YOUR STUDENT VOICE HAS LED TO ...
You wanted the possibility for non-Music students to be able to use the practice rooms within the Clock House.
This was discussed by the Music and Music Technology team, accepted and an updated policy was implemented. There are now rooms designated for teaching and, for MMT students, and for non-MMT students. There are also sign-in sheets on the doors so we can obtain basic usage data.
We are satisfied with the quality of the course.
And we: are thrilled that 98% of you thought our courses meet your expectations and satisfaction (NSS 2018). This is a fantastic result, which is the third highest in Britain’s Music courses and joint-first in England. Please continue to give us your suggestions on areas we can improve so we can keep up with this amazing result.
We have been able to access course-specific resources (e.g. equipment, facilities, software, collections) when I needed to.
And we: are thrilled that all of you agreed with this statement. We have invested money and time in improving our facilities and we are very happy you saw the benefit.
You need a quiet space to work on written assignments.
And we: created a new area on the second floor (The Vista). The room is equipped with three MAC computers for quiet working.
You need a common-room to hang out in between classes / labs.
And we: have also provided a ‘chill out’ space (the Annex) to allow you room to eat and relax away from the work areas. This has freed up space for project work.
You need a space to practice instruments from other cultures, traditions, music structures and systems.
And we: have purchased instruments from different areas of the world: India, Peru, Bolivia, Australia, Mongolia, among others. These instruments are used in World Musics lectures. They are stored in a glass cabinet at (the Corner) studio and you can book the practice space and instruments with Ian Bayliss.
You think year 1 students should have better access to recording studios.
And we: made Tim Souster Recording Studio and the Snowdon Studio (in the Clockhouse) available to year1 students, providing suitable help from our technician Ian Bayliss. Both studios have undergone significant upgrades over the past 2 years, providing you with industry standard equipment and facilities that meet the demands of your modules.
You would like access to a printer in the Clockhouse to print special booklet scores.
And we: discussed this issue and decided that offering students access to a printer raises a number of issues and goes against the university policy of centralizing all printing services. But we are going to make sure that you are never required to print anything for your assessed work that cannot be produced with the printers in the Library or the SU.
You would like us to make available electric guitars and electric bass guitars and relevant amps for the purpose of practice and recording.
And we: purchased a new Fender Jazz bass, and a range of new amplifiers and cabinets from Fender, Marshall, Orange and Ampeg. These are available permanently in our studios and practice rooms.
“Staff value students’ views and opinions about the course”.
A whopping 90% of you thought this statement was true. That is significantly better than the average of Music departments in the UK (81%). We are very proud that you feel valued and we will continue to listen to you.
The criteria used in marking should be clear in advance
We say: we are surprised that this response emerged from the 2017 National Students Survey, as it did not emerge from the module evaluations questionnaires we diligently collect at the end of every module.
We are doing: we publish on the Keele Learning Environment the assessment requirements and marking criteria upfront at the beginning of every module.
You could: please check the assessment requirements and marking criteria of the modules you are attending early on in the semester. Do let us know as soon as possible if you find them unclear. As a last resort, please let us know when you evaluate a certain module you attended, if you feel that the assessment requirements and marking criteria were not clear enough.
The course should be better organised and run smoothly
We did: We have put in place an integrated team of support staff. Our new Music and Music Technology Administrator has now gained a full year of experience overseeing the programmes and its students so she should be able to respond efficiently to the demands of the job. We also have hired an extremely capable new full-time support technician (Ian Bayliss) to work alongside Cliff Bradbury (who will switch to part-time work).
We want to feel more as part of a community of staff and students
We did: We have tried throughout 2017 to support the activities of music societies, both in terms of finance, purchases of musical instruments, and in terms of logistics and rehearsal spaces.
