Teaching- and quality matters
Use of student identification numbers
The rules of the University of Iceland clearly state that the use of student numbers should be the main rule when it comes to taking exams. Departments may make exceptions to these rules. Röskva demands that these exceptions should be discussed by the University board and only accepted based on adequate reasoning. Exceptions must be re-evaluated on a regular basis since the main rule is that student numbers should be used, especially based on equality perspectives. It is abnormal that these exceptions are as common as they have been.
Students must be guaranteed study space on campus. It’s unacceptable that students do not always have a study space outside the home. Reading rooms and study spaces could also be more diverse so students have more choice regarding study facilities.
Röskva wants gender studies to be an obligatory part of teaching degree studies
Röskva would like to promote gender studies as a part of the curriculum of the School of Education as an obligatory course. The education system plays a big part in the formation and maintenance of the gender stereotypes. Teachers play an important role in regards to this and therefore it is important for the teachers of the future to have knowledge in this area.
Röskva wants all sessions to be accessible online
For a number of reasons, students are not always able to attend class. Recordings of class lectures could be made available, for instance for a week at a time, so students who cannot attend class still have access to the course material. Röskva will fight to see distance learning options increased and to ensure that all required course materials, including lectures, are made available online. University officials should make recording options even more accessible to instructors.
Better follow up of teaching evaluations
The student’s department representatives and student associations have the right to access the results of the teaching evaluations. Röskva would like to ensure, with clear rules and procedures, that the results of the teaching evaluations may be utilized to improve the education at the University of Iceland. Röskva demands that students are informed on the results of teaching evaluations and take part in amendment suggestions.
Röskva wants the course ratings from the teaching evaluations from the last two years to be acceptable when choosing courses. The course ratings would encourage teachers to maintain good teaching methods.
Increased access to test exhibitions
Röskva demands that text exhibitions are advertised to a further extent and they be made more accessible. The part of the University is to give us the opportunity to study and it is difficult to learn from the tests if the students never see what they can do better. It needs to be ensured that test exhibitions are held for all departments and students are given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their results.
Clear course plans
Röskva believes that both teachers and students benefit from having clear course plans ready before studies commence at the beginning of the semester. The evaluation must be clear from the start, both the significance and implementation, as well as the entire materials and plan of the course being available. Should there be changes in the course plan, it needs to be ensured that they are made in cooperation with the students.
Röskva wants to empower the operations of interest groups and student associations within the University of Iceland
It is crucial that the Student association supports interest groups and student associations within the University. Many of these associations are dealing with lack of facilities and Röskva believes that it is important to make amends to this. Röskva also encourages the University of Iceland to take into account the work which the interest groups do when discussing the matters which pertain to them.
Röskva wants equality education in all stages of education
Röskva would like to emphasize the importance of teachers being specifically prepared to deal with prejudice and bullying. Also, teachers should never depreciate any certain ethnic group or encourage prejudice. It is important to enforce the school’s equality policy at all times.
A more diverse evaluation within the University of Iceland
Röskva encourages the University of Iceland to explore new ways of evaluating education. To increase the quality of studies at the University, the evaluation of education needs to be re-evaluated. Röskva suggests that a team be convened which explores more varied methods of evaluating education in cooperation with the Education Committee and the Centre for Teaching and Learning. It should also be explored whether or not it is possible to discontinue or decrease the significance of final exams in certain courses. Especially in regards to top international universities which have taken up another type of educational evaluation.
Röskva demands that students receive active feedback for their assignments and tests. Röskva demands that teachers give their students concise explanations of the evaluation of their tests and assignments so that students can learn from their work efforts. This also promotes the teachers justifying their assessment and therefore prevents any arbitrary evaluations or unprofessional grading.
Increased cooperation between departments and schools
Röskva believes that an increased cooperation between the departments of the school is beneficiary for everyone and should be utilized to its full extent. Students should be offered more integration of studies between departments but such actions should be easy to implement within the school. Röskva also believes that active participation between Icelandic universities is beneficiary to everyone. There is already an active cooperation between the art students at the University and the Iceland Academy of the Arts but Röskva believes that more options are available. The departments of the school should introduce such options to students and familiarize themselves to interschool education evaluation.
Röskva would like a further cooperation between students and the administration of the University of Iceland
Students have the right to a representative in the department committee of the University and it needs to be ensured that messages are properly relayed between the department president and department committee. With closer cooperation and increased communication between the students and the administration of the University, it is possible to increase the significance and influence of students in decision making. Röskva also wants to see active students in all department meetings within the University.
