college (if applicable).
For those students who do not have a college association, pastoral support is the responsibility of the relevant department. As for all students, it is important for disabled students to have access to effective pastoral and peer support. As many non-matriculated students are part-time and on long-distance or low-residency courses, having access to a support network and to pastoral care will mitigate the risk of feelings of isolation developing, and help prevent reduced engagement with the course because of outside responsibilities (more likely when a course is undertaken part-time). Feelings of isolation can be particularly difficult for disabled students, for example those with a mental health condition, or those who may already be feeling concerns about how they may be perceived by others, or how they will progress with the course, as a result of their disability.
Some courses involve long-distance learning, interspersed with short, intensive periods of residency in Oxford.
In addition to the provision of individual reasonable adjustments for disabled students, it is important that whilst undertaking long-distance learning:
Clear objectives are set for time spent away from Oxford.
There is effective communication with tutors and other support staff during time away from Oxford; expectations should be set about what level of contact can be expected.
There should be effective means for students to communicate with each other: online forums and mailing lists so that students can develop their own peer support networks.
On-line courses need to have accessibility and inclusivity in mind from the beginning. See the Centre for Teaching and Learning's guidance on accessibility and inclusivity in Canvas, and accessible documents and PowerPoint presentations. There is also guidance on targeted reading lists in this handbook.
Students need to be given explicit advice about study methods effective for long distance, part-time courses and further study support should be available.
During periods of intensive study in Oxford:
Reasonable adjustments need to be agreed in good time ahead of periods of residency. The Disability Coordinator should monitor the success of reasonable adjustments put in place after the first residency and make adjustments if needed.
Intensive study can be difficult for some students – it is important to put in place any reasonable adjustments necessary as a result, such as lecture capture, materials provided at least 24 hours in advance of teaching sessions, timetable changes and opportunities for short-breaks during sessions. If these measures can be anticipated and made available to all students, then this can potentially benefit all and reduce the need to make ad hoc adjustments.
Short, part-time courses
It is the relevant department’s responsibility to ensure that their Equality Act duties to make reasonable adjustments are met. The departmental Disability Coordinator (and Disability Lead in complex cases) should talk with the student about their needs, gather medical evidence if necessary, and implement reasonable adjustments that are agreed, in conjunction with course convenors, tutors, learning technologists and other staff as necessary.
Disabled students undertaking short, non-award bearing courses, are unlikely to be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). Students need to be working at an intensity of 25% or more of a full-time course to be eligible. The department should meet reasonable costs incurred to implement the adjustments required for students who are ineligible for DSA.
The Disability Advisory Service is available to students studying for award-bearing courses only, but Disability Coordinators in departments are welcome to contact the service to discuss complex cases.