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College of Humanities and Social Sciences Checklist for School QAE Report for Academic Year School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College of Humanities and Social Sciences Checklist for School QAE Report for Academic Year School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures This checklist should be placed at the front of the QAE
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College of Humanities and Social Sciences Checklist for School QAE Report for Academic Year School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures This checklist should be placed at the front of the QAE Report 1 Have all taught Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses within the School supplied a course monitoring form? No 2 If No to question 1 is an explanation given in Quality Report? Yes 3 If No to question 1 have steps been taken to remedy this? Yes 4 Have you attached the full range of statistics required? Breakdown of marks for UG and taught PG courses, final degree classifications for all UG programmes? Yes 5 Have the above statistics been analysed? Yes 6 Has a statement of QA procedures in the School been included? Yes 7 Have External Examiners reports been discussed and have the responses to any issues raised been included in the Report? Yes 8 Have there been any programme reviews in the past year? Yes 9 If Yes to question 8, does the report describe action to be taken in response to the review? 10 Have you included a note of actions taken in response to issues raised in last year s QAE Report? Yes Yes 11 Have all courses issued a student questionnaire? Yes 12 Do procedures exist for ensuring that comments from Staff- Student Liaison Committees have been responded to? 13 Has a report on the implementation of the College Learning and Teaching Strategy been included? Yes Yes Page 1 of 32 Annual Quality Assurance Report for Session Introduction 1.1 Brief overview of the School The School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures is comprised of five subject areas (Asian Studies, Celtic and Scottish Studies, English Literature, European Languages and Cultures, and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies) and the Graduate School. 1.2 Brief overview of the scale and scope of learning and teaching activities Number of courses on offer in Non-Honours courses: 86 Undergraduate MA (Hons) degrees: 150 MScT programmes: 18 New Undergraduate Non-Honours courses since January 2010: Bertolt Brecht (Ordinary) Catalan Language for Beginners Culture and Society in the Catalan World Dislocation and Identity in Modern German-Jewish Literature (Ordinary) Highland Bagpipe: History, Context and Performance Introductory German Language Introductory Arabic Language Introduction to European Theatre Portuguese 1 Portuguese Language 2 Prose Fiction in Comparative Perspective Scandinavian Literature 2 The Modern City: Paris (Ordinary) New Undergraduate Non-Honours courses since January 2010: A number of undergraduate degree programmes have become available since January These consist of joint degrees in Arabic and Ancient Greek, various degree combinations involving Chinese and Portuguese, and Persian Studies. 1.3 Overview of the key features of annual monitoring and review in the School, including student engagement with Quality Assurance (QA) processes. Instructions for QAE procedures in the School, restructured by Dr Andrew Marsham in 2011: Formal student involvement in QA takes place in three main forums: student course and programme questionnaires, SSLMs, and through student representation at the School QA Page 2 of 32 committee meeting. In this instance Kieran MacInnes, the LLC Student Rep, was unable to attend but his comments were communicated via and raised in the meeting. QA procedures in the School are managed by the Director of Quality and are implemented in subject areas level by QAE Representatives. LLC held its annual QAE committee meeting on Tuesday 6 December During the meeting each subject area in LLC was reviewed by the QAE representative of another subject area. The documents used in this review were: Undergraduate Course Monitoring Forms (except level 10 owing to the especially large numbers of these courses in LLC) Postgraduate Course Monitoring Forms Teaching Programme Review Reports (for IMES, DELC, and Asian Studies) External Examiner Reports Teaching Review Meeting minutes Staff Student Liaison Meeting minutes This year we had a complete return on UG CMFs. However one form for a Level 8 course in DELC contained only numeric information and no written report. Due to the cycle of the Graduate School it is not possible to undertake a complete review of PGT courses in December. Postgraduate CMFs have therefore not yet been reviewed for Arab World Studies, Chinese Studies, Film Studies, Highland Studies, Material Cultures and History of the Book, Medieval Studies, Modern Chinese Cultural Studies, and Translation Studies. *Please see Section 2 for information on action taken regarding graduate programme monitoring in * During the committee