Student Sounding Boards for Quality Enhancement
Louisa Hill, University of Leeds - Download slides here
Current statistics reveal that in 2013-2014 there were 80910 widening participation students (HESA, 2015). These ‘Square Pegs in Round Holes’ (Hinton-Smith, 2012) often have their needs ignored (Hockings et al, 2008). Student-centred and critical pedagogy practices can help address this, leading to a positive impact on social engagement (Burke, 2012) and academic achievement (Thomas, 2005).
Freire’s (1970) empowerment evaluation methodology provides a means of encompassing these practices, which involved equipping rural peasants with the knowledge to conduct their own research and ultimately design the content of educational programmes.
A number of undergraduates who undertook a core year 2 research methods module, volunteered to design and facilitate Student Sounding Boards, comprising of students from other business cohorts. The data based on the quality of the learning experience, generated honest dialogue (Fetterman et al, 2014) and subsequently informed the annual quality cycle.
Involving students in the enhancement of their educational experience addressed the UK Quality Code for Higher Education’s Student Engagement indicator seven (QAA, 2012). Through greater engagement with the academic community, students’ motivation, confidence and overall sense of belonging was bolstered (HEA, 2014). Employability skills such as problem-solving, time management and teamwork, were also enhanced.