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Introducing the Theme

Evidence for Enhancement: Improving the Student Experience



We now have access to a plethora of data about our students, how they spend their time at university, what they think of the experience, and what they do after they leave us. At a national level, the National Student Survey, Longitudinal Education Outcomes data and, of course, ​the Teaching Excellence Framework are shaping popular and political discussions. Within institutions, we have data and feedback from an array of sources on how students engage with and value different aspects of our offer. Across the sector efforts are being made to explore the potential uses (and risks) of ‘big data’ and learning analytics. But how can we navigate our way through this sea of evidence and make decisions about the practice that will actually benefit students and enhance learning?


That’s the challenge this QAA Scotland Enhancement Theme will be addressing. A focus on ‘Evidence-Based Enhancement’ challenges institutions – and the sector as a whole – to consider how we use evidence (in all its guises) to inform practice and ensure students get the​ best experience possible during their time at university. It is a Theme that brings together a wide range of people – professional services, academic staff, and students – to explore what practices really do make a difference to learning, teaching and the wider student experience.


Edinburgh Napier is actively engaging with this work. We are looking at how to increase confidence and skills in understanding and using the range of available evidence. For students, this may mean exploring how to better use feedback and other sources of evidence to enhance individual learning or, perhaps, looking at the bigger picture of what makes a difference in turning a d​egree into a successful career. For staff, this could mean gaining a better understanding of the data and evidence available about our students, their experience on specific programmes, and their study aspirations and achievements.


We are also taking advantage of opportunities the Theme presents to draw on learning from across the sector. We are exploring, with colleagues across the sector, what changes in practice really do make a difference to student learning, satisfaction and positive outcomes. In the process, we have the chance to strengthen the evidence base that shapes our practice – institutional, ​programme and in relation to our own teaching.


Over the course of the Theme work, we are encouraging the sharing of what works (and what doesn’t), offering support to optimise use of existing data, and boosting the​ visibility of our successes in learning, teaching and student support.


If you are interested in getting involved in shaping Edinburgh Napier’​s engagement with the Enhancement Theme or just finding out more about what it is all about, please contact the Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement (DLTE) at dlte@napier.ac.uk.


For more information about the Evidence for Enhancement Theme, ​see the QAA Scotland website.