Skip to main navigation Skip to content
safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education
 
 

Student engagement: whose education is it anyway?: Live Chat 

ARCHIVED

Online discussion: Thursday 28 June, 11.00am - 12.00pm 

Related links

Student engagement: whose education is it anyway? A Talking about quality paper by Gwen van der Velden, Director of Learning and Teaching Enhancement at the University of Bath

Student engagement at QAA

We want to put students at the heart of everything we do at QAA, to help them be active participants in shaping their education. For us, student engagement is about giving all students the opportunity and encouragement to get involved in quality assurance and the enhancement of higher education.

But we want to know what you think

On Thursday 28 June we'd like to invite you to join a panel of higher education experts from across the sector in discussing your thoughts on student engagement.

What does student engagement mean to you?

Who is responsible for student engagement?

What else could QAA be doing to support student engagement?

Post your comments and questions to the panel using the comments facility below, and join us here at 11.00am on Thursday for the live discussion. You can also follow the discussion on Twitter: @QAAtweets and #qaa2012.

Panellists

Alex Bols, Executive Director, 1994 Group @alexbols

Becka Colley, Dean of Students, University of Bradford @beckacolley

Dan Derricott, QAA Board Member and student at the University of Lincoln @danderricott

Rebecca Freeman, PhD student at the University of Birmingham (Student Voice in Higher Education) and Institutional Review (England and Northern Ireland) student reviewer

Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive, QAA

Megan McHaney, Development Advisor, Student Participation in Quality Scotland (sparqs)

Dominic Passfield, Student Engagement Coordinator, QAA

Chris Taylor, Student Engagement Manager, QAA

Gwen van der Velden, Director of Learning and Teaching Enhancement, University of Bath @gwenvdv

