Alan Roberts: Student engagement in shaping Higher Education


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Alan Roberts: Student engagement in shaping Higher Education. Slides from the University of Liverpool Learning and Teaching Conference 2009.

In February 2009 the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information produced a report to HEFCE on student engagement in England. The study aimed to:

* Determine the current extent and nature of student engagement in higher education in England;
* Explore current models of formal and informal student engagement;
* Explore institutions’ rationales for student engagement policies and practices, their measures of effectiveness, and perceptions of barriers to effectiveness;
* Explore what institutions and sector bodies might learn from student engagement models operating in other countries

Liverpool Guild of Students, on behalf of the University of Liverpool, was one of the case study organisations. This session will be used to create discussion about student engagement in learning and teaching issues at the University.

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Alan Roberts: Student engagement in shaping Higher Education

  1. 1. Student Engagement in shaping Higher Education<br />CHERI report to HEFCE on student engagement<br />Alan Roberts<br />Policy & Communications Manager<br />Liverpool Guild of Students<br />
  2. 2. Aims:<br />Discuss some findings of the CHERI report<br />Come up with the questions for the University of Liverpool<br />
  3. 3. What is student engagement?<br />Involving students as active participants in:<br />Development; <br />Delivery; <br />Management; and <br />Improvement of their educational experience.<br />Processes and practices:<br />National;<br />Institutional;<br />Students’ Union<br />
  4. 4. CHERI report<br />Funded by HEFCE, commissioned by cross-sector group: NUS, UUK, GuildHE, OIA, HEA, NPC.<br />“Institutional and SU processes and practices, such as those relating to student representation and student feedback, that seek to inform and enhance the collective student experience”<br />June-September 2008<br />Online survey of 80 HEIs (62% response rate) and 25 FECs (33% response rate)<br />Fieldwork and case studies: 9 HEIs, 4 FECs, 10 Sus (5 of which were different from selected HEIs)<br />Student feedback questionnaires<br />Student representation on committees including staff-student liaison committees and students and liaison officers<br />
  5. 5. What did it find?<br />Evidence of good practice – eg engaging non-traditional groups of students, you said-we did schemes<br />More work to be done: how reps can truly be representative<br />Need to measure the impacts of student engagement<br />Need for cross-sector group to promote networking opportunities for institutions and students’ unions.<br />
  6. 6.
  7. 7. Engagement in feedback questionnaires<br />Are course reps given the opportunity to comment on the design, format and proposed time/method of completion of the student feedback questionnaire? <br />Does your institution use both online and paper-based responses?<br />Does your institution give students notice before circulating the questionnaire to give students the chance to consider their views in detail beforehand?<br />Are course reps involved in promoting the questionnaire in class?<br />Has your institution considered using tutorial time to allow students to fill in their forms together, with the tutor explaining more about the questions and the information being sought?<br />Does your institution accompany the form with a handout or verbal presentation describing how previous feedback was used, and what has been enhanced as a result of comments?<br />Does your institution involve course reps in the analysis of the data and the construction of the subsequent report?<br />
  8. 8. NUS student experience report 2008<br />
  9. 9. The representative cycle<br />Training<br />Sharing and developing training resources and developing a pool of associates to support local training activities<br />Information on different practices<br />Sharing information on recruiting and rewarding reps, different systems for engagement, good practice for ensuring representativity.<br />Networking and policy information<br />Bringing reps from different institutions together to discuss teaching and learning issues, networking reps – physically and electronically - by subject area and providing information on and to national policy developments. <br />Consultancy<br />Advising students’ unions and institutions on ways of improving student engagement such as developing handbooks, specialised training materials and reviewing structures.<br />Innovation<br />Developing innovative approaches such as kite-marking for representation and championing innovative forms of teaching and learning.<br />
  10. 10. Issues for stakeholders<br />Students:<br />Closing the feedback loop<br />That students know who to go to and who their rep is<br />How students are involved in the selection of reps<br />That students understand their role as co-producers of their education<br />Course reps:<br />barriers for reps<br />time, support for admin, advance warning of meetings, etc<br />motivations for becoming reps<br />rewards such as payment, self-advancement and employability<br />knowing what the deal is<br />to know what students ought to expect<br />information and knowledge<br />what happened in previous years, who are my students, what information in available <br />training and capacity building<br />how do I know what students want and need<br />
  11. 11. Students’ Unions:<br />When looking at supporting students’ unions it will be important to remember that students’ unions have very different resources and priorities. Any project will need to meet the needs of these different types of students’ unions.<br /> <br />Institutions:<br />How to ensure an improvement in the quality of representation to promote a true pedagogical dialogue between students and academics<br />Evidence based contributions<br />Representing a diversity of views <br />The impact of good representation systems on the institution’s reputation<br />Consulting students, improving quality<br />Relevance to staff in various positions within institutions from the Vice-Chancellor, to the Academic Registrar and Quality Manager to those supporting student engagement within departments.<br />
  12. 12. Academic staff:<br />How to support academic staff to engage with students, highlighting the benefits, addressing any concerns and providing training<br />Networking student representatives with staff at the discipline or subject level to discuss pedagogical innovations<br />
  13. 13. 5<br />3<br />1<br />Question 4…<br />Staff-student liaison committees are the focus for discussion of curriculum and learning and teaching issues with students at the course level<br />This is what our quality handbook states. To be honest I’m not quite sure whether this is what actually happens in practice. I’m told that more often that not problems are raised in meetings, if students bother to attend.<br />Staff within departments are produced with guidance and advice on the purpose of the meetings with students through seminars and information packs on how to get useful feedback from students.<br />There is strong evidence that staff are using their discussions at a course level to make alterations to the way in which subject matter is taught. Discussions focus around what aids learning rather than what is effective teaching<br />
  14. 14.<br />Thank you!<br />