Criterion 6: Learning Environment, Student Support and Progression

Summary:

The university ensures a student-friendly environment conducive for optimal learning by various methods. Authority has been decentralized to attend to students’ queries/ grievances promptly while making essential information available to students on various platforms (website, student information packs, MIS, student handbook, etc.). The library has extended its facilities to a wider group of students and staff by incorporating ICT. Required training is provided in the use of new technologies and facilities. Students’ learning experience is enhanced by the integration of library resources into learning. To improve the learning environment and student services, students’ feedback is consistently obtained, and their views are taken into consideration in student-related matters (sub-criteria 6.1,6.2,6.7,6.10,6.11).

Student support is ensured at every level. New entrants go through induction and mentoring programmes to learn about the expected code of conduct and their responsibilities. While enabling self-directed learning through platforms like moodle, students’ performance is evaluated closely to make informed decisions about the content and its delivery. Training in specialized areas is provided for both students and staff by both the career guidance unit as well as departments. As far as differently-abled students are concerned, despite the absence of a specific policy on such students, the university has been considerate by paying special attention to these students and setting up the infrastructure that is convenient for them. Students’ feedback on the courses, the delivery, and the existing support system is obtained consistently. Student grievances and disciplinary matters are dealt with in adherence to university by-laws. Concerning gender equity, by-laws are being evaluated. (sub-criteria 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.8, 6.9, 6.18, 6.19, 6.23).

To ensure students’ progression at both academic and extra-curricular levels, several measures are taken. Records on students’ progress are maintained through MIS while giving them constructive feedback on their academic performance. Students get the opportunity to interact with the staff outside academic work, through clubs, societies, and the mentoring programme which continue even after semester one. Co-curricular activities are actively promoted through the faculty’s mission statement. To equip students with a range of skills required in a dynamic work environment, an array of GPA and non-GPA courses which are multidisciplinary are offered. Industrial exposure is given to students through the mandatory internship undertaken after semester 5. Regarding gender equity and equality, the relevant by-laws are being evaluated by the university. Required counseling for students is provided especially in the case of students whose performance is unacceptably low. This is done by both respective departments and the career guidance unit. While motivating students to progress through studies, revision sessions are organized at departmental levels for students who struggle with studies. Data is collected and analyzed to understand the retention, progression, and student employability. These analyses are utilized when making policy decisions. Working with a close network of alumni, the university gets them involved to help students become career-ready and provide scholarships for economically disadvantaged students. (sub-criteria 6.12, 6.13, 6.14, 6.15, 6.16, 6.17, 6.20, 6.21, 6.22, 6.24).

Claim 6.1:

The university has an efficient administrative structure in place that decentralises the authority and responsibility to enable prompt response to all needs including student enquiries.

Exit surveys are conducted to gauge graduates’ level of satisfaction with their academic experience and professional development.

Website feedback system is used to improve the information services via university web.

An information pack containing information on bursaries and hostel accommodation is sent to new students along with the notice and instructions for registration.

Information for obtaining degree certificate, academic transcript, and result sheets are given in website.

Supplication information is also provided, and students supplicate through MIS through a process that is self-explanatory

Staff is assigned to attend specific requirements of the students both in Welfare and Examination and Registration divisions of the university.

The Student Handbook is provided with detailed information on programmes offered, academic policies and procedures, by laws related to examinations, discipline, staff, student welfare services, laboratory facilities, Academic calendar.

By-laws useful for students are posted on the university website

Each faculty conducts a structured orientation programme for all new students

Students are introduced to the clubs and societies and are given an opportunity to interact with their representatives.

Students are introduced to MIS and a user manual that contains all relevant information on using MIS is given to them

&Students can lodge ragging complaints securely via MIS While contact numbers of the administrative staff are made avail on the student handbook.

Helpdesk sessions are conducted by the staff through the Moodle.

Claim 6.2:

The university recognizes the need for a conducive environment and appropriate services to achieve its strategic goals evident from its Strategic Management Plan.

The capital allocation for projects is made accordingly.

Industry consultative board meetings at department and faculty level.

The university often obtains the direct feedback of students in most matters that affects students' life at university.

Student representatives attend many of such meetings. For example, student representatives attend faculty board meetings and there is a separate agenda item of student matters at each meeting.

Canteen committee is represented by all student unions, and therefore, a regular feedback from students on canteen facilities is taken and issues are expediently addressed. Canteen surveys are done from time to time to assess the progress and to get feedback about different facilities.

Having a student liaison committee where faculty administration discusses students’ problems.