Comments (121)
Comments
In terms of engaging students it isn’t that quality issues are uninteresting to students, every student is interested in Assurance and Enhancement, it's just the terminology is a turn off. Assurance is 'are you getting as good an experience as your friends on other courses, do you get helpful feedback on your work, do you understand how the course is put together, does it seem sound to you etc' and Enhancement is - 'how could things be better, and what could we do to get you involved in being part of making it better?' I don't mean to over simplify, just to point out that we sometimes over complicate. I would hazard a guess that not too many course teams have these kinds of discussions with their students and that is where I think simple meaningful steps towards better student engagement could be made. This chapter of the code will encourage people to recognise student engagement as a priority. Lets hope that it gets students and staff talking not just us.
Rebecca Rock
28 June 2012
Comments
@Chris Agree on the student reviewer point - I fed back at the last training that I really appreciated being trained alongside academics and review secretaries in terms of parity of esteem, but there should be some recognition that we generally don't have the same experience and could do with more dedicated sessions. Perhaps the student reviewers could arrive a day early for some dedicated sessions - I also think having student reviewers who have completed at least one review come along and share their experiences was hugely helpful to me, and could be more formalised. I think at the moment it's a steep learning curve even for seasoned education officers, and if QAA wishes to get more "ordinary" students involved as reviewers there will definitely need to be a focus on training them.
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
@all Thanks for an interesting discussion. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new code is interpreted by the sector.
Rebecca Freeman
28 June 2012
Comments
@all many thanks for a stimulating discussion. Much to think about and to do ... I hope and expect this chapter to start to move things forward - hopefully not too slowly
Ian Giles
28 June 2012
Comments
@all Goodbye for now. Thanks for getting involved in this discussion. Plenty for the student engagament team at QAA to be pondering.
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@rob agree entirely, and this becomes even more the case when we get into areas of the sector with less well developed support structures for this kind of activity - I think its one of our key challenges!
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@ChrisTaylor - I think the QAA have been doing some brilliant work engaging with other sector bodies, some Unions etc, but I think you have to be aware that to the "regular" student QAA is not something they understand or are even aware of in a majority of cases. I think @Dominic made a good point earlier when he said that if students are not aware of the quality code principles then that could be problematic - I am not sure QAA can rely on either SUs or institutions (particularly institutions!!) to cascade that information to students, so QAA may need to consider how it goes to engage with students directly.
Rob Stroud
28 June 2012
Comments
@kate there certainly is training but the question of whether it can be improved is a good one im sure - particularly with a new chapter. The issue of training for student reviewers is also a key issue for us to think about - how to support them appropriately.
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@chris well for as a basic starting point when there are reviews after the SE Chapter has been implemented pulling this together into a useful guide for sharing ideas and practice. Secondly for the first year experience theme in IR bring out any points around how institutions engage students in academic community from the start of their course.
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
Our panellists will soon be leaving us - thanks very much to everyone who took the time to share their questions, thoughts and comments. Do continue to post here or using #qaa2012 - as Chris mentions we're keen to hear what you think QAA could do to help support student engagement.
Jess, QAA
28 June 2012
Comments
@Chris I wonder how much institutional reviewers understand student engagement? As a student reviewer, I felt that my team understood it very well, and obviously the new Chapter will help as well. Are there any training/information/discussion sessions aimed specifically at reviewers focusing on this subject?
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
@Becca, that's really encouraging, and exactly the attitude that should be taken - they are living documents,
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
Thank you all for your comments and thoughts generated by the paper or otherwise. I've hugely enjoyed this and will be having a lot to think about because of this event. I regret I now need to be somewhere else, but thank you for letting me join in today!
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@all before we all go i'd be interested in any thoughts people have on QAA work in this area? What more can/should we do?
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@Kate the drawback of setting out everyone's expectations of each other is the danger of it becoming almost a set of 'school rules'...we will do this, you must do that...how did you avoid that?
Anne Brooks Butcher
28 June 2012
Comments
@ megan our charter has an implementation plan (which I am currently debating with the SU!) which will do exactly that. They need to be living documents, not just a list of demands that satisfy external criteria but get ignored.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Becca@Ian@Dan in Scotland we have taken a different approach to charters in Scotland, we are encouraging Student Partnership Agreements, which is when the university and the students' association agree key projects that they will work on together in the coming year and it says how students can become involve and have an impact. These partnership agreements are not focused on expectations of what staff and what students will do, but what can be done together, for each others benefit
