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    Faculty of Professional and Social Sciences

    Welcome to PSS

    This Faculty brings together subjects from the Business School, School of Law and the School of School of Health and Education.

    Here are some examples of the changes we've made based on your feedback.

    • Business School

    Student's learning experience is at the heart of all we do. We hold focus groups with our students throughout the year to understand the issues that each cohort faces, as these can vary from year to year. Some of the concerns are easily fixed, however, there are other matters that require further planning and implementation.

    • Accounting and Finance

    Assessment anxiety

    As much as we try to eliminate anxiety associated with assessment this can be the number one concern for students. To try to alleviate the convern, this year all modules have uploaded a video on MyLearning, in line with the Technology Enhanced Learning threshold, explaining in detail the key aspects of the assessment.

    Assessment feedback

    Students on modules with 100% coursework now have the opportunity for a face to face meeting where they’ll receive feedback on a draft of their coursework. They are also able to record this meeting and receive detailed written feedback. We’re hoping this style of feedback will provide extra resources for students to improve their learning as well as enhance their learning experience.

    Reduction in lecture sizes

    The adjustment to higher education can be difficult for first year students especially on modules with 300 students. On core specialist modules for first and second year students we have replaced the large lecture style teaching in favour for smaller groupings of students with a maximum of 40 students in each group. We will evaluate the impact of this at the end of the academic year although to date the feedback suggests student engagement is higher than previous years.

    • Economics

    Giving feedback

    Students are now able to get direct responses on their feedback via two new methods. The first is organised by the academic Year Leader (YL) who will inform students of the responses face to face in class and in small groups.

    The second is via Student Voice Leaders who receive written responses to issues raised from the Director of Programmes.

    More interaction between Years 2 and 3

    We are planning more meetings with students from Year 2 and Year 3 to help students discuss their modules and career choices.

    Alumni meetings

    We are setting up a lunch meeting with some of our alumni.

    Industry networking and talks

    We are continuing our policy of industry visitors to talk to Year 2 and Year 3 students.

    Practical teaching

    Experiments are used by many Module Leaders regularly in their teaching.

    Economics for sixth form

    We have been organising an annual workshop for Year 12 students which is in its fourth year now. The idea is to get younger students interested in economics.

    Access to Graduate Academic Assistants

    Every module has a designated time-slot in the Graduate Academic Assistant's weekly timetable for students to come individually or in groups to seek help. This will further enhance the academic support to students and the availability of teaching staff to meet with students outside office hours on request. The Head of Department meets with the Graduate Academic Assistants to know if any issues are being raised.

    New blog

    We have started an Economics blog to encourage students to participate in discussions related to Economics.

    • Marketing, Branding and Tourism

    • Timetables

      A timetabling task force was established early this year to improve students' experience. This required the development of a manual timetable that is more student-centered.

    • Teaching and learning

      We are using Moodle more consistently to support all types of learners. We have also developed a task force to evaluate and improve existing induction practices.

    Assessments

    We have made a number of adjustments to assessment, including deadlines and assessment weighting, to help students. For the Policy and Planning module we have reduced the exam weighting to 40% and increased the coursework weighting by 10% based on student feedback.

    For the Tourism and Society module, we had introduced a student led walk as a new assessment (20% of assessment) with a written rationale alongside (10% of the assessment). However, students felt the rationale did not sufficiently contribute to the overall piece of work. As a result we have dropped the rationale and added the 10% to the walk itself to recognise the design and implementation elements.

    The field trip to Hastings is assessed via a learning journal. However, students were unable to complete this successfully due to not being used to such forms of assessment. We have therefore divided the journal into two sections; reflections on what they did and reflections on the issues facing Hastings. For each section, there are three specific questions plus one 'free' issue to decide for themselves. This gives the students more of a framework to fall back on and helps bridge the gap between school and university.

    • More industry and guest speakers

      We have incorporated industry speakers from a variety of industry sectors to provide better links between theory and practice. Guest speakers will also deliver lectures in a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules

    • Dissertation help

      Students asked to be more involved in choosing their supervisor for the dissertation rather than having one assigned to them. We now engage students fully in this process by doing our best to meet requests, given the constraints of workload and staff expertise.

      Postgraduate students will also be allocated supervisors before submitting their proposals. This will allow our students to benefit from academic support even during the planning phase of their dissertation

    • Management, Leadership and Organisations

    Working closely with our students and co-creating their learning experience is a strategic priority for our department. In the last year we have focused on the following themes in seeking to improve the student experience:

    Assessment and feedback issues

    We initiated discussions with all Module Leaders around variety of assessment, types of feedback and feedback opportunities offered, clarity of marking sheets as well as clarifying expectations to students.

    Meetings are also held with Module Leaders to discuss any issues identified from Module Evaluation surveys, External Examiners’ reports and Programme Voice Groups. These meetings have resulted in additional support, feedback sessions and materials.