Claim 6.3:

Through the orientation programme students are made aware of the rules & regulations of the university. The University has adopted OBE and SCL in its curriculum development.

Claim 6.4:

Having a mentoring programme. An oath is signed by students agreeing to abide by the university’s code of conduct. Laboratories display their codes of conduct. Instructors explain the rules of the labs, workshops etc. Library rules are displayed where necessary.

Claim 6.5:

Use of moodle for notes, offline learning materials. Library offers online search facility and free access to a variety of journals. Students are encouraged to refer to final year projects, research papers, module assignments etc.

Claim 6.6:

Student satisfaction survey is conducted along with the employability survey. Student satisfaction is included also in the survey conducted at completion of degree by faculty undergraduate studies division.

Claim 6.7:

The University of Moratuwa has gradually moved towards using ICT in the teaching learning process in recent times. Website of library provides online search facilities Library provides Turnitin facility to students to check for plagiarism. Student training sessions are carried out by the library.

Claim 6.8:

Programmes are conducted by the career guidance unit Workshop sessions and conferences are conducted at departmental level and faculty level

Claim 6.9:

The university does not have any specific policy or guidance document in place for differently-abled students. The university follow relevant regulations in constructing new buildings renovating/refurbishing of facilities. Steps are taken to provide the required differently-abled student support by setting up appropriate infrastructure.

Prioritizing for differently-abled is provided in the Accommodation/ Hostel Policy of the university.

The university has had a very small number of such students, which enabled their requirements to be attended at individual levels; such as scheduling the classes at the entrance level of building, or getting them to sit next to a person taking detailed notes. This task is usually assumed by the year person or level coordinator

Construction of ramps and elevator for all new buildings

Provide additional time and allowing them to sit in the front rows at the exams.

Claim 6.10:

TurnItIn software facility is made available by the library to check for plagiarism. Various programmes are conducted by career guidance unit.

Claim 6.11:

Online search for literature reviews of final year projects is enabled by the library. Free access to databases through university IP based search.

Claim 6.12:

Records of students’ progress are maintained on the MIS system. For speedy interaction official emails are given to each student.

Claim 6.13:

Activities of the societies and clubs Extra-curricular activities organized by the departments.

Claim 6.14:

Mentoring programmes are conducted by the departments after semester 1. For the final year project, groups are formed in such a way that there is a combination of different levels of knowledge and skills.

Claim 6.15:

A fashion show is organized annually by Textile Department. Exhibitions and musical events are organized by other departments.

Claim 6.16:

The University offers both NGPA and GPA courses in the area of professional development, inter-disciplinary & multidisciplinary programme curricula. Individual departments organise programmes such as Toastmasters, Mentoring programmes.

Claim 6.17:

Students are offered industrial training as a non-GPA module for 20-24 weeks after semester 5.

Claim 6.18:

Senate is evaluating by-laws related to gender equity.

A survey has been conducted by the chief student counsellor.

Gender cell is proposed and not yet materialized.

Claim 6.19:

Student feedback obtained by the end of semesters and collate information by quality assurance cell. Exit survey are carried out by the faculty.

Claim 6.20:

The academic progression of students is systematically supported while differentiation of levels of performance is primarily limited only to the academic record (transcript). However, mechanisms are in place to keep the students with unacceptably low performance repeat the current stage without overloading them with academic load from next stage. The mechanism is implemented through by-law and performance criteria.

Student mentoring is offered to students to help them go through the process

Student feedback is obtained for each course module and reported to module lecturers for necessary action.

Career Guidance Unit of the university also conducts programmes to students of all faculties not only to bring awareness and develop skills, but also to motivate them diligently progress through their academic programmes.

Claim 6.21:

Individual departments organize various systems to help repeat students such as conducting special revision classes.

Claim 6.22:

The university monitors the retention, progression and completion of its students through analysis of relevant data. Employment data were collected during the general convocation/supplication, and the analysis have shown relatively higher status (the survey is currently not done annually to focus on other data, given its status).

The university understands the importance of student engagement in co-curricular activities for career success. Therefore, status of such engagements are monitored and appropriate actions are planned accordingly.

Findings of these studies are used in planning and policy making, such as in hostel accommodation policy and in strategic planning.

Claim 6.23:

The University has always followed transparent, fair effective and expeditious disciplinary procedures and grievance redress mechanisms for staff and students. In relation to student discipline, all matters are guided by the by-laws on student discipline. A Board of Discipline has been established for this purpose.

Claim 6.24:

The individual departments organize various Alumni association programmes such as invited speeches, mock interviews and AGM with alumni. Scholarships are given to needy students by alumni