Start of Year Programme Level Communications


The purpose of the message is to:

  • Help students to feel they belong to a community of learning
  • Enlist students as active change agents in relation to their experience of their course
  • Inform students of changes to the course as a result of feedback and especially of those that may be directly helpful for their learning e.g. examination workshops
  • Inform students of any social or other events happening at a course level
  • Let students know that their feedback to us is an important part of our quality process

The emphasis should be on seeing change as a positive force. Principles of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) could be used to focus on what works well and enable programme leads to steer the course team towards how to capitalise on these elements. Appreciative Inquiry aims to point to, enliven and inspire the best in people, which in this case should include students.

A process of agreeing the content of the message with programme/course teams enables this to be shared with colleagues at all levels. 

If we are truly building a learning community with our students, then planning actions as a result of all forms of student feedback should feel like a natural part of the process. See our resource on  Using data to enhance your programme or unit »

The message may contain:

  • General info about the year ahead
  • Specific induction activities and why these are useful
  • Welcome message from the programme leader
  • Programme Leader contact details
  • Preparatory Information e.g. What should you bring with you?
  • Any tasks that students should complete before arrival
  • Links to facebook or other relevant social media
  • Reading Lists : preview of the lists for core units
  • Info re: ID cards (including collection) for all students including distance learners. Info on completing enrolment and online enrolment.
  • Term dates and SSO contact details.
  • What students should do if they experience difficulties

Some specific links that might be useful in constructing your message:


Video support for assessment: a workshop session on the use of screencasts and podcasts for assessment briefing, sharing experience and study skills book for Screencasts for Success

Breaking up Lectures:   We know that student attention can flag in a two hour lecture. See our Lectures and Lecturing resource for ideas to mix it up.

Email response: our policy is that students get a reply to emails within 3 days. 

Exam Support: Your Faculty Student Support Officer can offer help with exam preparation workshops.

Group Work: organising group work that works well can be challenging. Have a look at our Groupwork resource for ideas.