QAA guides universities on information to students (UK)

By John Morgan

Ensuring prospective students get accurate information on workload, class sizes and teaching is the aim of new guidance from the quality watchdog.

The Quality Assurance Agency’s guidance is aimed at supporting universities and colleges in making information available to current and prospective students, and at advising students on the questions to ask about teaching when applying for a course.“There is now more choice than ever before of where and what to study, and universities and colleges need to get it right in the information they provide to their current and future students,” said Jayne Mitchell, director of research, development and partnerships at the QAA.“Students also need to make sure they know what they’re signing up to and whether the learning opportunities on offer fit with their study style. They should be asking questions like: ‘How much feedback will I get on the work I do when I am there? Will it be clear to me what is expected of me and what I will have to do in assessments?”

The guidance looks at areas identified as priorities by students in research by the National Union of Students.It focuses on workload, class size, staff teaching qualifications and how institutions respond to student feedback.Students have a part to play themselves in their learning experiences, the guidance stresses.“Alerting students to the mutual responsibilities for learning should be part of the information institutions provide about each course,” Dr Mitchell said. “Our new guidance on workload says that prospective and current students are entitled to clear and transparent information about the nature of the learning experience.“For example, the amount of support that students can expect, methods of teaching, learning and assessment (including unsupervised study time), and the amount of programmed teaching expected on a course.”

Source: Times Higher Education