Category / Centre for Excellence in Learning

What students really want (and why it matters)

BU hosted Dr Diana Beech from the Higher Education Policy Institute on Wednesday morning for a policy breakfast, part of this year’s CELebrate symposium.  In a packed room and despite the early start, we had a great discussion about student perceptions, value (and value for money).

Diana started with a review of the HEPI/AdvanceHE 2018 Student Academic Experience Survey, which was published last week.  The survey was  established in 2006, so is now in its 12th year, giving useful data trends.  It surveys over 14,000 full-time undergraduate students in all years of study (not just final year students like the NSS).  The full survey is available to download for free.

  • It seems from the data, that contact time and private study have not changed much since 2006, despite the many changes in the sector, including growing student numbers, changes in funding etc.  However, since 2012, when fees were increased, perceptions of value for money by the students surveyed have fallen consistently – until this year.  This year the percentage of respondents saying that they believed that they were getting good, or very good value for money for their course, moved up from 35% to 38%.  And the percentage saying they got poor, or very poor value for money went down from 34% to 32%.  [Ed: These figures are often cited by Ministers, and were by Sam Gyimah at his speech last week (see our policy update last week for more on this topic) – “only [just over] a third of students think they get value for money” is the headline, and the government’s own initiatives in terms of a relentless focus on quality through the TEF, the new regulatory environment etc are credited with the improvement].
  • Diana described how this year a new question had been asked about what the reasons were behind the rating that had been given for value for money – for those saying that they received good or very good value, the top 5 reasons (in order) were teaching quality, course content, course facilities, career prospects and quality of campus.  On the other side, the top 5 reasons given by those who received poor or very poor value for money were tuition fees, teaching quality, contact hours, course content and cost of living.  It is interesting that teaching quality and course content are levers for good or bad value for money, that concern about money is clearly linked to perceptions of poor value.  It is also unsurprising to see contact hours linked to perceptions of poor value, but it may be of some surprise to see quality of campus linked to good value.
  • So on contact hours, Diana noted that those students with the highest perceptions of value for money also seem to be studying subjects with the greatest overall workload.  [Ed: This is not necessarily linked to contact hours – looking at contact hours the subjects seem to fall into three groups, with medicine, dentistry and veterinary and physical sciences standing out for the number of contact hours (15-19) and history, languages, business and social studies at the other end (8-10).  The rest fall in the middle, but the chart looks at total workload including independent study and work outside the course].
  • Diana also flagged another trend – the percentage of students saying that their experience has been better than they expected has fallen fairly consistently since a high point in 2013, and has fallen again this year from 25% to 23%.  Again, when students saying that the experience was worse than expected (12%), teaching quality came top of the reasons, with course organisation [Ed: a familiar NSS question], lack of support in independent study, lack of interaction with staff, poor feedback (Ed: NSS again) and contact hours featuring again.  The last two of the top 8 reasons were “not put in enough effort myself” (30%) and “too little interaction with other students” (26%).
  • Diana talked about commuter students, who are less likely to be satisfied, and more likely to say that if they had known what they know now, would not have entered HE – along with those who are employed for more than 10 hours and Asian students.  There is intersectionality here, Asian students and those who are employed for more than 10 hours have a higher propensity to be commuter students.  Diana talked about her recent report for HEPI looking at the potential growth in undergraduates by 2030 (as many as 500,000 more) – and the possibility that many of those may be commuter students – a challenge for the sector given the concerns raised above.
  • Developing this theme, Diana mentioned the recent paper written by Sir Anthony Seldon and Dr Alan Martin on the “positive and mindful university“.
  • Diana referred to the HEPI/Unite Students report “Reality Check – a report on university applicants’ attitudes and perceptions”.  One concern is that only 49% of applicants realise that rent will be their biggest cost apart from tuition fees.  Diana discussed concerns about whether students understand where their tuition fees are spent, and the interesting response to the question about how tuition fees should be spent (teaching facilities (65%), teaching staff (60%), student support services (57%) come top, campus development (52%), financial support for students (49%) and research facilities and resources (49%) come next.  Interestingly student recruitment and marketing are lower on the list (at 16% and 15%) and investing in the local community is supported by only 12%.

You can read Diana’s slides here.

We then had a Q and A and discussion session with a panel consisting of Debbie Holley, Lois Farquharson, Alex Hancox and Diana and chaired by Jane.