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
In Southampton we had a student entitlement document, rather than a charter that was co-written with the students' union.
Ian Giles
28 June 2012
Comments
@Gwen But a charter can set out the ethos and values of the University - including partnership with students - and prospective students (and staff!) can see what they will be buying into...
Anne Brooks Butcher
28 June 2012
Comments
@ Kate ours does exactly that. Happy to share it.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Dan @Anthony Agree with Dan on this, perhaps part of the barrier is their title? Maybe they should be broader documents, outlining everyone's basic expectations of each other in various interlinking ways, covering students, academic staff, senior management, the SU, support staff etc. Otherwise it can too easily be seen as a list of one-way demands.
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
At Bradford, our charter was written by the student union so I truly hope it does reflect actual partnership and co-production!
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anthony Maclaren This is an interesting matter. The initial reception of Charters was hugely enthusiastic. As a 'change institgator' it was a brilliant move. It made institutions and Students' Unions think very hard what the values are that underpin and drive their partnership (or engagement). Hugely valuable. But whether the Charters themselves will have an actual impact on student lives? Willetts said on monday they already have contractual rights, and the trnasformational side of engagement is not what a Charter makes happen. Wait and see?
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@all I think charters are just a tool that can be used well or badly - the key is in the implementation - the question is how were they developed? to take two extremes...are they the written instantion of a genuine partnership approach? or a pseudo contractual afterthought?
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anthony I don't think so - especially as there is no consistency over student charters through the sector. I know there was the BIS group that came out with some guidance on this (and I believe is going to be reconvened in some form?) but unless that guidance becomes a requirements some Charters will be rather hollow meangingless documents. Sector bodies also should not underestimate the substantial amount of resource and cultural change needed to get an institution through its staff and students signed up to any sort of charter.
Rob Stroud
28 June 2012
Comments
@Becka - I know what you mean as that is what is happening now. The challenge is to move the ethos in HEPs so that students feel empowered to engaged rather than feeling barriers.
Ian Giles
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anthony - Student charters as we currently understand them probably do not, however it is important for student engagement that the various segments of an institution's community understands the expectations on them and on others - which is something a charter might help to achieve?
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
@Dom I can see your point about QAA, but I think this sort of research is absolutely NUS' role. Who better to find out what students think and feel, and use the outcomes of the research, than their representative body?
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
I think student charters can encourage partnership by articulating it as one of the values of the institution.
Anne Brooks Butcher
28 June 2012
Comments
@Rob Stroud That is an interesting point: to what extent are students used to active engagement with thier institution based on their secondary school life. You've given me something to ponder on and ask our four children about as a starting point. Fascinating question, thank you!
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@Dominic Big challenge is that there will be some students who see themselves as consumers and are encouraged to do so, others that will be at the other end of the spectrum, and probably a lot in the middle who are very confused about what their role is! We need to understand not just what students are perceiving - but why? Are students being driven by parents, careers persons, teachers, colleagues to view HE as a consumer relationship? I suspect we'd be disappointed (but perhaps not surprised?) with the answers.
Rob Stroud
28 June 2012
Comments
Engagement is not just about sitting on the university committee that takes the decision. It about identifying the problem and then helping develop and implement the solution
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anthony. No. Student Charters do not get as anywhere closer to a partnership.
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anthony. no student charters will create a different ethos from one based on partnership. They are nearer to a legal framework rather than a social framework.
Ian Giles
28 June 2012
Comments
@kate is that QAA's role? keeping in mind its 'safeguarding standards and improving quality' role in the sector? & is that NUS's role? keeping in mind their 'political' role in the sector? or is it a.n.others role?
Dominic Passfield
28 June 2012
Comments
@Dan Derricot Touche! @Ann Brookes Butcher You're welcome @Becky Coolier Looking forward to seeing your online feedback resource. Thanks for making it available
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@ Ian I agree with you but thinking about it from the perspective of a student, it's sometimes hard to get involved when you have no control or power over anything. We tell our students what to do, when to do it, how to do it and how we want it and we penalise them when they don't do it according to our rules. Until we have demystified the deeply codified systems of HE I don't think we can truly have partnership in that sense. It will always be unequal...
