Periodic review events: a guide for student panellists

What are periodic review events?

A periodic review  is a ‘health check’ for an existing programme to make sure that it is up-to-date and is continuing  to provide students with a good experience. It is also an opportunity to celebrate good practice and identify innovations that can be shared around the university. Periodic reviews take place at least every 6 years. Periodic review is about making sure that the programme team are using the data at their disposal to constantly improve the programme.

What is the role of the panel?

In a nutshell, the review panel must be satisfied about the academic standard and coherence of the programme and be confident that it can be delivered in a way that provides a good quality of student experience.

What particular contribution can you make as a student/alumnus panel member?

You can offer acritical view on issues such as what works or on why changes are needed, particularly when it comes to the delivery of the programme. It is important to remember that we want your view on the proposals for the programme which are contained in the documentation, rather than on how the programme is currently organised.

What do you need to do before the event?

You will be sent a set of documents electronically , including the following:

  • a submission document which gives an overview of what changes have been made by the Programme team during the review process
  • an Initial Analysis document, which gives a snapshot of the programme at the start of the review process and highlights areas that the programme team will focus on during the review
  • minutes of the meetings of the development committee
  • a Programme Specification, which is a core document that provides information for prospective applicants, students and staff
  • Definitive Module Documents (DMDs), which give detailed information on the content, delivery and assessment of each module taught on the programme
  • an Assessment Landscape, giving a detailed overview of the nature and timing of assessments on the programme

You will need to read as much as you can of the documents and give comments under the following headings. For each you will see some ideas about the types of issues that you might like to raise as a student or alumna/us:

  • Programme introduction: Is the rationale for the programme clear? Does it make sense? Does it identify a clear target population and the strengths of the programme? You will find information on this in the submission document and in the Programme Specification
  • Curriculum organisation: Is the programme structure and content what you would expect? Do any changes proposed make sense to you? You will find a programme structure in the Programme Specification and related discussion in the submission document. The Development Minutes may also give you some detail of issues being considered.
  • Learning, teaching and assessment strategies: Are learning and teaching methods appropriate? Is there sufficient balance between different teaching methods? Is the assessment strategy clear and appropriate?  Is it sufficiently varied? Is the assessment workload realistic? What is your view of the timing of assessments? You will find these issues discussed in the Programme Specification, on the Assessment Landscape and detailed on the DMDs.
  • Admission, progression and achievement: Are the entry requirements fair and clear? Can you understand the rules about progressing from one year to the next? Are students achieving well in all areas of the curriculum? You will find details of this in the Initial Analysis and in the Programme Specification.
  • Student support and guidance: Are student support mechanisms clearly advertised? Are they adequate? Does the programme information give the right information in an accessible format? Is anything missing from this? You will find this information in Programme/student information pages on Canvas.
  • Programme management: Do you think the Student Rep system is working? Does the Programme Committee appear to be working? What other opportunities are there for all students to be involved in ongoing programme management and enhancement? If issues have been raised, they may be highlighted in the Initial Analysis
  • Resources: Are sufficient specialist resources (laboratories, equipment etc.) and other learning resources (books; journals; electronic materials etc.)  identified? Is there an appropriate booking mechanism for specialist facilities such as labs? Are academic and other staff suitably qualified and readily available? Do Canvas sites meet student needs? Any issues may be highlighted in the Initial Analysis and then discussed in the submission document.

What happens to your comments?

These are circulated to the programme development team and to other panellists. The Chair of the event (who is independent of the School concerned) will then collate all the comments so that the panel has a schedule of questions for the day. It is important that you keep to the deadline you have been given for return of comments so that the Chair can collate comments in time.

What happens on the day of the event?

You will find a timetable for the day’s meetings in the front of the submission document. The first meeting of the day is always a private panel meeting so that you can all be introduced to each other and plan the direction of the meetings and agree the questions to be asked. Your Associate Director of Academic Quality Assurance will be able to talk to you more about the meetings that happen at the periodic review event.