School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Student feedback reaps results

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology has made a number of improvements to its undergraduate provision this year, as a result of student feedback.

Richard Kane, School Head of Student Administration, says:

“We’re keen to listen to the issues our students tell us are important, whether that’s through Student/Staff liaison meetings, surveys or letters/emails.

“More scholarships, better access to Main Library resources, extra computers and more support staff are just some of the recent issues students have raised, that we have done something about.”

You said, we did

Students asked us to:

  • provide more space and facilities for undergraduates
  • make more financial support available
  • enhance some of our IT facilities
  • improve essay submission processes
  • speed up return time for coursework
  • improve access to Main Library resources.

So here’s what we did.

More space and facilities for undergraduates

In September 2013, we plan to launch an Undergraduate Common Room with social seating, tea making facilities and a snacks machine. The room overlooks the Meadows and is wi-fi enabled so it will be perfect for quick ‘on the go’ tasks, as well as personal web browsing and emails.

We are also investigating locker space for undergraduates.

More financial support

From September 2013 we are introducing a series of scholarships to encourage and reward excellence amongst our on-programme undergraduate students.

Up to 10 scholarships, of £7000 each, will be awarded to students entering third year.

We’re also offering three paid summer internships in association with the Careers Service, under the University’s Employ.ed on Campus programme.

Enhanced IT

We replaced the computers in our Student Research rooms with new ones, adding two extra computers (with another two in Room 3.07) and a better printer (photocopying and scanning, coming soon).

Archaeology students who need access to specialist software can now apply to use computers in our teaching computer lab.

Easing course-work submission

To address extreme congestion at hand in times, we’ve installed another bank of essay drop boxes.

In History, we’ve separated out the deadlines for the electronic and paper copies of coursework; all e-copies must be in by 12noon, but paper copies can be submitted up to 4pm, which we hope avoids queues building up to use printers or for submission to the drop boxes.

From next year, History 3rd/4th year MA options taught in first semester will have hand-ins for major course work at the start off Week 8, while 4th year MA and History in Theory courses will have submissions at the start of Week 12.

Faster feedback

We’re committed to getting feedback on coursework back to you within three teaching weeks, wherever possible.

In History, we normally don’t wait until moderation has been completed before returning work to you - we will usually now return work based on provisional marks from the first marker.

Course work for History 3rd/4th year MA options will be returned in Week 11, with staff available for more detailed feedback on individual submissions. Course work for 4th year MA and History in Theory courses would be available at the start of the second semester.

Classics has introduced personal return of course work and feedback for some courses to those who request it.

We encourage all students in the School to request oral feedback. All students are currently able to request feedback on their exam papers.

More staff dedicated to improving the student experience

As well as expanding our Student Support team, the School has appointed a Student Experience Officer, Student Administration Officer, Student and Alumni Communications Administrator and a dedicated Receptionist, together with a School Head of Student Administration.

Improved access to Main Library resources

The number of eReserve articles available to History, Classics and Archaeology students increased by almost 20% in 2012-2013, from 1,281 to 1,526, with 15% more of our courses having access to these important resources.

Over 40% more of our courses also now have books in the Main Library HUB (transferred or bought new for this area).

The number of HUB Reserve books available has increased significantly, eg.

  • British History 1 HUB Reserve increased from 161 to 620 books (+285%)
  • Roman World 1A/B HUB Reserve increased from 115 to 180 (+57%)
  • History in Theory HUB Reserve increased from 75 to 102 (+35%)

The number of electronic databases, especially primary sources for History and Classics, has also gone up. New resources include Acta Sanctorum, America's Historical Newspapers, Brill's Companions in Classical Studies Online I, Cambridge Histories Online, Churchill Archive, Current Digest of the Russian Press, Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) - 3 collections, Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive, North China Herald Archive, Queen Victoria's Journals and Translated Texts for Historians E-Library (AD 300-800).

Student surveys

Improvements to the student experience are often the result of issues raised in student surveys.

These include the National Student Survey (for final year undergraduates), Edinburgh Student Experience Survey (for non-final year undergraduates), Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, Postgraduate Research Experience Survey and the International Student Baromoter.

Of these, the surveys which are currently open for completion are:

  • National Student Survey (for final year undergraduates), deadline 30 April 2013
  • Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, deadline 14 June 2013
  • Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, deadline 16 May 2013.