“Partnership is fundamentally about a relationship in which all involved – students, academics, professional services staff, senior managers, students’ unions and so on – are actively engaged in and stand to gain from the process of learning and working together. Partnership is essentially a process of engagement, not a product. It is a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself.”
Healey, M., Flint, A. and Harrington, K. (2014) engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York, Higher Education Academy (accessed 11 August 2015)
About this guide
This guide is intended as a toolkit to help you to improve the student digital experience at your institution. It provides a collection of effective practice resources, guidance, reflection points and tools to help you build strong and productive student-staff partnerships to develop your institution’s digital environment.
The guide was developed through our change agents’ network which supports working in partnership with students as a driver for change in implementing technology enhanced learning.
The 2014 NUS report, radical interventions in teaching and learning states,
“in order for universities to foster more inclusive learning environments, we believe that students must be empowered as active and participatory agents, not as mere consumers, so that they can articulate their own conceptions of what makes good learning environments, and work in partnership with academics and administrators to realise these conceptions.”
In further education and skills, the Further Education Technology Action Group (FELTAG) has also highlighted the opportunities for more active engagement of learners.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is aimed at a wide range of staff in UK higher education (HE), further education (FE) and skills including:
- Senior managers with responsibility for the digital experience, the digital environment and or quality enhancement initiatives
- Student engagement managers, officers and teams
- Programme managers with responsibility for curriculum development and enhancement
- Learning and teaching staff
- Librarians and learning resources staff
- Student support services
- Staff and educational developers
- E-learning/ILT staff
What will I find in the guide?
The resources include tools and discussion prompts to help you to develop a student-staff partnership model suited to your institution, case study examples of models developed by HE and FE institutions and links to other agency initiatives and related information.
To help you to navigate a personal path through the growing number of resources we have organised the guide in sections.
In this section you will find a summary of the key benefits of student-staff partnerships drawn from innovative practice and research conducted by HE and FE providers with support and funding from educational agencies such as ourselves and the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
For those just starting out the journey of developing a student-staff partnership initiative, this section is where you will find links, activities and stimulus material to use with students and staff as you explore what might work for you and learn from what has worked for others.
The viewpoints section offers a framework for managing the change processes associated with implementing student-staff partnerships and includes detailed guidance on four key dimensions:
- Partnership setup
- Partnership implementation
- Capabilities, development and accreditation
- Sustaining and embedding partnerships based on evaluation of impact
The viewpoints implementation guidance is based on the Ulster University’s viewpoints framework for curriculum and includes effective practice points and prompt questions, top tips, workshop and planning activities as well as links to sector resources to help you develop a partnership model suited to your particular needs and your institutional culture.
The combined viewpoint resources form a toolkit that offers a holistic and well-structured process for reviewing and developing your work on student-staff partnerships. The viewpoints approach will be particularly valuable to institutional teams who have been tasked with leading and developing this work.
We have gathered a set of institutional case studies with links to further resources. A short summary to each case study will give you a flavour of what each example is about.
From January to June 2015 we ran a series of five webinars highlighting examples of effective practice across the sector and providing an opportunity for colleagues working on change agents’ network initiatives to come together in a wider community of practice to share their work.
Other UK educational agencies have also been involved in student-staff partnership research and development. In this section you will find links to their work and also other related resources.