Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey: Open Now

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) will remain open until Friday 16th June. hea_surveys_logos_ptes-colour

The PTES asks postgraduate taught students in universities across the United Kingdom about their course and their learning experiences.

What is it?

The survey asks eligible postgraduate taught students about the whole student learning experience including;

  • motivations for taking the programme
  • information they were given to help choose their programme
  • their experience of teaching and learning
  • the organisation of the programme
  • assessment and dissertation (or major project)
  • career development

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 taught experience at Newcastle.

Incentives

All the respondents are entered into a prize draw (see terms and conditions). In 2017, the prizes include:

  • 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 LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

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.

Incentives

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 LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

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 ltds@ncl.ac.uk

Using Mobile Devices for Surveys

No PC? That’s fine…

Did you know that students can complete the National Student Survey, module evaluations and stage evaluations using their mobile devices? Both the NSS and EvaSys evaluations can be completed on iOS, Android and Windows based devices.

Students don’t need to be tied to a PC to complete the evaluations, they can complete them anywhere – on the bus, on the Metro, at the end of your lecture – you name it, as long as they have signal, they can do it!

Boost response rates!

Letting your students know that they can complete the evaluations on their mobile devices may even help boost your response rates – they might not be aware that they can use their tablets or mobiles (or how easy it is)!

You could use the end of your lecture or seminar to ask students if they could use their mobiles to complete the evaluation on a module, without the need for an IT Cluster. You could also ask your final year SSC representatives to complete the NSS towards the end of a committee meeting and then spread the word to their course mates.

How do students use their mobile devices?

It’s simple, for the NSS students can follow this link: http://thestudentsurvey.co.uk/ or follow the link sent to their email. For EvaSys evaluations, students open their student email and find the EvaSys emails with their personal link in.

Once they click the link, the evaluation will open and they can complete it using their mobile device (some students will need to copy the link by highlighting it in their email and pasting into a web browser).

Alternatively, for EvaSys evaluations, students can log into Blackboard on their mobile device and find a list of open surveys under the ‘My EvaSys’ section on the ‘My Institution’ tab. You could even pop a notification on your Blackboard module page with some directions to the evaluation, or show students during class where to find them.

We advise that students save the evaluation as they are completing it – this way they don’t need to start from the beginning again if they get disconnected. It also means they can exit the evaluation, and go back to the place they last saved when they re-open the evaluation.

For more information, please take a look at our guide to using mobile devices.

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…

ipsos_nss_banner_lb_eng

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 www.thestudentsurvey.com

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 ltds@ncl.ac.uk

 

National Student Survey Launches on Campus


Monday 6th of February sees the launch of the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS) at Newcastle University.

Entering its thirteenth year, the NSS gives students the opportunity to give their opinions on their experiences at Newcastle, from teaching to accommodation.

We will survey our final year undergraduate students in Malaysia and Singapore as well as those based here in the UK. We are unable to survey non-UK based students as part of the NSS, so we will be running a simultaneous survey using EvaSys for students at NUMed and those at SIT. The results of this additional survey will not be publicly available in the same way that NSS results are, but will allow us to have comparable data for Schools and programmes on our international campuses as well as for those programmes delivered here in the UK.

What is the NSS?

The NSS is an annual survey of final year undergraduates in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. It is a high profile annual census of nearly half a million students across the UK, which gives students a powerful collective voice to help shape the future of both their course and university or college.

The survey is widely recognised as an authoritative measure of student satisfaction and, as such, the results are highly visible on Key Information Sets (KIS) and on Unistats, and often reported in the media. It has helped to build a broader picture of the quality of higher education in the UK and has made it possible to monitor trends over time.

The NSS is commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of the UK funding bodies. Ipsos MORI, an independent research company, conducts the survey.

What questions does the NSS ask?

The questions allows students to provide feedback on a range of topics, relating to aspects of their learning experience which include the teaching on the course, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, and personal development. Students also are asked about their overall satisfaction.

