Validation events: a guide for student panellists

What are validation events?

A validation event takes place to confirm that a new programme will provide students with a good quality experience. All new programmes are approved in this way and the event is the culmination of the work of developing the programme.

What is the role of the panel?

In a nutshell, the validation 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 or alumna/us 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. You can tell us what you think other students would make of the proposals and identify aspects that you think the team may wish to think about again.

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 how the programme has been developed by the programme team
  • minutes of development meetings
  • a resources statement and staff CVs
  • a Programme Specification, which is a core document which provides information for prospective applicants, students and staff
  • Definitive Module Documents (DMDs), giving 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 section 5.1. of the submission document and in the Programme Specification.
  • Curriculum organisation: Is the programme structure and content what you would expect? Do you think it is what students need? Do you think it will work? You will find a programme structure in the Programme Specification and related discussion in section 5.2 of 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 section 5.3 of the submission document, 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? You will find details of this in section 5.4 of the submission document and in the Programme Specification.
  • Student support and guidance: Are student support mechanisms clearly advertised? Are they adequate? Do programme/module handbooks give the right information in an accessible format? Is anything missing from them? You will find this information in section 5.4 of the submission document, and in the Programme/student handbooks
  • Programme management: does it look as if the Student Voice is embedded in the programme? Does it appear that staff/students will be working in partnership What opportunities are there for all students to be involved in ongoing programme management and enhancement? This will be discussed in 5.7 of the submission document.
  • 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? Resources are discussed in section 5.5 of the submission document. Staff CVs are available to ensure appropriate expertise.

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 validation event.