We say: Keele University had in 2017 eleven students-run music society, which is a very high number of collectives. Manchester University has five, in a department that is five times bigger than ours. Students societies have virtually taken over the Lindsay complex for large part of the week, which has consequently become a hub of students’ musical activities. All Music and Music Technology students should be able to find an opportunity to engage with the existing cultural and community offers, but we also welcome suggestions from students to form new groups, collectives, societies and can look into ways to support them.
We want to see clearly how students’ feedback on the course has been acted on
We did: We have tried to address all issues, concerns and suggestions raised by students, individually and through their representatives. Sometimes our response is slow for reasons beyond our control. For example, students’ request for a bike shed near the Clockhouse is taking well over two years to be addressed, despite our immediate and renewed requests to the relevant University departments, for procedural and technical reasons that are totally outside our control. But we are trying. We are also publishing our responses online at www.keele.ac.uk/music/yousaidwedid/ because we want to be honest and transparent about our responses.
We say: we really need your help all the time, not only at the final National Students Survey. We want to work with you to understand your concerns and respond to them promptly. Please, get involved! Talk to your students’ representatives (if you want to raise issues anonymously), or the Programme Director, or your Personal Tutor. We really want to hear from you! We are very interested in your suggestions.
We want good advice to be available when we need to make study choices on our course
We say: We used to run information sessions on choice of electives at strategic times during the year but they were consistently poorly attended, especially by the students who needed them the most! Therefore we have switched to a one-to-one advice scheme, which clearly requires students to respond to our emails and take the initiative. If we hear nothing from a student we have no choice but to assume that he/she is dealing well with module choices.
You could: get in touch with your personal tutor immediately when you feel you need advice on choices of electives. You could go to the module catalogue website (www.keele.ac.uk/recordsandexams/az/) where you find a lots of information about every single module. You can also find the name of each module leader and get in touch with them individually with questions about the modules they teach. They love what they do (!!) so they will be very keen to talk to you about it.
We want to see that staff value students’ views and opinions about the course
We say: We do, honestly (!) but perhaps we fail to make you aware that we do.
We did: We created a section of the programmes webpage called You Said, We Did. In there we list the concerns you raised and how we responded. Go to www.keele.ac.uk/music/yousaidwedid/
We value work placement experiences and work in the local community
We did: we established links with the regional Music Hubs and organised various activities with them including Brass Workshops, Choir workshops and two forthcoming conferences for music teachers, in 2017. We created a new 2nd year module called Peripatetic Teaching which will be delivered in partnership with Stoke and Staffordshire Music Service. It will be a work placement module and students who take it will work in local schools, alongside professional teachers. This addition to our curriculum will complement the existing Music in the Community module to form a mini study-path based on work placement in the local community.
We want the same type of high-end project studio used by our Postgraduate students.
We did: first, we opened up the use of the Postgraduate studio to a selected number of undergraduate students involved in particularly demanding projects. Now we are building a new facility in Studio 4, formerly a computer pool-room. The new Studio 4 will be equipped with state of the art hardware and software for sound design, composition, sound and music for the screen, mixing and mastering, multi-channel mixing and interactivity. It will be suitable for small recording project, Foley recordings and will feature a small green area at the back to welcome musicians, producers and engineers.
We want a broader selection of musical instruments aside the collection of orchestral instruments.
We did: we acquired two drum-kits, one Fender steel-string electro-acoustic guitar, one Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, one Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth with exaphonic pickup, various hand percussions
We want you to improve the recording studios and provide us with more recording and mixing options.
We did: we improved the acoustic response of our studio with installation of acoustic treatments and bass traps. We continued our programme of microphone purchases. Our already rich collection of microphones has been expanded to include two AKG C414 large diaphragm microphones, two Shure SM7B dynamic microphones, two Delta Sontronic Ribbon Microphones, one Shure Beta 91A kick drum microphone, four licenses of Toontrack Superior Drummer, one Akai MPD 226 (MIDI controller). We also expanded our provision of digital camcorders, purchased a GoPro Hero4 Black camcorder, two photographic LED panels and three additional Zoom H2n surround sound portable audio recorders.