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Experience Digital Literacy - 2nd year Class Rep

Fri 18 Nov 2016

Being Anatomy and Pathology 2 class rep has meant not only representing my fellow peers, but building a academic community. By representing my fellow peers views i have used various tools specifically email (to contact course organiser and administrator) and facebook messenger (contact with class peers), through this also gathering their feedback, which will be collated to help with improving the course.

 

We used this as a point to also communicate and make class peers well aware of the role we have in listening to all their course related concerns. And that they should openly approach us anytime in person or especially through the group chat that way other people who have the same problem and can get the same solution and answer saving time and being efficient but really effective.

 

We used the group chat  as a means to gain comments, feedback on the course as a whole and in specific areas which will be fed to our liason-meeting which will be crucial in improving the course for future years.

 

I would recommend other class reps to use facebook group chat for big classes and for small classes a group chat would be suffice as it will mean easier managing of messaging between students and reps for course related matters and can be monitored and help others too keeping ti a professional and safe environment for all.

 
Experience of Community Development- Biomedical Sciences School Convenor

Mon 14 Nov 2016

I have been a class rep for many courses during my studies at the university and have had the opportunity to represent over 400 students for many courses. I have now become a school convenor after taking on the undergraduate vice convenor role in the 15-16 academic year. I was able to communicate with the staff of the course via email or through the learn discussion board for the course and was also able to communicate to the class through the mailing list that was provided to the class reps by the course administrator and we were able to send information to students through email. Staff were also asked if they didn't mind sending emails to the class about feedback from course meetings or other year related information or links to facebook groups. I also have created facebook groups for many courses and again was advertised through email, learn and word of mouth in lectures and mentioned to friends. I was admin of these groups along with other students. Students would ask questions and other students would answer and agree/disagree or even discuss problems about the course which has been problem free for all my course, the course reps were aware of posts and also contributed to it such as creating polls or answering queries about the course and the exam if need be. This allowed me to become more accessible to my peers as i had stated that is was easy to get in contact with me and also i would be alerted if any questions came up about the course. It allowed me to answer questions and clear up understanding quickly. This has allowed us to come together to work on problems that we all faced on the course and also enabled us to learn new things and getting to meet other people through it that are on our course.

 

As School Convenor, I run the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences Facebook forum. This is a group for all students within biomedical sciences keeping upto date with what is happening in our school and what changes we are bringing over the academic year. The group is 400 members strong and we use this as a platform to communicate with all students. This allows us to form a sense of community within our school as students are kept up to date with what is going on and how they can easily contact us throughout the academic year on social media. However I also ensure that other platforms such as emails are also used widely so that students do not feel that information is being missed and we convenors ensure that social media is not our only platform of communication but however email is the best way to go.

 
Experience of Student-Staff Liaison Committee - 1st year Biomedical Sciences Class Rep

Mon 14 Dec 2015

On Thursday 5 November 2015, three other BMS1 class reps and I had our first SSLC meeting. To prepare for this meeting we, together with the Vice Convenor for the school of Biomedical Sciences, made a survey asking for students' feedback about the course. We did this, due to some unfortunate planning, on Wednesday.

Nonetheless, after 5 hours we already had 50+ responses and useful comments. The next morning we got together and discussed the students' concerns. We came up with ideas on how to improve the course and with good spirits we had our SSLC meeting. The atmosphere was informal and the staff really listened to our ideas and concerns. The BMS1 course is a new course and therefore there were a couple of problems with the course and many dissatisfied students. I found it difficult to deliver this (bad) news sitting in front of the course organiser who put a lot of effort in the curriculum. Luckily, she was very supportive and that definitely helped to keep going on with the conversation.

I really enjoyed our first SSLC meeting. It helped to develop my public speaking skills, my negotiation skills and my confidence. A tip for next time would be to do a survey earlier so that we do not have to rush everything and have more time to come up with solutions to the problems.

 
Experience of Implementing Change - MSc Class Rep

Mon 14 Dec 2015

I think success or impact of a class rep can be demonstrated through actions and conveying the process by which those actions were completed. The first thing I did, even before I was a class rep, was to create a Facebook page for our class, so that we had a non-official space to get to know each other, express ideas, ask questions, make plans, voice concerns, etc. I now use that space to demonstrate what actions I am doing or plan to do as their class rep.   For instance in our first semester, my class did not receive readings in advance and as according to policy.  This proved extremely problematic when we started a new module right as we were working on back-to-back assessments for our first two models. I was able to show impact by using the Facebook page to document the steps I had taken to rectify this issue: 1) attended a EUSA “working through postgrad issues” training, 2) posted a Facebook survey asking the class if they thought it was an issue they would like to have addressed 3) contacted my school rep who them brought it up at an academic council meeting 3) speak to the professor on the first day of class and 4) I will also address the issue at the Biomedical Sciences Dean meeting. Lastly, I also used the Facebook page to share the EUSA Class Rep video, so that my coursemates know how I am able to represent them.   I also measure impact by response. My coursemates were shown, through clear documentation, what I was doing to try and rectify this situation. I wasn’t just listening to their concerns. I took action. This showed them that I do care about fulfilling my obligations as a class rep. In turn, I now have coursemates beginning to approach me with other suggestions or concerns for and about the course.

