UCL Changemakers


Creating a Student Network for Interdisciplinary Programmes at UCL

This case study describes a student-led project aimed at forging connections between students studying interdisciplinary courses at UCL.

28 July 2021

Case study by Manuela Sadik

What was the aim of your project?

Our aim was to increase student awareness of the interdisciplinary courses offered at UCL (specifically Human Sciences BSc, Natural Sciences BSc/MSci and Arts & Sciences BASc), and to increase the social and academic cohesion between these three courses.

What did you do?

  • We distributed surveys to students asking for their thoughts and feedback regarding interdisciplinary modules 
  • We created a Facebook group through which students could share upcoming events and careers information
  • We organised multiple joint-social events including, but not limited to, a live music night, a documentary film screening and a BASc module-specific speed dating activity
  • We met with the leaders of interdisciplinary courses to discuss ways of improving how these courses work together academically

What were the main successes of the project?

We have successfully increased social cohesion between the three interdisciplinary courses mentioned in our aim. Our social events enabled students from these courses to get to know one another and were very effective at familiarising faces across degrees. The BASc Arts & Science module fair, in particular, received a lot of positive feedback. Many students appreciated the opportunity to ‘speed-date’ with older students who had studied modules they were interested in taking. Overall, it seems like this informal approach to choosing modules worked really well. 

Multiple students from varying degrees also regularly contributed to our Facebook Group, sharing interesting events for others to attend, so the Facebook group was very successful too. In fact, the group attracted nearly 200 people!

What difficulties did you face during your project? What would you do differently?

If we were to do this project again, we would make the core team a lot smaller. We thought that a more diverse group filled with numerous people would be more representative of the student body and thus more accurately reflect the issues they faced. However, the size of our team made it difficult to organise meetings (due to varying availability) and so was detrimental to our progress.

It was also very difficult to generate enough data to provide accurate module feedback as many students did not complete the survey we distributed. We had planned to use the information from the survey to create advice for students that we could publish on our website. A lack of feedback meant that this was not possible.

Our final difficulty was Moodle-related. We had wanted to create an open Moodle source so that students could look at specific modules and courses before selecting them (to help inform their module selection choice). However, we quickly learned that this would only be possible if we asked every single module organiser for access to their Moodle page. This would have been too time-consuming so we eventually abandoned the idea. 

What impact has your project had? On whom?

This project had a big impact on students as it gave them the chance to meet new people from similar degrees. This was beneficial for various reasons, e.g. it enabled students with similar problems and interests to engage with one another.