Understanding and improving the student experience: making a real difference in the new age of metrics

10 May 2018 - 11 May 2018
Location: Doubletree Hotel by Hilton, Leeds


The world of post-compulsory education now seems to be dominated by the search for appropriate metrics as a proxy for quality and the inevitable awards/ranking/league tables to accompany them. The TEF is the obvious example in UK Higher Education with Chris Husbands (chair of the TEF panel) claiming that it “amounts to a compendium of evidence on teaching more detailed than that on any other university system in the world” (THE, 22/6/17). The same issue of THE demonstrates the range of opinion about the value of TEF – from “peddling pyrite that is more likely to distract than it is to represent real value” (page 5) to a “benefit to all those who will engage with UK higher education in the years to come.” (page 31) 

Whatever our personal opinions on the TEF outcomes and process, there is no doubt that it has focused attention on the ‘student experience’. This conference will focus on how we can both understand and improve that experience in ways which may offer more fundamental educational advantages than the simple metrics of systems like the NSS and the TEF. As a result, it will be of value to academic staff, programme/course leaders, educational developers, and support staff across a very wide range of institutions. This will also benefit colleagues in Further Education where new systems of measurement and review are also under discussion. Our general theme is of course relevant to everyone in post-compulsory education and we particularly welcome contributions from outside the UK which can offer a comparative perspective.


  • Assessment and feedback.
  • Applications of learning technologies.
  • Learning analytics and student feedback systems.
  • Approaches to curriculum design and updating.
  • Induction and transition.
  • Student attributes and performance measures.
  • New methods of curriculum delivery (and their evaluation).
  • Online and hybrid course systems.
  • Different ways of conceptualising and managing the student experience  (e.g. Temple et al, 2014 – see https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/managing_the_student_experience.pdf


SEDA is inviting proposals for panel presentations, discussion papers and workshops which address the conference themes. The emphasis should be on reflection, exploration, scholarship and evaluation rather than merely a description of activities. SEDA conferences include sessions which involve delegates in active participation, discussion and development. This is a requirement of all discussion papers and workshop proposals. Activities should go beyond discussion of topics, and should involve critique, analysis, development and action planning by and with participants. Session formatsPanel Presentations: In the past, a few workshops at SEDA conferences have felt more like presentations tortured into a workshop format, more or less successfully. So we are also inviting presentations for chaired panel sessions. Sets of three 10-minute presentations on related themes will be followed by 15 minutes of panel / Q&A discussion.Discussion papers: (up to 25 minutes presentation plus at least 20 minutes of questions and discussion / exploration), giving an account of research, evaluation, policy or practice, with the emphasis on drawing out lessons for and with others and involving participants in engaging with your findings. Sessions which integrate presentation and discussion, rather than presentation followed by Q&A, will generally be preferred.Workshops: (45 or 90 minutes) with the emphasis on a more detailed exploration of a research-informed issue or resource and including high levels of creativity, innovative thinking, critique, practical participation and action planning.Criteria for acceptance of proposalsEach proposal will be reviewed for acceptance at the conference against the following criteria:

  • Active and productive engagement of participants
  • Relevance to the conference title and themes
  • Clarity and coherence of the proposal, including title
  • Contribution to scholarship and evaluation of educational development in further and higher education, reflecting on and informing the future of educational development
  • Appropriateness of session structure and specified timings in relation to session type
  • Likely value of session aims and outcomes to the participants
  • Consistency with the SEDA Values

Deadline and processProposals should be submitted electronically to SEDA at office@seda.ac.uk, using the proposal formCALL FOR STUDENT PAPERS

SEDA invites proposals from students In UK HE or FE to deliver short papers (15 minutes) to this conference. Papers should relate to the general conference themes.

Support from SEDA

SEDA has agreed to provide financial support for three student papers from three different UK institutions under the following conditions:

  • Each student presenter will have all conference fees waived and be provided with subsistence/accommodation for the whole conference.
  • Each student’s home institution must agree to cover the student’s travel costs.
  • Each student’s home institution must agree to fund at least one full conference delegate to support the student presenter and act as ‘sponsor’. The staff delegate will be expected to advise and support the student in preparing his/her presentations but will not have any role in delivery at the conference.

Deadline and ProcessProposals should be submitted electronically to SEDA at office@seda.ac.uk, using the proposal form