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Dominic @Kate I'm talking to students, academics and senior managers about how they understand student voice at the moment and finding that very few students perceive themselves as purely consumers, it is one part of the picture but there are a lot of other ways that they think about their role in HE.
Rebecca Freeman
28 June 2012
Comments
Do student charters get us any closer to a definiton, and fuller picture, of partnership?
Anthony McClaran
28 June 2012
Comments
@Gwen - one of the issues about student engagement is the fact that we do have to "sell" it - I find it interesting that a lot of students come into HE not expecting to engage in the ways that we want them to. I think there are 2 reasons for this 1) lack of similar forms of engagement in secondary education (some schools do have student councils etc. but with v little power or meaningful purpose); and 2) the consumer rhetoric and some media portrayal of HE, whether students subscribe to it or not; means that so many come through the door with a stereotyped view of what a university should be like - and in many cases the reality is very different!
Rob Stroud
28 June 2012
Comments
@Megan Wholly agree with this. It's also about listening and taking action, as dialogue can only go so far. I think true partnership is about collective responsibility.
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
@ jess @ joelle we shouldn't have to.It should be implicit when people apply to study at Uni.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
For me partnership is about honesty, mutual respect and a desire to achieve a common end. It is not about equal power.
Ian Giles
28 June 2012
Comments
@all it strikes me that one key concept that is missing when discussing partnership, is dialogue. In a partnership it is necessary for both sides to be talking to each other and that's what we need institutions and students associations to be doing. Having a dialogue about what is going on, what is working well, what isn't working so well, and then talking about possible solutions or discovering different ways of doing things together.
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anne @Gwen - I'd be careful not to define partnership too much in the sector as, after all, it will and should mean different things to different HEI - especially where the profile of the student body is very particular. Indicator number 1 of the new chapter is all about defining things in your own context.
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
A question from Joelle via Twitter: We need to give students a reason to be engaged. How can we 'sell' the value of deep, broad engagement in university life?
Jess, QAA
28 June 2012
Comments
@Dom Sounds like an NUS collaborative project to me: it would fit well in to an updated version of the annual Student Experience Report, or could be a project in its own right. Maybe QAA would like to get involved? ;)
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
@ rob undoubtedly!!!
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anne Brooks Butcher I think students are usually aware that there is an inequality in power in relationships with the University but this doesn't mean that they cannot be partners. At BCU we talked to students and academics a lot about this as they started work on their joint 'partner' projects. We used a 'ladder of engagement' to talk about the different ways that students and academics can relate and encouraged them to think and talk about the differences in power and how they might challenge these through work on their projects.
Rebecca Freeman
28 June 2012
Comments
@Gwen - thank you. I think full partnership needs to be more defined for both staff and students; it's too ambiguous. Your comment summed it up well.
Anne Brooks Butcher
28 June 2012
Comments
@Becka Colley - do you think some institutions might be worried about anarchy from their staff as much as from their students?
Rob Stroud
28 June 2012
Comments
@kate @all I very much agree that more research is needed, particularly on if students 'perceive' themselves as consumers. Strong and robust reserach on this would inform healthy debate, particularly on student engagement But who should fund / commission this reserach?
Dominic Passfield
28 June 2012
Comments
Joelle Admas on twitter says: We need to give students a reason to be engaged. How can we 'sell' the value of deep, broad engagement in university life? Maybe part of the response has to be that changing the ethos in institutions means that engagement is pervasive to the expreince, i.e. that's just how it is done when youa re a student. At that point, I am reminder of some work by colleagues on ensuring values of social responsibility being part of the experience of engaged students (Eliothophou, Menon, Wilson). If engaged in more than just the academic and social, do students learn wider skills and values for life? I'd like to think so...
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
Think of partnership through student engagement like a marriage. How often is that truly equal? ;)
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
@Gwen I think that is a helpful way to look at it. A lot of the challenge for students' unions, in my opinion, is where that basic framework of agreed expectations is not being adhered to: it is difficult to be fully committed to the ideal of partnership when advocating against staff on behalf of students.
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
I agree with @ Gwen re the partnership issue. They can't be true partners when institutions hold all the power! But we need to devolve some of it to students in order for them to be able to contribute more effectively to our processes. At the moment we control all aspects of their experiences, we need to learn to let go a little and not be scared of anarchy!