meeting the following matters in LLC were also discussed: Non-Hons results Hons results NSS results and responses The extension of Peer Observation of Practice The implementation of the College Learning & Teaching Strategy within LLC. QAE procedures and the Graduate School 2. Actions taken as a result of issues raised in the previous year s Report Graduate School A meeting was held on 27 June 2011 to discuss programme monitoring in the LLC Graduate School. The meeting was attended by: Dr Alex Thomson, Postgraduate Director Ms Linda Grieve, Graduate School Administrator Dr Andrew Marsham, Director of Quality Assurance for the School Dr Iona Macintyre, Incoming Director of Quality Assurance for the School Dr Simon Malpas, QAE Representative for the Graduate School Page 3 of 32 Due to the fact that QAE developments in the Graduate School do not fit neatly into the reporting schedule for undergraduate study it was decided that the LLC QAE report in January will report on the material available and the Graduate School will hold a Programme Review with Programme Directors in Semester 2 to look at Course Monitoring Forms and External Examiner Reports. In addition, the Graduate School is developing mechanisms to collect staff and student feedback on PGR supervision (a pilot study with English Literature has been suggested), and monitor thesis submission rates (there is discussion of a Schoolwide database). 3. Assurance of Quality and Standards (to reflect on key trends/issues arising from each of the following and to identify areas for follow-up and action for the School, the College or the University) 3.1 Annual monitoring and review of courses and programmes (with any specific issues for UG, PGT and PGR noted separately, including an update on the status of programme specifications) UG The subject area reviews reveal healthy QAE discussions surrounding course design, marking criteria, feedback, and mark distribution. There is concern about expanded class sizes, particularly in spoken language classes. All DELC courses are in the process of being benchmarked against the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF). There is concern about scheduling of examinations and Exam Boards. Undergraduate programme specifications are found at: PGT There are on-going discussions and refinements on teaching and learning formats (lectures, seminars, student presentations etc.). Last year s QA Report identified the Research Methods course as a source of concern among students but this did not surface as an issue in the documents reviewed for The Graduate School is developing a standard template for programme handbooks. There is discussion surrounding whether Bibliography should be included in the word count of MSc dissertations. Two new MScs courses were delivered in : European Studies and Film in the Public Space. The MSc in European Theatre is to be withdrawn at the end of and will be replaced by a new MSc in Theatre and Performance Studies. The existing MSc has been taught primarily by staff in the Division of European Languages and Cultures, with input from colleagues in English Literature and Classics. The new MSc is designed as a joint venture between DELC and English Literature, and it will harness the expertise of staff working in both areas of the School. Page 4 of 32 PGR Please see section 2 for information on action taken regarding graduate programme monitoring. 3.2 Annual monitoring and review of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Graduate School training for Research Supervisors is refreshed every 5 years in line with the University s Code of Practice for Supervisors and Research Students. From appraisals will be annual in accordance with the University s Annual Review Policy Statement. 3.3 Student performance and achievement (including presentation and analysis of statistics for UG, PGT and PGR). [See Appendix 1 for more information on what Schools should provide as statistical appendices to their reports] Non-Hons Analysis of Non-Hons grade profiles from to shows no significant changes. A1 A2 A3 B C D E F G H 10/11 0% 3% 16% 47% 23% 5% 2% 1% 0% 2% 09/10 0% 2% 15% 51% 23% 6% 2% 1% 1% 1% 08/09 0% 3% 17% 48% 21% 6% 1% 1% 1% 1% There was a withdrawal rate of over 10% for the following Non-Hons courses: French 1A Swedish 1A English Literature 1 VS 2 Scottish Literature 2 VS 2 Persian 1 Introduction to Islam 1A Introduction to Islam 1B These rates are accounted for perhaps by the week-on-week commitment to studying a foreign language ab initio, and the decisions of visiting students new to Edinburgh. N.B. The statistical significance may not be all it seems here though because small cohorts can skew the statistics somewhat. The average failure rate (marks between E and H) in Non-Hons courses in LLC is 5%. The following Non-Hons courses had a failure rate of over 10%: Chinese 1 Modern China in Literature and Film Japanese 1 Japanese 2A Japanese 2B Page 5 of 32 East Asian Civilization 1 East Asian Civilization 1A East Asian Civilization 1B Celtic Literature 2A Celtic Literature 2B French 1A German 1A Russian Studies 1B Swedish 3 