    • Consistency in academic leadership

      Changes to programme leadership were made as the Module Leaders and Programme Leaders were encouraged to work actively with their teams in view of improving consistency of feedback, grading and overall support provided for our students. Year Tutors were introduced on our largest programme to support the Programme Leader in offering more time for individual contact.

      Students needed greater support on core modules and such support has been provided through the use of Graduate Academic Assistants dedicated assistance across all levels. GAAs have actively engaged with tutorials and various other forms of module support, including offering office hours and increasing the availability of individual contact. More support sessions focusing on dissertations and academic integrity have been also provided.

    • Communication with students

      We introduced a departmental module feedback survey in weeks 5-7 to enable us to tackle particular module issues immediately and communicate to students the actions taken. Module Leaders and Programme Leaders inform what students feedback we have collected and what we have done to address it.

      The personal tutoring systems has enabled staff to have direct communication with students in small groups, which also allows us to both collect feedback and communicate actions taken by the department in response to the feedback.

    Support for employability

    Students wanted more support regarding employability and job seeking. The department has worked closely with the employability team to integrate and promote their services to students.

    We also launched a series of employability workshops designed to improve student problem solving, communication and interviewing skills as well as preparing them for the elements of the graduate selection process such as writing tailored CVs, interviewing skills, aptitude tests and assessment centres. The workshops are also designed to raise students’ awareness of the importance of developing a lifelong approach to learning while also seeking to raise both staff and students’ awareness of the personal and professional development opportunities available to students to engage with throughout their studies.

    In addition, we launched an Industrial Advisory Panel to advise the Department about developments which affect future demand for skills, knowledge and behaviours. The panel offers industry perspectives on the department’s curricular offer and its future development and suggest ways to enhance the employability of our students.

    • School of Health and Education

    Students had voiced frustration at having to wait up to a year for their graduation ceremony after finishing their degree, so Winter Graduation has been set up to mark this occasion earlier.

    • Adult, Child and Midwifery

    • Nursing and Midwifery skills development

      Students want more opportunities to practice their skills. Over the last few years, our skills team have arranged sessions for students where they can practice any clinical skill in a supervised session. They have set up the room with “skills packs” and students have access to relevant skills procedures guides.

      From 2019, we have a dedicated, staffed room every day of the week, open for students across nursing, midwifery and nursing associate programmes, to be able to drop in and practice their skills.

    • Responding to stress at OSCEs

      Child Health students had reported feeling extremely anxious before undertaking their OSCE in the skills labs. This was reflected in relatively high first referral rates. The team suggested introducing therapy dogs and additional practice sessions. This was planned for the exam days and the outcome has been improvements in the pass rate for OSCE.

      The use of dogs has now been extended so we now have an established Canine Teaching Assistant programme, where we offer the dogs to help alleviate student stress across the campus.

    More organisation in Year 2

    Students on the Adult Nursing course have had complex timetabling challenges in Year 2. A lack of placement capacity with partner NHS organisations meant we had to convert one 5 or 6 week “practice placement” into a simulated / virtual placement, giving students a wide range of additional taught and skills sessions across the year.

    Following this feedback and a slight rise in placement capacity, the team re-structured the entire second year. The first placement for each student in Year 2 is now an 8-week placement in one area, preceded by a concentrated two weeks of simulated learning.

    Evaluations of this initiative have been positive with students feeling far better prepared for practice in Year 2. Our Director of Programmes completed a ward round in one of our large NHS Trusts and spoke to many students who had just come from two weeks in simulated learning; they were enthusiastic about their ability to apply learning to clinical practice already.

    Further advanced skills

    Students (and clinical partners) across the Adult Nursing course have asked for cannulation and phlebotomy skills. We have now started to introduce this teaching for students at the end of Year 3, as we recognise that certain partner Trusts will not enable them to practice these skills.

    We have also started offering Care of the Deteriorating Patient sessions to students across all fields of nursing. These initiatives have been positively evaluated, and mean that we are better able to up-skill our existing students in line with the new Nursing education standards.

    • Education

    • Secondary ITT (PGCE)

      Students on this course asked for more support with mental health and well-being issues experienced on this very intensive programme. We identified a lead tutor to develop expertise and implement new initiatives across the secondary programmes including:

      • A Personal Circumstances questionnaire and a Well-being survey in Welcome week
      • A Monday drop in support session throughout the year
      • A Well-being cafe once per term
      • Sunny Hill follow-up as necessary
      • Support to bridge any wait-time for access to central services
      • Tutor-led wellbeing workshops in the January return from placement week
      • Individual Support Plans for every student
      • Encouragement of ‘smart’ working to avoid unnecessary tasks
      • Review of student workload, e.g. timetable loadings in school and portfolio requirements
    • BA Education and BA Early Childhood Studies

      Students requested an MA programme as a direct progression route from their BA. This was planned and validated with full student involvement and had its first cohort in October 2018.

      Following feedback from students after the first year, the syllabus of one of the core modules has been re-organised and now incorporates a wider range of policy case studies for students to engage with. This provides enhanced opportunities for engagement with more policy areas relevant to education.