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Gwen@Anne I think that partnership between students and institutions has to go one step further than that, it should be about students shaping the strategy and direction on the institution, particularly in areas of L+T,
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
@ann @gwen - i think the red herring is the word 'full' - and the sense that by patrner we mean equal - when many (hardly any?) partnerships (commercial, romantic, business etc) are in any way equal - more that effective partnership is about mutual realisation of the partners wanted and needs and the mutual meeting of them in pursuit of a shared goal
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@chris Totally agree, engaement is integral to enhancing the quality of education and has many benefits to the individual, not least in terms of employability as it is through active engagement that the student will get the most out of their course and develop the critical skills that employers are looking for.
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
What do the panel think of Anne's question below: 'Is it possible for students to truly be 'full partners'? What does full partnership actually mean in practice?'
Jess, QAA
28 June 2012
Comments
@Ann Brooks Butcher Full partners? That is a question I recently heard an interesting answer to: how many personal partnerships did I know where both partners were clearly in full partnership, even though they were clearly not equal? Interesting, I thought, and fair. There is a distinct power difference, but the ethos of partnership is what matters: an equal expectation to have a voice, to take part in decision making and to take responsibility for what happens after the decisions are made... even though the contributions from different partners will look distinctly different.
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@Dan @Megan @Chris (and anyone else who responded to me)! I agree that more research needs to be done, and especially agree with Dan's point that there is a lot institutions can do to build a community of partnership. It is a big shift in mindset, however, and takes more than pre-arrival communication with accepted students: I think it's really positive that the sector is taking steps to challenge the consumerism narrative as a whole. Getting over the fact that the framework of rights and expectations proposed by Willetts is fundamentally adversarial in nature (reflecting our legal system) is a big hurdle to jump for the HE sector, and we have to be consistent in our messages to stand a chance of achieving it. #twocents
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
@Jess@HEAScotland, we would encouraged institutions to look at the underpinning principles and themes and ask are these being reflected in the current activities that the institution is doing. If the answer is no, these principles are not reflected in our activities, then the question needs to be, what do we change or how do we change what we are doing to reflect this principles?
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
@Anne - partnership (in the context of HEI governance & QA) for me is recognising the legitimacy of different perspectives and allowing those perspectives to play a valued part.
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
@murray one might think of student engagement as a means not an end - as Alex says not all want to engage so perhaps we shouldnt pursue engagement purely 'for its own sake' but insteand think in terms of the ends that high quality engagement can realise: e.g. improved learning outcomes, improved retention, less alienation etc these are things that are potentially more amenable to impact assessment.
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@Rob Stroud Sorry, typo! You may want to look for Trowler, not whatever I typerd just there.... Sorry!
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@Becka - I completely agree! We forget about staff engagement far too much, especially within the student engagement agenda - but the new chapter in the UKQC should help to rectify that a bit?
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
Is it possible for students to truly be 'full partners'? What does full partnership actually mean in practice?
Anne Brooks Butcher
28 June 2012
Comments
@Kate Little I think the debate over consumerism and engagement is a false dichotomy. INstead, we have to agree that students have transactional expectations, which institutions have described to them before students 'signed up. We simply have to deliver the hours, facilites, access we said we would. But beyond that, we're working on transformational aspects: learning and development!
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
For me, student engagement is all about *wanting* to be at University and doing all you can to achieve as well as having a sense of pride in your institution. I think we need to ensure we have *staff* engagement too for it to be truly successful.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@rob@Jess sparqs has recently done some research on student engagement in the Scottish sector and we have reached a conclusion that student engagement can be a variety of things, in our research we have divdided into 5 key areas, but each of these ares are underlined by key principles and themes that the sector believes in. It is our hope that once our research is published this will form a concensus about what the term 'student engagement' means and then what areas need to be improved within and outwith individual institutions
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
@kate I think this is way the dialogue between students, academics, and instituions is so important. There are a lot of different messages that are sent to students (and staff) about their role in higher education.
Rebecca Freeman
28 June 2012
Comments
@Rob Stroud If you want to have a really close look at the terminology, look up the work that Trwoler (both of them!) have done for the HE Academy. It is on their website and is an excellent starting point!
