Student Voice: Enhancing learning and teaching

In response to requests from students and following a pilot study and review, the university is proposing introducing discussion boards within all modules in Minerva.

This will allow students to provide in-course feedback and will bring a consistent and inclusive approach that could be particularly valuable when other mechanisms are not accessible or adopted by students.  

A pilot study, which involved 37 modules across four faculties, not only confirmed the value of discussion boards to staff and students on the rare occurrence there was a pressing issue to address, but were consistently used in a respectful and professional manner. There were no issues raised by students posting anonymously; a provision provided for the purpose of raising inclusivity.

The pilot study was overseen by a task and finish group, co-chaired by the Dean of Digital Education, Neil Morris, and the LUU Education Officer, Serene Esuruoso. The group also had four student members, two Pro-Deans for Student Education, a senior academic, Quality Assurance and SES members, along with LUU Welfare Officer, Matt Port, and a staff member from LUU.

Student representatives and LUU members on the task and finish group were strongly supportive of the implementation of the discussion board to provide students with an additional mechanism to provide feedback to staff, and to support partnership working between staff and students.

Matt Port, LUU Welfare Officer, said “As full time student representatives for LUU we’ve been fortunate enough to work closely with the University, alongside a number of extra student champions, on this project and its pilot. We support the direction that the University is taking, and strongly believe that students have no intention of abusing the process. Instead, we hope it’s a positive step towards creating a truly co-created learning experience at the University of Leeds.”

It is intended that discussion boards should be implemented in all taught modules from September 2019, via the new Minerva module template. It is expected module leaders will respond to student posts on the discussion board within five working days. Faculty Taught Student Education Committees (FTSECs) have been provided with a detailed paper covering the rationale, purpose and usage of these discussion boards, including information about implementation, which will be coordinated by the Student Education Service. Taught Student Education Board will consider the feedback from FTSECs at its June meeting. The initiative will not be implemented until our full governance process is complete.

We will continue to gather feedback about the implementation of this discussion board through the next academic session. Although experience suggests misuse of the discussion board is highly unlikely, any occurrence should be reported immediately to Directors of Student Education, as appropriate in Schools and Faculties.

Related links

Faculty Taught Student Education Committee Paper June 2019

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