Students and staff working in partnership is driving change at universities


 

 http://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/students-and-staff-working-in-partnership-is-driving-change-at-universities-09-apr-2015?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JISCBlog+%28Jisc+blog%29

Students and staff working in partnership is driving change at universities

With this in mind I wanted to share with you what we are doing to help build partnerships between staff and students to understand and meet their needs better.

Working in partnership on digitally related projects enables both staff and students to have a shared understanding of how technology can better support the learning experience.

The 2014 UCISA digital capabilities surveyreports that 30% of staff are working with students to lead on changes to how colleges or universities are run. Another 46% are ‘working towards’ this approach. 

How are we supporting you to develop staff-student partnership working?

I work as part of a team running the Jisc change agents’ network, which actively supports a community of students and staff working in partnership on technology related projects and encourages the sharing of best practice.

One element of this is through our related digital student project where we have produced a set of 50 exemplars which explore how colleges and universities are responding to the challenges of supporting the digital student experience. They show the importance of involving students not only in improving infrastructure and provision but in designing relevant curriculum activities.

The examples also evidence students’ emerging digital capabilities and challenge their assumptions about the role that digital technologies will play in their learning in the future.

I believe we need to support the active participation of students in setting and supporting the digital agendas in colleges and universities, which is what this work is all about.

This new guide, enhancing the student digital experience: a strategic approach, provides valuable guidance for colleges and universities and will hopefully help you to make some steps forward.

Lastly, I wanted to let you know that we are producing a series of case studies to share examples of practice from colleges and universities who have partnership working fully embedded, to those who may just be starting out on this journey.

Why work in partnership – what are the benefits?

At one of our recent networking events 76 staff and 40 students from across further and higher education shared their experiences of working in partnership on technology-related curriculum projects.

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As part of the event we created an ideas wall which illustrated the challenges and benefits of partnership working explored over the two day event.

At this event staff and students shared their experiences. For example Birmingham City University (BCU) has successfully worked with students over the past five years, on over 550 projects involving over 900 students. One of their approaches is the Student Academic Partners (SAP) programme. 

The programme aims to integrate students into the teaching and pedagogic research community within the university in order to develop collaboration between students and staff.

Students spoke at the event about gaining an experience of leadership and influencing change and of increased confidence and skills in areas of communication, team-working, management and research skills. One of the key benefits quoted was around improved employability and job prospects.

Students are also gaining recognition of their work through awards such as leadership, academic credit, extra-curricular awards and external accreditations.

Benefits which colleges and universities are realising include:

  • More opportunities for students to gain skills to support employability
  • Greater involvement in their learning and teaching experience which aids retention
  • Developing enhanced engagement and engaging students with research-led change.

I see one of the most important outcomes from this work is that students can inspire lead academics in technology-led educational innovation, meaning technology is fitted to their needs.  

The downside

We are seeing a growth in partnership working across further and higher education, some colleges and universities already have embedded this model into their practice, but there are still challenges to scaling up projects and embedding practice.

The culture of an organisation, senior management support, issues of staff time and incentives for student participation are some of the challenges that institutions are facing in embedding practice.

How you can get involved

This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, JISC, Technology by Paul Champion. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for www.3aaa.co.uk where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

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