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Students, academics and administrative staff from 20 courses across three divisions and the Department for Continuing Education will be invited to take part in the pilot, as well as several colleges. Students, supervisors, and DGSs/Course Directors will each be given, in turn, two-week reporting windows. Reports submitted as part of the pilot are in addition to normal reporting in GSS for Trinity term 2018, and will be an additional opportunity for students to receive feedback on their progress.
Taking part in the pilot is voluntary, and if students choose not to take part, there will be no adverse impact. A modest reward will be given to the first 100 students who use GSR and complete a brief feedback survey.
All participants will be asked to give feedback on their experience of using GSR by completing a brief survey. Feedback will be taken into account and improvements made before GSR is rolled out for all graduate courses in Michaelmas term.
Details are on the GSR pilot page.
GSR will incorporate the following improvements to graduate student reporting previously approved by the Education Committee in Trinity term 2016, which affect the way the system operates:
- The student reporting window will open one week later, in 7th week, and will be extended to three weeks. The supervisor reporting window will also open one week later in 10th week, and be shortened to four weeks to encourage timely feedback.
- Departments will be able to permit other academic colleagues with oversight of PGT students (eg Course Directors, PGT thesis supervisors, language teachers) to submit a report in addition to the supervisor.
- A fourth reporting window in the Long Vacation (summer) will be introduced, which will be optional at the PGT course level (configurable by departments), but mandatory for PGR courses.
- More nuanced flagging of concerns about academic progress (minor/major/severe) will be introduced.
- The DGS will be able to add additional comments to a report where concerns have been raised.
- College Advisors will be able to confirm they have met with their students, and improved email notification functionality will be provided for colleges. (Students will be able to confirm they have met with their College Advisor.)
- With approval by Education Committee, departments (optionally) will be able to configure reporting windows at the programme level for modular courses, as long as the overall reporting policy is maintained.
Recommendations by Education Committee that relate to guidance and off-system activity:
- Departments will be asked to provide more information to students about the purpose of, and mechanism for, progression reporting in handbooks and induction sessions.
- The appropriate channels outside of GSS for complaints about the supervisor relationship and other matters not related to academic progress should be clarified to students.
- Students should be reminded about the expectations for student progress and termly reporting during the transfer and confirmation of status processes.
- PGT reports should include information on the formative and summative assessment where appropriate (Additional guidance will be provided for supervisors).
- Directors of Graduate Studies will be asked to hold a meeting (either face-to-face or by Skype or similar means) with the student and supervisor as a matter of urgency when a severe concern is flagged.
Some adjustments will be made to reporting windows, which will facilitate the changes previously approved by the Education Committee. The adjustments include an amended reporting schedule, and a new reporting window in the Long Vacation (summer), which is mandatory for research degrees, and optional for postgraduate taught degrees. Details are on the changes to GSR reporting windows from MT2018 page.
The expected benefits of this project include:
- Increase coverage of reporting on skills training by student and supervisors.
- Reduce risk of critical failure, downtime and time spent resolving issues and problems.
- Improvements to the way the system is managed and administrated.
- Improvements to management reporting.
- Access for students to GSR through the Student Self Service.
- Improvements for users with disabilities including compliance with accessibility guidelines.
- Reduction in cost/time necessary to integrate with current/future systems.
The Project Board meets on a regular basis to review progress of the Graduate Supervision Reporting project and has ultimate responsibility for overseeing direction and governance of the project.
The User Group provides advice, support and assurance to the project, and represents end-users to ensure Oxford’s needs are met satisfactorily. The group, comprising of a range of GSS user roles, will actively contribute to the design of the new system, and is chaired by Dr. Andy Garlick (Assistant Registrar - Education, Social Sciences Divisional Office).
For membership of the Project Board and User Group, please refer to the Graduate Supervision Reporting governance web page.