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The 3E’s Project – student expectations, experiences and encounters with HE and staff perceptions 2009

Project Overview

The successfully completed Research Informed Teaching project (2006/7) by the NW network group resulted in case studies used as resources for the ADM- HEA. The regional seminar (March 2007) provided an opportunity to disseminate the findings as well as enabling additional staff from HEI’s and HE in FE to become acquainted with the project and provide additional names for the database. As a result of this work the 3E’s project was put forward with a key ambition of involving our colleagues based in the region’s HE in FE provision and to support the development of other regional networks for ADM-HEA. We wish to acknowledge the support of ADM-HEA and the individual institutions in supporting the outcomes of the project.

The overall aims of the Network are:

  • To develop a regional network that is based on aspects of learning, teaching and research which references both the individual agendas of institutions in the North West and the ways in which they are responding to the aims of ADM-HEA
  • To ensure that information and knowledge about the activities of ADM-HEA in relation to good practice and approaches to the student learning experience are disseminated both regionally, nationally and where appropriate internationally.
  • To encourage additional individuals to join the ADM-HEA database, extending and enhancing the breadth of subject expertise available.
  • To promote constructive exchange between HEIs and FECs especially from the perspective of HE in FE.

This project had as its key aim the further development and sustainability of a regional network inclusive of both HEI’s and FE providers who deliver HE in Art, Design and Media where responses to the broader regional and national agendas are in support of the aims of ADM-HEA.

The following individual staff took part in the project:
Glenda Brindle (UClan), Steve Reid (Burnley), Michael Moore (Chester), Angie Berwick (West Cheshire), Rachel Studd (Manchester), Mandy Smith (Stockport), John Woodman (Cumbria), Mark Manning (Bradford – now at MMU), Jill Fernie Clark (previously at Blackpool and Fylde) and Barbara Thomas (Bolton – project lead).
The regional focus in the approach of many NW institutions is partly a response to the national change agenda with its focus on widening participation and progression issues such as the introduction of vocational diplomas and the impact of demographic shifts. The establishment of Lifelong Learning Networks with a regional focus is evidence of responses to this national agenda. The Network is aware of the activity of projects involving student progression, development of CPD opportunities and mapping of progression routes in the region. As a consequence this project was driven by a distinctive strategy with a focus on the student experience.

An additional added value aspect of the project has been the opportunity to grow a research culture between staff based in HE and staff delivering HE in FE colleges in the region and to build on work from the research informed teaching project undertaken in 2006/7 through critical reflection on collaborative research.
Four key areas of investigation were identified which encompassed the life cycle of the student experience and partnerships were able to focus on those areas of familiarity or involvement, namely;

  • Pre-entry
  • On-entry
  • On-course
  • On completion

These are issues which all HEI’s and HE in FE are addressing and their inclusion ensures parity of involvement in the project for all stakeholders across the HE landscape. The project has been exploring an analysis of differences in the two distinct contexts of HE and HE in FE and will consider what can be learnt from each other and how to collaborate with each other.

It was anticipated that the project would support 4 key activities for the network:

1.    To grow the network by involving more staff across the NW in the work of the network and in particular those staff delivering HE in FE
2.    To obtain student views and staff perceptions on the 3E’s
3.    To ascertain whether process and practice in the four areas of investigation are different in HE and HE in FE and what can be learnt from good practice across the NW
4.    Facilitating the sharing of good practice through critical reflection on collaborative research.

The report is focused around the following headings:

1.    Institutional Context
2.    Overarching methodology and approach in context
3.    Literature review
4.    Student Feedback
5.    Staff Feedback
6.    Overall findings
7.    Reflection on Collaborative research
8.    Recommendations.

Download the full overarching project report

Download the individual institutions' reports:

Report 1

Report 2

Report 3

Report 4