It has been a great pleasure to serve as this year’s RUMS Vice-President: Education (Y1&2) and been incredibly rewarding to engage with staff and students to further enhance the student experience here at UCLMS. This post is here to showcase the highlights of what’s been happening behind the scenes for Y1&2 students. Ravi Mistry
My year started off with approaching Kate Cheney to raise the profile of the Cruciform Hub developments to medics. After many shout-outs and posts in RUMS Bulletin, I am pleased to say medical students are very well represented in the Hub designs, forming 94% of respondents to a Hub design survey! Furthermore, Kate kindly agreed to arrange two lunchtime events where the architects came in to meet medical students and walk them through their plans for the Hub and answer questions. The engagement has not stopped there, with students being given the opportunity to have their say about furniture preferences for the Hub and a consultation soon about what products are to be in vending machines in the Hub.
The hot topic in the Y1&2 bubble this year was the introduction of the formative OSCEs. Overall, they were incredibly well received. Dr Laura-Jane Smith’s feedback lecture was much appreciated and students would like to see this continue. The only issue regarding the OSCEs is for better signposting about breadth of content and clarity on the diversity of station styles that can appear – but nothing inherent to the mode of assessment itself. One area of assessments that students have made a plea for improvements in is the February formative papers: to reflect the depth and challenge of the summatives. Work is on-going in this area.
Lecturecast continues to be treasured by our students and envied by peers at other medical schools. This is certainly something that should be capitalised more on at the open day! The ability to revisit parts of a lecture has reshaped the way we take notes and has reduced the need to rely on peers’ notes should we need to miss a lecture. The advent of increased availability of technology has led students’ expectations to shift. Throughout every module’s SEQ are requests for more staff to utilise TurningPoint in LT1. It helps keep everybody on their toes, generates discussion and cements learning. Underlying this is the appeal of interactive lectures – with a simple ‘show of hands’ being just as well received (so long as nobody is picked on afterwards!). A small change which I hope will make a considerable difference next year is the training of module reps to familiarise them with the console in LT1. This should save time and improve the lecture experience. A bigger e-related change coming down the pipeline due to student feedback is a redesigned VM Moodle page which hopefully will be easier to navigate and reduce the number of clicks needed for students to access content. The reps have also come to an unofficial consensus that Dr Will Coppola probably has, un-enviously, one of toughest jobs in the Medical School! Many thanks to him for all the time and effort he spends doing the many jobs he does.
Working with the Quality Assurance Unit, grittier matters such as the low SEQ response rates arose. Besides ‘survey fatigue’, one issue has been that students are unaware of the impact their responses have. Currently little is communicated back to students to clearly show the fruits of their input. I’m glad to hear that from next year onwards module leads will include a short paragraph in module handbooks outlining key updates to the module based on recent feedback. I hope this will help close loops and allow students to see just how valued their input is and encourage them to further contribute. Further work on improving SEQs and highlighting the direct links between feedback are on-going across all years, led by Dr Ann Griffin.
Before I bring this post to a close, I will simply list other noteworthy developments for Y1&2 this year including Dr Paul Dilworth’s revamp of the Y1 timetable and exciting new ‘integration weeks’; Dr Birch and the Anatomy Lab staff’s brand-new and much loved anatomy revision tutorials; the academic-welfare personal tutor system; Dr Campbell’s improvements in SSC information; and many changes made by module leads to the Y1&2 curriculum for the next academic year. All that leaves me now is to say a massive thank you to all the staff at UCLMS who work tirelessly to ensure we get the best possible education we can. The very fact that staff engage with students, welcome dialogue and react so quickly to feedback certainly sets us apart. The National Student Survey results speak for themselves! I would like to particularly thank Kate Cheney, Dr Will Coppola, Prof. Mike Gilbey, Dr Paul Dilworth and Paru Jeram for putting up with my emails and engaging so much with students! A special thank you also goes to Gareth Chan. And finally, the biggest thank you goes to Carol Farguson for her advice, support and guidance provided across the year.