English Literature 2 VS 2 Arabic 1A Turkish 1 Islamic History 1B The failure rates of foreign language 1 and 1A courses is probably a reflection of the intensive week-on-week learning associated with studying a language ab initio. Japanese in particular poses initial difficulties for the language learner given that it has three different scripts and is grammatically quite alien to speakers of western European languages. The failure rate with 2A and 2B may also be related to a step-up in intensity of language instruction in preparation for the year abroad. N.B. Again, small cohorts may skew the statistics somewhat. Honours Analysis of degree outcomes between and reveals no significant changes. A third class degree has not been awarded since There are no issues with withdrawals. 1st rd Fail 10/11 30% 64% 6% 0% 0% 09/11 27% 64% 8% 0% 0% 08/09 29% 62% 8% 1% 0% PGT Analysis of degree outcomes for MScT programmes between and reveals no significant changes. Distinction MSc Level Dip Level Fail 10/11 29% 68% 3% 1% 09/11 32% 68% 0% 0% Page 6 of 32 08/09 34% 65% 1% 0% PGR Please see section 2 for information on action taken regarding graduate programme monitoring. Extended Common Marking Scheme The committee discussed the ECMS. Concerns linger in sections where language marks and cultural content marks are awarded and different marking criteria are employed because language abilities can impact overall grades very favourably. The committee discussed the importance of working out weightings and producing a clear account of these for students. 3.4 Feedback from External Examiner Reports with any specific issues for UG, PGT and PGR noted separately. [Include action taken to resolve identified issues/problems raised in previous External Examiner reports] UG External Examiner Reports reflected QAE discussion on a number of matters including: course work-exam distribution, range of forms of assessment, feedback, moderation, marking criteria, syllabus, course documentation, the provision of comments on exam scripts. External Examiner Reports also confirmed quality and standards. In PGT, External Examiner Reports were available for Creative Writing, European Studies, European Theatre, Literature and Society, Literature and Transatlanticism, Medieval Studies, and Translation Studies. These reports were constructive and favourable, confirming the programmes are comparable to other institutions and correspond to benchmarks. The report for Film in the Public Place was particularly positive and the course was commended for its design, delivery, and intellectual rigour. Several External Examiner Reports commended staff for their written feedback on student work. External Examiner Reports reflect discussion and enhancement in areas such as combinations of texts, balance between core and option courses, variety of forms of assignments and methods of assessment including final projects, best practise for marking and moderation, application of the Extended Common Marking Scheme, presentation of handbooks, weighting of assessments, course structure, and contact time for dissertation supervision. PGR in LLC requires further reporting (in line with Linda Bruce s document of November 2011) and this will be undertaken in the Grad School Meeting in Spring 2012 (See Section 2). 3.5 Feedback from students: an outline of processes for obtaining feedback and the key trends arising from these. (including internal course and programme feedback surveys and external surveys such as NSS, PRES, PTES and ISB) LLC garner student feedback via course and programme questionnaires, Staff Student Liaison meetings and the NSS. Page 7 of 32 Underachievement in NSS 2011 has been a serious area of concern. There are initiatives underway to improve student satisfaction at both School and subject level. These focus on feedback procedures and information provision. School strategy is being led by the Convenor of the UG Studies Group. Certain programmes in the School, for example English Literature and German, performed extremely well. Some examples of action taken at a subject level surfaced during the QAE meeting. For example, DELC launched a newsletter in November 2011 to improve communication with students and provide students with information on research-teaching linkages, research seminars, student-led activities, the Year Abroad, and relevant cultural events in Edinburgh. Staff, students and graduates will deliver content. Asian Studies have clarified roles, processes, timelines, and accountability in order to increase student satisfaction. The section have also increased feedback opportunities for students and reconfigured years 3 and 4 of the Japanese single and combined honours degrees to make it easier for students to understand credit allocation. The template for minute-taking in Staff Student Liaison Meetings used in the German section has been circulated throughout the School as an effective means to ensure comments have been followed up. Another example of good practice is German s introduction of a student-led format in which a fourth year chairs the meeting in an attempt to increase participation and tackle attendance problems. Two doctoral students in English Literature were runners up in the EUSA Teaching Awards in : Charity McAdams for Best Postgrad Teacher and James Horton for Best Feedback. In the PGT Staff-Student Liaison Meeting (held in May 2011) students from various courses asked for greater clarity around marking criteria and weekly schedules to be provided in handbooks. There were also some requests for prompter feedback and concerns about uniformity in marking. Some students reported excellent feedback from European Theatre. Student Reps from Film reported a friendly environment. 