12 Apr 2022

An update on the Student-led Project: Promoting the Equity of the Student Learning Experience

As part of the current Enhancement Theme, ‘Resilient Learning Communities’, sparqs and QAA Scotland are working collaboratively to facilitate the delivery of the Student-led Project (SLP). The SLP engages student officers from across the sector to input and shape a piece of work related to the current Theme.

Universities and students’ associations in Scotland are currently reflecting on learning from the pandemic to continue to develop approaches that maximise the benefits of a more blended environment to support the diverse needs of their student populations. This year’s SLP will consider how students and staff can support equity for diverse student communities to allow students to get maximum benefit from their learning opportunities, however and wherever they learn.

To support this, the SLP Steering Group have been exploring the following questions over the course of this academic year:

  • What do we understand by ‘equity’ in the context of learning and teaching and the student experience?
  • How can we promote the importance of equity to support the diverse needs of students? What changes are still required from the student perspective?
  • Recognising the diverse needs of students, what are the barriers to students having an equitable learning experience?
  • How do we make blended learning and teaching as engaging and inclusive as possible for all students?
  • How do we continue to develop representative systems and equip student reps to effectively support all the students they represent?

To provide a solid grounding for colleagues interested in exploring the topic, and to ensure the work of the SLP was situated in wider context, the project team began by undertaking desk research, exploring key existing theories, practice and research relating to equity in blended learning and teaching. This research gathered resources around the five themes which emerged: pedagogy; accessibility; digital technologies; datafication of education; and equality, diversity and inclusion. The desk research report can be found on the SLP webpage on the Enhancement Themes website.

The next output created by the SLP Steering Group will be a 'Principles of Equitable Learning' resource, exploring barriers to equitable learning and teaching and how to overcome them. The resource will be published later this month on the Enhancement Themes website.

A further output of the project will be a suite of best-practice case studies. A call is currently out to the sector to gather examples from institutions across Scotland under the sub-themes of pedagogy, accessibility, and digital technologies. To find out more and to submit a case study, please see the news headline on our website. The deadline to submit case studies has been extended until 5pm on Wednesday 27th April 2022.

The SLP will be running a workshop at the QAA Scotland Enhancement Themes Conference taking place on 8th & 9th June 2022. The SLP session will take place on Wednesday 8th June 2022 at 1.15pm and will explore with attendees the roles that institutions, students’ associations, and reps themselves can have in supporting reps and rep systems to effectively engage with issues of equity. How can we create and support student rep systems that effectively capture the views of our diverse student population? What can we learn from existing practice where students and students’ associations have made positive changes to the learning and teaching of diverse groups of students? This interactive workshop will give attendees the chance to discuss these questions and consider what they could do to upskill and empower reps in their own institutional contexts.

For further information, please contact Megan Brown, Development Consultant: megan.brown@sparqs.ac.uk.

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