Ousl Assignments 2012 Calendar

Assessment handbook for undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules starting before 29 September 2012

2.5 Submitting TMAs

There are two different methods of submitting TMAs, either on paper or online via a link on your StudentHome page. Your module materials will tell you which of these methods you should use, or whether you can choose which to use. For some modules the nature of the TMAs means that it isn’t possible to submit online for all of the TMAs, so you may find that you use paper for some TMAs and submit others online.

If your TMA is not received on or before the cut off date, it will not be marked and you will not get a score for it unless you have already had an extension to the cut off date agreed. For the last TMA on your module, your tutor cannot agree an extension beyond the first day of the month in which the module ends.

If you are submitting your assignment online, you should ensure that you submit well before midday (UK local time) on the cut off date in case you experience technical problems, and ideally at least three days before the cut off date. However, there is a 12-hour grace period so any TMAs received before midnight on the cut off date will still be accepted.

If you are submitting on paper, you should allow at least three days for delivery and ensure you obtain proof of posting. Don't use any form of delivery which requires a signature, and do ensure that you put sufficient postage on the envelope.

If you have difficulties submitting your assignment online using the link on your StudentHome page, you can submit by email directly to the University (not to your tutor). However, submission via StudentHome is always preferable because it guides you through the process and receipt by the system is quicker.

For more detailed information about submitting assignments online, see Appendix 2.

Submitting TMAs online

You should note that you can only submit one file for each TMA (if you submit a second file it will overwrite the first one). This may mean that you need to zip files together. You must ensure that your submission contains all of your TMA, that you are submitting the correct version of your TMA, and that it is in the right file format. If you submit a wrong file, or an unreadable file, you will not be allowed to submit another version.

Unless your module materials tell you otherwise, your file must be no bigger than 5MB in size. If it exceeds this size, you will not be able to submit it. You can either zip the file to reduce its size, or reduce the size by, for example, converting image files to a different format.

The cut-off date given in your Study Calendar is the last date by which each assignment should arrive. We strongly advise you not to leave submission of your TMAs until the last minute, and preferably to submit at least three days before the cut-off date. You should keep a copy of each assignment you submit, and also keep the submission receipt that will be sent to you when your TMA has reached the eTMA system. You should note that your tutor can collect and mark your eTMA at any point from the time you submit it. They don't have to wait until the cut-off date. Therefore you should be sure that the assignment you submit is your final version.

Remember that electronic submission is not immediate and it is your responsibility to make sure that your TMA arrives at the University on or before the cut-off date. You must make sure that your assignment is submitted, and arrives, before midday (UK local time) on the cut-off date. This means starting the submission process well before that time. However, there is a 12-hour grace period so any TMAs received before midnight on the cut-off date will still be accepted.

Appendix 2 of this handbook gives further information about submitting TMAs online.

Submitting TMAs by email

You should not send your TMA by email directly to your tutor. If you have problems accessing StudentHome or with the link to submit from StudentHome, you can email your assignment to the University. Your submission must follow all of the guidelines for eTMAs relating to file size, being free of viruses, and only submitting one file.

Address your email to etma@open.ac.uk, then attach your eTMA file. Don’t copy your email to anyone except yourself - you may need to do this if your email system doesn’t automatically save a copy of sent mail.

In the subject line put your personal identifier, your module code and your TMA number. Each of these should be separated by single spaces, commas or slashes. Don’t put anything else in the subject line or your email will be rejected.

The subject line should look something like this: A1234567/A111/01

Don’t put anything else in the email because it will not be read. You should also make sure that there is no formatting or signature in the email.

You will receive an acknowledgement email from the system when the eTMA has been accepted. This can take up to twelve hours. You can only be sure that your submission has been received if you receive an acknowledgement. Do not resubmit your eTMA unless you get an error message that tells you why your submission has failed. The error message comes in the form of an email from a different address, so don’t reply to this email in resending your eTMA. The error message will clarify why your TMA has not been accepted, you should correct the error and try again. You may need to check that you have typed your personal identifier and module code correctly - check the format of the subject line you have typed with the format shown above.

Submitting TMAs on paper

If you are submitting your TMAs on paper, use A4 paper and leave wide margins (about two centimetres) on both sides for your tutor's comments. Put your name, personal identifier, module code and assignment number at the top of every sheet.

TMA forms (PT3s)
TMA forms are only needed for paper TMAs. You’ll receive one TMA form (PT3) to send in with your TMA. When your marked TMA is returned to you, another TMA form will be enclosed for your next TMA. You must attach a TMA form to each tutor-marked assignment that you submit on paper. If you need an additional form go to ‘contact us’ on StudentHome to request one.

Check your form very carefully and fully. Above all, make sure that you’ve completed Section 1 by entering your personal identifier, assignment number and module code, and that these are all correct. You must also sign the form to confirm that you are submitting your own work (see the Appendix on Plagiarism). Errors or omissions in completing the form will cause considerable delay in recording your assignment score. Be sure that your address is written clearly and fully and that it is clear on all copies of the form, so that your assignment can be posted back to you.

