Quality Assurance and Enhancement

 Dr Robert Doherty is the College Quality Officer for Social Sciences. He leads the development, implementation and monitoring of quality assurance and enhancement activities (QE&A) across the College in line with University expectations and the requirements of external bodies.

He has particular responsibility for the annual monitoring process, working with the School Quality Officers to improve the consistency of quality processes within the College to enhance the student learning experience and to promote good practice arising from quality assurance and enhancement activities. 

Our schedule of Annual monitoring for UG and PGT teaching 2013 and 2014 (Excel) shows the calendar for UG and PGT quality enhancement activity in a timetable, based on teaching weeks.

For further information, processes, best practice, summary reports, and forms please visit the Senate Office quality assurance annual monitoring pages.

Good Practice

We like to share examples of good practice from colleagues within the College of Social Sciences. The examples below have been identified from the Annual Monitoring Session 2012-13.

Student feedback

Students given comprehensive and detailed feedback in response to the Student Feedback Questionnaire for the Sociology 1A course.
Robert Gibb, SSPS

A common theme that emerged from the 16 individual external examiner reports was the quality of feedback provided by tutors to students, which enhanced the learning experience.
- Centre for Open Studies

With an increasing number of Associate Tutors, quality assurance in marking has been considered through: a) distribution of anonymised previous assignments and feedback sheets to promote a shared understanding of the features for grades A/B/C/D/E/F.
- School of Education

The innovative use of ‘reflective lecture evaluations’ that encourage students to reflect on the critical times in lectures when they were most engaged in, and most distanced from, what was happening; what puzzled or confused them most; and what most surprised them. This information is then summarised and students are given feedback on their responses. The purpose of these evaluations is to help the lecturer be more responsive to students’ concerns.
- Susan Deeley, Public Policy

Informal fortnightly meetings with GTAs, held by course convenor to ensure opportunity for discussion of best practice, sharing teaching ideas, and discussion about marking and facilitating student learning (Naomi Head/ Politics). Meeting with tutors encouraged reflection on providing effective feedback to students.
- Katherine Allison, Politics & Sociology

Student support

Tutors employed ‘study guides’ in mapping out the course and providing students with self-study tasks (linked to reading) equipping them with what is required to complete the task at their own pace and enabling them to complete the course with greater autonomy. This resulted in very positive student feedback.
- Mary Wingrave, Education

The use of detailed, graphical “maps” to set out the structure of the course.
- Dot Reid, Law Obligations 1B and Janeen Carruthers,  International Private Law

Using the preparation for tutorials as exam practice in Public Policy 1A and 2A courses.
- Susan Deeley, SSPS


Developed and implemented a policy on the recording of lectures, seminars and tutorials by students.
- E Metzger, Law

Across Schools, variety of uses of Moodle: quizzes, posting of lecture recordings, posting of digitised materials, electronic submission of assessments followed by grading and provision of feedback.

Introducing new teaching methodologies, such as ‘whole brain teaching, such as ‘pair and share’; using iPads in the classroom for presentation purposes.
- G Pate, SIS

Assessment and Student Peer Review

Team debates as a stimulating way of assessing students.
- M. Davies, SIS

Students review each other’s essays prior to submission.
- Suzanne McCallum, ASBS


Collaboration between lecturers to focus on a specific theme across different sections of a course to integrate material and improve its delivery.
-Robert Gibb, Sociology

The External Examiner made reference to ‘one of the strengths of the course’ being ‘reflected in the spirit and morale of the students, is its devoted intellectual and professional leadership’. Reflecting on the last four years being the external examiner, he highlighted ‘a number of distinctions’ including ‘significant improvements in the administration of the programme’, ‘secure submission of assignments’, organised processing of paperwork for exam board meetings, and ‘meticulous’ feedback on assignments. He also singled out the role played by the Adviser of Studies, which he argued was ‘a model for university practice’, the ‘intellectual prowess’ of the course leader who models teaching aspirations to students, and the ‘quality experience’ that the programme offered.
- Leon Robinson, MA Religious & Philosophical Education

Girl reading