Student Engagement in Programme Level Approach

Programme level working involves collaborating with students when developing and enhancing, delivering, managing and evaluating programmes. This means working with students across the five areas of The University of Sheffield’s
Map for Student Engagement.

To assist in creating productive collaboration with students, we provide general guidance on working with students and guidance on working with your Student-Staff Committee (see 'downloads'). For specific guidance on activities you may undertake when developing a programme level approach, see below.

Developing graduate attributes/programme learning outcomes

When thinking about the overall aims of a programme, including the anticipated graduate attributes, student opinion provides a valuable perspective. Students may reflect on 'who they want to be' at the end of the programme, such as the skills, knowledge, attributes and experience they acquire. This is a starting point to gaining a holistic view of the programme, so it is good to involve students at this stage so that their experiences and opinions may inform programme design.

Tips for approaching this:

•Consider students’ perspectives alongside others (e.g. staff, employers, external examiners, alumni, PSRBs), valuing the specific expertise that students bring in terms of the experience of a programme.

•Plan when and where to discuss this with students: make time in your student-staff committee meeting, or arrange a separate workshop or focus group if this will allow for a more in-depth discussion.

•Think about the support and context that students will need in order to effectively participate in the discussion.

•Make students aware of any non-negotiable aspects of the programme (e.g. PSRB requirements).

•Be clear about what you expect from students, what will happen to the outcomes of the discussion and how you will feedback to students about this.

•Think about where student input is most valuable and consider prompts or themes that you can use to structure discussions, e.g. Sheffield Graduate Attributes, current or potential strands of the programme, different aspects of students’ learning and development.

•Make sure you ‘close the feedback loop’ afterwards:tell students how their ideas have had an impact.

Assessment Mapping

When reviewing the assessment on a programme, consider how programme level assessment can engage students as autonomous, participative learners.

It is important to capture and consider students’ experiences of assessment as part of the review process. A ‘student eye view’ can help with developing a programme level view since students experience a programme as a whole, and can help to illuminate problems such as ‘bunching’ of assessments.

Tips for involving students:

•You could involve students directly in the mapping process, for example mapping out on paper the timing of assessments on a timeline, or the types of assessment across different modules. You could do this as part of an SSC meeting, during scheduled teaching time, or run a separate event, e.g. a lunchtime workshop.

•You can capture students’ perspectives on assessment using a variety of methods, e.g. discussion with Student-Staff Committees (see 'downloads'), review of existing student evaluation data, student focus groups, etc.

Some examples of projects where students and staff have reviewed and/or developed assessments together are: Interdisciplinary design of interdisciplinary professional education, Radical Pedagogy and the Logic of Assessment, Learning from Peer Review, Active student engagement in flexible group design projects.

Curriculum review

Students can make a valuable contribution to the curriculum review process, both in terms of reflecting on the current curriculum and thinking of new ideas.

Tips for involving students:

•Make sure that you involve students at an early stage so that they can inform your thinking on overall programme aims before getting into the detail of the curriculum (see guidance above on Developing graduate attributes/programme learning outcomes).

•Students can give feedback on what they learn but also when (i.e. at what stage of the programme), helping you to scaffold learning throughout the levels of the programme.

•Think how best to involve students: they won’t want to get bogged down in minutiae, but could be part of general discussions reflecting on the current curriculum and ‘blue sky thinking’ about an ideal curriculum.

•Talk to students who already have ideas about changing the curriculum, e.g. student societies, Students’ Union officers and committees.

•If you plan to make any changes that will impact on current students, it is imperative to consult them. Any radical changes to programmes should be discussed at SSCs.

Here are some examples of projects involving students in curriculum review and development: Knowing inclusion: Being inclusive; Student led clinical learning in speech and language therapy; Engaging medical postgraduate students in identifying DDP support requirements; Curriculum development – Student participation in module planning and design; Active student engagement in flexible group design projects; Developing digital literacies; Interdisciplinary design of interdisciplinary professional education.

Sources of support

The following people can help advise on working collaboratively with students:

Jessica Baily Projects and Student Partnerships Manager, Academic Programmes and Student Engagement, tel:21209
Scott Dawson Academic Representative Coordinator, Students’ Union
Robert McKay Director of Learning and Teaching (Student Engagement)

See further guidance on working with students