Over-worked and over-assessed: the life of an Imperial student?

Deputy President (Education)

Today, we are publishing our response to a major survey looking at the educational experience of Imperial students - the National Students Survey (NSS), which measures annually the satisfaction of final year Undergraduate students. In response, we have set out recommendations that we believe the College should act on in order to better the student learning experience at Imperial.

In the NSS Response, we explore the principles and values held by an Imperial education. It asks questions on whether your courses' designs are more geared to teaching you how to learn, through timetables overloaded with pointless lectures and unnecessary assessments, as opposed to stretching you in a way that feeds your appreciation for your chosen subject. Our recommendations touch a wide range of areas that make up the Imperial learning experience, from curriculum design to College regulations, and the design of space and use of technology across campuses. 

In the NSS Response, we explore the principles and values held by an Imperial education

The biggest recommendations form the bedrock to my work over the next seven months, and gives me the platform to engage your Academic Reps in big picture, high-level and exciting projects. This is why I have made sure to work more closely than before with Reps throughout the Rep Network to make sure this year's recommendations are relevant to you. Indeed, many ideas in the response are massively influenced by your Dep Reps and Academic Officers' input, through extensive discussions including at the Union's Education & Representation Board.

The survey response is tremendously significant in the work that I and your Academic Reps do. Since we 'soft launched' the responses last week, they have already made ripples through the University. College and Faculty leadership alike have made commitments at the highest levels to work with us in addressing curriculum issues that promote over-assessment and over-teaching, to return feedback on-time, and to improve access to eLearning and quality spaces. But actions speak louder than words. Just two days after we launched the response, we started work with College to review its eLearning resources and how they can be made accessible to students - a key recommendation of ours, and which we hope will be a concrete first step towards College writing a coherent eLearning strategy. Over the next weeks, the Vice-Provost (Education) will present the College's response to our recommendations, and I look forward to working with the Vice-Provost and her team in mapping out a concrete course of action.

Imperial College London is going through a phase of upheaval and renewal. Initiatives such as Academic Standards Framework, which will produce a single set of regulations for all programs and the redesign of many courses, and Operational Excellence, which aims to make the University more efficient and effective - from timetabling to space quality - is shining light on oft-neglected areas of the Imperial experience and ushering in much-needed change. The strong student-staff partnership we have with the University lets us be at the heart of change, to make sure improvements made are based on and shaped by student voice and student needs, and I have every confidence that our forward-looking sets of recommendations will be vital tools in that process.

Read the NSS Response 2015





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