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In a week when the government reshuffled its cabinet, HE issues that made headlines gave the newly-appointed universities minister a taste of things to come, says Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the Institute of Student Employers .
The past week’s events and news are a sign of turbulent times for UK universities, warns Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University.
Technology is central to providing prompt and useful feedback to students, according to a new good practice guide.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in Scotland (QAA Scotland) has worked with 19 Scottish universities to ensure feedback is consistent, student-friendly and makes the best use of available technology.
Ian Kimber, QAA’s Director of Quality Development, said that in the National Student Survey (NSS), assessment and feedback was traditionally the area of the student experience with the lowest satisfaction levels. QAA Scotland has produced a summary leaflet which offers 10 messages for policy makers to help encourage the use of technology to support assessment and feedback within universities.
It recommends workload models designed to support online learning, giving staff training and support in new technology and involving students in formulating assessment and feedback approaches. Liz Marshall, Assistant Academic Registrar at the University of the West of Scotland, which took part in the project, said: "The sharing of good practice through this project has been phenomenal. One key thing for us has been the use of technology and how that supports feedback, not only on campus, but also for distance-learning students." Student associations in Scotland have worked with their universities to improve the assessment and feedback processes. Many Scottish universities have signed Student Partnership Agreements highlighting how student views are represented and collaborating on a range of learning and teaching activity including assessment.
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