“After meeting with my course director, I was able to change the content and difficulty level for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students taking the same module.”
– A Medical Sciences Rep
“We found the module selection process too rushed, with seminars filling up in two minutes and most students not getting their first choices. We suggested in the SSCC meeting that the process be changed. We have now implemented a new system where each student fills out a form and gives it to the course convener, who then assigns seminars based on first and second choices.”
– CMII/SELCS Rep
“We felt that the research project choice list was released too late in the year, so there was not enough time to do a bit more research on the topics offered and we were rushed to make a decision. We gave this feedback to the Module Convenor and it has been agreed that the list will be circulated much earlier next year.”
– Brain Sciences Rep
“Our course had a compulsory module that many students did not find helpful or relevant. We had a constructive dialogue with our Programme Director and as a result it has been decided to make the module optional as of next year, so students will have a better ability to choose modules according to their interests and needs.”
– IOE Rep
“In my course we faced some issues with the repetition of lectures in different modules. When this was brought up to staff and discussed in person in the SSCC meeting, we agreed that a new topic could be added to the SSCC meeting agenda on “module synergy” and module leads would ensure repetition in lectures would only occur when needed. ”
– Population Health Sciences Rep
“Amid the current pandemic, students in my class were very much concerned with missing the lab experience and
I was able to gather a precise count of students who 'preferred' vs who 'desperately needed' to undergo the lab project and was able to communicate it to our programme lead and discuss the available options, and she undertook the committment of communication the issue at a faculty level. As a result, we've put options for students to either proceed with the current literature/data-based projects or defer till next academic year. Thus, satisfying different groups of my class. ”
– ICH Rep
“As a first year course rep, of a course in the first year of existence, much needed to be slightly adjusted to better the experience of students, like the establishment of a correct program of contact hours for students who had elected oriental languages. This issue came to our attention in term 2, when our peers began noticing that their level of preparation for the finals wasn't enough. This was due to the fact that we were following the same connect hours program (4-hours of language teaching each week) as people who were taking Chinese or Japanese as their major (and also taking other language courses to integrate their learning experience). Thus we called for a meeting with the Teaching and Learning Administrator, the head of the EISPS department, the convener of the ISPS course and the administrator of oriental languages for ISPS. Even in the midst of the strike and covid related chaos everyone sat collaboratively throughout the meeting and together we came up with a plan to increase are language classes to 5 hours a week, by introducing an hour more each week. Hopefully, when this new system will be implemented next year students will feel like they have more assistance from the department in their learning. ”
– ISPS Rep
"I was able to successfully campaign for: heightened awareness regarding the lack of female philosophers on the syllabus."
– Philosophy Rep
"We delegated strongly felt and meaningful feedback on a module, leading to its ground-level restructuring."
– Biosciences Rep
"I achieved a confirmed honorary contract placement for the students I represent. Appointment letters are already issued to the students by UCLH. I managed to change the Ear Admin visiting time, which previously was clashing with student lecture time. I successfully achieved a review of mode of assessment for one of our modules."
– Audiology Rep
"Issue faced was unclear guidance in the handbook vs lectures - told the course leads this and they addressed with the cohort and changed the handbook"
- Biochemistry Rep
"I have raised the issue of students not having enough information to make appropriate decisions as they transfer between years. This is especially important when knowing the laboratory projects that one can apply for since specific streams can limit the type of projects that is available to you so the transition from first to second year becomes very important. After discussing with academic staff members, the current first year students are now given a comprehensive lecture regarding stream choices and how it affects their third year module choices (including laboratory project options) which will definitely help mitigate the issue of module restrictions in year 3."
– Biomedical Sciences Rep
"I was able to represent students across a wide variety of forums and to advocate for a wide variety of improvements in my course. One example is that I helped to address a lack of clarity on the learning objectives of the course by working with the faculty to create virtual Curriculum Map to use."
– Medical School Rep
"Issue faced was the course sessions in the afternoons on Friday covering content we had already covered - spoke to course leads about this and they changed the structure of the sessions so they were more reflective and focused on skills we wanted to develop and questions we had."
- Biochemistry Rep
"One of the ways we have succeeded in is tackling the lack of diversity in curriculums. We have introduced a breakdown for all courses in the department of the diversity breakdown of the themes and authors they use. This has been really effective in demonstrating how easy it is to rely on a singular narrative of history that isn’t representative of its multiculturalism."
