You said, we did (and are doing)
Music and Music Technology students cycling to the Clockhouse need a bike shelter.
We did: We are currently in negotiation with our Sustainability Department to look for funding to purchase and install a bike shelter near the Clockhouse. There are difficulties due to the strict regulations on the conservation area the Clockhouse is part of. We are doing everything we can to come to a solution and will keep you updated.
We want to be able to view examples of ISP from past years.
We say: OK. We have published a few on 'Dissertation-KLE' as examples of good practice: dissertations, composition portfolios, recitals, Digital Arts Creative Portfolios.
We are doing: We will publish more, but it is quite difficult due to the strict data protection laws (we need to edit them to make them completely anonymous, not even registration numbers, and then we need authorisation from the graduate authors anyway). You could: please check the material as we publish it, and let us know what else we can do to help you with these important Independent Study Project modules.
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.
The recording studio in Lindsay sometimes suffers from noise pollution from the other rooms and installations in the complex.
We did: we purchased and installed a £9,000 large sound booth, which is connected to the recording studio and allows for very quiet recordings of vocals, acoustic instruments and even drums. Twelve microphone/line lines are directly patched to the digital mixing console in the control room. The new sound box was used in almost every demonstration in the first year Sound Recording module.
We need to know where notation software is available.
We did: we published a list of workstations where Sibelius notation software is available. Those workstations are also now marked with the Sibelius logo.
The class listening exercises in the Music Production modules are difficult because the acoustics of a lecture room is not conducive to detailed attentive listening.
We did: lecture rooms are notoriously inadequate for listening the sonic nuances of production techniques. Therefore, we made all music tracks available in our Music server so you can prepare before the lectures, listening to these tracks in our studios (with professional high quality loudspeakers) or in your own room, using headphones. This collection of tracks is a sort of ‘audio study-pack’ which you can take away with you, for free, for study purposes, as reference for production projects, and for essay writing.
Sometimes we cannot attend sessions of the Keele Music Forum on Wednesdays early afternoons because of sport fixtures, sports training or work commitments.
We did: Keele Music Forum meetings are now filmed and the videocasts are available in Studio1 for everyone to watch. This counts as ‘attendance’ to the Forum.
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.
We want to know what lab workstations Music students are allowed to use.
We did: in addition to the existing workstations with Sibelius, we created a small lab specifically for Music Students: Studio-3 in The Clockhouse. Studio-3 will host a 27-inch iMac with Sibelius notation software and five 21-inch iMacs, all networked. And we will install brand new computers in there during the summer. There is a good sound system but you can also work with your headphones. We are gathering suggestions from Music students to get ideas on what else to provide in Studio-3 to help your music studies at Keele.