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Engagement Week Feedback Faculty of Science and Engineering - School of Environment and Technology

Vice President of Academic Affairs Faculty of Science and Engineering - School of Environment and Technology Hi everyone, We’ve been busy coding and analysing your comments from Engagement Week, now on a School by School basis. The sheer amount of data we have collected is amazing! From teaching to transport, assessment to accommodation and canteens to Camtasia you clearly have an opinion on all areas of academic life and are not scared to let us know about it. Demographics We collected qualitative feedback from 70 students across the School of Environment and Technology. All of these students were based on Moulsecoomb Campus. Respondents were largely male, 69%, with 30% female respondents and 1% transgender. The students were mainly in first year (45%) and second year (33%) and third year (19%). 64 of the students were undergraduates and 3 of the students were post-graduate taught students, 3 were post-graduate research. This summary includes an overview of comments on the top six comment subject areas with comparison to the university comment trends.

‘I MY EDUCATION’ A Few Words on the Data Analysis We have now coded the data under a number of categories coving academic issues, organisational issues an d other facilities and activities at the University of Brighton. We collected data from 1126 students and often each ‘Keep’, ‘Stop’ and ‘Start’ comment box had multiple comments addressing a number of areas of concern, delight and suggested improvements.

The full Keep, Start, Stop commentary from students in the School of Environment and Technology is included at the end of the document.

Comments ranged from brief and specific to long and detailed and we would like to thank all students that took part for the consideration put into the responses given.

Thanks again for all of your feedback—we look forward to closing the feedback loop and reporting the changes very soon!

This research now forms a rich database of student opinion across the university and will be a valuable source of input for not only the upcoming institutional review but also decision making process at the university.

Amy Rutland | VP Academic Affairs E: bsuvpa@brighton.ac.uk Facebook: VP AcademicAffairs Brighton-su Twitter: bsuacademic Blog: Brighton SU Academic

A detailed discourse analysis of the comments will be available soon with a school by school breakdown. Keep an eye on the new research area on the Students’ Union website for updates! http://www.ubsu.net/research


Overview What have you said? Most of your comments have been about Teaching and Learning, with a large amount indicating a positive experience. However, there are also a criticisms of the learning environment. Programme design comments indicated that you value the practical aspects of your courses but would like to see better planning of assessment and examination deadlines. Under learning resources you appreciate the study space provided but would like to see better availability of computers. You gave positive comments on SU shops and staff but would like to see an SU bar in place. While you feel the library service is good you would like to see longer opening hours and better Wi-Fi. You would like to see cheaper food and financial support with fieldwork activity.


Some more detail...

Teaching and Learning Students spoke highly of quality lectures they received. They valued tutors who they found to be responsive, informative, helpful and accessible. Students enjoyed the practical aspects of the course and appreciated when teaching related the theory to real life. Some students felt that a poor learning environment got in the way of their learning. There was criticism about classes being taught in small, overcrowded rooms and of the use of the Watts building. There was also criticism of the over use of PowerPoint and long lectures. Suggestions for improvement included more out of class sessions and showed a desire for interdisciplinary teaching. There was also a desire for an increase in practical work and the use of visual tools in teaching.

Programme Design Students valued the balance between the practical and the academic in their courses and found workshops useful to their learning. They commented positively of the inclusion of external/guest lecturers in their courses. They valued small group work and also the inclusion of fieldtrips in the curriculum. However, some found these expensive to cover and the timescales of payments difficult. Students were critical of gaps in their timetabling. There were also issues where they felt it would be better for exam and submission deadlines to be spread out. Some students would like to have greater module choice. Suggestions for improvement included interdisciplinary connections, increased fieldwork and practical work.

Learning Resources Students valued good available study space although some felt that they could be heated better. There were positive comments about the equipment and working area given to research students. There were positive comments on the use of StudentCentral although some felt it could be kept more up to date. There were criticisms around computers not being fixed and not enough computers being available and the need for a better Wi-Fi connection across campus.


Students’ Union Positive comments on the Students’ Union focused on the competitions, promotion of the student voice, availability of campus shops, springboard funding, food co-op and helpful staff in the SU office. Criticisms of the union included encouraging students to attend demos during class time, providing processed food in outlets and prices being too high. Suggestion for improvement included a student bar, better volunteering opportunities and a more inclusive fresher’s week.

Library Facilities Students value the online library and the library service generally. They are appreciative of the additional opening hours during examination times. Criticisms were of the library opening times at weekends and fines for overdue books. Suggestions for improvement focussed on increased library opening hours and better Wi-Fi within the library.

