“Beyond student experience: exploring the bigger picture with undergraduate students”

Project lead: Dr Elena Vacchelli

School of Humanities & Social Sciences Student Experience Project

The student experience project facilitated by Dr. Elena Vacchelli consisted of focus groups with students from across the school of Humanities and Social Sciences. A key aim of this work was to enable students to critically reflect upon their academic experiences and what it means to be a student within an active teaching and learning community. Selected students in each programme within the School were asked to discuss what they value as part of their university experience, and to identify areas for improvement. This was a useful exercise in that it made it possible to acknowledge what works well in specific programmes in view of sharing in other programmes. The focus group recording was transcribed professionally and the Sociology and Psychology student Ms Liliana Schiffbauer was supported by Dr. Elena Vacchelli in producing a thematic analysis of the focus group data. The second step of this process consisted in a participatory workshop where data from the Focus Group was shared with the same group and students were asked to rank the emerging themes in order of importance using the technique of photo elicitation. This step represented a further opportunity for reflection and engagement for the students involved. Discussions have been started with the PVC to see how this work can be extended beyond the School and eventually feed into to University Student Experience strategy.