Wat willen studenten? Ervaren lesgevers en contact onderwijs

Er is een nieuwe Britse bevraging gebeurd bij studenten over hun ervaringen in het hoger onderwijs. Er vallen enkele zaken op. Zo is er de duidelijke verzuchting dat hun lesgevers maar beter opgeleid zijn om te kunnen les geven en dat deze liefst ook relevante beroepservaring hebben. Deze beide elementen scoren hoger dan de vraag of hun docenten toponderzoekers zouden zijn.

Maar in tijden van MOOC’s en blended learning is de belangrijkste vaststelling wel dat de studenten die weinig contacturen hebben, hier over klagen. Studenten met weinig contactmomenten evalueren hun studie-ervaring als minder positief. Laten we hen vanaf analogue natives noemen?

Nu, deze laatste resultaten zijn niet zo uitzonderlijk, meer nog ze liggen in lijn met onderzoek dat we in Jongens Zijn Slimmer dan Meisjes vermelden over de mythe van de Digital Native die ander onderwijs zou wilen.

Maar er is meer, dit zijn de belangrijkste inzichten uit het rapport:

  1. Full-time undergraduate students in UK universities have high levels of satisfaction: 87% are fairly or very satisfied with their course. However, 34% say they would definitely or maybe have chosen another course if they were to have their time again (though there are substantial variations by subject).
  2. Overall, 41% of students in the UK think they have received good or very good value for money, while 29% feel the value for money has been poor or very poor. However, only 7% of English students feel they receive very good value for money, compared with 35% of Scottish students in Scotland.
  3. A key finding from this year’s survey relates to the importance that students put on their teachers in higher education being trained to teach. When asked to rank the importance of three characteristics of the people who teach them, a higher proportion of students rated staff having been trained in how to teach (39%) and having professional or industry expertise (44%) as the number one priority, than staff being active researchers (17%).
  4. Total workload, which is made up of contact hours, independent study and off-campus course-related work varies markedly by subject. In Mass Communications and Documentation students work on average for 22 hours a week while in in Medicine and Dentistry they work on average for 44 hours a week.
  5. When asked to explain why their experience was worse than expected or better in some ways and worse in others, students’ top response (chosen by 36% of respondents) was that they had not put in enough effort themselves (they could select multiple options). The relatively high number of students who felt they hadn’t worked hard enough and who also do not feel supported in their independent study shows the importance of providing guidance and structure outside timetabled sessions.
  6. While contact hours on their own have been shown not to be a good measure of the quality of learning, students with fewer scheduled hours are more likely to say they would have chosen another course if they could have their time again (38% of undergraduates on 0 to 9 contact hours versus 28% for those on 30 or more contact hours). They also have worse perceptions of value for money: for students in England on the £9,000 fees regime, only 26% of those with 0 to 9 contact hours feel they receive good or very good value for money compared to 56% of those with more than 30 contact hours. Students that do less academic work in total score less highly on wellbeing too: 43% of students who spend fewer than ten hours a week on their academic work feel the things they do in their lives are worthwhile, compared to 78% of those who work for at least 50 hours a week.
  7. For the first time, this year’s survey asked about the information provided by institutions to students on how their tuition fees are spent. Just 18% of respondents feel they have sufficient enough information on this, while 75% say they do not. There is clearly more work to be done in giving students the information they want on how their fees are spent – earlier this year, this was the subject of a collection of essays from a range of senior figures published by HEPI (‘What Do I Get’: Ten essays on students fees, student engagement and student choice, February 2015).
  8. The results confirm the findings from last year that undergraduates are less satisfied, less happy and have less of a sense that what they are doing is worthwhile than the general population, even of a similar age group. For example, when asked to plot how happy they felt ‘yesterday’ on a scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘completely’), 62% of students put themselves between 7 and 10, compared with 73% of the general population and 72% of young people aged 20 to 24.

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