We have gathered a set of institutional case studies with links to further resources.
Change agent's network
Our change agents’ network offers ten case studies which are available to download from the change agents’ network blog.
DigiPals are students at Blackburn College who champion the use of e-learning and encourage peer engagement with technology to enhance learning. DigiPals is one of a range of initiatives led by the college Blended Learning Team (BLT) designed to create a culture shift across the organisation by embedding technology in student and staff practice. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
See also a webinar recording of Deborah Millar’s (head of e-learning, Blackburn College) presentation to the change agents’ network:
Birmingham City University
Student engagement at Birmingham City University is encouraged through a number of schemes including Student Academic Partners, Student Academic Mentoring Partnerships and Collaborative Partnerships. This means that student engagement is not confined just to the curriculum but is woven into the fabric of the whole student experience. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
See also a webinar recording of Paul Chapman’s (previously head of student engagement at Birmingham City University) presentation to the change agents’ network on student engagement – identity, motivation and community:
- Webinar recording (Blackboard Collaborate)
- Text chat with links (PDF)
- PowerPoint from Rebecca and Gillian’s presentation and PDF with notes from the presentation.
The T-SPARC project at Birmingham City University engaged with students through the universty’s student academic partners scheme as part of a review of curriculum design practices and processes. The T-SPARC project also produced a wider stakeholder engagement model which could be used when considering the development of student engagement activities.
Watch the short video on institutional change through staff-student partnerships to hear students and staff describe the institutional and personal benefits of working in partnership.
London Metropolitan University
Clued Up! is an online resource accompanied by a series of free workshops designed to support students both at London Metropolitan University and in the wider HE community to help develop their ability to use digital technologies for study and learning and to develop the digital graduate attributes that they need. Student digital ambassadors provide active support for the initiative. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
See also a webinar recording of Jim Pettiward (blended learning facilitator and EAP lecturer) and Helen Long’a Tongu’s (digital ambassador) from London Metropolitan University presentation to the change agents’ network:
University College London
Partly inspired by our own digital festival, University College London held UCL digifest in November 2014 – a five-day festival of all things digital ending with an open day to celebrate and showcase the collective achievements of all participants who took part. The underlying principle behind digifest was that of collaboration and of sharing examples of innovative practice across the institution. It was a partnership between staff and students – a bottom-up, grass roots kind of event that engaged and enthused people and a platform to allow students to take part on an equal footing. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
See also a webinar recording of Steve Rowett (e-learning developments team leader) and Janina Dewitz’s (innovations officer) presentation to the change agents’ network:
University of Bath
At the University of Bath the Jisc Professionalism in the Digital Environment (PriDE) project took an institution-wide approach to supporting staff and students to develop digital skills appropriate to their professional contexts. The project team engaged staff and students in defining and developing digital literacies within subject disciplines, which they then used to develop a coherent model that could be applied across the university but that was differentiated with discipline-specific statements and outcomes. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
University of Greenwich
At the University of Greenwich a number of initiatives are centrally coordinated to contribute to the Digital Student Experience. These include: the Greenwich digital literacies in transition project and an interdisciplinary research group comprising up to ten students drawn from all campuses of the university and also across academic years who received studentships funding worth £1,500 per academic year and were supported by a student intern, a recent graduate. For this group to be successful it needed to comprise enterprising, dynamic and enthusiastic students. Therefore a novel recruitment process was created and deployed. The project outputs include a description of the recruitment process and the resources used to recruit to the group. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
Use the links below to find out more about the institutional journey and see further resources for each project:
University of Lincoln
Working in partnership with students to evaluate and enhance the student experience is at the heart of the University of Lincoln’s philosophy, whether that relates to teaching or service provision. The student engagement team work with students and staff to consider the impact on the student experience and develop meaningful engagement.
Explore how student engagement initiatives such as restructured subject committees, work shadowing between students and the executive team, student representation on interview panels and the work of engagement champions are making a positive impact on the student experience. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
University of Nottingham
University of Southampton
iChamps at the University of Southampton work alongside staff partners in academic units and faculties across the university to identify and develop digital initiatives according to the needs of academic teams and the interests of students. iChamps are extending their reach and embedding the work of the iChamps network by linking digital developments with other student-led initiatives such as placements, employability and student engagement.
Mission Employability is another initiative in the School of Humanities at the University of Southampton. This student-led employability initiative is run by a team of four student interns and history lecturer and faculty director of employability, Dr Eleanor Quince. The team are working together to improve the employability agenda within the faculty through the development of a zero-credit employability module, the establishment of a peer mentoring scheme and other initiatives. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
See also a webinar recording of Dr Eleanor Quince (history lecturer and faculty director of employability) and Charlotte Medland’s (student and humanities employability co-ordinator) presentation to the change agents’ network:
- Webinar recording (Blackboard Collaborate)
- Text chat with links (PDF)
- Presentations in PDF format or from SlideShare
You may also wish to read Eleanor and the students’ article on Mission Employability in the pilot edition of the change agents’ network ‘journal of educational innovation’.
University of Winchester and Bath Spa University
The FASTECH project at the University of Winchester and Bath Spa University engaged Student Fellows to explore how technology could enhance feedback and assessment processes. This case study explores how the Student Fellow programme has expanded and become more widely embedded in practice at the University of Winchester and the benefits this has brought. Find out more on the change agent's network blog.
Further information is available on the FASTECH project.
Our other educational innovation projects
Students acting as digital pioneers is a theme that has come to the fore in several projects. Digital literacy projects have also been engaging students in a number of ways to drive change in the development of digital literacies in a range of contexts. Examples include:
Oxford Brookes University
University of Reading
University of Exeter
Students as Change Agents at the University of Exeter worked in partnership with university staff to address the challenges of using technology with large and diverse cohorts. They undertook research on student views and perceptions, provided recommendations and solutions for practice, and supported staff in bringing about wide-scale changes in teaching. Much of this work evolved through the integrate project, which developed a framework for promoting change in technology use through engaging students. The framework is designed around two key dimensions:
- The extent to which any activity is led by students, or led by the institution
- The extent to which any activity is premised on active engagement by students in change, or is based on more passive forms of representation
The framework may allow a better understanding of formal engagement with students, the different forms that this can take, and where responsibilities lie. Resources are available on the project website.
Work has continued through projects such as the cascade digital literacies project, which involved postgraduate researchers.
You may also wish to read the HEA publication students as change agents: new ways of engaging with learning and teaching in higher education (2011), which is based on the Exeter Students as change agents initiative.
University of Surrey
Other agencies such as the Higher Education Academy (HEA), The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP) and the National Union of Students (NUS) have also supported student-staff partnership projects and have case studies relating to these on their websites. Please visit the section on other agency initiatives and useful links for further information.