  • We discussed commuter students and the particular issues of making the campus “sticky” for these students, particularly in relation to HSS students who live near work and final year students who may have put down roots in their placement year and becoming commuter students is one reason why they can find it hard to reintegrate in their final year (there may be other reasons too). [Ed: see an interesting article on Wonkhe this week on stickiness generally)
  • We discussed issues linked to value for money – should we talk about value, and not focus on financial return [Ed: see last week’s policy blog for our take on the latest ministerial pronouncements about graduate salaries]
  • We also talked about the wider value of university in terms of life experience, friendships, soft skills- and how this is important but often overlooked [Ed: there are a couple of interesting articles on this in last week’s policy blog]
  • We talked about student information and the importance of making sure that applicants could access the information about the things that mattered for them, and how talking to students, and spending more time than just an open day, might be an important part of this.  We discussed briefly the importance of students understanding how their fees are spent (which is in the survey) and how to do this better.
  • In terms of expectations, Alex pointed out that students were overloaded with information in induction week and it was suggested that we need to follow up, drip feed etc.
  • We talked briefly about tuition and living costs.  Points were made about how challenges with living costs might be increasing the number of commuter students and affecting their outcomes.  We also discussed the unhelpful terminology around loans, debt, value for money, tuition fees that are really “university fees”.  [Ed: This is a very big subject, you might want to read BU’s response to the review of post-18 education and we gave links to other sector responses in our policy update on 4th May.]
  • We talked about mental health and wellbeing – including about how some students might choose to live at home for support.  We also discussed challenges with the definition of “living at home”  – it may be different issues for mature students who have families than 18 year old students who live with parents – although the impact on extra-curricular engagement may be the same
  • We talked about engaging students with research and equality of access to these sorts of opportunities for broader engagement
  • We discussed the TEF and the use of splits data – are universities really using their splits data and is it driving change?
  • In the context of contact hours, Alex made the point that quality of contact is as important as the amount – students may want more help not more lectures.

HEPI are interested in further research and policy publications, using this data or other data – please contact policy@bournemouth.ac.uk if you would like to discuss this further.

Many thanks to all who attended and we look forward to continuing the dialogue on many of these issues.

 

New BU publication: Wisdom & skills in social work education

Congratulations to professors Parker and Ashencaen Crabtree in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences on the publication of their latest paper ‘Wisdom and skills in social work education. Promoting critical relational social work through ethnographic practice.’

 

Reference:

  1. Parker, J.& Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2018). Wisdom and skills in social work education. Promoting critical relational social work through ethnographic practice,
     

Publication by BU midwifery student

Rebecca Weston, BU student midwife, on the publication of her article: ‘When all you want to do is run out of the room…‘  Rebecca published this reflective piece in May issue of the journal The Practising Midwife.  She wrote it shortly after having been involved in “a traumatic, sudden and heart-breaking event in practice”.   Reflection is certainly beneficial in experiential learning, developing critical thinking and integrating midwifery theory and practice.

It is my pleasure to wrote this BU Research Blog to congratulate Rebecca today on the International day of the Midwife

Well done!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH)

 

BU Undergrads showcase their research in Sheffield at BCUR 2018

A year on from BU hosting the prestigious British Conference of Undergraduate Research, the annual BCUR 2018 gathering this year was hosted by the University of Sheffield last week.  On the heels of a successful SURE 2018 at BU in March, 7 undergraduate students from across all faculties were supported to showcase their research at BCUR 2018 among close to 600 delegates.  Atanas Nikolaev, a SURE sponsored student and recent graduate of Sports Management did a presentation on his ethnographic study of Embodied Experiences of Women at Leisure Centres, “The most interesting aspect of the conference to me was the opportunity to engage with like-minded people across various scientific fields. It was a great way to get exposure for my research project and be challenged with ideas that could potentially lead to future developments. BCUR was great to learn about research that was of interest to me and to potentially build lasting relationships with young researchers from across the country”.

Bethan Stephenson, an FMC student studying English presented a piece of research entitled ‘The Changing Space of Warwick County Museum’ which challenges notions of memory and how historic accounts are valued.  Bethan said “I really enjoyed the experience of attending the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) at Sheffield University, and found it very illuminating. I got there not really knowing what the conference fully entailed, and so was very pleasantly surprised. As a final year student, I’ve been recently contemplating post-graduation options, and the introduction to BCUR was incredibly informative. They discussed the importance of research-based careers, and the opportunities this can lead to. I’ve always loved research, and have multiple fields that I’m passionate about, and so I really feel like this introductory talk helped confirm my desire to undertake a masters, and possibly a PhD, in the future”.

Other BU students taking part included Charlie Simmons, a business studies marketing student presenting on Digital Immersion and the Streaming of E-Sports.  Tereza Paskova, a final year Tourism student presented on Emotional Intelligence as a tool in customer satisfaction in tourism/hospitality settings.  Isobel Hunt, a Faculty of Science and Technology student studying Psychology presenting on Consumer Decision Making and Trust for Online Restaurant Reviews and Scott Wilkes who is studying Sport Development and Coaching Sciences and also presented his research on the effects of stammer has on social participation in sport amongst Young People.

The involvement of BU undergraduate research at the national BCUR event along with a presence at their annual precursor event, Posters in Parliament, has been possible with key support and involvement from CEL and key contributors across all faculties.  It is an opportune channel for students to engage with the research process and make real world connections to the impact of their work.  For future opportunities in these initiatives, contact Mary Beth Gouthro mgouthro@bournemouth.ac.uk.

 

 

CQR ‘In Conversation’ Michele Board & Karen Cooper: “Ephemera”

CQR “In Conversation”  Seminar

This Wednesday 1 p.m. RLH 201

Michele Board and Karen Cooper present the use of ephemera to uncover life stories in qualitative research.

