Institutional Theme work continues to be supported by Professor Terry Mayes. In addition to his work on the current theme, he has been commissioned to write a paper which will provide an overview of the Enhancement work that has been done over the last 10 years. The paper will be informed by joint discussions that arose from the joint Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee (SHEEC) and the DSC Steering Committee meeting held on 5 February. This work will be finished by the end of the 2012-13 academic year and the findings will form a conference plenary with the Chair of SHEEC.
As reported in our last newsletter, work is well underway on each of our topic-focused projects which arose from work completed in phase 1. Each project is supported by a steering committee member and by a QAA Scotland lead:
The groups have reported to SHEEC and the steering committees about their work so far. The interim findings will be presented at a workshop addressing the outcomes of all three topic-based DSC projects, at the International Enhancement Themes Conference, 11-13 June, in Glasgow.
Curriculum for Excellence and its impact on higher education This project has formed a small, cross-sectoral expert core group to drive the work of the project, supported by two larger focus groups: one from the higher education sector and the other from the further education and schools sectors. These groups will discuss topical issues arising from Curriculum for Excellence as perceived by each sector. To further inform their deliberations, a questionnaire is being issued to the higher education, further education and schools sectors in Scotland.
The flexible curriculum
The project team has had a few meetings and have confirmed the project outline. Their two briefing papers will focus on ‘The Responsive University’ and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) and the challenges they may bring. Work will start soon refreshing the concept of the 'Flexible Continuum', an outcome from the Flexible Delivery Enhancement Theme. The work on this topic will also be supported by sector events.
Staff: enhancing teaching Work on this project is going well and the scoping of literature and data sources are in progress. The project team has consulted with colleagues in the sector over approach and methodology. A questionnaire will be sent to the relevant person in each Scottish higher education institution, able to address a series of questions at the heart of this project.
Discipline-based and cross-disciplinary events As well as supporting institutional work and the three commissioned topic projects, the Themes’ work includes consideration within and between subject discipline communities. To support on-going disciplinary engagement with Developing and Supporting the Curriculum, funds are available to Scottish higher education institutions to run events. These can either be for a particular discipline or for a number of subject areas. This provides a good opportunity to engage students and staff in the work of the Theme, and for them to have an insight into how it affects their own disciplines.
Events can be for a particular discipline or for a number of subject areas. Supported events must, however, relate to Developing and Supporting the Curriculum, so should focus on any of the three chosen topics: Curriculum for Excellence and its impact on higher education; The flexible curriculum; Staff: enhancing teaching or on the three overarching questions relating to the Theme:
If you would like to apply then please complete the application form on our website or email us for more information.
Our latest Symposium event took place in Glasgow on 21 February. The topic was professional bodies in relation to the development of graduate attributes in higher education. Professor Jim McKillop, formerly Deputy Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow and recently reappointed to the Council of the General Medical Council, and Professor Mark Allison, Executive Director, Education and International at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) both presented and it was chaired by Rowena Pelik of Edinburgh Napier University. The event was very well received and those present seemed very engaged in both presentations and the subsequent discussions.
As featured in recent newsletters, the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee (SHEEC) published its strategy and vision document outlining its vision, principles and objectives for 2012-16. One of the objectives is to develop and apply systematic approaches to monitoring the impact and effectiveness of the work carried out by SHEEC. This will partly be achieved through the re-development of the Indicators of Enhancement to ensure that they are as useful as possible to individual institutions for internal consultation about enhancement, and useful to SHEEC as a way of facilitating sector-wide discussions about enhancement.
In order to take the work forward, SHEEC has recently commissioned Professor Murray Saunders, Dr Stephen Dempster (Lancaster University) and Dr Neil Lent (University of Edinburgh). Professor Murray and colleagues will present initial outcomes of this work at our International conference in June.
SHEEC are the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee and they plan and direct the Enhancement Themes. Every higher education institution has a member on the committee. Find out more about each of our SHEEC members on our biography pages.
The Learning from International Practice project on the postgraduate taught student experience has been developing a framework to describe some of the different dimensions of ‘Mastersness’. This framework has been developed from work carried out by Susan Warring from Whitireia Polytechnic in New Zealand who has analysed the different learning levels between qualifications. From her work she distilled a series of categories that the Working Group agreed, with some adjustment and augmentation, could be used to form a useful basis for considering the attributes of Master’s level study.
This framework comprises a set of characteristics that, along with case studies from Scotland and beyond, should help practitioners to conceptualise, develop and enhance their Master’s level provision.
We are eager to get peoples’ views about what they think of the framework, so to find out more about it and to contribute to the discussion then please visit the webpages.
We are very keen to receive as many case studies as possible to help us highlight these facets of Master’s level study. If you are interested in producing a case study then please contact Heather Gibson who can send you a template. You can find published case studies on our project website.
To celebrate 10 years of the Enhancement Themes our international conference will be held from 11 - 13 June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow, UK.