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
On defining 'engagement', this is something that has been attempted many times, and to different degrees of success. Is student engagement not the process to delivering change and shaping a future post-16 system, rather the end point in itself? Is attempting to define and measure somewhat of a distraction - measuring the unmeasurable?
Murray @HEA Scotland
28 June 2012
Comments
@Ian McDonald -part 2! Have a look at 'flipping lectures' which can make a big difference. It is a way of ensuring students can and are enabled to engage, whilst putting structures behind teaching and learning processes that give sufficient steer and push to make sure that those who don't necessarily engage, are gently pushed into activity. You won't win them all, but you might win those who want to engage but don't know how, due to a lack of confidence, or social belonging or simply having the skills to engage in the academic ways we expect. If you develop the new ways of teaching together, and design 'co-responsibility' into the classroom activity, it may become easier.... Good luck!
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
Another question via Twitter, from HEA Scotland: With the development of Student Engagement Framework in Scotland (sparqs) what practical steps should be next for max impact? @Megan, what are your thoughts?
Jess, QAA
28 June 2012
Comments
@Ian Mcdonald The core of good quality student experiences is still in the classroom and that will always be the first thing to concentrate on. I think it is important to address this as an issue for staff and students to resolve together. Back to the co-ownership of learning and teaching After all, you're trying to improve teaching AND learning, so you need the people from both sides of the educational process involved. There are approaches to teaching which support student engagement more effectively than others.
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@ rob re definitions of student engagement... I have been struggling with this for a long time! I wrote this http://www.brad.ac.uk/academic-development/student-experience/what-is-student-engagement/ in 2009 to define what we meant at Bradford.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
However it is also worth highlighting that different students will want to engage in different ways. Some will want to be actively engagement in designing their assessment, some sitting on institutional committees some just giving feedback on their course. The challenge is support those that want to engage, and articulate the benefit of engaging of those that are less keen.
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
The development of the chapter of the Quality Code is really to be welcomed. Do the panel have a vision for national or regional level support for institutions in implementing it? Previous initiatives which in some way supported student engagement in England (E.g. Enterprise in HE, National Student Learning Programme) proved to be short lived. So, can something more sustainable develop?
Douglas Blackstock
28 June 2012
Comments
@kate i'm fascinated by the 'students as consumers' proposition. Whilst changing fee levels surely will effect student expectations I think we should not underestimate students and their ability to not simply see themselves as a passive purchaser of services. It's an area that is crying out for research as the new fee levels kick in to see what the effect on student choice and expectation really is.
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@Rob Stroud's comment: what do the panel think? Is there/should there be one HE definition of student engagement?
Jess, QAA
28 June 2012
Comments
@rob Great question, and one the sector has to ask itself. I actually don’t think there is a problem with HEI’s having slightly different definitions. As long as there is an overarching standard which has to be met by all, (particularly with new provision entering the sector). But... varying definitions have to come with the condition that an institution blatantly and clearly publishes its own definition to prospective students, explaining what this will actually mean to a students experience.
Dominic Passfield
28 June 2012
Comments
@KateLittle, I think that student engagement, meaning students are full partners in their own right, to shape, change and developing learning at their institution, should go on regardless of paying fees. I think that both institutions and students need to move away from viewing themselves or each other as consumers and focus more on being partners in creating a better more enhanced learning environment, which students can do when they are considered partners by their institution
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
@ kate @ anne I think we need to work more effectively with students to unpack and understand their expectations of what HE will be. I don't see an inherent problem with them being more 'consumeristic' in their approach, but it will be problematic if we don't deliver what they expect, and work with them to help them understand what HE is all about. Pre-induction and transition work has a crucial role to play here.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Kate - I'm not sure it's as simple as one or the other - as much as I would like it to be. What I do know is that it's the institution which influences the attitudes and expectations of students prior to and during induction. I'm not sure it would be all that helpful to be presenting mixed messages - as probably happens at the moment. I'd like to see students being shaped as partners from very early on, especially where they have come straight from school / FE and need to undergo a transition in mindsets.
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
