UCL Changemakers


Improving community and interaction between staff and students in UCL’s Division of Biosciences

This case study unpacks a project aimed at strengthening the community and creating new networking opportunities for those in UCL’s Division of Biosciences.

25 July 2021

Case study by Manuela Sadik

What was the aim of your project?

The aim of this project was to create a Moodle page through which students could learn more about their professors and their research. We hoped that this would make it easier for the students to build professional relationships with them and to make the most out of their time at UCL.

What did you do?

With the help of a large team, we created a Moodle page featuring the profiles of different professors within UCL’s department of Bioscience. Each profile includes an interview with the professor, a summary of their most prominent work and, when possible, a tour of their labs. The interviews, in particular, have allowed the professors to express their personalities in a way that a lecture setting often does not accommodate. To make the page even more beneficial for students, it also features a section on all of the student-related services and facilities available at UCL.

How did staff and students work together on this project?

This project would not have been possible without the cooperation of the various professors who allowed us to interview them and publish the resulting material on the portal. Dr Cain was particularly supportive, often offering us advice or assistance, e.g. with room bookings or borrowing the department’s camera equipment. 

What were the main successes of the project?

I think the biggest success of this project is that we have identified a student need and catered to it. Other successes of the project include that we have successfully created a portal, attained our own UCL email ID, and ultimately achieved our aim. 

We have also exceeded my expectations for the project. After considering possible discrepancies in the availability of students and staff, and the amount of time needed to create such a resource, I had expected to only complete around ten profiles. However, with the help of a large and committed team, we were able to create many more.

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

It was difficult to communicate, or send messages, to everyone in the team as we could not agree on one form of communication (e.g. mass email, a Whatsapp group etc). As a result, people would miss important information. For example, a lack of cohesive communication meant that people would often miss the reminders for our fortnightly meetings and thus miss the meetings. As a result, they would miss important developments or discussions and find it difficult to catch up. So, agreeing on a platform for team communication is definitely something future teams should prioritise and consider early on in their projects.

What impact has your project had? On whom?

I think if the portal continues to grow then it could potentially make a huge difference to students across UCL. By making their professors more approachable and accessible, the portal would enable students to develop professional relationships with them, as well as possible networking opportunities. 

In fact, our team has discussed the possibility of expanding this project into other departments with students from different faculties at UCL. So far their responses have been very positive, and they seem excited to explore the possibility of creating a similar resource for their own departments.

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