Registration is now available. Those from a Scottish higher education institution will have their place funded by the Enhancement Themes. Those from outwith Scotland are required to pay a delegate fee but if you book before 11 March you can take advantage of our ‘early bird’ discount rate.
We are hoping to work with several organisations throughout the conference and are happy to announce that the International Herald Tribune is our conference media partner.
The conference is an ideal opportunity to learn more about the exciting enhancement work being done in Scotland and to share experiences and ideas with colleagues from across the globe. We hope that many of you will be able to attend.
In this edition, we include an example of how the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Student Association have addressed the current Enhancement Theme and how it affects the changing student body.
Read more >>
Author: Jill Elder
Perspectives from the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Students
The UHI Students’ Association, as part of institutional partnership working on the Developing and supporting the curriculum theme, commissioned a student-run research project in 2012 to address the question Who is it for – how is the student body changing? The project involved a combination of desk research, questionnaires, focus groups and interviews and was designed to reflect on the ways in which the UHI student body is changing, so that operations could be enhanced in an evidence-based, planned and coherent manner to meet the needs of the learners.
It found that the University recognises the critical need to ensure the curriculum is developed and delivered so that it effectively and efficiently meets the needs of a diverse and evolving population of students.
The key challenges facing students were:
It found that the student body within UHI is predominantly comprised of Scottish students but noted that recently a more diverse population had emerged with an increase in international students and RUK students. This was indicative of UHI’s developing reputation as a destination of choice for students from outwith its region, and students felt that such growing diversity in class groups was of great benefit to the learner experience. It also concluded that:
The report was welcomed by the University’s Quality Enhancement Steering Group.
TiPZone articles focus on how higher education institutions have used or built on the previous Enhancement Themes to enhance the student learning experience. You could feature in the next newsletter by submitting an article! We would welcome contributions from any staff or students so please spread the word.
Articles should be no longer than 500 words. Be sure to include contact details and any pictures that may enhance your article. If you would like to submit an article to TiPZone please send it to email@example.com by Monday 6 May for inclusion in the June newsletter.
We cannot guarantee including submitted articles, but QAA officers would be very happy to discuss proposals and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thelma joined QAA Scotland in 2003, having previously worked in university administration at the Universities of Bradford, Birmingham and Stirling. She supported the earliest Enhancement Themes from 2003 - 06 before taking on a more committee - oriented role as Secretary to the QAA Scotland Committee and the internal Strategy and Policy Group. During this time she produced the Learning from ELIR series of reports, and continues to produce annual overview reports for the Scottish Funding Council on the outcomes of institution-led review at the subject level. In 2012 Thelma added the role of Secretary to the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee (SHEEC) to her duties.
Claire has been at QAA Scotland for the last seven years and in 2012 was appointed as Head of Enhancement. Her role is to manage the work of the Enhancement team and co-ordinate the delivery of the annual programme of enhancement activities, which include the Enhancement Themes, learning from international practice, flexible delivery and overviews of practice. Claire also contributes to the strategic development of QAAS and its enhancement activities. Before coming to QAAS Claire spent several years at the University of Glasgow working in research covering various aspects such as widening participation and the student community.
Linzi is the newest member of the Enhancement Team having only joined QAA Scotland in October 2012. Her role is to manage all the communication and marketing for the Enhancement Team and to co-ordinate the Student Network and various events. Linzi spent several years travelling the globe and then four years at the University of Glasgow before joining QAA Scotland.
Heather has been working at QAA Scotland since 2000. Her main areas of work involve development in higher education provision that could be thought of as being ‘non-traditional’, i.e. not classroom based. She leads on work on flexible curricula, Work Based Learning (WBL) the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), enterprise and entrepreneurship and the Postgraduate Taught student experience. She is also a part-time Associate Lecturer in Science for the Open University at the first year level, teaching adult students who may have been out of education for many years.
Oonagh joined QAA Scotland in January 2009 as Web Officer and liaises with QAA Scotland staff on all web-related work, advising on website development, functionality and design. Prior to joining QAA, Oonagh worked in the travel and retail industries in web marketing and e-commerce roles. At QAA Scotland, Oonagh has project managed the development of the new Enhancement Themes website and the enhanced resource database.
Sarah joined QAA Scotland in January 2009 as Enhancement Themes Administrator. A big part of her job is to provide administration for the Enhancement Theme steering committee and help to organise conferences and events. Prior to this, Sarah worked for HMIE as an administrator, working closely with members of the Senior Management Group.
Christine became part of the QAA Scotland team in 2006 and her role is to lead the work of the Enhancement Themes, including the annual conference. Before joining Christine qualified at the University of Glasgow and worked as a doctor. She also worked in medical education at the University of Glasgow in various roles including teaching, staff development, curriculum development and review, design of teaching materials and evaluation.
Do you want to know more about the Enhancement Themes? We hope so and exploring our Themes in Practice Database is a great way to find out more. It is full of past publications, papers, presentations and reports as well as videos and photos from previous events.