@Gwen I suppose it depends at what level of student engagement we are looking. I think that the HEA spectrum of SE is a useful tool to show the various levels from individual engagement with their learning, engagement at the course, departmental, discipline, faculty, institutional or national level - different people will be responsible at each level but it probably needs to fit within an overarching student engagement strategy.
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
On the issue of 'disengagement', this implies that students were 'engaged' in the first place. Whilst many staff are under increasing pressure, we are increasingly interested in factors influencing student engagement in l&t. This is particularly relevent with the predicted growth in flexible delivery, widening participation and articulation, college reform etc. We are to begin working with NUS Scotland on this issue, particularly around the early experience and support needs of students - pre-induction, transition, induction etc. and to what lengths students feel inclusion.
Murray @HEA_Scotland
28 June 2012
Comments
Hi all. Firstly thanks to QAA for facilitating this online discussion and may it be the first of many more. With more students studying UK degrees abroad than there are international students studying in the UK, I'm interested in hearing the panel's views on how we engage these students, both in quality and beyond it, particularly when we have to take into consideration differing social, cultural and political contexts.
Nizam Uddin
28 June 2012
Comments
@KateLittle I agree with your point. Isn't there a danger that students will feel that they have paid their money and therefore want the 'product' to come to them fully formed, with no expectation of their engagement?
Anne Brooks Butcher
28 June 2012
Comments
@tom it's certainly a challenge - when I used to work in a QA unit in an HEI the topic of integration and involvement of healthcare students was very much an issue. I know some SU's have tried to address this with dedicated representative officers responsible for integration.
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
@ chris, yes good point. It needs both - someone in a leadership position to drive it forward but a requirement and expectation that everyone does their bit!
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@ Tom I think one of the issues the sector suffers with is seeing quality as an add on not as an integral part of the university experience. Issues should be embedded within the curriculum and life of all students to empower them to be involved imho.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
Hi everyone. I was struck at QAA conference the other day by the contrast in David Willetts' speech between his strong championing of "contractual responsibilities" and "consumer law" in HE, and the second half of his speech where he seemed to welcome the idea of partnership and community in education between staff and students. There has to be a conflict here: do panellists think that student engagement can be truly meaningful when students are being encouraged to act like consumers and demand services?
Kate Little
28 June 2012
Comments
@Becka - i agree though the danger of 'everyone' being responsible is that 'no-one' become responsible! A model of central 'experts' working with champions/converts can be effective
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
The SE chapter will also be interesting because it will give a focus for students' unions to comment as part of their written submission as part of Institutional Review. It was noticeable in the CHERI research of a couple of years ago the difference between how effective some students' unions and some institutions thought their processes were.
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
I felt that the recent definition of student engagement from HEFCE in their risk based QA consultation was a bit different to the one in the draft chapter on Student Engagement. HEFCE's seemed to me to be somewhat broader in scope. I was wondering if the panel feel we need an agreed definition of student engagement for the sector, or whether its ok for different bodies (including HEIs, not just sector bodies) to have slightly different definitions?
Rob Stroud
28 June 2012
Comments
I work at a University with a large number of nursing students who spend a large proportion of their time on placement. Also 54% of these students are mature students. Can the panel give me some examples of some of the best/most innovative ways of engaging these student groups in quality processes?
Tom Foy
28 June 2012
Comments
@gwen absolutely! I am in the midst of setting up a new give us your feedback website which will publish feedback from students, actions that have been taken to address issues raised and praise for things when we get it right!
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Gwen - At Lincoln, I've just been appointed to the new role of Student Engagement Officer - working from the V-C's Office, reporting to the DVC (Teaching, Quality and the Student Experience). My main central support is from the T&L Development Centre and the Quality Office - but my aim is to pursue a bottom up approach as much as possible with the students' union.
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
@iggiles: Alex you are quite right which is why the chapter is due to be reviewed in two years.
Ian Giles
28 June 2012
Comments
@IanGiles Hi Ian.The most interesting bit of the new Code for me is the emphasis on institutions engaging with the student body to define student engagement in their own context. I think it is really important that institutions and students’ unions (or students and academics at department level) spend time discussing their ethos around student engagement in quality and using this ethos to inform the policies and practices. The NUS have some really useful tools to inform these types of discussions, which I’ll be using. I’d particularly recommend the University of Exeter’s card sort exercise http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/campaigns/highereducation/student-engagement/resources/tools/.
Rebecca Freeman
28 June 2012
Comments
