List of current projects within the Student Experience Action Plan
This project will appoint a lecturer to design, pilot and deliver new, innovative interdisciplinary courses open as electives to all Edinburgh students.
The new post will develop, take through approval, pilot and launch a new undergraduate course, building on work conducted by three undergraduate students (Vanessa Ombura, CSE; Vivienne Ainger, CAHSS; Sanjna Yechareddy, CAHSS). During an internship with Prof Sarah Cunningham-Burley and Prof Sian Bayne these students developed a course design which uses the city of Edinburgh as the starting point for its curriculum. Its prototype can be viewed here .
This course prototype is significant for the student experience because it is designed by students and takes a student-led approach focused on building connections and community among students new to Edinburgh. Interdisciplinary and online, it asks students to work together in new ways, and uses the city of Edinburgh as its guiding structural theme. The course brings together people, objects, physical features and buildings which can be explored through interdisciplinary lenses.
The main deliverable of this project will be an approved, piloted, delivered and fully evaluated interdisciplinary, cross-university course hosted and supported by the Edinburgh Futures Institutein partnership with relevant Schools. At least one other cross-university course will also be scoped, developed and taken through approval by the end of the project.
Project Lead: Prof Sian Bayne
As the number of centrally managed teaching spaces grow over time, spread across an increasing number of geographical sites, efficiencies must be found in order to deliver a service that is both resilient and scalable. Innovative remote AV and IT technologies can be used to enable helpdesk staff to directly solve a range of technical issues without always dispatching a technician.
Telephones, now being rolled out to teaching spaces, allow academic staff to speak to a helpdesk operator at the touch of a button about technical issues which can interrupt teaching time to the detriment of the student experience. A pilot of this service has shown that remotely fixing an issue rather than physically attending can result in an 80% reduction in response times for most basic issues.
This project also delivers a new support workflow between the helpdesk staff and technicians at campus-based support sites, moving from the use of mobile phone calls to a notification and reporting model based around Microsoft Teams and PowerBI.
Project Lead: Euan Murray
This project focuses on offering support to survivors of sexual violence on campus as well as a range of further measures to raise awareness and monitor the impact of interventions. We are implementing a team of Sexual Violence and Harassment Liaison officers who will follow a disclosure of sexual violence or harassment from initial point of contact, support the student and signpost through to resolution of the situation.
Funding has been awarded for a number of key areas linked to the delivery of the new role and the Taskforce’s workplan: a comprehensive learning and development programme, a research project, a communications campaign and the system ‘Report+Support’.
Project Lead: Andy Shanks
This project will deliver frontline student services that are not provided by School teams, both on campus and online, and will work collaboratively with staff across the University to ensure students’ queries are owned and resolved.
It will provide easy access to information and services for students, as and when they need them:
- Delivering frontline student services that are not provided by School teams
- Providing a central point of contact for frontline student services
- Offering physical and virtual facilities that enhance the student experience
- Resolving the majority of student related general enquiries first time
- Owning a student’s query and working collaboratively with staff across the University to ensure students’ queries are resolved
- Offering a range of practical information, guidance and documentation
- Working closely with services across the university to provide students with access to specialist support when required
Project Lead: Catriona Cairns
The University of Edinburgh wants to ensure consistent access to high quality support on academic, personal and pastoral, professional and career issues. While there is much excellent practice in these areas, there are also pressures and areas of concern reported by both staff and students.
The review has involved significant student and staff engagement in through a variety of face to face and online activities, benchmarking with other universities, as well as further research in areas such as wellbeing. It has looked for opportunities to learn from and build on current best practice. Over the course of September and October, we presented possible student support models for discussion, feedback and evaluation. In November, we analysed the feedback together with our background research, and presented a consultation report and recommended evolved model of support to the Senate Education Committee and the Student Administration & Support Programme Board. In December 2019, both of these groups approved the structures evolved model. The Design Team is currently finalising an investment case for approval in order to implement changes to student support structures for academic year 2021-22. We will be working closely with Schools, Deaneries and College Offices with regards to these changes.
