Want to improve your learning experience and donate to charity?

Thursday 01-04-2021 - 13:40
Irtiza article pic 04

Written by Irtiza Majeed (MDX Student & MDXSU’s Student Communities Intern)

Want to improve your learning experience and donate to your favourite charity? The answer is PRES!

PRES: Post-graduate Research Experience Survey

I am an international postgraduate research student from Pakistan currently undertaking my PhD in Criminology. When I started my PhD in the beginning of the year 2020, I never thought that my academic life will be changed drastically due to the pandemic. Words cannot describe how much I have missed being on a vibrant and thriving campus, attending thought provoking lectures, participating in intriguing seminars and enjoying coffee with friends in the atrium.
While on - campus student experience can be hard to replace, the university has established variety of online support programmes to help students in these difficult times. The university provide tremendous amount of support through specialised library network, one to one academic tutorial support and online well-being support to name a few. Being a PhD student means that I have to devote considerable amount of my time in academic research and writing and it would be unfair to acknowledge that it is the availability of online learning enhancement support that has really helped me sail through my first year of PhD.
In these unprecedented times, it has become more important than ever to provide feedback on a number of initiatives that the university has taken so that the overall learning experience of students can be further improved. For post-graduate research students, the best way to provide your feedback is to complete the Post-graduate Research Experience Survey - PRES. PRES is a national survey conducted by the AdvanceHE on behalf of many UK universities and globally and allows you the opportunity to provide valuable feedback that will enhance your overall learning experience at Middlesex University.
Providing feedback on learning experience is important as it helps to bring about a positive change in the way student expereince is shaped. In the past few years, your feedback has helped bring significant improvements in the way learning experience has shaped at the university. This include launching the MDXapp (the university’s dedicated mobile app for students), introducing webinars and recorded sessions for research students, improving post-graduate research induction activities, launching drop-in sessions for counselling and mental health support, intoducing virtual café for D.Prof students and research coffee club, introducing well-being seminars and many other wonderful initiatives. Recently, the university has invested in post-graduate research students’ well - being. To see how your opinion has shaped learning experience over the years, please click here.
The university continuously aims to ensure that postgraduate research students have an excellent experience while studying at Middlesex University. In order to achieve this, it is imperative that the university administration know what resources needs improvement and how can the university enhance our learning experience.
This is your chance to tell the university what you think of your course? How can the university ensure that your course is best designed to suit your academic and learning needs? Well, the results of the survey will help university to compare how the resources and facilities compares with students studying at other institutions, and to make subsequent improvement based on your valuable feedback. This will ultimately improve the overall learning experience of students.
The survey is designed to focus on your course and provides you with an opportunity to have your say on a number of issues including research supervision, the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on your studies, and the overall learning experience at the university. As a PhD student, I can say that the quality of research supervision is of paramount importance to the overall success of your degree. This is so important that it can make or break your degree. I am fortunate that my PhD supervisor is cooperative and supportive and always there to guide me during these challenging times. Similarly, this goes without saying that Covid-19 has transformed our academic lives drastically, changing the sphere of how academic activities takes place. For example, being part of a thriving 9 am lecture on campus has now changed to joining online lectures on Zoom. The PRES not only gives you an opportunity to provide feedback on the quality of your supervisory sessions but also on how the pandemic has changed your academic lives and what specific support can help you improve your overall learning experience going forward.
The surveys responses are completely anonymous and confidential. Your input will remain confidential and will only be accessible by the team processing the results. Any result communicated to teaching staff will also be anonymised. The surveys explicitly highlights that any comments you make should not identify yourself or any specific members of staff.
As a MDX post-graduate research student, you are eligible to participate in this important survey. You can click here to start the survey. Your student number (M00******) is your username and the password is pres2021. The survey is open until 14 May 2021 and it is super easy to complete the survey.
For every survey that is completed, the university will donate £5 to a charity, giving you another opportunity to make a real difference to some amazing causes. Last year, the university raised over £15,000 and this year the goal is to raise even more. These charities have been selected by Middlesex University Students Union Raise and Give Group and they are engaged in some wonderful initiatives to help and support the most in need. The selected charities for this year are:
1. Mind – They provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness, and promote understanding.
2. Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice – They are engaged in a number of initiatives including supporting children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions and supporting their families to face the future with hope.
3. Homeless Action in Barnet – They work with vulnerable people so that they gain access to housing, health and other services empowering them to feel independent members of the society.
The importance of providing feedback and student surveys can be demonstrated by the scientific fact that in the year 2012, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released the findings of their education project. The project findings revealed that student surveys are a valid way to measure teaching effectiveness. So, what are you waiting for? If you want to enhance your learning experience and donate to your favourite charity at the same time, then you know what to do!
If you are unsure about anything to do with the survey, or have any difficulty, please see your course or course leader, or contact surveys@mdx.ac.uk You can also read more about the survey by going to https://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/pres

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