-Institute of Americas Rep
"I discussed one module where we are taught how to use qualitative approaches to analyse research within the developmental and educational literature. These lectures did not always directly link to examples of how we actually put these qualitative skills into practice. It wasn't until the fourth lecture where it was outlined how both areas of psychology overlapped. I suggested that this lecture be one of the first in the module where a clear link is established between these skills and how to apply it to the literature. Further lectures should also provide examples of qualitative methods within the literature. The feedback was well received by the module leader and they said they would consider it for the following academic year."
- Psychology and Human Development Rep
"Our feedback about the Basic Skills Week (Scenario week) will help the department organise the event in a less congested manner moving forward in upcoming years. Since this is the first year they conduct such an activity, our feedback regarding the timing of events, learning and outcomes of our portfolio submissions, as well as the overall student satisfaction allowed the department to improve the overall organisation and structure of the event. Specifically, our suggestion to have a recorded online demonstration for students who cannot attend all demonstrations will reduce the load on lecturers while still making sure all students can absorb the content."
- Biochemical Engineering Rep
"One of the main issues that came up in the module I was the representative for was that students felt the physiology teaching was disjointed, leaving them confused about what exactly needed to be learnt. I proposed that a tutorial could be introduced on physiology given that the module was one of the few which had no tutorials at all. Unfortunately due to timetabling issues, the module leads said that it would be difficult. Therefore, we came to a compromise by extending the length of one of the workshops we have in the module to leave some time at the end of it as an open ended Q&A session where students can ask lecturers to clarify any issues. We also trialled having a mid-module meeting with the module lead before the MMG to discuss any issues that had arisen in the first few weeks. This ensured that, where possible, problems could be resolved within the same academic year to improve student satisfaction for that module instead of waiting until the next year. This was very well received by students and staff alike, and has now been extended to all of the modules in first and second year."
- Medical School Rep
"During the first semester of this academic year, the tutorial materials received by students on the course, introduction to microeconomics, were different from the ones received by tutors, especially the data in the questions, which led to frequent confusion during tutorials. We reported this issue during the small meeting before the SSCC in person, and this issuewas escalated to our professor through email directly after the meeting. Feedback from the professor was sent to us immediately. From that time on, this issue was not reported by students anymore."
- SEESS Rep
"As a History of Art with Material Studies student rep, I personally felt like the "material studies' bit was too little, so I asked my fellow students and found this was widely felt, so I raised it in the SSCC meeting and our tutor responded. After that, together we organised a few trips or tours to conservation labs or talks as a group to enhance the science bit of our course and most of us found it useful."
- History of Art with Material Studies Rep
"Representing module specific student issues eg. flagging the lack of student login in and lack of student introduction to surgery for certain modules was a big success."
- Medical School Rep
"We made it clear, in all advertisements for the course and at interview, to prospective students before they apply that they will not gain QTS status and will not be able to teach in Local Authority maintained schools and nurseries."
- Initial Teacher Education Rep
"I have had many successes throughout the year:
1) confirming the maiden honorary Contract of Audiovestibular medicine students with UCLH and our receipt of confirmation letters.
2) achieving a successful change of the ear admin visiting time.
3) Getting a review of our course assessment method for a course that was challenging to our students.
4) sensitising admin and management on the issue of giving masterclass certificates to student attendees."
- Audiology Rep
"One issue we faced was unclear guidance in the handbook vs lectures - told the course leads this and they addressed with the cohort and changed the handbook. Another issue was the course sessions in the afternoons on Friday covering content we had already covered - spoke to course leads about this and they changed the structure of the sessions so they were more reflective and focused on skills we wanted to develop and questions we had."
- Psychology and Language Sciences Rep
"At the beginning of the academic year, the clinical part of our course was way below our (all student) expectation and was not even well-structured. Since the majority of us were disappointed, I decided to firstly open the issue for a discussion in our WhatsApp group and based on the primary feedback, I have set an onsite meeting to further discuss and refine what should be raised and what is our expectation regarding different points. Thereafter, I have informed our program lead, personal tutor and the administration office and discussed what can be done regarding this issue; however, the response was not as expected, therefore, I had to take it further and discuss this point along with few others on the SSCC meeting and emphasize the importance structuring and increasing the clinical part of the program. With my restless pushing things got improved significantly. The clinical sessions have potentially increased from one session every 7-10 days in term one to a minimum of two sessions every week in term two, and the sessions have become well-structured and more educative. More consultants were also involved in the clinical teaching by term two compared with term one. Overall the students have become satisfied and happy with the outcome and felt that the course has become more educative and enjoyable."