All final year undergraduates can complete the NSS.

WHO BENEFITS FROM THE NSS?

Current students

The University and NUSU examines the anonymised NSS data internally to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. This information can be used to help effect changes designed to enhance or improve the student experience for both current and prospective students.

Newcastle has always supported the NSS and as a result of listening to what former students had to say, the following changes have been implemented in recent years:

  • increased opening of Robinson Library
  • increased availability of computer clusters
  • improved access to internet in University accommodation
  • new University policies on feedback turnaround time and feedback on exams

 How important is the NSS?

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 are 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, including the findings of the NSS.

As it is publicly available and 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.

Promotions and Incentives

This year we will once again be focusing on the Schools’ league table that has been a success in previous years. Two prize categories will exist – one for subject areas with fewer than 100 students, and one for those with 100 students or more, with two prizes available within each category: £500 for first place and £250 for second place. Again, we are including Malaysia and Singapore in the league table to help support their efforts in encouraging responses too.

Weekly response rate updates will be circulated to on the nss-updates mail list, so everyone can see how their School/subject area is doing and who is in the lead on the league tables. Members of staff who would like to be included in this list can request inclusion by contacting ltds@ncl.ac.uk.

Want to know more

To find out more visit www.thestudentsurvey.com or contact the NSS team at Ipsos MORI directly at thestudentsurvey@ipsos.com. You can always contact the Learning and Teaching Development Service on campus by emailing ltds@ncl.ac.uk

International Student Barometer 2016

Monday 24 October sees the launch of the 2016 International Student Barometer (ISB),  which Newcastle is taking part in for the eleventh time.

The ISB gives European Union and international students the opportunity to give their opinions on their experiences at Newcastle, from arrival at the University, through to teaching, accommodation and employability

We will survey all full-time and part-time EU and international undergraduates, taught and research postgraduate students, as well as study abroad and exchange students, based here in Newcastle and at Newcastle University London. We are unable to survey non-UK based and distance learning students as part of the ISB.

What is the ISB?

The annual ISB, which is run by i-Graduate, asks European Union and international students in around 200 universities across the world about their course and learning experiences. In 2016, the ISB will run at Newcastle between 24 October and 2 December.

What questions does it ask?

The survey includes questions about the whole student learning experience, including:

  • Pre-Arrival (including decision-making, application, and funding)
  • Arrival (including registration, and welcome/induction)
  • Learning (including teaching, assessment, and employability)
  • Living (including living costs, sports facilities, and accommodation)
  • Support (including personal tutors, students’ union, and wellbeing)

Who benefits from the ISB?

Schools, professional support services and NUSU examine the anonymised ISB data internally to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. This information can be used to help effect changes designed to enhance or improve the student experience for both current and prospective students.

Some examples of changes implemented in recent years can be found at https://internal.ncl.ac.uk/yousaidwedid/actions/

Want to know more?

More details about the ISB, including access to previous year’s results, can be on the University website or obtained by emailing the team.

STAR CASE STUDY: Using Facebook to Facilitate International Debate

Dr Bronwen Jones uses Facebook to allow Newcastle University Law School students to debate legal issues with students at Helwan University in Eygpt.

The winning students from Helwan University in Eygpt.

The debate functions as part of Bronwen’s teaching on intellectual property law for undergraduate students.

The collaboration came about after Bronwen met with Professor Yasser Gadallah whilst at a series of workshops in Cairo. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when Dr  Shaimaa Lazem moved to Newcastle to begin working with Culture Lab.

Shaimaa set up a closed Facebook group which would bring together one group of student from each institution to discuss intellectual property law.

Bronwen said: ‘In part I wanted to do something to show that you could have international collaboration without winning a big grant or spending money.

‘But I also wanted to facilitate a cultural exchange. I wanted my students to think more critically about the ways in which intellectual property law can advantage or disadvantage people from certain countries or cultures.’

Each group was given one week to prepare material, write an argument and post it on Facebook.

