3.8 Understanding Postgraduate Communities at Sheffield Hallam University through the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES)

The postgraduate offering and experience is extremely diverse at Sheffield Hallam University, but evidence from the Postgraduate Experience Survey (PTES) shows some common expectation among all postgraduate students regardless of course of study. They all expect and value challenging and stimulating environments that fosters a sense of belonging and develops a strong academic/practitioner community.

This session will begin by sharing the quantitative and qualitative findings from the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey as to why these themes are so important to postgraduate students and what the barriers to developing strong academic/practitioner communities are. While postgraduate expectations may be similar the barriers to developing belonging and strong communities are more diverse and depend on a number of variables, including motivation to study, transition, support, academic challenge, time and location of study, and the culture and design of the course. The barriers will be introduced by the presenter and will provide the basis for the rest of the session.

The remainder of the session will be used to facilitate discussion among participants, that will encourage them to:

  • Identify which barriers they can help remove
  • Share practice of overcoming specific barriers (such as keeping part-time students motivated or developing online communities for distance learners)
  • Enhance the Postgraduate Experience through developing belonging and communities.

The findings from the discussion will then be developed further into specific case studies of best practice that will be provided as a resource through Teaching Essentials which can be used by staff to enhance the Postgraduate Experience.  It is also hoped that the current findings from PTES and the work from the CoLab will help shape the postgraduate experience at Sheffield Hallam University.