UCL Laws LLB student Mohammad El-Gendi participates in the UCL ChangeMakers ASER Intensive Programme
9 March 2018
When UCL's Department of Philosophy wanted to work out the reasons behind low scores in the National Student Survey (NSS), they called students for assistance.
UCL Laws LLB student Mohammad El-Gendi volunteered as an ASER Facilitator with the department for two months. During that time, he met with both staff and students, and worked with student representatives to understand the issues, and discuss solutions, from all sides. He then produced a report for the staff with recommendations for action.
ASER facilitators are students from another department, who help the Student Academic Representatives and departmental staff to work together to develop the departmental ASER action plan, particularly on assessment & feedback projects. They are supported and trained as part of the UCL ChangeMakers ASER Intensive Programme.
‘I've really enjoyed being an ASER Facilitator. It has allowed me to work with students from other Departments to understand how they feel their experience could be improved.
As a student, I understand how important it is that we are given a voice that directly influences how our education is delivered. The ASER ChangeMaker process enables that important quality of university education.
I had so much support and guidance from Abbie King, UCL ChangeMakers Manager, and Jenny Marie, Director of UCL ChangeMakers, and but this was really an opportunity for me to find inventive solutions to problems. After my experience with the Philosophy Department, I'm currently working with the Physics and Astronomy Department to bring about some very crucial changes and hope the students will be positively impacted by this change.’
Dr Luke Fenton-Glynn, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, and one of the leading staff members involved in the project commented:
‘It has been invaluable having Mohammad involved. To have a student facilitate discussions and help us get to the root of issues was great. Mohammad – together with our student reps – were successful in getting a higher student turnout to discuss the department’s assessment and feedback practices than the department itself had been when trying to organise such events on its own.
I believe that student-facilitated discussions also encouraged students to be more open in giving their views which gave us a more detailed and accurate student perspective. The fact that Mohammad was based in another department gave him the independent view-point needed to clearly see the issues and help us find solutions that meet our students’ needs.
I would highly recommend that other departments engage an ASER Facilitator. This is a great way of obtaining high-quality information about student opinions and priorities allowing focused and effective actions to be taken to improve teaching and learning outcomes.’
Referring to his time at UCL Laws, Mohammad said:
‘I chose to study law because it gave me the opportunity to study a discipline that I had never studied before. There’s something about not really knowing what a subject is like until you study it that really excites me - and that is exactly what law has been like.
My best memory at UCL Laws has to be my first day: nothing beats that very nervous day when you meet so many new people and start making close friendships that I hope will continue even once I leave UCL.