 
Experience of an SSLC - Biomedical Sciences Class Rep

Tue 03 Nov 2015

In the past year I have acted as Class Rep for the courses 'Mechanisms of Brain Development 3' in Semester 1, and 'Neuroscience 3' in Semester 2.  In the first SSLC meeting, I, along with the other Class Reps for this course, had collected feedback on this course from students, and in this meeting we gave this feedback to the course organizer and administrator of MBD3. We collectively shared our thoughts and ideas about the course, and suggested ways of improving the course for future years. For example, the possibility of providing tours around the Anatomy museum for the course was discussed, in addition to potentially altering the weighting of marks for coursework compared to exams, as some students suggested that a smaller percentage of the overall course grade could be dependent on the single course essay.
 

In the second SSLC meeting, for 'Neuroscience 3', topics including the lectures and practical report coursework were discussed. Myself and my fellow Class Reps raised issues concerning how particular lectures were conducted, as some were unclear and not well explained. On the contrary, we also expressed how many students found other lectures extremely interesting and stimulating. We also gave feedback on the coursework, which consisted of a main practical report, and an online Neuroanatomy Quiz. The quiz received mainly positive feedback, but there were mixed opinions on the report. We ensured that all opinions expressed to us were discussed with the staff in order to improve the course in the most effective way.

 
Experience of Implementing Change - 3rd Year Biomedical Sciences School Rep

Tue 03 Nov 2015

One of the major problems for students in the biomedical school was that there next to nothing, social study space for students in the school only. We only had the library and other open lab areas however unlike other school, the biomedical school had nothing available for its students. We as conveners proposed that the medical common room in the school be available to all students and not just medics, and also provide card access to the "Greenfield Computer suite"  which again was only used by the medics but majority of the time was empty. We as conveners and class reps got together and met with the head of schools to talk about resources available to the students and pushed for more access to study space within the school. We were quite lucky that the staff agreed with our aim and so have now allowed students to have access to all study spaces specifically for BMS students only. Staff were very interactive and supportive of our aim and coordinated with us and delivered. We then let students within the whole school know about it by sending out an email but also have kept them updated via our forum face book page too.

 
Experience of Attending School Council - 3rd Year Neuroscience Class Rep

Tue 06 Oct 2015

At the start of the year, the School Council meeting for Biomedical Sciences allowed me to discuss my opinion and the opinions of others regarding academic families for the students in the School of Biomedical Sciences, and also the advantages and disadvantages of lecture podcasts for both students and staff. This gave me great insight into how the Council meetings were conducted and how I could have an input as a Class Rep at the time.


In the second meeting of the year, led by the Biomedical Sciences School Convenor, a group of students and myself had the opportunity to discuss points that have recently been raised regarding problems within the School and how these issues can be resolved. We discussed the impact of coordination between courses within the School to schedule ICA deadlines to prevent deadlines falling on consecutive days, and also followed up on the possibility of lectures within the School being podcasted. This enabled me to understand the opinions of fellow students of different years within the School, and how as a Class Rep, I can help to implement the necessary changes to improve systems within the School.


Since this meeting, I have been elected as Biomedical School Convenor and next year the responsibility of conducting such meetings would fall upon myself and the Vice Convenor, therefore attending these meetings has been extremely insightful.

 
Experience of Developing a Community - 2nd Year Biomedical Class Rep

Tue 06 Oct 2015

I have been a class rep for many courses during my studies at the university and have had the opportunity to represent over 400 students for many courses. I was able to communicate with the staff of the course via email or through the learn discussion board for the course and was also able to communicate to the class through the mailing list that was provided to the class reps by the course administrator and we were able to send information to students through email. Staff were also asked if they didn't mind sending emails to the class about feedback from course meetings or other year related information or links to facebook groups. I also have created facebook groups for many courses and again was advertised through email, learn and word of mouth in lectures and mentioned to friends. I was admin of these groups along with other students. Students would ask questions and other students would answer and agree/disagree or even discuss problems about the course which has been problem free for all my course, the course reps were aware of posts and also contributed to it such as creating polls or answering queries about the course and the exam if need be. This allowed me to become more accessible to my peers as I had stated that it was easy to get in contact with me and also I would be alerted if any questions came up about the course. It allowed me to answer questions and clear up understanding quickly. This has allowed us to come together to work on problems that we all faced on the course and also enabled us to learn new things and getting to meet other people through it that are on our course.