Project Lead: Rosalyn Claase
Our central teaching estate is one of the largest and most complex in the UK. A recent survey of students and academic staff on the experience of these spaces raised issues around condition, comfort and daily maintenance. In order to provide a more consistent experience across our campus and to better support the complex requirements within our spaces we will deploy and co-ordinate a team of student helpers who will operate throughout the academic year.
This project looks to gain on the success of deploying student helpers as part of the lecture recording rollout. We will be running pilots through semester 2 of the 19/20 academic year to build the new Teaching Space Student Helpers service for the start of the academic year in September 2020.
This initiative will see students and staff working together to take ownership of the student experience within our teaching spaces. This service improves the student experience by supporting the smooth delivery of teaching, reducing lost teaching time and improving quality of teaching spaces.
Project Lead: Euan Murray
This project sets out to target an existing gap and improve the student experience. There is currently a disparity across the teaching estate, with the technology in “general” teaching spaces managed and supported by ISG, and “specialist” teaching spaces managed and supported by local School staff where available. This disparity leads to an inconsistent and often poor student experience across the specialist teaching estate.
We will increase the efficiency, quality and performance of these spaces through centralised, consistent management and support. This project will also enable a further expansion of the Lecture Recording service to include specialist use. Opt-in scheduling will become available for a wider range of activities such as workshops and seminars.
Project Lead: Euan Murray
This project entails a major programme of investment in counselling and disability services – coinciding with the opening of the new Health and Wellbeing Centre in 2020 - including more counsellors & disability advisers; new “drop in” services for students; mindfulness provision; more online support; and more training for staff.
Also included is an internal research project to review frameworks and tools within the University. Work is also planned for student-led mental health and wellbeing activities through peer learning, working with Student Counselling Services. Finally, the institution is partnering with the NHS and other Edinburgh HEIS to work collaboratively to deliver a new platform and raise awareness.
Project Lead: Andy Shanks
Peer Learning and Support Schemes at the University have been delivered in partnership with Edinburgh University Student Association since the project’s inception in the 2012/13 academic year. This work sits within the wider Student Opportunities Team, offering students the chance to get involved in and contribute to University life while developing their personal and professional skills. The programme has continued to grow and now supports 750 + volunteer Student Leaders to deliver 58 Peer Learning and Support Schemes across the University, attended over 10,000 times in 2018/19 alone. In recognition of this success and in response to student demand the University offered extended funding under the Student Experience Action Plan with the following key indicators:
- Expand Peer Learning and Support to ensure all first year student have access
- Expand provision focused on key transitions (e.g. honours, year abroad, dissertation support etc.)
- Increase and recognise the wellbeing and pastoral aspects of all Peer Learning and Support Schemes
- Develop Postgraduate provision in line with demand
Project Lead: Katie Scott
It’s calculated that students currently need to make over 50,000 timetable-imposed travel-time constraint journeys across the academic year. This figure is only restricted to those journeys officially deemed a ‘constraint’ for timetabling purposes, with students reporting many additional frustrations through late-starting classes; late-running classes; the wish to ask lecturers follow-up questions after lectures; mobility issues; and general challenges presented by the current, narrow 10-minute travel-time window between classes.
Given the University will continue to operate across a wide geographical estate spread, this project proposes to analyse the impact on both students and staff of the travel-time constraints imposed by the combination of geography and curriculum complexity and propose timetable-based solutions that might serve to mitigate this impact.
A range of scenarios will be modelled and assessed, with outcomes and any emerging recommendations due for delivery in October 2020.
Project Lead: Scott Rosie
This project will deliver a mobile application (for Android and iOS devices) that will inform students of the availability of study space within each of the eleven university libraries. The app will gather existing available data (e.g. library card swipe data) to present an impression of how busy each library is and will offer routing options to their library of choice dependant upon the student's location.
