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Learning Framework

  • Introducing our new Learning Framework 

Middlesex takes student feedback very seriously. We're currently recognised as one of the top 10 universities in the country for responding to student feedback.

Over the last two years, we've been working in partnership with the Students’ Union to gather your feedback about the structure of programmes and teaching across Middlesex. We’ve been asking for your views through surveys, collecting feedback you've shared with your Student Voice Leaders, running pop-up stalls on campus and organising focus groups.

We’re using this feedback to make changes to our Learning Framework – our structure for how our modules, programmes and academic year are designed to best support your learning and success.

Below are some examples of what the new learning framework may look like for you:

  • Student feedback has emphasised how the teaching timetable needs to work alongside other responsibilities, such as part-time work and caring for family members. For most programmes, your timetable will include at most three days for on-campus teaching, with other activities delivered online through bite-sized videos and other interactive methods.

  • We also know that when students have multiple assessments at the same time, this can hold you back from doing your best work. Our new approach to assessments will mean that you will have two assessments per module at most.

  • We heard a lot of positive feedback from students about larger (30 credit) modules that allowed more in-depth learning and manageable workload. The new framework will make this the standard module size, meaning that most students will study two modules at a time and four each academic year.

  • We also received a lot of positive feedback for modules that were practical and clearly embedding competencies needed by employers. Our framework will ensure that all modules reflect this Middlesex approach and allow you to better differentiate yourself in the graduate marketplace.

  • The principles

Utilising all of your feedback, we have developed the following seven principles that will make up our new learning framework. How each programme and module implements these will be decided at a local level, but we expect the following principles to be true for most programmes and most students.

Principle 1: Our academic year

  • Three 12-week semesters​
  • 3 potential entry points​
  • 2 semesters of study for full time students

We will adjust the structure of our academic year into three 12-week semesters. Full time students will study modules in the first two semesters, with a third semester to provide more flexibility for students who need to re-sit assessments or catch up in other ways.

This new structure also sets us up for the future, by making it easier to provide opportunities for students to join Middlesex at different points in the year.

Principle 2: Programme Structure

  • Shared first-year experience across relevant subject clusters
  • Limited module options for year 2 and 3

Following testing and consultation with students, we believe that introducing a common first year will have the following advantages:

  1. It will make it easier for new students to gain a broad knowledge and understanding of your discipline, through access to the practice, scholarship and research drawn from a range of subjects. This will help inform your choices as you continue through your studies
  2. Having a full and broad curriculum before specialising will enable our students to stand out in the marketplace and help inform their future career choices. We want our students to recognise and benefit from the full range of opportunities and options available to them
  3. The transition to university can be a challenge for many students. It's especially important in this time that new students are able to make friends and build their networks. A shared first year will better allow us to build strong communities within subject areas, which can then continue throughout the rest of your time at Middlesex.

Principle 3: Module Structure

  • Four 30 credit modules
  • Two modules each semester for full-time undergraduate students
  • No pre-requisite modules

We want to ensure that the number of modules our students are studying at any one time is feasible and manageable to maximise their chance of success. Many areas of the University already structure their programmes with 30 credit modules and these have had very positive feedback from students and staff. These larger modules allow for more in-depth learning, helps to manage students' workload, and reduces clustering of assessments.

At the moment, we have modules of different sizes across the University. This can also make it more challenging for students who want to change programme or need to re-take a module, as changing modules is not as flexible.

Principle 4: Student groups

Student groups will be created to connect students with peers who are in each module. The exact size of these groups is to be decided by each Programme area to ensure that they best support subject-specific needs.

The research is clear that when students build a positive sense of belonging at University, this contributes to their success as a student. In particular, it's clear from student feedback that what matters most is connection with other students on your course. To best facilitate this, teaching on each module will be organised into a set of student groups.

Having access to a strong network of peers will help in a number of ways:

  • Building a sense of belonging amongst our #TeamMDX community
  • Promotes peer accountability and support
  • Helps to supports students’ health and wellbeing through an improved support network
  • Provides safe space to stretch and challenge students’ learning.​

Principle 5: Integrated curriculum design

At the moment, we receive a lot of positive feedback from students on modules that were practical and clearly embedding competencies needed by employers. Our framework will ensure that all modules reflect this Middlesex approach and allow you to better differentiate yourself in the graduate marketplace. A set of graduate competencies will be embedded into the content of modules on your programme, to ensure that you can gain these skills as part of your studies. We also expect modules to include embedded approaches to developing key IT skills for your subject area.

Principle 6: On Campus and Online Teaching

  • Three days for campus teaching​
  • Engaging and interactive on-campus activities​
  • Key concept, bite-size videos recorded and shared online in advance​

As part of the new learning framework, teaching on each programme will be structured so that students are required to be on campus for at most three days a week. This does not mean that students will have less face-to-face teaching time, but relates to how we will structure students' timetables.

This is something that has been made very clear within student feedback. We know that our students often have other responsibilities outside of their studies, which make it harder to attend campus every day. We will still have facilities and activities running throughout the week, but students will only be required to attend for the three days where they have scheduled teaching.