- Neurology Rep
"In my 4 years as a rep, I have seen the Biomedical Engineering Department grow, as well as the Faculty of Engineering. I have helped in bringing forward issues, at a faculty level, regarding modules such as Design and Professional Skills or Mathematical Modelling and Analysis and collaborating on solutions, and seeing their implementation in the following years has been very rewarding. At a departmental level, I am pleased to see that the suggested changes for Year 2 Scenarios and projects have been implemented. An example of such change is changing one of the Design and Professional Skills projects into a Scenario, which allows students to focus more effectively on a 3D print design and, at the same time, challenge them to complete the task within a week. Lastly, I found success in how my cohort has perceived my role, and how easy it has been for them to communicate their concerns with me and be assured that their thoughts will be heard by our department."
- Biomedical Engineering Rep
"In addition, I improved the lecture content. In the module Comparative Education: Theories and Methods, there was one lecture called Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) which requires a different range of mathematics knowledge and skills. However, since the majority of the students’ first degrees were related to humanity subjects, they found it quite difficult to understand the mathematic approach in the content of this particular lecture. By noticing this, I conducted a survey amongst all the students on how many of them need extra QCA exercises/lectures, and I reported this issue and the survey result (30 students think they need an extra lecture) in the first SSCC meeting and suggested that to arrange one if it is possible. This proposal also gets supported by the module leader and the lecturer who is willing to give an extra session on Ragin's QCA on Monday 9 December, in which she will also discuss some other analysis we might use in our future dissertation. By reporting this issue, I improved the lecture content by making the students’ need for an extra lecture comes true."
- Education, Practice and Society Rep
"One of my primary concerns this year was with the scheduling of the PHAS 0002 and 0009 Math Methods modules. A majority of us first years were of the opinion that we would have benefitted more from studying 0009 in the first term, and 0002 in the second, as opposed to the order in which we were actually taught. We felt studying 0009 together with 0010 Classical Mechanics in the first term would have made things far easier in understanding the equations and formulae in the latter module. I brought this concern to the front in the first SSCC, and while I was told that this reversal might take a year or two to implement, I am glad that it will be done in time for freshmen next year. "
- Physics and Astronomy Rep
"I am happy that the concerns of my peers and fellow course mates that I had raised, particularly about the level of pre-requisite knowledge of certain programming languages, such as R, of modules such as STAT0007, was heard, and this was a concern brought up by some other student reps as well. The improved accessibility and availability of reference materials also helped to solve this concern."
- Statistical Science Rep
"Positive communication with staff in SSCCs and Module specific meetings that effectively brought about change. For example, in Module A there was a week called Prep for Practice week that had received a lot of negative feedback from students about the way it was run including issues such as an unhelpful and long session on drug prescribing and too many sessions packed into one day. Had a very productive conversation with the staff who organise the week who agreed with my comments and we discussed some possible changes to the week which were supported by both students and staff. Unfortunately this then had to be completely reworked anyway to accommodate online teaching in the third term, however there was a very supportive response from staff that they aimed to rework the week properly when in-person teaching resumed next year."
- Medical School Rep
"First for context - The Computer Science department at UCL is consistently rated as one of the worst CS departments across the country for student satisfaction. Big picture wise I think we were able to achieve a shift in attitude in staff in that they are better understanding the breadth of dissatisfaction across the students. The main point we finally got across was that students really are not enjoying the course and the department has caused first years to hate it after just one term in. We have had a new departmental tutor this year and he dedicated one of the DTC meetings solely on the matter of student satisfaction and more active steps are being taken. We were able to boil down the dissatisfaction to 3 major factors : Uncaring, Incompetence and Chaotic. As reps we achieved the change of having more informal meetings with the staff instead of the 3 DSSCCs. We now have 2 informal meetings per time where the departmental tutor and year coordinator with a rep from a particular year group only. These meetings let reps discuss issues that directly affect their year group which they could not have earlier in the DSSCC. We also had another informal meeting with the departmental tutor and the undergraduate director where we were just able to vent out everything we hate about the department and we got into discussions such as student mental health taking a toll and how given how much coursework we get we're better off skipping the lecture.
Other Major changes:
1) The department went through with my proposals to change the Mathematical Computation degree so it has more maths which can extend to the later ML modules. I also managed to get rid of getting a needlessly mandatory module for 3rd Year MathComp which I was bent on doing since I was in 3rd year and made it optional instead. This allows for so much more flexibility in module choices for 3rd year MathComp because the now have an extra option for a T1 module they want to. There are also other meaningful changes such as the ordering of when modules are taken that make more sense for the students though I think there's still work to be done here.
2) The use of Unitu has changed - We now list the DSSCC items as issues raised on unitu then update them as progress is made with them. This keeps students better in the loop on what's actually progressing in our rep work. This is part of a bigger item we raised where we told the department that there is a perception that the student views aren't really being listened to. We hope that students can see that the department are trying to be better as a result of this.
