Quality Assurance and Enhancement
Quality Assurance and Enhancement is a top priority in the School, ensuring that our teaching practices are at a high standard and continually improving.
Practice worth sharing
Lunchtime sessions aimed at promoting discussion and sharing information on teaching related practice that has worked well for us.
The sessions will also provide opportunities to take a tricky issue for discussion. The sessions are open to and take contributions from all staff and research students involved with teaching in Moray House School of Education and Sport, whether academic, support, technical or professional staff.
Practice Worth Sharing sessions: 12.30 - 1pm
17 Sep 2019: Session 1: Mental health promotion in higher education wih Deborah Holt in PL G21
02 Oct 2019: Session 2: Teaching reflective practice with Steve McLeister in PL 1.26
15 Oct 2019: Session 3: On the topic of Reflective Learning with Heidi Smith in PL G21
30 Oct 2019: Session 4: How do we get participation in large lectures? with Kelly Stone in PL 1.26
12 Nov 2019: Session 5: Mental health in our practice with Laura Colucci-Gray in PL G21
Speaker: Deborah Holt - 17 Sept 2019
In this first session of the semester we looked at the importance of mental health promotion in higher education. Deb talked about ethos and leadership, and that action was needed at multiple levels. She also emphasised that this is more than “fixing things when they go wrong” but also about promoting well-being and positive mental health. This was in relation to both promoting mental health in students and staff. We then discussed what we can do in our own practice. One action for students that was well received was to use 5-10 mins at the end of a course/programme to ask them to collate advice for the incoming students, specifically on things that would enhance resilience and well-being. For staff, the timing and queuing of emails was considered important, as was the good old fashioned regular communal cup of tea. All agreed that leadership was critical.
Speaker: Steve McLeister – 2 Oct 2019
In this second session of the semester we looked at the area of teaching reflective practice. Steve opened with the argument that we may sometimes assume students know how to do “reflective learning”, but actually part of our role may be to teach them how. Steve outlined some frameworks for reflective practice and some of the differences between evaluation and reflection. We then had a group discussion on instinct and intuition and how this interacts with reflective learning. It was acknowledged that reflective learning is a skill to be developed, and that we likely improve over time in the right conditions. We also debated the roles of metaphors and safe spaces in aiding reflective learning. The next session in 2 weeks will develop these themes!
Speaker: Heidi Smith – 15 Oct 2019
Building from Steve’s session on teaching reflective practice (session 2), Heidi described a workshop she runs on reflective learning that is designed to aid students with their reflective journal and practice processes. This is something directly relevant to components in the rest of their programme. Heidi highlighted the importance of anonymously sharing fears and concerns at the outset, of linking the activities to something meaningful for the participants (in this case the Scottish Outdoors), and of working in groups to aid learning and sharing. Heidi then led us in a discussion around the ongoing reflective learning of students, looking at how to encourage creativity in reflection, the role of models and taxonomies in teaching reflection, and the challenges of assessing something that often be very personal (assess the submission not the person – marking grids presented prior to students seem to be helping).
Quality and standards
Quality and standards in UK Higher Education are overseen by an independent body called the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). In Scotland, responsibilities are devolved to QAA Scotland, whose distinctive approach features 'Enhancement Led Institutional Reviews' and 'Enhancement Themes'
The University of Edinburgh adheres to the QAA’s UK Quality Code for Higher Education. This set of expectations enables us to safeguard our academic standards while improving student learning opportunities.
Moray House School of Education and Sport's practices articulate with the University of Edinburgh's Quality Assurance structure and processes.
How we assure and enhance quality
At Moray House School of Education and Sport we gather information on teaching and learning through four principal channels.
- Student Views, through course evaluations and Staff Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs)
- Staff Views, through course monitoring and annual programme monitoring / reviewing
- External Examiner views, through their annual reports
- Teaching Programme Reviews (TPRs) and Postgraduate Programme Reviews (PPRs), which are formal, periodic reviews involving a panel comprised of external examiners, staff from other parts of the University, and current students
- Quality Assurance and Enhancement In addition to working with student reps, the Director of Quality Assurance and Enhancement offers drop in sessions for Course Organisers and Programme Directors. These are opportunities for our COs and PDs to drop in to ask questions, make suggestions/share good ideas or request support for any of the QA processes on their programme or course. No appointment necessary. For latest dates contact the Quality Team.
- The dates for Semester 1 2019 will be:
- 1am-1.45pm on Friday 4 October in Charteris Land, Room 2.03
- 12.30-2.30pm on Monday 28 October in Charteris Land, Room 5.03
- The dates for Semester 1 2019 will be:
Some programmes are also accredited by professional / statutory bodies.
Further to the above mechanisms for assuring the quality of teaching and learning, there are other ways that staff and students contribute to improving practice. For example:
- Individual student views are always welcomed by course organisers and programme directors
- Programme Reps gather views on behalf of the cohorts they represent and feed these back to programme directors
- Student Staff Liaison Committee meetings
- The School’s Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (SQAEC) comprises of a range of staff and student representatives who work together on such items as the School's annual QAE report.
Three priorities for 2018-19 identified through the 2018 Quality Assurance and Enhancement annual report were:
- Review the teaching spaces in the School, identifying areas for enhancement and requesting support from the University as appropriate.
- Enhancement: working to increase postgraduate and undergraduate student satisfaction
- Sharing good practice in teaching and assessment feedback both within and beyond the School of Education.
Read the report in full from our School's Annual Quality Report.
QAE on the staff intranet
The Director of Quality Assurance and Enhancement at Moray House is Deborah Holt. She welcomes your questions and comments regarding quality assurance and enhancement.
If you are a student who wishes to lodge a formal complaint or appeal to a body outwith the School of Education, please contact Academic Services.