We also expect that when students know their timetable in advance, it better allows them to plan things like part-time work and to budget for the costs of travelling, childcare and other commitments.

Principle 7: Assessment

  • Programme-based and authentic assessment​
  • Assessments limited to two per 30 credit module
  • Formative feedback throughout module
  • Re-takes for mid-module assessment ahead of the end of module, where possible
  • Phasing out of 20-point scale (during 2024/2025), to be replaced by percentage scale

We have received so much helpful feedback from students on what helps them to submit their best work in assessments and what makes it more challenges. We're very excited to bring in these above changes to the new learning framework. We expect that the new structure of programmes will mean that students have fewer assessments throughout the year, which allows students to focus better on each assessment point.

Re-takes and re-submission of assessments can be extra challenging if it takes place long after a module has happened. Where possible, we will introduce a new approach where these re-assessments take place before the end of the relevant module.

We also will be phasing out our current 20-point scale for assessment results, to be replaced a much more intuitive percentage scale.

  • How will these changes affect me?

The new Learning Framework will be introduced for all undergraduate programmes for the next academic year – in September 2024. If you're expecting to Graduate this summer, you will not be affected by these changes.

For continuing students, your Programme teams are currently working through how each of the Learning Framework principles can best be delivered for your subject-specific contexts.

Some Student Voice Leaders and Student Learning Assistants be will involved in meetings with academic staff over the next two months to help shape the design of programmes as part of the new Learning Framework.

You will receive further updates in April and May about how these changes will affect your specific programme of study.

If you have feedback on the proposed changes, we recommend that you speak with your Student Voice Leader in the first instance.

We've compiled some answers to some commonly asked questions on the learning framework.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    • Will Middlesex continue to use the 20-point marking scale?

      Work has started to phase out the 20-point scale during 2024-25 and replace it with a percentage mark system.

      This will aim to offer students greater clarity, improved assessment literacy and contribute to assessment standards being understood and owned by our global learning community.

      In the meantime, the 20-point marking scale will remain.

    • Is the learning framework designed to save money?

      The main goal of our new learning framework is to ensure that all our modules and programmes are designed to best support your learning and success.

      This includes positive enhancements such as:

      • the expansion of the academic year into three semesters, giving students better opportunities to catch up and complete any necessary retakes
      • embedding the graduate competencies needed by employers directly into the curriculum
      • Giving students the opportunity to conduct re-takes for mid-module assessment ahead of the end of module, where possible.

      Whilst financial sustainability is important, our priority is to make changes that benefit your experience. All of the proposals in the new learning framework have been developed closely through gathering of student feedback on what works well currently and what can be improved. In 2023 we were recognised as one of the top 10 universities in the country for responding to student feedback - so involving students closely throughout this process is a priority for us.

      There are some aspects of the learning framework that are more supportive for students and make some financial savings for the University. For example, having fewer small modules that are expensive to run and that don't provide the right opportunities for a vibrant learning community.

      There are also many other aspects of the learning framework, such as those listed above, that will cost more money, but we believe will make a meaningful improvement to your student experience.

    • What are the implications of a three-day teaching week for students on placements?

      We don't anticipate that the structure of the teaching week would impact those on placements and internships.

    • I'm graduating this summer - how will these changes affect me?

      The new learning framework will come into affect in the next academic year (September 2024). Therefore you will not be affected by these proposed changes unless you are expecting that you may need to retake one or more modules next year.

    • Will the new learning framework affect postgraduate students?

      The framework will only come into affect for undergraduate students in the 2024/25 academic year. We are planning how these changes can also benefit postgraduate students, which may be implemented for the following academic year (2025/26).

    • How will the new learning framework affect my teaching hours?

      As part of the new learning framework, teaching on each programme will be structured so that students must be on campus for at most three days a week. This does not mean that students will have less face-to-face teaching time but relates to how we will structure students' timetables. This is intended to improve the student experience by making it easier for students to plan their teaching timetable around other responsibilities such as part-time work or caring roles. We also believe that these changes will reduce the costs for students travelling to campus; making our teaching provision more accessible.

    • Will the ‘award title’ that I graduate with be changing?

      An award title is what appears on your degree transcript. For some programmes this reflects a series of modules that show you have specialised in that area of study. We know that award titles can be very important to students. In some cases, you may have chosen (or be choosing) Middlesex as a place to study because of a particular award title for your subject of interest. For any programmes where award titles are changing, current students will be able to keep their original award title. The exact process for making this request will be communicated to students ahead of their graduation.

    • How will these changes affect my ability to choose optional modules?

      Depending on your programme, you may have a change in the optional modules available for you to select in subsequent years of study. If you have any optional modules to select for the next academic year, then you will have been invited to choose these as part of the Learning Framework communications that you received on Tuesday 7th May. Please make sure that you select the optional modules that you’d like to study.

      Within your new programme structure PDF, you can see all the modules taught across your programme and an indication of likely optional modules. Please note that not all optional modules may be available every year as they are subject to receiving sufficient interest from students. Some optional modules that Middlesex ran in the past may have been removed from your programme structure due to a lack of interest from students in past years. These modules may also have been removed following feedback from employers about their relevancy to the graduate jobs market.

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