Fees/Costs/Finance Concerns over finances focussed on the costs for printing, for compulsory field trips and high tuition feeds. There were also concerns over high prices for water, food and soft drinks. However, students found the soup in the canteen affordable. There were positive comments on the support and advice available for debt and money issues. Suggestions for improvement included increased guidance on lifestyle choices and money and subsidising geology dissertation field work.


What Happens next with the Engagement Week Data This data is already being used in the university to inform decisions that they will be making to improve the student experience. Reports from the data will be fed into university committees and any changes made as a result of your comments will be fed straight back via course reps and the Students’ Union website. The data will also be feeding into the Student Written Submission which we are due to submit to the QAA as part of the Institutional Review in November 2012. The first draft of this document will be available late June for you to pass comment on. We will be passing reports to school reps and course reps to ensure they have evidence to help them make changes in their own areas. If you would like any further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch: h.mcknight@brighton.ac.uk


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Not having long days at uni is nice that I do not have to be in all the time The constant updating of blackboard Keep lectures on Wednesdays and Thursdays as commuting is bad! Avoid 9am as rush hour means a 6.30am start! keep the course grounded in halfway between the academic experience of the subject and the real world applications of it too Offering such good first year introductory skills workshops and support. The social activities and dedication of the lecturers and support staff providing ok food in canteen improving student central providing more water machines Show interest in students. Make our voice heard. Provide library books. organise field trips library online library access politeness and helping study spaces Good quality lectures. Phil Ashton. Teaching us stuff Supporting students with disabilities. taking us out on trips/fieldwork Giving away ipads Continue to have an active SU Good response when queries are made with lecturers. Having more practical options e.g.. fieldtrips palaeontology petrology Have a better student union. Helping and supporting everyone. selling cheap soup sending emails from lecturers having a shop offering career talks workshops course intended programs grants/bursary/loans Informative and helpful lecturers. Having a good library system. Uploading power points on student central. Sending emails and making (illegible) on student central. Wishing well funding, spring board, food co-op external lectures using the lemon bus for uni loop Teaching lessons in Huxley Have main lecturers that continue throughout the years of education; we get to know what lecturer likes what kind of work / writing. This semester (2) we have lots of guest lecturers and I'm worried I do not know what they like / want. For example, environmental impact assessment lecturer doesn't particularly want lots of references - difficult to interpret what is needed. Electronic hand in for assignments Good SU office, helpful! Educating me on rocks. Having the array of university clubs Blackboard is good and student central Keep the lecture around an hour to an hour and a half. keep all prices low and offer students shopping deals the library Jon Gates really good lecturer casual approach but well done. Student central up to date. Focus, handouts. Lectures. Good library services. Providing opportunities on courses for community participation/involvement Focus on working in partnership with others for sustainable development Providing excellent careers advice Running so many extra-curricular activities Educating people. The equipment and working area given for research students is generally very good. Course content is good and the general way it is delivered makes it easy to follow. Good focus on targets lecturers are trying to achieve i.e. all students passing the module. outreach programs like "I <3 my education". I think this helps (draw) students in and helps them feel part of union, so other initiatives like this one would be good. The broad range of subjects within the civil engineering course the environments and sustainability side of the course Have more facilities. Focus - Equal facilities for courses. Good quality of teaching. library opening late during exam times Serving that club chicken sandwich. Keep Dr Phil Aston.


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(auld tries) I would like them to keep doing what they are doing during the past semester 1. So they are doing well. I am happy with everything Lecturers are very accessible easy to get hold of helpful Playing live music in the SU cafe Good quality of education. Independent study - learning for ourselves Regular work set. better lectures and more computers. better seminars for the exam board. Better food in the cafes Supporting cafes with good food and environment. online resources e.g.: blackboard learn, is very useful and is used by the majority of lectures on a regular basis. More regular updating and an improved sections displaying module grades would improve it Keep prices of soup down, its the most affordable food NA Keep not having long days of uni - small lectures. Workshop/design weeks (Group practical modelling) supporting students in a position where they feel helped with the effects of stress and student debt Importance of (mental) health week Importance of continued learning of life skills (healthy cooking, interpersonal skills) Good student union food. Good standard of lectures. Full and informative. the self service library system Delivering your lectures with clarity by routing theory in context with a diversity of visual material. Your pace is well measured and you check for understanding regularly. You also show your passion for the subject, inspiring others to be grounded in the moral outlook. You are an excellent listener, and encourage people to articulate themselves fully. using student central