Professor Claire Taylor, FSEDA, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Education, Wrexham Glyndŵr University Claire is an educationalist with nearly 30 years’ experience working with learners across different sectors. She is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Education at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Previously she was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at St Mary’s University, London and also held senior roles at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln. Prior to working in higher education, Claire held teaching and leadership positions within the schools’ sector. Claire is a Fellow of SEDA and a previous Conference and Events Committee Co-Chair; she is currently a member of the editorial team for Educational Developments. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Professional Affiliate Member of the Chartered College of Teaching. Claire is a UK Teaching Excellence Framework Assessor and Panel member and sits on the Higher Education Funding Council for England National Student Survey Advisory Group, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales Committee for Student Opportunity and Achievement, and Universities Wales Learning and Teaching Advisory Group.David Kernohan, Associate Editor, WonkheDavid Kernohan is Associate Editor of Wonkhe. Until June 2016, he worked at Jisc as a programme manager and senior codesign manager. He has written, presented, and researched widely on open educational practice, online courses, and the future of learning technology. A regular ALT-C presenter, David is currently co-chair of the OER18 conference, to be held in Bristol in April 2017At HEFCE he was part of a team responsible for the delivery of the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) programme, and contributed to the creation of the Higher Education Academy, Prior to this, he worked for the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales) on academic staff development.  As Wonkhe’s Associate Editor, David has responsibility for the development and delivery of a variety of editorial content. His key areas of wonkishness include teaching quality enhancement policy, funding policy, sector agency politics and history, research policy, and the use of technology and data in Higher Education.David has written for Wonkhe since it was founded in 2011, and also maintains a personal blog.Dr John Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning, Teaching and Students, University of YorkJohn Robinson is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning, Teaching and Students at the University of York. He is an electronic engineer with research and design contributions in image processing. He became PVC in 2012 after four years as Head of Department of Electronics at York where he has been a professor since 2000. Before that he held an Industrial Research Chair at Memorial University of Newfoundland, founding a spinout company, and previously worked for the Universityof Waterloo and Bell-Northern Research. He has a BSc in maths from Durham, MSc and PhD in engineering from Essex, and an MPhil in the humanities from Memorial.

Conference Package

Early bird price (prior to 5pm Thurs 12 April 2018)

Standard price(after 5pm Thurs 12 April 2018)

SOLD OUT Full residential conference delegate (includes one nights accommodation and all meals, including the conference dinner)



SOLD OUT Student Concessionary Full residential conference delegate (includes one nights accommodation and all meals, including the conference dinner) Available to Full Time Students Only £380 £440

Non-residential day delegate Thursday 10th May and Friday 11th May (includes lunch and refreshments)



Non-residential day delegate Thursday 10th May (includes lunch and refreshments)



Student Concessionary Non-residential day delegate Thursday 10th May (includes lunch and refreshments) Available to Full Time Students Only £145 £165

Non-residential day delegate Friday 11th May (includes lunch and refreshments)



Student Concessionary Non-residential day delegate Friday 11th May (includes lunch and refreshments) Available to Full Time Students Only £145 £165

SOLD OUT Bed and breakfast accommodation for the night of Wednesday 9th May



Conference dinner Thursday 10th May



Day One09.15 – 09.45 Registration and tea & coffee – FIRST FLOOR BREAKOUT AREA09.45 – 09.50 Welcome and Introductions – RUM AND TIREE ROOM09.50 – 10.10 View from SEDA RUM AND TIREE ROOM10.10 – 11.00 After the goldrush: Educational development on the run 1998-2018 – RUM AND TIREE ROOMDavid Kernohan, Associate Editor, Wonkhe11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break – FIRST FLOOR BREAKOUT AREA

11.00 – 11.30 New to SEDA? Come and find out more Yaz El Hakim and Jo Peat (SEDA Co-Chairs) – IONA ROOM

11.30 – 12.15 Parallel Session 1

  1. Learning Analytics That Matter: the experience of staff, developers, and students  Fabio Aricò, Florence Dujardin, Jacob Shilling – RUM AND TIREE ROOM
  2. REF, TEF, and KEF… introducing the SEF: the University of Derby’s Student Experience Framework 2017-20  Fiona Shelton; Russell Lewis and Amy Kyte – MULL ROOM
  3. Defining High Quality Teaching: perceptions of students and academics  Penny Burden, Sabrina Poma, Nigel Page, Sophie Allen, Jillian Birad – ARRAN AND BUTE ROOM
  4. Can Assessment be Democratised? A Reflection on Implementation  Josh Berlyne, Fabienne Collignon – IONA ROOM
  5. TBL, PBL, EBL, SCALE-UP, Buzz, Virtual or what? What are the ‘best’ teamwork recipes to support our students’ professional development and enhance their learning  Chris Dearnley, Peter Hartley – KERRERA ROOM
  6. More than the metrics – our deep dive into assessment workload  Laura Costelloe, Mark Glynn, Clare Gormley – TARANSAY ROOM

12.20 – 13.05 Parallel Session 2

  1. Whose student experience is it anyway? Exploring the Teaching-Learning Nexus in Academic Development  Anna Hunter – TARANSAY ROOM
  2. Gonzo Assessments: Balancing the inequality in assessment design  Nicholas Botfield – IONA ROOM
  3. Enhancing the student experience by enriching performance measures  Anna Mockler, Anne Llewellyn – MULL ROOM
  4. A ‘One-Stop Shop’ to enhance the Student Experience through active communication of extra-curricular and co-curricular opportunities  Tom Lowe , Maisha Islam, Tim Mellor – ARRAN AND BUTE ROOM
  5. Enhancing the student experience of assessed group work: Developing a research-informed framework  Moira Maguire, Ronan Bree, Paula Mullen, Colin Cooney, Peter Morris – RUM AND TIREE ROOM
  6. A research based induction to aid transition  Phillip Miller – KERRERA ROOM