This written response helped to ensure that the Eygptian students were not disadvantaged by conducting a verbal debate in English.

Bronwen said: ‘Some students who were initially worried about participating joined in later and it became more and more popular over the semester.

‘Some actually joined when the debate was over because the materials posted – videos, articles etc. were useful. And the page is still up and running now.’

Each argument was then evaluated by academic staff.

Shaimaa and Bronwen
Shaimaa and Bronwen

In fact, the debate has been a tremendous success with both groups of students. Helwan won the debate and Newcastle students attained higher marks in their assessments around this topic, informed in no small part, Bronwen is certain, by their experience of the debate.

Both groups enjoyed their experience and the teaching staff are currently in the process of analysing data from questionnaires they filled out about their experiences.

Bronwen has presented on the Helwan/Newcastle Facebook project in Cape Town in September 2015 and will present on the results of the questionnaire at the European Intellectual Property Teachers Network (EIPTN) meeting in Sophia, Bulgaria in July.

You can read more about how Bronwen did it and see more examples from across the University on the Case Studies database.

Do you have an example of great teaching from your school? Tell us about it!

 

Videos of Wenger-Trayner Keynotes Available Online

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in China recently welcomed social and community learning experts Etienne and Beverley Wenger-Trayner and have made videos of their talks and workshops available online.

The videos – recorded over a three day visit during which the pair were keynote speakers at the University’s International Colloquium – are all available online.

Each offers a short insight into the sessions delivered around social learning and communities of practice as approaches to teaching.

Both are global leaders in the field. Etienne has authored and co-authored seminal articles and books on learning, including Situated Learning (1991) where the term ‘community of practice’ was coined.

A ‘community of practice’, as Wenger describes on the pair’s website is a group of people ‘who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.’

He has also published Communities of Practice (1998),  Cultivating Communities of Practice (2002), and Digital Habitats (2009).

Beverly is a learning consultant who specialises in social learning systems.

She has worked with international organizations such as the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the International Labor Organization, and The World Bank.

The videos include their keynote address, interviews and a CPS/CPD workshop. They are quick to view and very informative, offering a range of tips and insights from two experts in the field.

 

STAR CASE STUDY – Saving Sim-Man

Are you struggling to offer active and experiential learning to large numbers of students?  SimMan could save the day.

SimMan is a high-fidelity patient simulator who can be programmed to display a wide range of physiological and pathophysiological signs and respond appropriately to treatment, be it physical, e.g. cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or therapeutic, e.g. administration of drugs.

But surely only a few students can make use of SimMan at a time?

Clare Guilding (Lecturer in the School of Medical Education) has developed an effective way of using SimMan along with interactive voting technology to provide an engaging learning experience for a lecture theatre full of students.

Clare explains, ‘To enable the entire class to engage in clinical decision-making, split-screen and interactive voting technologies are employed.’

One of the screens projects the physiological readouts from SimMan such as his blood pressure, ECG heart trace and oxygen saturation; the other screen is linked to a TurningPoint interactive quiz.

Each student is supplied with a TurningPoint handset and at a series of key clinical points throughout the scenario, the students are asked to vote individually and anonymously on the most appropriate course of action (e.g. initial patient management steps, which drug should be administered etc.).

The option with the most votes, (whether or not this was the correct) is applied to SimMan and the students then observe the physiological effects this has in real time.

Clare said: ’In the online end of unit evaluation 76% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that SimMan had enhanced their learning experience.’

It also enabled students to see how their lectures applied to clinical practice:

One commented that ‘the lecture using SimMan at the end was really good, especially using TurningPoint so that we could try to ‘treat’ SimMan. It kept the lecture clinically-focussed and enabled us to see how the information would come in useful in practice’.

To find out more about SimMan and read about medical students’ repeated attempts to save his life, read the full case study on the Case Study database.

Or if you have your own example of really effective teaching practice in your School do get in touch with ltds@ncl.ac.uk.