Engaging with Student Expectations

08 May 2008 - 09 May 2008
Location: London

This year the conference will explore staff and educational development through themes linked to engaging with student expectations. What are our students’ expectations on joining our universities and colleges and how does this impact upon the kind of education offered to them and the work we are involved in? To what extent should we be involved in influencing expectations to fit our models of learning and teaching or should we be aiming to be more responsive to learner needs and views? As staff and educational developers, we aim to aid people in understanding the student experience of learning but given the diverse nature of further and higher education, the growing numbers and the complexities of our provision, can we even begin to understand student perspectives? What has been the impact of the National Student Survey or of league tables on your institution and how does your university or college know what students are expecting of the learning and teaching environment? What has changed in your work as a result of responding more actively to students?

This conference aims to explore and debate the issues around engaging with student expectations. In doing so it will touch upon some key topics in staff and educational development and learning and teaching with regard to what, when and how students learn, the role of teachers in shaping and responding to student expectations and the role of students in helping us to understand the processes involved in learning. It also allows us to explore the impact of fees on the relationship of students to their studies and to those who teach them. In keeping with the theme, the conference committee particularly encourages contributions which will include substantial input from students themselves.

Conference Themes

The conference will seek to address the following themes:

  • Student centred learning
  • Involving students in academic professional development
  • Collecting and responding to student views
  • Seeing teaching through the learners’ eyes
  • Consumerism and learning


The SEDA Conference Experience

SEDA prides itself on creating a relaxed, welcoming and positive atmosphere at conferences, which encourages open, constructive and supportive sharing of ideas, experience and practice.

Feedback from participants at recent SEDA conferences:

  • “The informal atmosphere made it a pleasant, enjoyable yet very useful conference with plenty of networking opportunities. Thanks!”

  • “Excellent and worthwhile conference, first time at the SEDA conference and I would recomment to others and come back! Thank you. “

  • “Great presentations, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Fantastic organisation.”


The conference will be of particular interest to all those involved in promoting effective change in HE and FE learning, teaching and educational development. This includes:

  • Educational and academic developers
  • Staff developers and human resources personnel
  • Higher Education Academy staff
  • Lecturers and teachers in further and higher education
  • National and institutional teaching fellows
  • Centre for Excellence, Subject Centre and FDTL staff
  • Managers of academic departments
  • Educational technologists
  • Quality assurance and enhancement policy makers

Conference Keynote

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Stephen J Ball who is the Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education, in the Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies and Centre for Critical Education Policy studies, Institute of Education, University of London. He is Editor of the Journal of Education Policy, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences and Fellow of the British Academy.


His main work is in the field of ‘policy sociology’; the use of sociological theories and methods to analyse policy processes and outcomes. His specific research interests focus upon the effects and consequences of the education market in a variety of respects including; the impact of competition on provider behaviour; the class strategies of educational choosers; the participation of private capital in education services; and the impact of ‘performativity’ on academic and social life.

Education services are now the UK’s single largest earner of foreign currency, over £28bn in 2005-6. The worldwide value of the market in students is $55bn. Higher education is big business and UK higher education is expanding worldwide. Within all of this the experiences and meaning of teaching and learning and teacher-student relationships are being changed dramatically. The presentation, entitled: Higher Education Plc: the commodification of teachers and learners in the global education market  will discuss these developments and the differential positioning of institutions and students within the global structure of higher education.

Conference Venue

The Royal National Hotel is located in Bloomsbury, London. Fully residential delegates will be accommodated on-site. It is in walking distance of the British Library, the British Museum and Covent Garden and a short distance from Euston and King’s Cross Stations and the nearest tube station is Russell Square.

On the evening of Thursday 8th May the Conference Dinner is to be held at the Royal Overseas League in the heart of the West End. The garden backs on to Green Park and is just 400 metres from Buckingham Palace. Weather permitting, the Wine Reception will be held in the garden.

Conference ProgrammeThursday 8th May 2008 – Day 1 (click here for day 2)

Click on title to view abstract (PDFs):



10.00 – 10.30

Registration and coffee

10.30 – 11.15  


Higher Education Plc: the commodification of teachers and learners in the global education market

Stephen J Ball, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education, Department of Educational Foundations and Policy Studies and Centre for Critical Education Policy Studies, Institute of Education, University of London

11.15 – 11.45


11.45 – 12.30

Parallel Session 1

  1. Development Through Data: students’ expectations and teachers’ perceptions

    Antonia Walker and Paul Hyland

  2. Whose Curriculum is it anyway? Involving students in curriculum design and development

    Ann Rumpus and Fiona Campbell

  3. Understanding Students’ Prior Experiences and Expectations of Assessment and Feedback

    Graham Holden, Chris Glover, Alison Hramiak and Lucy Davies

  4. Do Indicators Such as the National Student Survey (NSS) Help or Hinder Endeavours to Enhancce the Student Experience

    Julia Phelps, Josephine Walsh and Peter Jeffreys

  5. Involving Students in Developing Assessments for Practice Settings

    Ceridwen Coulby and Helen Mistry

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch
13.30 – 15.00  

Parallel Session 2

  1. Placing Student Voices at the Heart of Institutional Dialogue

    Abbi Flint and Anne Oxley

  2. Enhancing the First Year Experience: responsive curriculum change as a tool to create and sustain student motivation to learn

    Catherine Sanderson

  3. Hearing the Voices and Altering the Discourse

    Heather Symonds and Gaynor Gray

  4. International Students, Academic Writing and Plagiarism

    Terry Wareham, Lucas Introna, Niall Hayes and Edgar Whiteley

  5. 13.30 – 14.15 How can a Customer Relationship Management System Help us to Collect and Respond to Student Views?

    Steven Collis and Carl JonesAND14.15 – 15.00 Lessons Learned From my SupervisorLoraine Cook

15.00 – 15.15 Break
15.15 – 16.00  

Parallel Session 3

  1. The Student Perspective on Enhancing their Experience of, and Engagement with, their Studies

    Colin Bryson, Len Hand and Christine Hardy

  2. Bridging the Gap: supporting students with mental health difficulties/distress

    Anthony Brand and Jaki Lilly

  3. Re-Freshers: student centred and student designed engagement

    Jeanne Hill

  4. The Role of Higher Education: educator and student perspectives

    Morven Shearer

  5. Southampton Solent University Student Feedback Project

    Sara Briscoe and Susan Patrick

16.10 – 17.40

Parallel Session 4

  1. Lessons to be Learned From an Online Questionnaire Survey of Students’ Expectations of a Research-based Curriculum

    Pete Smith

  2. Still Struggling with PDP?

    Peter Lumsden and Danni Ryan

  3. Managing Expectations: bridging the gap between students’ wants and needs – and ours

    Phil Race

  4. ‘….They should make feel like it’s home….’: towards understanding the expectations and experiences of first year international students

    Silvia Sovic and Ellen Sims


Travel by tube to Royal Overseas League


Drinks reception and dinner