Project Lead: Gosia Such
The Library’s Resource Lists Service provides online reading lists, benefiting all taught course students through ensuring consistent and easy access to key course content. The Resource Lists Service responds to the Library’s commitment to “offer accessible, responsive and efficient educational services” (University of Edinburgh Strategy 2030).
Edinburgh University Students’ Union supports the use of Resource Lists for taught courses across the University and in 2019 contributed to and endorsed the new Resource Lists Framework which sets out best practice guidelines to provide access to key course readings.
There are approximately 2400 Resource Lists for taught courses in 2019/20, representing around 48% of courses delivered in the current academic year. The Student Experience Action Plan funding will enable a Service Development Project to deliver a scalable and robust service to more students and Course Organisers, increasing usage of Resource Lists to 65% of all taught courses. Increasing online access to course content is also a priority objective for the project, responding to student requirements for Library resources wherever they are located.
Project Lead: Hannah Mateer
The University of Edinburgh welcomes the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015 and aims to make the University and Scotland the best place for Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users to work, study and visit.
The project has seen the appointment of a BSL project officer who will support and facilitate the delivery of the Universities BSL Plan (2018-2024)
The plan focuses on 10 areas of daily life wich has 58 action points including the development of BSL community networks , practical support for BSL users in education, BSL awareness training and access to information in accessible formats.
Project Lead: Paddy Corscadden
This project ran between 2017 and 2019 with the goal to develop a values based vision for the future of digital education at the University of Edinburgh. It used futures-thinking and design-based methodologies to work with more than 400 students and other stakeholders in the production of this vision. The final report from the project and accompanying resources provide a rich source of evidence to inform teaching at the University for many years to come.
This project is a direct response to the key recommendation around the need to increase fluency in the use of data to support teaching and student learning. The project will make a direct and significant contribution to planned institutional curriculum review and initial stages of reform. It will provide a sector-leading evidence-base and rationale, alongside practical support for staff in the use of data to support teaching and student learning. This will have deep and long-lasting positive impacts on the student experience.
A Near Future Teaching Academic Developer will be appointed, based in the IAD (Institute for Academic Development) and working closely with colleagues from the Centre for Research in Digital Education (School of Education) and Information Services. Their role will be to raise awareness and build capacity in the use of data to support teaching and student learning. We will draw upon external specialist support for co-design and development, while the insights, approaches and resources developed will be integrated with IAD and other support for academic development, course and programme design.
The intended outputs, outcomes and timescale of this project align with plans for institutional curriculum review and reform. The initial focus will be on identifying and mapping current practice and capability across the institution, contributing to an institutional evidence base and conversations around the future curriculum. The focus will then shift to supporting innovation and change through scholarly pilots and staff development support.
Project Lead: Jon Turner
A sense of belonging does more than just validating a student’s presence on campus. When students are in a state of social isolation, not only is wellbeing harmed but also intellectual achievement (Walton and Cohen, 2011). Thus, not only is this work invaluable for our students’ wellbeing but also their engagement and success whilst learning. The Sense of Belonging is focused on the long term impact of University of Edinburgh students feeling that they belong. The work is focused on four thematic areas:
- We Belong: With the University of Edinburgh
- We Belong: In the classroom
- We Belong: in our social networks and
- We Belong: Within our places.
Project Lead: Eleri Connick
At the January 2019 Service Excellence Programme (SEP) Board, the Board endorsed ‘the crucial importance of championing a strong service (customer-focussed) culture throughout the organisation, and that this must be central to the successful implementation of SEP’. Since then a Steering Group of senior stakeholders have worked with an external supplier to diagnose the current service culture within selected teams within the University, identifying strengths and opportunities, and are now moving to work with a pilot group of areas who provide a service to both staff and students to define a service proposition, then work with leaders and frontline staff to embed this in terms of mindset, behaviours and measurable improvements in service.
Project Lead: Barry Neilson