      Education and Early Childhood students also requested further academic support and this resulted in the following initiatives:

      • production of a rubric for each piece of assessment
      • a range of Kaltura videos to support both formative and summative assessments
      • a further range of Kaltura videos addressing key concepts across both programmes
      • a student tracker for each piece of assessment (EDU2201)
      • extra non-timetabled support sessions (EDU2308)
      • a weekly workshop series to support under-graduate dissertations
      • extra exam support sessions (EDU2205 / EDU2206)

    BA Primary Education

    Students requested the opportunity to observe in school for a week prior to their block placements. We have re-organised placement induction days to include a week in school

    BA and PGCE Primary Education students

    Student on these courses requested a reduction in paperwork whilst on school placement. We have revised the paperwork to reduce the students' workload, without limiting their opportunity to evaluate children's learning

    We have also introduced ad developed:

    • rubrics and Kaltura videos/voice over PowerPoint presentations for developing writing at levels 4 – 7
    • video of students explaining how they act on tutor feedback to improve future assignments

    Assessments

    The Learning and Teaching Team made changes as a result of feedback from students following individual and group personal tutorials, Programme Voice Groups and our own ‘temperature check’ sessions. As a result of these sessions, we adapted our assessment timings to take account of the heavy demands on these students who are also working four days a week. Deadlines and the workload is now aligned to their work patterns in schools.

    Specialist staff and guest lecturers

    Learning and Teaching students requested the inclusion of more specialist staff specifically for the science sessions in the programme which has now been put in place. We have also increased the use of guest lecturers from schools to ensure that the students have real life experiences to help link theory and practice.

    Assessment feedback

    The Learning and Teaching staff have developed a new assignment feedback template to help staff make their feedback more consistent across the team. Students can expect to receive feedback which is linked to the published marking criteria, with feed-forward comments, consistent across the cohort.

    • Mental Health and Social Work

    Community of practice

    We published the Department Annual Review in December, a digital magazine showcasing many of the activities that the Department engages in both internally and externally. It was well received and as a result we expanded the student sections in the report so students can share their work/activities. We also pushed the publication date forward to coincide with the start of the academic year.

    This publication has now been circulated via email to every student with a welcome message to new and returning students by the Head of Department and is located on all associated programme pages. We will continue to monitor the impact of this activity in increasing students ‘sense of belonging to the Department and wider community of practice’ via PVGs.

    Interprofessional Learning Symposia

    We are now in our fourth year of running the Interprofessional Learning Symposia which is a weekly open seminar across a range of health and social care topics. We introduced these seminars in response to student feedback for the need of flexible learning opportunities around ‘diverse and topical subjects’ and exposure to other disciplines as well as joint learning. Evaluation by students via feedback indicates that this is a valued addition to students' learning experience.

    BA Social Work and BSc/PGDip Mental Health Nursing

    We have introduced informal gatherings at the end of the first semesters (Christmas) to facilitate contact with tutors and increase cross cohort/year cohesion.

    • School of Law

    • Criminology and Sociology

    Lectures

    Students who want to catch up on a missed lecture can do so through MyLearning. All lecture material is now uploaded to MyLearning before the lecture.

    Some modules were felt to be ‘too theoretical’, so we will ensure that all modules give students the opportunity to engage with ‘real-world’ material. This could be though field visits, practitioner sessions, observation visits, or data analysis.

    Greater community experience

    We will support the development of the CRMSOC student society as well as help it run social, academic and career-focused events. We are also committed to organising an ‘employability fair’ for our students.

    Assessment and feedback

    We are introducing a new feedback template and aim to increase the number of students making use of one-to-one tutorials in staff office hours. We are also working to introduce anonymous marking by the end of this academic year which will be piloted with student feedback.

    Students were concerned with too many assignments being due at the same time. We will now aim to map all assignment dates to minimise any overlap, and to ensure no assignments are due on the date the dissertation is due (for third year students).

    Giving feedback

    As well as supporting the Programme Voice Groups, we have created informal feedback mechanisms at module level and will initiate a monthly video for students, with updates on actions taken in response to issues raised.

    • Law

      • Additional workshops on reading and writing in Jurisprudence
      • Improved communication regarding staff and Graduate Academic Assistant availability for students
      • LLB and BA Law Module Leaders offered more exam type questions in seminars
      • New series of talks for all interested LLM students to provide information on possible placement/internship options as an alternative to optional modules or the dissertation module
      • New activities to facilitate LLM student participation in extra-circular educational activities (guided London legal walk, participation at staff and PhD book and film clubs) aimed at building the student's sense of a Middlesex community, while broadening their learning experience and increasing their exposure to academic staff.
    • Politics

      • New booklet on the optional modules available to students which is emailed in advance at the start of the programme
      • Collaboration with an external company to develop so-called Brief Cases which focus on environmental and social sustainability in the business sector to assist in the difficulty of securing a placement

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