@gwen I firmly believe it lies with *everyone* and that as individuals we each have a responsibility to drive this forward. Most institutions are large and therefore inertia and poor communication is always a risk, but if everyone was committed to this then it would make it easier to ensure it happened. Sadly I still see far too many staff preoccupied with themselves rather than students. We need to ensure that we model good practice in being an inclusive community to make it happen.
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@iangiles I think though that it is interesting that a number of people have commented that the chapter is not as ambitious as it could have been. The chapter helps set the starting point and bringing everyone up to that level minimum expectation but that it may need to be reviewed in a couple of years to ensure that it is more challenging.
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
@Becka Colley Will you be publishing the student views on what engagement with thier institution really is, please?
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
@iangiles perhaps the big question is how we actually promote the use of the UKQCHE chapter on student engagement - if elected / influential / interested students & staff don't know about it and how to use it - will it even get noticed?
Dominic Passfiled
28 June 2012
Comments
@Ian Giles - the new chapter is receiving a warm welcome in my opinion, though it is certainly making the diversity of current levels of engagement in the sector very clear. At Lincoln, we're not doing too badly with student engagement, but this should allow us to focus our core student engagement work in quality & governance so that as many students as possible can expect to be able to engage to a certain extent with the development of their course / school / HEI. There are, however, some real challenges presented. A couple I've been talking about in speeches recently focus on 1) understanding what a conducive environment looks & feels like and 2) reassessing how we prepare students to engage - and not just student reps.
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
At the University I work at a lot of time is spent getting weak & disengaged students to attend classes/lecturers, however this sometimes causes resentment from the most able students as they feel the presence of the weak/disengaged students hinders their learning. How do you suggest tacking this?
Ian McDonald
28 June 2012
Comments
Might I ask a question as well? I am very interested in where the locus of responsibility lies for student engagement in institutions. Who drives it? Who are the key players? Which level of leadership really needs to be on board? I'd be interested in both student and staff views....
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
As sparqs is an organisation that works with both students and institutional staff members, we will be working on ensuring that the principle of partnership is recognised and practiced at institutions in Scotland.
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
Morning everyone. I think the Student Engagement chapter is particularly in its definition of students as partners and encouraging institutions to reflect on their activities.
Alex Bols
28 June 2012
Comments
@Ian We are already using the forthcoming student engagement chapter to inform our induction plans and to ensure that all students are engaged in quality processes. However we want this to be a living engagement, not death by committee so will be running interactive sessions for students to define what they mean and start to be co-producers. What are you planning to do with the chapter?
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
@Ian Giles At the University of Bath we are very far with with implementing these principles. Anyone is welcome to see how we have done it, but make sure you talk to our Students' Union as well. It is a partnership, so their story and ours, should be seen in relation to each other. A major aspect is to include students fully in all governance structures and quality structures, both on the assurance and enhancement side.
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
Other than the obvious use with regards to instiutional review, one of the ways the student engagement team will use the code is as a starting point for discussion with students, intstiutions, and other partners involved in this area about how practice might move on. It might be useful to think of the code chapter almost as a baseline statement to frame discussions about what happens next.
Chris Taylor
28 June 2012
Comments
Thanks Jess, I'm also looking forward to this discussion and hopefully more in the future
Megan McHaney
28 June 2012
Comments
Looking forward to the questions and discussion today. Student engagement is a constant hot topic these days and it is fascinating to see how the sector is seeking to settle ways of engaging students in quality mechanisms and governance!
Gwen van der Velden
28 June 2012
Comments
Would anyone like to start by responding to Ian's question below? How will you be using the forthcoming Student Engagement chapter of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education?
Jess
28 June 2012
Comments
I'm looking forward to this, hoping it's the start of many QAA online debates!
Dan Derricott
28 June 2012
Comments
Thanks Jess, looking forward to the discussion!
Becka Colley
28 June 2012
Comments
Hello and welcome to our live online discussion about all things student engagement. I'd like to welcome our panellists - thanks very much for joining.
Jess
28 June 2012
Comments
How will each panellist use the forthcoming UKQCHE Chapter on Student Engagement to inform their activities?
Ian Giles
25 June 2012
Add your comments

(will not be published)
Please tick this box if you do not want someone from QAA to contact you via email.
CAPTCHA
Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 
* indicates a required field

This website is archived by the British Library's UK Web Archive: preserving UK websites