13.10 – 14.00 Lunch – RESTAURANT – THE LOCK AND KITCHEN BAR14.05 – 15.35 Parallel Session 3

  1. ABC learning design and learning analytics: intent meets indicators  Samantha Ahern, Natasa Perovic, Clive Young – ARRAN AND BUTE ROOM
  2. Supporting transition through Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Ruth Lefever, Leanne Hunt – TARANSAY ROOM
  3. Becoming a university student: Understanding successful induction and transition beyond metrics and employability  Leoarna MathiasGill Gilbert – IONA ROOM
  4. 2 x 45 minute sessions:
  5. ‘Don’t let markers put a cross unless they’re going to explain why’ – Undergraduate attitudes to assessment and feedback  Stephanie McBurney, Sue R Whittle AND Student Views on Assessment Workload and activities  Pam Parker, Rachael-Anne Knight, Julie Attenborough, Laurence Solkin – MULL ROOM

15.35 – 15.45 Break – FIRST FLOOR BREAKOUT AREA15.45 – 16.45 Day One Closing Keynote – Learning without Limits: thriving (not just surviving) in Wonderland  – RUM AND TIRREE ROOMProfessor Claire Taylor FSEDA, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Education, Wrexham Glyndŵr University 17.00 – 17.45 NetworkingGetting Published with SEDA James Wisdom (Chair, SEDA Educational Developments Magazine Editorial Committee) – IONA ROOM18.00 – 18.45 SEDA AGM – MULL ROOM18.50 Drinks Reception – FIRST FLOOR BREAKOUT AREA OR TERRACE OVERLOOKING THE CANAL19.30 Dinner – THE GALLERYDay Two09.00 – 09.25 Registration, tea and coffee – FIRST FLOOR BREAKOUT AREA09.25 – 09.30 Welcome to day 2 – RUM AND TIRREE ROOM09.30 – 10.30 Student presentations – RUM AND TIRREE ROOMExcellent Teaching: The Student View  Angelina CliffThe spectrum of student engagement: Looking beyond metric measures  Madeleine Pownall10.30 – 10.45 Coffee Break – FIRST FLOOR BREAKOUT AREA10.45 – 11.30 Parallel Session 4

  1. Understanding why students find some concepts difficult to learn as the foundation of curriculum change: A case study from tertiary chemistry education  Nimesh Mistry – TARASAY ROOM
  2. The Collegiate Learning Assessment: An institutional case study of using standardised testing to measure students’ generic skills  Stuart Brand, Jamie Morris – IONA ROOM
  3. Capturing the Student Voice:enhancing the student experience  Jack Lay, Chris Mattinson, Louise Naylor – ARRAN AND BUTE ROOM
  4. Improving student experience, retention, belonging, and success through induction: Lessons learned from research  Jessica Gagnon, Julia Smith – MULL ROOM
  5. Year in Industry: Barriers, Challenges and Motivations  Mark Sumner, Alice Shepherd – KERRERA ROOM
  6. Evaluating the collaborative development of pedagogic interventions based on learning analytics  Kerry Myler, John Peters, students – RUM AND TIREE ROOM

11.35 – 12.20 Parallel Session 5

  1. “It’s all about horses for courses”. Designing and developing an academic skills module to enhance the student experience of a mature, return to learn student cohort on a blended learning programme Eve Rapley, Sophie Pullen, Veronica Brewster – TARANSAY ROOM
  2. Student Partnership: the ultimate expression of engagement?  John Peters, Leoarna Mathias – MULL ROOM
  3. Flipping Heck! How can we engage students in the lecture experience?  Joanne Smailes, Anna Heyman – RUM AND TIREE ROOM
  4. cancelled
  5. Engaging staff with the TEF metrics at subject level  Paul Yates – ARRAN AND BUTE ROOM
  6. Incidental Learning  Amanda Turner – IONA ROOM

12.25 – 13.20 Lunch – THE LOCK KITCHEN AND BAR13.20 – 14.10 Day Two Keynote – The York Pedagogy and the TEF – RUM AND TIREE ROOMDr John Robinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning, Teaching and Students, University of York14.15 – 15.00 Parallel Session 6

  1. Get Set for Success: a Widening Participation focused pre-entry programme for transition into Higher Education  Vera van Leeuwen – ARRAN AND BUTE ROOM
  2. Outduction of pharmacy students – a case study  Nina Walker – IONA ROOM
  3. Using teacher perspective metrics to reflect and improve learning designs  Helen Walmsley-Smith – RUM AND TIREE ROOM
  4. Making the Connections: Induction, Transition and Beyond, putting a transition project into practice  Pamela Thomas, Jill Molloy, Rohzeena Janjua – TARANSAY ROOM
  5. What are we assessing? The Impact of NSS and TEF metrics on the assessment strategy in a Post-1992 School of Business and Law  Elaine Yerby, Andrew Boocock – MULL ROOM
  6. SEDA-PDF: Supporting CPD in HE and beyond What, Why, and How?  Jenny Eland, SEDA-PDF Committee – KERRERA ROOM

15.05 – 15.20 Plenary – Interactive Section – RUM AND TIREE ROOM15.20 – 15.30 Summing up and close – RUM AND TIREE ROOM