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Student Champions proposal

These pages present work done as part of a HEA funded project in Spring 2015. For information on the development of Warwick's Student Champion schemes, including learning & teaching champions and digichamps, see the Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA) web site.

This is our proposal to the University for the creation of a permanent scheme across the whole institution. You can leave comments at the bottom of the page.

The big idea...

We should establish a self-sustaining network of Student Champions working in partnership with staff and students for the enhancement of learning, teaching and the student experience (LTSE). This should become an essential thread in the fabric of the Warwick community, and for many students, a transformative aspect of their learning and development. It can be done at relatively low cost, using existing services and expertise, but with significant benefits to the institution and to students. It would create reusable and adaptable learning resources in Moodle, developed by students for students and staff - thus further assisting the embedding of technology enhanced learning (TEL) at Warwick. The approach could then grow to work with future international campuses (e.g. California) and partners (e.g. Monash). The network will operate as part of the Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA).

To achieve this, we need to...

1. Embed Student Champion work within a cohesive multi-agency approach to the enhancement of LTSE – as described in the Competency Framework report, this establishes a virtuous circle between “remix” style LTSE projects, the growth of our network of “informed advocates”, and more effective “design participation” by staff and students.

2. Design a set of roles and a set of repeatable projects, based on the Extended Classroom approach, that can be undertaken by partnerships of students and teachers. Must be worthwhile and feasible. Projects, roles and competencies are described in the Competency Framework report.

3. In the first phase, Departments and Services should identify appropriate projects, recruit and fund Student Champions. We need to establish the expectation that every department should recruit an appropriate number of students into the scheme. Projects should be logged with the administrative support for the WIHEA Academy. Project briefs should be developed with Student Champions, following a standard approach (based on professional project practices), and documented in MyPortfolio and Moodle. As the scheme develops, students should be encouraged to proactively find and develop enhancement projects with staff.

4. Seek project types that maximise the committment of the students. For example:

  • Projects in academic departments might initially focus on modules for second year students. Project teams should combine first year students who might later follow the modules, with third year students who have already experienced them. This maximizes the combination of student motivation (1st years) and experience (3rd years). In the second year of the scheme, the focus will start to shift towards spreading good practice to other modules.
  • Projects could be linked to institution-wide campaigns, such as the "Save us from Death by Powerpoint" campaign (promoting Responseware).

5. Create an easy entry point into the scheme for large numbers of first year undergraduates. Easily-accessed online and classroom based training should enable students to quickly become entry-level Student Champions. We should emphasise the value of this for the students:

  • They get to improve modules that they might take in the following year.
  • They acquire transferable skills, and are supported (through MyPortfolio) in recording and reflecting upon their development.
  • They improve their study skills and their understanding of the design of LTSE at Warwick.
  • They qualify for further opportunities, some of which will be more substantial positions for which they are financially rewarded.

6. Provide a physical and a virtual home for the network of Student Champions, with equipment, project development spaces (physical), and multi-agency support.

7. Define a reward system for students, so that they are suitably compensated for projects completed to the required specification - including a financial reward (e.g. £200 for a completed remix-style project).

8. Track impacts and benefits for departments and individuals, through scaffolded recording and reflection in MyPortfolio and an end-of-project survey.

9. Hold a celebration, with an award scheme, for student-staff partnerships at the end of the academic year.

10. Encourage opportunities for Student Champions from year 1 to go on to more advanced projects, paid opportunities, and fellowships (for example with IATL). They might then become Super Champions.


What have we done so far?

We successfully bid for £10k from the Higher Education Academy.

We have visited schemes at Sheffield University and Lincoln University, and researched schemes at Southampton and Nottingham.

We have held a co-design workshop with 18 students and 12 staff members.

We are funding two pilot Student Champion projects - in Life Sciences and Classics.

We have written a "competency framework" for Student Champions.

What are we doing now?

We are creating a Moodle course entitled "How to be a Student Champion".

We are collaborating with other initiatives at Warwick to develop a physical base for the network.

We are investigating potential funding streams to take the scheme beyond the inititial £10k HEA money.

What do we plan to do next?

Create a Working with Student Champions Cookbook to help departments with forming and working with student partnership projects.

Design a set of re-usable enhancement projects based around the Warwick Extended Classroom platform.

Run further pilot projects, with induction sessions and a celebration event, in 2015-2016.

Explore potential international partner synergies - e.g. with Monash.