All posts by Jack

Postgraduate Research Experience Survey Launch

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) will launch on Monday 20th March and will remain open until Thursday 18th May 2017.hea_surveys_logos_pres-colour

The PRES is the only UK higher education sector-wide survey to gain insight from postgraduate research students about their learning and supervision experience.

What is it?

The survey is designed to capture the opinion of any research student on a doctoral or research master’s course.

It focusses on students’ experiences of;

  • supervision
  • resources
  • research community
  • progress and assessment
  • skills and professional development

It also considers students’ motivations for taking their chosen programme.

Why is it important?

The survey presents an opportunity for students to Shape the student experience: the feedback we receive is valuable in helping to enhance the postgraduate research experience at Newcastle.

How is it completed?

The PRES is an online survey and can be completed on a mobile device. Eligible students will receive an email with a link to complete the survey.


All students who complete the survey are entered into a prize draw (see terms and conditions);

1st Place prize: 9.7-inch iPad Pro (one available to win)

2nd Place prizes: iPad mini 4 (two available to win)

3rd Place prizes: £20 Amazon gift card (20 available to win)

Further details and support can be found on the LTDS webages. If you have any specific questions please contact

NSS Support – Response Rates

Nearly a month has passed since the launch of the NSS so we thought it would be helpful to share some good ideas from colleagues across the university who have achieved strong early response rates.

Identify Key Timetabled Sessions

The Dental School used a mock exam feedback session to run through the NSS information slides at the end. Why not go one step further and also leave time for students to complete the survey on their mobile devices?

Strategy and Planning

The School of Arts and Cultures devised a communication plan to keep their Media students aware of what was happening which included;

  • Welcome back emails at the start of Semester 2 highlighting actions already taken as a result of student feedback
  • A brief introduction to the NSS around the launch date to explain how it works and that they will be given time the following week to complete the survey
  • A detailed presentation one week after opening followed by time to complete the survey before main lecture started
  • Communication of response rates to students, thanking them and sending reminders if necessary

In the future it is envisaged that this strategy will be rolled out across other programmes in the School.

Promoting a strong student/staff partnership

Professor Janice Ellis from the Dental School told us; ‘…we have good Student/Staff committee structures and in the general we have tried to promote an environment in which students genuinely feel that their opinion is valued.  This has been reflected recently in student comments at the Student Staff Committee’.

A key theme emerging is that Schools who promote an environment where students feel that their opinion is valued tend to achieve higher response rates.

This can be achieved by actively ‘closing the loop’ through demonstrating and communicating actions taken following Student Staff Committees, Module Evaluation and Stage Evaluation throughout all stages of degree programmes.

If you have any initiatives that you have introduced in house in an effort to boost response rates or encourage student engagement with the NSS and would like to share your ideas, then please contact the Learning and Teaching Development Service by emailing

Boosting National Student Survey Reponse Rates

Looking for tips on boosting response rates for the NSS survey? Below you will find a few ideas on how to achieve a higher response rate…


Some ideas on what you could do…

  • Actively encourage completion using a mobile device. Wireless access is being continuously improved across campus which should make this really easy! When using a smartphone students just need to follow the link in their email which will automatically take them to the mobile version of the NSS Survey.
  • Arrange dedicated information sessions or set aside a brief amount of time at the start or end of timetabled sessions for students to complete surveys on their own devices.
  • Task student ambassadors or stage reps with encouraging their cohort to take part in surveys by posting on School/Programme social media. Encouraging discussion amongst student cohorts may lead to positive suggestions for improvement.

Communication is key…

  • Try to ensure examples of improvements made both in house and across the wider University in response to survey results are communicated widely. You Said, We Did  highlights recent University wide actions. It might also be a good idea to highlight separately what has been achieved at local level.
  • Don’t forget taking part in the NSS is an opportunity for students to compete with other Schools! Subject areas with the highest response rates at the end of the survey period will win a cash prize to spend however the students wish. Further details of this can be found on the LTDS webpages

Why is the NSS important?

Aside from helping the University ensure that students are satisfied with its courses the NSS is also increasingly crucial for prospective students and parents in deciding which institution to choose.

Data from the NSS is publicly available via Unistats. This official site allows prospective students to compare information across institutions and subjects/courses. The site draws together comparable data on areas that students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study.

As it is publicly available the NSS can also be used by prospective students but also by other bodies wishing to measure student satisfaction and experience, from newspapers to government and policymakers.

To find out more visit visit

If you have any initiatives that you have introduced in house in an effort to boost response rates and would like to share your ideas with the wider University, then please contact the Learning and Teaching Development Service by emailing