Autumn 2018

Welcome to the autumn 2018 edition of Quality Enhancement News

All the latest developments in the enhancement-led approach to higher education in Scotland and beyond.

Visit our new Enhancement Theme web pages!

In this issue... 

Enhancement-led Institutional Review 

The fourth cycle of Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) is in its second year. Reports from the first two reviews are available on our website, with reviewers highlighting good practice, such as the following:
'Queen Margaret University has created a strong ethos of student partnership and an exemplary approach to raising aspirations and attainment of students from all backgrounds.' Read the summary report.
'The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has created an environment where mental and physical disability is no barrier to achievement, and an impressive 97 per cent of students from all backgrounds go on to employment or further study.' Read the summary report.
Reviews of the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee have also concluded, and findings will be published in due course. 

Focus On

In the 2017-18 session we explored the theme of 'Feedback from Assessment'. We commissioned research that analysed nomination data from student-led teaching awards, identifying key themes that are critical to how students experience feedback. The project also included a one-day event, five webinars and a Twitter chat. Resources are available on our website, along with three short films covering sector progress and the role of technology in providing feedback. 

'What makes feedback helpful is being given guidance for the future…if you give me a comment and I say, “So what?” and your comment doesn't answer that, then you haven't given me feedback.'

Our topic for 2018-19 is Graduate Skills. The project will consider how skills, including digital skills, can be embedded in and out of the curriculum; how we can ensure that skills development opportunities are accessible to all students, regardless of their background and characteristics; and how we can prepare graduates to live and work in a global society.

Get involved! 

We are currently seeking expressions of interest for two pieces of work: one considering the views of students, and the other considering the views of employers and graduates. Find out more on our website. The deadline for applications is 21 December 2018.
The current Theme, 'Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience', is now into its second year. Visit the Enhancement Themes website to discover the story so far, including analyses of institutional activity and reports from the collaborative clusters that ran in session 2017-18. We are delighted to be supporting six collaborative clusters in session 2018-19, including continued work on learning analytics and how data is used in the creative disciplines.
We have just published a discussion paper on Learning Analytics and Enhancement, which we hope will help inform conversations in institutions. Download the discussion paper.


Get involved!

We have launched an exciting lunchtime webinar series aimed at helping staff and students develop their data skills. These take place on the third Tuesday of the month and are free to attend.

The first two webinars were well-attended and inspired lively conversation. Liz Austen, from the STEER team at Sheffield Hallam University, demonstrated how digital storytelling can be used to capture student and staff voices, while her colleagues, Stella Jones-Devitt and Alan Donnelly, took a critical look at the assumptions we make about evidence. Download resources from the webinars
The next two webinars in the series have also been prepared by Sheffield Hallam University, and promise to be equally engaging and valuable. We encourage colleagues to attend and spread the word!
Gathering together: Working alongside students in an evidence-critical environment
18 December 2018
Jill Le Bihan
Data delving
15 January 2019
Neil McKay (left) 
Nathaniel Pickering (right)

Theme Spotlight: Student Partnership in Action

As part of our student-led project, we examined how institutions communicate the impact of the student voice back to the student population. We identified a set of principles to help institutions and students' associations improve policy and practice. You can read about these principles, along with the outcomes of an international scan of practice, in our presentation, The student voice: developing principles of practice (pdf 756KB).
During 2018-19, we will explore the ways that students, especially those in representative roles, use (or could use) data and evidence to improve the student experience. Visit the Enhancement Themes website to learn more.

Charlie Kleboe-Rogers, the Student Lead for the Enhancement Theme, tells us about his new role

TiPZone (Themes in Practice)


University of Aberdeen: The postgraduate taught student experience

The University of Aberdeen is taking steps to ensure that the experience of taught postgraduate students is evaluated at the same level as their undergraduate equivalent. The University considered a variety of existing approaches to develop a shared understanding and agreement across the institution of what constitutes evidence at postgraduate level.

Read about the University of Aberdeen's approach to measuring the postgraduate taught student experience (pdf 124KB).

Submit an article for TiPZone

The TiPZone is your opportunity to share ways in which the Enhancement Themes are used or built upon in your institution. To feature in the next newsletter, please submit an article to We welcome contributions from staff and students, so please help us to spread the word!

Student Transitions

Our previous Enhancement Theme, 'Student Transitions', ran from 2014 to 2017 and generated a rich bank of valuable resources that are still available on our website.

Student Transitions Map 

This is an interactive tool providing access to almost 500 resources generated by institutions and students' associations, including case studies, student commentaries and conference papers. You can access the Map here. We hope that it is easy and intuitive to use, but we have also made a video explaining how to filter and search the resources.

Transitions Skills and Strategies

We commissioned two projects to examine transition skills and strategies, resulting in over 40 resources. These cover six essential transition skills: self-belief, self-reflection, resilience, critical thinking, independent learning and management of expectations. The resources have been grouped into six packages for different audiences and purposes: students, students' associations, teaching staff, student support staff, induction and curriculum development.
Learn more and download the resources for free.

An international take on quality enhancement

'We want to work towards the real kind of partnership that QAA Scotland seems to have with the Scottish HEIs.'
Ole-Jacob Skodvin is Director of Analysis and Development at Norway's Agency for Quality in Education (NOKUT). In an interview with Ole, he tells us about the 'inspirational' holistic approach to assurance and enhancement in Scotland and about what the two countries can learn from each other.  

Enhancement in Higher Education Conference 2018 


Evaluation, Evidence and Enhancement: Inspiring Staff and Students 

The 15th Enhancement in Higher Education Conference took place in Glasgow on 7 June, with around 400 international delegates discussing how to use evidence to evaluate and enhance the student experience and support greater student success. The conference was well received, with over three-quarters of delegates rating it as 'excellent' or 'very good', and the conference hashtag, #ETconf18, was Glasgow's top Twitter trend for most of the day.
We were delighted to welcome two engaging keynote speakers. Dr Rebecca Ferguson from the Open University (left) explored the developing opportunities offered by learning analytics, and potential links with enhancement. Dr Camille Kandiko-Howson from Kings College, London (right) presented on how learning gain might be used as evidence for enhancement.
Resources are now available on our website, including videos of the keynote speakers and a presentation from the Happiness Research Institute on enhancing understanding of student happiness and wellbeing.

Keep in touch

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