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Stop putting prices up Stop having deadlines for coursework around the same week - stressful Making me have to be in at 9am. 10am would be endlessly easier. putting lectures on a Wednesday afternoon, so as to allow me to partake in extra curricular activities Finish term earlier during summer like other up universities Leaving computer in an unusable state for longer than necessary. Encouraging students to attend () demos when they should be studying Calling it 'activity' week, when there are none, either provide activities or re brand it Trying to fit large numbers of students into small lecture rooms Not printing out lecture slides. late start of libraries on Sundays Knock down watts building (it's like a prison). On site bar for student and more things to do at Falmer. Charging third years for late books. giving us homework Human geography. sending unnecessary emails to student mail wasting my time with massive gaps in my timetable. what am I meant to do for 3 hours?! Having compulsory trips which students then have to pay for Asking for payments of previous trips and deposits of future trips at the same time. Failing to anticipate larger numbers for modules and allocating them an inappropriate room. having rooms that are too small Charging for overdue books. Having lectures in rooms without "bantling" (illegible) can't see slides. selling expensive pastries making our timetables confusing


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charging for reserved books making us pay for sub-par education Irrelevant emails sent to my uni account. Having exams and deadlines at the same time. Taking down posters for events around the university providing only processed food in outlets of SU Advertising in every free space letting business be educational providers under the name of Brighton uni (i.e.: Kaplan) charging so much for colour prints OVER ASSESSMENT! Most other subjects have 2 or 3 modules in this last semester, maybe less as they take dissertation into consideration. We have 4 modules this semester with dissertation on top; each module obviously has to be assessed but most have either a long essay or essay and exam. STRESS! Charging for compulsory field trips. Having high prices for everything, there is no need to charge more than normal shops Long lectures. too expensive in the uni shop Unnecessary lectures - lack of relevant info. Late starting lectures. Focussing more on pharmacy/pharmacology students. Not putting lecture slides up. Overcharging, misleading for fines at the library Losing people's work Sending general e-mails that are nothing to do with me Long lecture days after the social 'wed' night. Breaks through the day. Removing heaters from the PhD study room as it is really cold in there during winter, making it an uncomfortable environment to study in. Repeating half of the previous lecture in the next one (i.e. shorter recap needed). Relying on power point presentation so much. Gets dull and if equipment is not working lecturers make cancel the lecture. cramped and over-crowded rooms for lectures and especially tutorials. This really (hinders) the learning experience Limited library hours. Accepting hipsters and charging for compulsory field trips. Not enough options for 3rd year of course, more support needed for Built environment modules Closing the library. Make the computers work. Get new lifts. Get more books. coursework They have no wrong system. So can't say anything for this section everything is perfect Research and career skills I feel should partly be a compulsory 1st year module For example: C/W2 literature review is helpful to learn how to correctly reference and cite within a text, therefore would be helpful at the start of the course charging for printing Charging for compulsory field trips. registration Stop lecturers that give low grades to students like (lost) (pgra) into the marking schemes for essays cos (peph) just (information) Semester breaks immediately after normal holidays. Moulsecoomb campus is disappointing in general. Better food/cafe facilities are needed. All food outlets close around 3pm. Way too early! The canteen is simply gross! It gave me food poisoning last month also having high prices for water and soft drinks High prices for water and drinks. Putting all the deadlines in the same week / so bunched up Tutors being unsupportive when students are faced with life challenges Charging high tuition and not giving students a true perspective on what are the important values in life Charging for field trips. Making assumptions about 'students' as a group of people of one type, this reinforcing an 'us and them' culture between staff and students. Inadvertently encouraging cynicism as a component of rigorous critique. Rigorous critique involves selectivity and noticing positives as well as negatives. Bunching up deadlines, not communicating across schools: media, environment + (political) science charging so much for food