3) A proposed change to personal tutoring - Currently the CS department lack of proper personal tutoring is systematic as people are having varying experiences with it. There has been a proposed change to give more importance to personal tutoring making it part of the timetable. How this will pan out I do not know but in any case it's a step in the right direction.
4) Anonymous Moodle Forums - Anxiety are shyness are real things and students should not be scared to ask for help / go to office hours. In this effort we were exploring how we can implement Anonymous Moodle Forums (similar to piazza). We were stopped by the fact that the anonymity shouldn't be anon to the lecturer it should be anon to fellow class mates only (to avoid abusive comments) so instead The Departmental Tutor has contacted all Module Leads to encourage them to consider using 'Hot Questions' to allow for anonymous posting of questions to their Moodle pages, although it is not mandated at this time that all Module Leads make use of it. Whether this follows through or not we'll need to see for next year."
- Computer Science Rep
"We were able to sort out an issue with Maths and Physics students not having the same amount of tutor time as Maths students, this made everything fairer and gave everyone an equal level of teaching and time."
- Mathematics Rep
"I was a representative for my Genetics, Development and Cancer (GDC) Module. One issue was that there was a lack of tutorials in my module. I discussed this with the other reps before the SSCC and then raised this issue in the DESO structure in the SSCC. Next year there are now tutorials being planned for this module. Additionally, some students were not happy with the timing of the module since they found it really interesting and that it would have influenced their iBSc choices had they had exposure to the module earlier. I again raised this issue in DESO format during an SSCC after discussing with other Reps. As a result, an introductory lecture is being planned for earlier on in the year, prior to iBSc applications."
- Medical School Rep
"There was a mix up on one of our lectures (Fungal lecture)- the wrong content (complicated detail beyond the level required) was delivered due to a misunderstanding and consequently students were very confused during the lecture. A unitu post was made, which I helped escalate to staff by 'opening' the post and speaking to the RUMS Vice President Y1-3. The issue was resolved very quickly by the module leads, and the 2018 lecturecast with the relevant content was added to the Moodle page."
- Medical School Rep
"I was able to raise a handful of issues regarding our degree (BSc Cancer Biomedicine) on the UCL 'undergraduate degrees' website during our SSCC meeting. For instance, I have proposed that the website solely mentions 'London, Bloomsbury' as our campus location, while most of our face-to-face lectures, in fact, happened at the Royal Free Hospital Campus in Hampstead. This was one of the most frequently raised complaints during the first-term as the majority of our peers, including myself, were not informed about the Royal Free Hospital campus prior to induction week. This issue was solved instantly as we have directly raised it to our department lead."
- Cancer Biomedicine Rep
"As a student rep meeting across all PGCE subjects, I was able to gather opinions of my course mates in advance of the meeting and communicate these comments effectively. In particular, I raised concerns about the pre-course occupational health form that student teachers complete and how it can be a daunting and anxious process. This was taken on board and there will now be changes going forward, where future student teachers will receive further information when completing the form to reassure them that any health issues will not prevent them from teaching."
- Initial Teacher Education Rep
"One of the biggest issues as a cohort in our course was a specific module having an online piece of work with university students around the world. The problem with this was the many students had to pick their own timeslots during the beginning of term 1. However, due to Bristish Summer Time, many people's online work clashed with their classes. Having raised this issue, it has now been replaced from the module."
- School of Management Rep
"Furthermore, based on the feedback I've been able to gather from students, I was also able to represent these student voices in a focus group about our Scientific Communication and Computing module, which eventually brought in the change of replacing MATLAB as the target programming language to Python, a widely more requested coding language due to the employability factor. We are also working to improve Natural Sciences students' access to Biosciences modules, as we have had problems in the past, and this year the situation was dealt with more smoothly than last year, thanks to the department helping us in the process of not being left aside when it comes to allocating places in capped modules."
- Natural Sciences Rep
"One issue was the lack of support students were receiving on large projects in which they had to self teach new software. Furthermore, there were clashes with other large courseworks (weighted 50+%) and the professors refused to move the dates. In order to combat this, we got in touch with the module coordinator with the year coordinator. When this did not work, I raised the issue in the IEP SSCC meeting where they were shocked to hear this was the case and the module is being fixed at a fundamental level’
- Mechanical Engineering Rep
"I was able to highlight a research issue during SSCC, even though it wasn't an immediate problem. This led to uncovering deeper issues within the system and we were able to rectify this department wide."
- School of Management Rep
"The programme director and I submitted a ChangeMakers application and received funding to improve academic skills provision in Linguistics."
