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Checking in with our students

This academic year it is more important than ever to capture how our students are doing in these first few weeks of teaching. Two tools that will help us do so are informal module check-ins and the Student Pulse Survey.

Informal Module Check-ins

As the Student Voice Schedule indicates, module leaders are asked to organise informal module check-ins in Teaching Weeks 3 or 4 of each semester. There are various ways in which you can approach these informal check-ins, which will provide you with feedback on students’ engagement and help you decide on any changes you might want to make. Q&A were organised in Teaching Week 2 and at the start of Teaching Week 3 to support you with any queries. Should you have additional queries, do not hesitate to get in touch (ltds@newcastle.ac.uk).

Student Pulse Survey

While the informal check-ins are focused at module level, the Student Pulse Survey gathers information on the student experience at University and programme level.

In Teaching Week 4, all of our taught students will be asked to undertake a short survey. This survey is run centrally from Monday 9th November until Monday 16th November, 10am.

The questions, available on Sharepoint, relate to a student’s overall experience. The survey also includes a reminder about the support available from their personal tutor and an opportunity to request to speak to someone about their broader student experience.

While the administration of the Student Pulse Survey will be managed centrally, we ask that academic units encourage their students to complete the survey, to supplement central promotion. 

The results of the survey are to provide academic units with additional feedback from students on their experience, to further reflect on what is working well and what you may want to adapt/modify for the second half of the semester. The same questions from the Student Pulse Survey will be included in the Stage/Semester Evaluations that will take place at the end of Semester 1. This way you can see whether and if so how student views have developed and changed. 

Academic units will be sent the quantitative results of the Student Pulse Survey on 16th November. Academic units will receive one PDF report of results, per programme per stage of study. 

QAA news

Membership

As an institution, Newcastle University is now a member of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The QAA has moved from a subscription to a membership model, offering various membership services which aim to:

  • address sector-wide challenges including safeguarding degree standards
  • maintain the tools to deliver the highest academic quality, including current and relevant standards and frameworks, such as the Quality Code for Higher Education and revised Subject Benchmark Statements
  • advance UK higher education’s international leadership in quality assurance and enhancement through our strategic partnership work with agencies across the world
  • provide an expert and independent voice on quality and standards.

As a member, we can be part of the Membership Advisory Group and network events, and will receive personalized updates on membership activities at an institutional level.  Additionally, the University receives preferential rates for non-member QAA events and services such as the QAA annual conference, student engagement events, and the Data Matters.

In 2019/20 work that will be undertaken includes new Subject Benchmark Statements, in-country reports, viewpoints and research. Output on degree classification workshops, networking events, partnerships and the Membership Advisory Group will also be published.

Membership resources including case studies, webinars, materials, and reports can be accessed after registration (https://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/membership/resources). New outputs from membership work will be published here.

More information can be found on the QAA website: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/membership/qaa-membership

Updates to Subject Benchmark Statements

At the end of October 2019, QAA published first updates to Subject Benchmark Statements, starting with subjects in STEM and Humanities. These statements describe the academic standards expected of graduates in that subject area (what are students to know, do and understand at the end of their studies). The minor changes to the subject benchmark statements include a reflection of the 2018 Quality Code, and ensure that the QA’s subject level guidance is aligned with current HE reference points. As the changes were minor, no subject expert working groups were convened. The chair or a member of the previous advisory group confirmed any changes.

Similar updates to Subject Benchmark Statements will be made to all subjects.

A full list of updated Subject Benchmark Statements can be found here: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/news-events/news/updates-to-subject-benchmark-statements-in-stem-subjects