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(Soup) loyalty cards e.g.. buy 8 get 1 free! water machines personalized timetables Adding more environmental science journal articles to student central. Most are there but only abstracts are available allow me to access specialist software in more places than just the 2 comp rooms it is currently in create a ten-pin bowling team Creating more available pc's. Development of Student Union, funding, etc... Encourage lecturers to adopt a consistent approach i.e.. Handouts provided every lecture/or not! Give or set a date on which exam results will be published for all students rather than some waiting several weeks and others telling you quickly fixing a broken PC in the library when they break to maintain full complement of PC, not leaving them broken for weeks on end Lecturers to co-ordinate hand ins so you don't get 3 due on the same day Everyone be enthusiastic about teaching. Make definitions clear. Clean the library toilets. Keeping library open later. extra tutorials for modules Fix computers not working Heating in study spaces cheaper printing/photocopy cost rates longer library opening time Free full time gym membership for halls residents. Giving Brighton jumpers out to third years for memory. Giving more time to Msc courses giving us good marks Golf society/team. hand over report and test marks back to students before giving out another test/exam Have a decent wi-fi connection in the library. That's the place where you should expect it, where we try to learn Have a student union bar within uni Having a student union bar. having more out of class time help sessions Having more sociable days. Improve wi-fi coverage. Improve wi-fi in library, not all devices support Ethernet connection Sell healthier cheap snacks Make student central easier to navigate Opening library earlier on weekends getting more cash machines more milk and general groceries Improving student union, student life, course facilities, workshops for individual courses indulge with students, we are infants in kindergarten Informing students when their exam results are due. Create a bigger computer pool room. Having cheaper sandwiches and other snacks. Installing water machines. Soup loyalty cards for cafes. Lower prices in cafes. Have timetables without hour gaps. Interdisciplinary connections. Talks should be listed on the internet for all to see and anybody should be able to attend. Create identity and sense of community with more engaging lessons, seminars not lectures and more social learning space. Improve communications channels!! Create a mailing list that is sub divided e.g.: academic talks, social events, volunteering opportunities and should be optional. Recycling bins throughout all campus keep the library open for longer outside exam times Less assessment, same lecturers. Lecturers from course are very good (Becky Elmbint, Kath Browne - also very good dissertation supervisor, Jenny Elliot, Jon Chaplin, Andrew Church, James Ebdon) Feedback quicker - I know this is being worked on Perhaps put start date on uni card so student can get discount Live music. Wireless all over. Funding geology dissertation trips - 4 weeks and no earning. Make an courses use only turn it in Loyalty cards for things like soup in the cafes i.e.: buy 8 get 1 free Get a SU bar, where students can an socialise together rather than having to go into town Have a better more inclusive fresher's week with events that everyone will want to go to. Didn't enjoy fresher's week For RAG week have one of those get as far away from Brighton in 3 hours thing. Make lectures more specific. Reply asap to emails. Make library 24h all the time improve student cards improve printing system in the library give students free Brighton clothing create a student union in Brighton town for students cheaper university of Brighton merchandise and more options including trackies more computers in library + repair the old ones More engaging. Reply to emails. More phone contact. More exam feedback on dates of results etc. More facilities on site and more social student zone. More fieldwork. More focus on career skills development, mentoring and careers advice given through lectures, workshops and tutors.


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Growing food on campus, greening areas and improving travel infrastructure for walking and bikes More obvious student reps More one to one lecture time. More places to get food later on in the day, maybe up until 7 or 8pm during exam times when people are spending more time in uni More practical work as in most subjects it is easier to understand what the lecture is talking about is they have samples to show. Perhaps site visits? (e.g. soil mechanics, construction materials). More interaction at the beginning of the year to help students settle and make friends. Full tour of the labs at the beginning of the year to minimise confusion when labs start. More practices in civil engineering course, try to have a practical: theoretical balance at 50:50 ratio not the 20:80 ratio that it is now Try to unity the different elements of civil engineering earlier on in the course. i.e. year 2 Clear lecture notes, module information, tutorials on student central More social space - bar. More societies and an SU bar. Wi-Fi all over/good quality range in library. Start funding geology dissertations. more team based modules in 1st/2nd year of course Nothing nothing is needed Offer more travel opportunities relevant to the Earth and Ocean Science Course Offer more modules relevant to the Ocean Science aspect of the course. e.g.: oceanography in lower levels opening our library 24 hours all the time a student union bar with pool tables, etc.. more art features Provide a decent wi-fi connection throughout the whole campus, not just in the library. Fix the computers in the library. Subsidising geology dissertation field work as we're expected to do 4 weeks and unable to work and earn money during this time. provide a student bar challenging work Providing a student bar. Providing African and other international meals at cafes. More international facilities like (zones) Regular tutorial meetings. Student bar. Unify meanings of headings (this does not seem clear) on student central and provide a little more help with using it. Sell good coffee! Soup and coffee loyalty cards! I buy it every day! Soup loyalty cards water fountain/dispensers Soup loyalty cards. Water machines. Spacing out deadlines evenly allowing easier management of coursework Start having more focus on low (impact) student living. (transport, food, accommodation) Giving guidance on managing student loan debt Better guidance of alternative careers and lifestyle choices. Student bar in the student union. Subsidising dissertations. Fix computers in aldrich pool room. The coursework feedback system is not really good in my (course). It should be (encrypted) into the uni system Using visual tools to help model complex theories and guide structured thinking, especially at the beginning of modules. These structures should help in the way we develop our arguments in class and in coursework wi-fi


Faculty of Science adn Engineering - EaT - Engagement Week Data