Although this is the last edition for 2007, it is the first in the new academic year and its theme 'ensuring student success is one which will resonate across MMU throughout the academic year and beyond.
The opening paper, by Liz Marr, is an edited version of a keynote address given by Liz with Janet Beer, at the HEA conference in Harrogate this year. Entitled ‘Re-Imagining the student experience’, the paper begins by contrasting the experience of today’s students with those in the early 1970s, moves through the HE and economic agenda, the needs of employers and students, and demographic trends, to develop the idea of a student experience which caters for the needs of today’s (and future) students in terms of access, environment and learning, teaching and assessment.
The inaugural conference in the Quality Enhancement series at MMU also took the theme of 'ensuring student success’, and several papers in this edition have expanded on posters which were displayed at the conference. Two of these, by, Helen Rowe and Nicola Hughes et al have looked at factors which affect the amount of time spent on academic studies, and in turn may affect student success. Maria Wowk has investigated the expectations of first year students in the Department of Sociology, and to what extent the programmes they embark on meet these expectations. The fourth paper, by Dawn Nicholson, reports on an investigation of the learning environment at MMU in relation to d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, and shows how some of these environments may adversely affect the active participation of these students.
Assessment and feedback on assessment are, of course, key features of the student experience. These are featured in the paper by Chris Mitchell. Chris reports on action research spanning three academic years which has involved developing, evaluating and modifying procedures for assessing students on-line. One feature of these sequenced assessments that students praise is their flexibility. Dawn Nicholson and Mark Langan report on last summer’s Learning and Teaching event in the Faculty of Science and Engineering which took feedback and student retention as its themes. The report presents outcomes of four group discussions on early feedback for retention, induction activities, good practice in feedback, and staff development.
This edition of LTiA also contains a number of news items of interest to the community involved in promoting the success of our students. There is a brief report of the ‘Ensuring student success’ conference and of the Second Annual Fellows Awayday: ‘SLTFs, FAPs, CoPs and CeLT: Working together to share good practice.’ News from the library has an update on LILAC (the Librarians Information Literacy Annual Conference), details of a new unit offered by the library as part of the MA in Academic Practice, as well as details concerning the zoning of library space, which was introduced at the start of this academic year. Other news comes from the Faculties, and there are details of two successful bids for external funding. Finally, there are several pieces of news from the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CeLT), including the new centre itself, the new SLTF scheme, an on-line resource for lectures and lecturing, and some advance notice of the National Teaching Fellowship Individual awards for 2008. Dawn Nicholson has also written some news from the Community of Practice for Diversity and Inclusion (DICoP), and is actively seeking new members. There are details on how to join this, and other CoPs.
If you are interested in writing for LTiA, guidelines for authors can be found at the end of this edition.
I hope you enjoy this edition of LTiA, which demonstrates some of the excellent work being undertaken within MMU both to promote the success of our students and to understand the constraints within which they are studying.
Learning and Teaching Unit
telephone: 0161 247 1205