On 19/11/15 I attended the SSLC Meeting for the Honours Economics Program.
Prior Preparation for SSLC Meeting:
To prepare for the SSLC Meeting, I developed a survey which I distributed to all students in my courses. This survey considered overall satisfaction with teaching and taught material. I also asked students to voice any aspects of concern as well as those aspects they are particularly satisfied with. I evaluated the surveys and presented them in a clear summary.
Summary of SSLC Meeting:
Main Concerns Along with the other class reps, I engaged in discussion with staff about issues in the Economics Honours Program. Concerns about tutorials, dissertation, and lecture venues represented the key focus of discussion. All issues were considered, root causes identified, and potential solutions mainly for future years were proposed. I personally focused also on considering short-term solutions which are relevant to the students currently enrolled.
Lack of tutorials in some Honours Courses
I raised the issue concerning the lack of tutorials in the course “Advanced Topics in Applied Econometrics”. Staff recognized this issue and openly voiced that they will consider changing this requirement for future years. Furthermore, I suggested that for the current students enrolled in this course, at least a final review tutorial will be offered in the last week prior to the exam. Again staff was very willing to consider this recommendation, and promised to speak about this option with the relevant course organizer.
Mixed Satisfaction about Dissertation Presentations
A further topic, which is relevant to fourth year Honours Economics students, was the discussion of the dissertation presentations. These were held during Week 6 of Semester 1. To conclude from the discussion between class reps and staff, there was mixed feedback about how beneficial students perceived such presentations. While some groups found the feedback and discussion during these presentations very helpful, I voiced my concern that many students drew little benefits from the presentations. It may be suggested that in future years presentation groups should be smaller (5 people), as smaller discussion groups appeared to have found the presentations most beneficial. Furthermore, dissertation supervisors will need to focus on making the presentations more engaging, providing more detailed feedback.
Lecture Venues and Tutorial Rooms
Most of the other honours courses had high levels of satisfaction. However, the choice of lecture venues as well tutorial rooms seems to be another issue which needs close attention in the future. Currently rooms are often too small and cramped, thus impacting the learning environment severely. This issue was lead back primarily to the fact that staff underestimated the popularity of several new courses.
Focus on Implementation of Solutions The SSLC meeting was an engaging discussion. I felt that I was able to take the feedback I received from students and voice concerns to staff openly. Due to time constraints, some of the problems could not be discussed as fully. Also since there was not a class rep from every honours course, some honours courses may not have received accurate representation. Now it is important that these issues are followed up upon. My attention will be particularly on ensuring that a review tutorial for the course “Advanced Topics in Applied Econometrics” receives further consideration.