 
Experience of Research - 2nd Year Biomedical Class Rep

Tue 06 Oct 2015

As a class rep we wanted to conduct research into how we can improve the course and feed this back to the course organiser. We were able to do this by letting students know that we will be asking them to fill out a survey for the class reps so that we could feed back to the course organiser. We were able to conduct research by making a survey that covered the different aspects of the course such as lecture content, timetabling, staff effectiveness, coursework and feedback, and how students felt their standards were. This was the communicated to the students by word of mouth, speaking to friends or doing lecture shout outs, and also posted to them through email, facebook course groups and also on learn. Students were reminded throughout the week before the deadline. We then managed to collate the results and this was presented to the course organiser and team by analysing the data. We discussed for example how the feedback for the course had been pretty poor and suggested that guidelines should have been introduced to ensure better marking. We also suggested to have meet the marker session where we get to meet the marker and talk to him/her about the assessment. We concluded that many students enjoyed the course and also that there were improvements still to be made. We ensured that we communicated clearly and straight to the point so that we along with the staff could take immediate action to address these issues to ensure that the student experience was better made.

 
Experience of Campaign Organising - 2nd Year Class Rep

Mon 05 Oct 2015

One of the campaigns that I was actively engaged in was the school level lecture recording campaign. This was a campaign that was brought by many students within the school about having lectures recorded as this would be beneficial to them and found it annoying how some schools continue to record all lectures whilst others did not due to fear of low attendance. I contributed to this campaign as I was in full support with this, and so working with the organiser of the campaign and other class reps and students and also with staff, we submitted a case to the senior staff of the school about why we should have lecture recordings and how this will benefit our students immensely as students can miss vital information at lectures and can catch up later so that they do not feel pressured or distraught if they miss information due to reasons out with their control. This would allow students satisfaction that the University is investing in its students and also enables to improve the student experience here at the University. These developments are still under consideration and will continue on in the next academic year along with the university wide proposal

 
Experience of Staff-Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs) - 3rd Year Neuroscience Class Rep

Mon 05 Oct 2015

Like others, I found social media a valuable crowd sourcing tool for gathering the opinions of students prior to the SSLC. Along with the other class reps, I provided several prompts for students to offer feedback on various aspects of the course. The main topics of discussion are listed below, along with an example of some of the feedback given by students. 
 

 - Lecturers - Mostly positive, although there were some issues with time management that were communicated to the course organiser and were well received.
 

 - Assessment methods - Students had varied opinions of the assessment methods, some citing a dislike on the reliance of the coursework component on a single report as a reason for discontentment. 
 

 - Practicals - A mixed result with both praise for the demonstrators and disappointment that there was no 'wet lab' style dissection of brain tissue. 
 

The feedback was compiled and communicated to our wonderful course organiser, who accepting the criticisms (although there weren't many) about the course while helping to explain and elaborate on various parts of the course that students had found ambiguous. 


It was mentioned that the staff were considering several ideas for new practicals, and I suggested that as a large percentage of the course was a member of the facebook group, the best way to assess the interest in the options for the new practicals would be a facebook poll. The course organiser was enthusiastic about the idea and agreed, and I'm currently waiting to receive the list so I can construct the poll.


The conclusions of the meeting were communicated back to students. I feel that events such as these which facilitate clear and honest correspondence between students and staff provides great benefit to both sides.

 
 

Welcome to the School of Biomedical Sciences Representation page.
 

Here you will find useful information about your School’s student representation system.
 

First of all, let us introduce you to your School Representatives. Each School has two School Reps whose role is to listen to you and bring any issues you raise to the relevant staff and committee meetings, such as the Student-Staff Liaison Committee or your School Council. In Biomedical Sciences, the Undergraduate School Representative is Lauren Strickland and the Postgraduate School Representative will be elected in the October By-Election. Feel free to get in touch with them if you feel that you have something important to say to the School! Your School also contains Class Representatives who work very closely with the School Representatives, EUSA and the staff to ensure you make the most out of your courses. Potential areas Class Reps may engage with are issues with feedback, course content, and suitability of assessment.

 

The Biomedical Sciences School Council is a democratic structure and forum that enables you to take a proactive approach to your student life. It is a way for you and your coursemates to voice your opinions about what is going on in your School, and you are entitled to bring up issues and ideas that you consider relevant to the student experience in these meetings. You can ask your School Representatives to talk on behalf of you, or you can speak for yourself and count on their help to bring these issues forward and support you. They take place at least once a semester, so keep an eye out for updates from your Reps and don’t forget to attend – the more students that show up, the better! Last year, the School Representatives held an active and regular School Council, and were working on improving the spacing out of deadlines for exams and essays. If this is an issue you think is still relevant today, let your School and Class Reps know!
 

Within your School, you can also make use of Academic Societies. Whether you are looking for support in your studies, meeting like-minded students, networking, or keeping up-to-date with your field of study’s latest news, they are the place to be! In the School of Biomedical Sciences you can find the Biomedical Society. They are a peer support based society that encourages students to take part in academic events whilst also advising more generally on making the most of your time in the Biomedical School.

 

Another important thing to look out for in your School is the  Biomedical Sciences Academic Families. All first year students are allocated in a group with trained student leaders from later year groups. These group meet at regular intervals to provide students with support in areas as diverse as course selection, transition to university, and finding part-time jobs. Student Attendees are also encouraged to suggest themes for their sessions.

 

Find out more here: https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/support_and_advice/peer_learning_and_support/get_peer_support/find_a_project/organisation/biomedAF/.

 

If you believe something is missing from this page, please contact schools@eusa.ed.ac.uk

Undergraduate School Representative