Sending in your paper TMAs
Send your TMAs direct to your tutor unless told otherwise in your module materials. The cut-off date given in your Study Calendar is the last date by which the TMA should arrive. It’s to your advantage and ours that you submit assignments by the cut-off date. It will help you to keep up to date with the module, and it’s also important that you don’t get an unfair advantage by taking more time over your work, or from seeing other people’s marked assignments.

You are strongly advised to:

  • use first-class post (not recorded delivery or registered post as your tutor may not be in to receive it)
  • make sure that the postage on the envelope is sufficient (tutors are not obliged to collect or pay for TMAs with insufficient postage)
  • allow at least three days for delivery
  • where possible obtain proof of posting (available free from post offices in the UK)
  • keep a copy of each assignment you submit.

Partly completed TMAs

Unless you’re told otherwise, you must send in all parts of an assignment together. A part-assignment sent as a second instalment will not be marked. Your tutor will return it to you with a note to say that it can’t be accepted. If you have difficulty in completing all the parts of an assignment on time, you should ask your tutor, before the cut-off date, for permission to submit the whole assignment late. You must check your assignment before sending, either on paper or electronically, as if it turns out that you have sent the wrong file, or an earlier draft, or just missed something out, you will not be allowed to resubmit.

Early submission of TMAs

The Assignment Handling Office normally returns marked assignments to students within twenty four hours. If you submit your TMA early, however, your tutor will not send it to the Assignment Handling office until after the cut-off date.

Late submission of TMAs

Illness or some other good reason may leave you unable to submit a TMA to arrive on or before the cut-off date. Please remember that late submission is not a right; you must obtain permission in advance. For some assignments late submission is not permitted at all.

If there are good reasons why you can’t meet a TMA cut-off date, take the appropriate action as explained in the following list.

  • If you decide not to submit the assignment at all, warn your tutor, before the cut-off date, not to expect it from you.
  • If you want permission to submit the assignment late, explain your reasons to your tutor before the cut-off date. Late submission will be allowed only if your tutor agrees that you have a genuine reason, that it’s in your interest to submit late rather than get on with current work, and that it’s still acceptable to record a score for your work. An extension of more than seven days will be authorised only in exceptional circumstances, and your tutor will not agree to an extension of more than twenty-one days.
  • If you want to submit an assignment more than twenty-one days late, you must obtain permission through Learner Support in your regional or national centre, having first discussed the situation with your tutor.

Occasionally, when it’s too late to record a score that can contribute to your continuous assessment score, your tutor may still think it useful for your assignment to be marked so that you have the benefit of teaching comments.

Permission to submit a TMA more than seven days after the cut-off date will not usually be granted for more than two TMAs in a 60-credit module or one TMA in a 30-credit (or shorter) module.

The final TMA

So that scores can be recorded and documentation prepared at the end of each module, no extension to the cut-off date will normally be allowed for a module’s final assignment. In exceptional circumstances, and depending on the last cut-off date, an extension may be possible, though discretion for permitting it is much more limited than for other TMAs. If you think that your circumstances are exceptional, ask your tutor as soon as possible whether an extension can be granted. Any extensions to a final TMA cannot be given beyond the absolute cut-off dates given below. The absolute cut-off dates for final assignments for modules ending in each of these months are:

Module endsAbsolute cut-off date for extensions
January1 January
April1 April
June1 June
July1 July
October1 October

If the final TMA cut-off date for your module falls a few days beyond the dates above then no extension can be granted in any circumstances.


The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) is a specifically created, academically autonomous national university in the country. The OUSL academic structure consists of four faculties which serve the nation with distant education programmes through Regional and Study Centers. A major component of the distance learning programmes in the OUSL context is furnishing the students with the home assignments. The students have the facility to submit their home assignments to a centre convenient to them which are then sent to the relevant Course Coordinators who bear the responsibility to mark the assignments and send them back to the students. When this process is done manually all parties involved are faced with certain difficulties. As a result, students are unable to get their eligibility for the final examination and are penalized in numerous ways. With the intention of overcoming these obstacles and to streamline the process of handling submission of assignments as hard copies, I have implemented an Online Home Assignment Management System. The most obvious and significant advantages offered by Online Home Assignment Management System are that it prevents misplacement of assignments, offers faster assignment marks entering mechanisms, and provides quick message delivering methods regarding assignment events. The main users of this system are Receiving Officer, Course Coordinator and students. But the main role is played by Course Coordinators and Receiving officers. In this system Receiving Officers have been provided with a facility to accept the assignments from the students till the due date of assignment and to generate a letter to be sent with the assignments to the relevant Course Coordinator with the details of the assignments. After posting these assignment parcels, Receiving Officer sends required details to the relevant Course Coordinator along with postal registration number through the system. When receiving the assignments, Course Coordinator can view and check all the details pertaining to the assignments in the system. Further this system makes the role of the Course Coordinator easier and effective in preparing mark sheets. Finally, it is believed that the system developed provide many options to all the users to get their work done accurately and effectively.

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