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Last semester brought a lot of changes that made your studies look quite different. You told us your workload was too much, and we acted. Check out what we did in this article.

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Man lies with his head down. Text reads: "Workload, keeping U balanced"

Last semester brought a lot of changes that made your studies look quite different. Government restrictions meant there was little opportunity for face-to-face teaching like we’re used to and saw many courses teaching online. Without our normal exams, course teams opted for alternative assessments, with some still running take-home exams. Course teams also took the opportunity to provide students with tons of resources to help their learning. All of this resulted in an overwhelming experience for students and we heard you through our academic reps, Academic Congress and Speak Week. 

We took all that feedback and presented a report on students’ workload and wellbeing to the University’s Learning & Teaching Group to make it clear to staff that students were struggling. We also used this information to create a list of improvements for course teams to use when planning for this semester and sent it out to the staff reps for each department. They listened, and have made some real changes this semester, especially given the new restrictions announced at the start of the year.  

Courses will now be focused mainly on the required material, with the extra reading condensed or removed. Assessments have been condensed as much as possible so students aren’t overwhelmed with work, and Emily and Alex worked with the University on a restatement of the coursework mapping policy. This policy means that students will be informed of their assessment deadlines at the start of the semester and can work with their Class Reps if changes need to be made. Mechanical Engineering is also now piloting a new coursework mapping tool that will be used by other departments next year. The Scottish government has also given the University more funding to hire new counsellors so students can access the wellbeing support they need. 

Going forward into the next few weeks...

We could only have achieved this through you raising these issues so please remember to get in touch with your Class Reps and School Officers if you’re still having difficulties this semester! Find out more here.

Wanna be a part of changes on campus?

Our applications for our elections are open now! You could be the next President or Student MP representing student issues here, around campus at Heriot-Watt. 
Activism happens at all levels and we need you to help here. As Heriot-Watt students, you're already qualified - just apply!


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