- Psychology and Language Sciences Rep
"I managed to get reading groups added to courses."
- Human Geography Rep
"I helped achieve better guidance for the module assessment and helped organise a Q&A as well."
- Education, Practice and Society Rep
"Along with the other History Academic Representatives, we were able to take the students' feedback
regarding the compulsory Approaching History module to the department and in turn the structure and content of the weekly seminars was adapted to make them more accessible and engaging."
- History Rep
"After student request, I was involved in the decision of the workshops that we needed to have, an issue that was solved after a lot of discussion with both tutors and directors of the school. More workshops were added to the course, following our necessities (such as a 2-day planting workshop that is coming up next week)."
- MLA Rep
"An issue faced: Late allocation of dissertation supervisors.
Steps I took to change it: Meeting with S., Raised in SSCC meeting.
Outcomes: Faculty Level 2 week extension for the entire iBSc cohort.
An issue faced: Not very engaging tutorials for a module in the first half of Term 1
Steps took to change: Meeting with S., Raised in SSCC meeting and suggested change to format like another module.
Outcomes: Tutorial style changed to suggested format (3 small group discussions) where possible and if expert lecturer week, then we had one large group session with them."
- IGH Rep
"Vocalising problems students were facing and actioning change were succesful for me. As an example, students were finding timetabled
ICU shifts quite stressful and difficult to undertake and preferred the chance to volunteer their time for shifts especially for twilight and night shifts. This was brought forward by myself at a SSCC meeting and was actioned immediately to allow students to come forward and offer their time in a way that meant they were not under pressure and could cover hours that would usually be understaffed."
- Medical School Rep
"I lobbied senior faculty to send regular email communications to clinical year students initially, to increase transparency and trust in the medical school regarding the state of our placement-based education during the COVID peak in January 2021. This catalysed a culture shift within the pre-clinical years as well; reps felt inspired to request and actively take part in Y1 & Y2 townhalls. They were not just one-offs but indeed there were multiple, and their success was great regarding matters such as increasing the length of summative examinations (which are Moodle quizzes for Y1&2 medics). I have campaigned hard for a central-led protection & expansion of bedside teaching, protected within the timetable, led by any doctor not necessarily a consultant, in order to increase the role of valuable small group teaching in placements. These have been under heavy attack due to the pandemic, which drove this entire thing. I worked cohesively with the MBBS Quality Assurance Unit to increase their own transparency with their own activities, including reasserting the importance of publishing all meeting minutes in a location accessible for students. They will now create a Moodle page which will be a mainstay to complement reps' own transparency efforts in the coming months and years."
- Medical School Rep
"At the start of the year, the BSc Cancer Biomedicine students were unexpectedly informed that one of our optional modules (MEDC0013) was no longer ‘available.’ By contacting the AMS department, we were able to hear back from them and realize that the optional module was no longer available as ‘it is compulsory for a few degrees, and thus, [the module] does not have the capacity for students taking this module as an optional module. This ‘excuse’ was not informed to us (students) prior to module selection and was only delivered in response to student’s queries. In collaboration with our peers and our personal tutors, we were able to send a complaint email, expressing our frustration with logical explanations to support our stance. As a result, the BSc Cancer biomedicine students were allowed to take the MEDC0013 module."
- Cancer Institute Rep
"The main successful initiative this year was the Ancient History degree structure amendments that were presented at the May 2021 SSCC, on the two issues of greater flexibility for 2nd Year module choices, and the prioritisation of Ancient History students on ancient history modules. The solution I suggested for the first issue was received positively and circulated among the staff; though a member of staff indicated that it was too complicated to implement in a purely administrative sense, the constraining rules surrounding module choices can probably be changed and will be discussed in the September staff meeting."
- History Rep
"There was one suggestion that I raised in the SSCC meeting in the 2019/20 academic year about making introductory videos for each module to help with module selection. Our department took my suggestion in 2020/21 academic year, and I felt this also helps for adapting to online studying."
- Mathematics Rep
"The module "Transferrable Skills for Scientists" contained parts that were irrelevant for PGT chemistry students and could not really be considered as "transferrable skills". Together with the other departmental PGT reps, we identified the weaknesses of the module and helped to design a better, more adequate/condensed version for next year's PGT students."
- Chemistry Rep
"An issue that has been widely felt by students is the fact that at the moment, PhD theses do not allow inclusion of publications, which is considered an issue as it often doubles the amount of work students have to do (i.e. rewriting existing publications of their own). This has been fed forward at the SSCC meetings and will be further discussed in the future."
- GOS ICH Rep