What is ”ephemera”?  It consists of objects of little or no monetary value that represent moments in our past.  They can include  pamphlets, railroad tickets, stamps, old letters or photographs, a food stained recipe card, a small piece of clothing, an accessory like a ribbon or a badge, sheet music, keys, post cards, used concert or theatre tickets, a self‐penned poem or a song, or a drawing. They all have a story to tell if we are willing to listen.

The CQR Seminar series consists of a 20 minute conversation between two presenters, then lots of time for discussion with the audience. Come along and join in the conversation!

Bring along some of your own ephemera if you’d like!

CQR Lunchtime Seminar “Poetry as Research” Wed RLH 201 1pm

The Centre for Qualitative Research invites you to its continuing series of lunchtime seminars this Wednesday at 1 pm in RLH 201 for “Poetry as Research” “In Conversation” with Lee-Ann Fenge and Wendy Cutts.

This year’s theme is “LISTEN MAKE SHARE”. Each month two CQR members  present their experiences to the audience ‘in conversation’ with either Narrative Methods (listening to stories), Arts-based Research methods (making stories), or Dissemination methods (sharing stories).

The seminars will involve two conversants and plenty of opportunity for audience participation in listening, making, and sharing. Not lectures, the seminars consist of two presenters ‘In Conversation” about a topic or method. There will be no PPT, but plenty of time for audience interaction and feedback!

Come along and join ‘In Conversation’!

Wed. 1 pm RLH 201 “Poetry as Research” with Lee-Ann Fenge & Wendy Cutts

BU midwifery research at the international Normal birth research conference

The Normal birth research conference is an annual, international event that takes place to focus on less complicated aspects of pregnancy and birth. This year it took place in the beautiful surroundings of Grange-over-sands overlooking Morecambe bay and on the edge of the Lake District. On this occasion there were delegates from over 20 countries including Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and India! The attendees included midwives, obstetricians, birth supporters, architects, artists, geographers and educators as well as representatives of the World Health organisation, charities and Baroness Cumberlege from the UK House of Lords.

Sara Stride, Jenny Hall, and Jane Fry at the conference

Research at Bournemouth University was well represented from CMMPH, CQR and CEL. Midwifery lecturer, Sara stride, on behalf of the research team of Professor Vanora Hundley and Dr Sue Way, presented a poster of their work, ‘a qualitative study to explore UK midwives’ individual practice, beliefs and attitudes regarding perineal care at the time of birth’. Dr Jane Fry, also from the midwifery team, presented a research topic on her Doctoral work, ‘ A descriptive phenomenological study of independent midwives’ use of intuition as an authoritative form of knowledge during women’s labours and births’.  She also facilitated a workshop titled ‘ Finding your own intuition: a workshop designed to explore practitioners’ ways of knowing during childbirth’ .

 

Jenny Hall with Professor Susan Crowther at the book launch [(c) Sheena Byrom]

Dr Jenny Hall presented a research topic based on recent research with Dr Bethan Collins from Liverpool University, Professor Vanora Hundley and Jilly Ireland, midwife and visiting researcher, ‘How can we improve the ‘normal’ childbirth experience of disabled women?’. She also facilitated a workshop with a colleague from RGU, Aberdeen, Professor Susan Crowther, ‘Spirituality and childbirth: bringing a felt-sense into childbirth- a co-operative inquiry’. In addition, her new internationally authored book jointly edited with Professor Crowther, ‘Spirituality and Childbirth: Meaning and care at the start of life’, was officially launched at the conference.

The impression taken away was the passion and importance of more evidence required around more ‘normal’ aspects of pregnancy and birth, especially in countries with less resources. There is considerable humanising of care being carried out internationally, and is a key focus at the World health organisation. A focus for the UK midwifery is current maternity services transformation, yet much of the global focus is on the importance of transformation in line with the recent Lancet series on maternity, and international collaboration to achieve the goals for Sustainable development. As a force, the team behind normal birth research serve this area powerfully, in informing care for women, babies and families across the global arena. The final rousing talk by Australian professor Hannah Dahlen, to the current backlash to ‘normal birth’ in the media was inspiring and is an editorial in the international journal Women and Birth. Next year the conference is in Michigan, USA!

Human rights study day in maternity care

On 26th September the branch of the RCM in Southampton held a study day dedicated to considering human rights concerns in maternity care. It was attended by over 50 practitioners from across the region. Topics covered included a workshop by the human rights in maternity charity, Birthrights, and speakers from Barnados and Stop the Traffik. These latter presenters provided thought provoking, and somewhat harrowing, evidence for the need for awareness of sexual exploitation in young people, and trafficking of humans in our areas of practice. In addition Dr Jenny Hall (pictured right) from CEL and Jillian Ireland, visiting researcher in CMMPH, discussed the human rights of women with disability, based on current research partially funded by Birthrights, undertaken with colleagues Professor Vanora Hundley and Dr Bethan Collins from Liverpool University.
It was an intense event that demonstrated the importance of discussing and researching these aspects of current midwifery care.