3.6 Internal Reviews - TPRs/PPRs (including subject-specific remit items and recommendations from reviews) Teaching Programme Reviews were held for IMES (1-2 November 2010), DELC (9-10 November 2010) and Asian Studies (78-18 March 2011). Postgraduate Programme Review is due to take place in LLC in External Reviews (including accreditation reviews). There are no PSRB accreditations in LLC. 3.8 Peer observation of practice. Reflections on peer observation of teaching should not be restricted to the formal recording of POT activity, but can include wider Page 8 of 32 observation of learning and teaching practice, moderation, feedback to markers on their feedback to students, and peer teaching. The emphasis should be on surfacing good practice. Please see logging of Peer Observation of Practice for in Appendix. Asian Studies and Celtic and Scottish Studies did not record any POP for the session. In semester in light of concerns regarding information communication arising from NSS, DELC undertook peer observation of all undergraduate WebCT course information to ensure that essential materials are clear and accessible. 3.9 Collaborative provision (Instances of collaborative provision, key features of QA processes and trends/issues arising) Some teaching provision in LLC is funded by outside bodies (e.g. the Camões Institute in Portuguese, the Generalitat in Catalonia in Catalan) but subject areas remain responsible for QA. The Year Abroad is a component of many LLC degree programmes (most degrees in Asian Studies, DELC and IMES) that usually takes place in year 3 of the UG degree. All the relevant Subject Areas have Year Abroad Co-ordinators who manage the administration and the QAE for this component of the degree. Some MScs also have a study abroad component (in Asian Studies and IMES). Asian Studies have various partner universities and exchange agreements in China and Japan. DELC has YA students studying through the ERASMUS programme and through other exchange agreements at universities in Argentina, Austria, Chile, Denmark, France, German, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Portugal Russia, Spain, and Sweden. In YA aboard students of Arabic attended the International Language Institution (ILI) in Cairo, Egypt and Higher Institute of Languages in Damascus, Syria. It was noted in the committee meeting that there was a swift response in IMES to the Arab Spring in 2010 when the subject area made alternative arrangements when the unrest made students in Egypt return early. Emergency plans are vital for ensuring QA and were also organised in Asian Studies after the tsunami in Japan in spring Summary of key issues arising from the annual monitoring and review of quality and standards and implications for enhancement (a summary of key issues arising from sections 3.1 to 3.9) Student attendance In the meeting strategies to minimise absenteeism and strategic attendance were discussed. Various systems are in operation (e.g. a penalty system in English Literature that subtracts two marks for every Honours seminar missed). One possibility is the awarding of marks for class participation. The question was raised as to how external examiners could monitor Page 9 of 32 this. Apparently the rule of thumb is that if the percentage is less than 10% External Examiners will accept this mark without recordings. Staffing/Class sizes Issues relating to staffing were noted by some External Examiners and in TPRs. Core academic staff numbers in October 2011: 129 Core academic staff in 2010: 129 Core academic staff in 2008: 145 Core academic staff in 2006: 142 Admin staff in 2010: 22 Admin staff in 2008: 25 Admin staff in 2006: 21 The reduction of the HTBN staff budget increased workloads (preparation, contact time, and marking etc.) and the effect has been felt most in subjects with large student numbers. In the coming session, the School aims to target extra HTBN spending, as and when available, at certain high pressure programmes to manage class sizes. The impact of large class sizes, particularly in spoken language classes, on QA is a source of concern. Staff report a wish for greater transparency and equity in the area of staff-student ratios at subject area level. Forms of assessment The committee reflected on the effectiveness of the traditional essay as a form of assessment and the value of other written formats. Subject areas consider running essay writing workshops more effective than circulating m
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