Röskva would like to mandate all teachers to take a course in teaching practices
The University offers a course in teaching practices and methods along with a so-called Mentor system for new teachers. Röskva welcomes the fact that new teachers attend these courses but also request that more experienced teachers attend these courses in teaching methods every few years. It should also be an obligation for the employees of the Centre for Teaching and Learning to attend lessons with each teacher, reviewing them and giving them advice.
A re-evaluated assessment system of public universities should take into account the quality of their teachings
Röskva would like to see changes in the assessment systems of the public universities, which affects the progress and salary of the teachers at the University, should take into account the quality of the teaching, not only the research activities.
INCREASED TRANSPARENCY REGARDING REPEATED COMPLAINTS
Röskva believes there could be more transparency regarding how the school deals with repeated comments or complaints from students about instruction, teaching methods, syllabi, etc.
SPECIALIZED ACADEMIC COUNSELLORS
Too often, students seek advice from academic counsellors who are unable to provide sufficient information about all departments. The university should explore the possibility of each school having an academic counsellor who knows all of that school’s departments in and out so that students can make use of all the services the university offers.
Makeup exams (due to illness) and special resit exams
All students have the right to makeup- and resit exams. Röskva wants to see the makeup- and retake exams to be held after each semester. Such tests should be held as soon as possible from the end of the examination period. It is a normal demand that the departments of the University have a clear and coordinated policy on the arrangement of the makeup- and resit exams and that it is clear from the beginning of the term how they will be arranged.
Return of grades
It is a clear demand that teachers return grades within the designated period. There are rules about this and it is important to enforce them. The same rules should apply to the final exam as well as to other term exams, assignments and essays.
Clear student rights
It is way too common that students of the school are not aware of their rights, in regards to both their teachers as well as the school itself. Röskva believes that the increased flow of information is key to amending such incidences and therefore the communications between the student associations with the department committees. The roles of the department’s beneficiary representative and the Student Council need to be clarified and they need to be made more accessible to the students. It must be ensured that all new students of the University receive clear information on their rights at the beginning of their studies.
CLASSROOMS MUST ACCOMMODATE STUDENTS IN EVERY COURSE
It’s unacceptable that some courses are held in classrooms too small to accommodate the number of registered students. As a result, some students can’t find space in the classroom or are forced to sit on the floor. This does nothing to improve teaching quality and certainly does nothing to improve access to education. Röskva stresses that classrooms must have at least enough seats to accommodate all students registered for the course.
Röskva wants a uniform workload for each credit
Although the university is supposed to follow international standards regarding ECTS units, students in most departments have experienced widely varying workloads depending on the course or instructor. The university is obligated to respect the ECTS workload standard laid out through the Bologna Process, and Röskva insists that the university do so.
THE UNIVERSITY SHOULD MAKE USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES – A MORE TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED UNIVERSITY
Röskva wants the University of Iceland to familiarize itself and utilize new technology to associate itself with the international community. Open online courses (MOOC) are available to the University and Röskva believes that it is an underutilized opportunity. Open online courses, along with other teaching methods, promote increased communications with other universities as well as increasing the competitiveness of the University.
ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION FOR PROJECTS AND ESSAYS
Röskva strives to reduce paper consumption and believes essays and other typed assignments should only be submitted in electronic form, for instance by utilizing submission options through Ugla. The electronic format could also encourage greater standardization regarding instructions for essays and other assignments, which Röskva would like to see done.
Röskva wants an increased availability of distance learning
Students benefit from the possibility of distance learning. Access to distance learning is an equality issue for those students who, for health, financial or residence reasons, cannot attend studies at the University buildings. The technology is already at hand and is it Röskva’s opinion that it is abnormal for it not being utilized to a greater extent to promote distance learning at the University. Röskva would therefore like for the lectures and that material which is subject to testing to be recorded and ways to increase the availability of distance learning should be sought.
Lobbying introduction for distance students
Röskva wants the Student Council to increase their introduction to lobbying to their distance students.
Röskva WILL PUSH FOR INTERNSHIPS TO BE PAID AND COUNTED FOR CREDIT
Röskva believes internships are an important opportunity for students to become acquainted with the work environment in their field and to explore future career options. Internships give students the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life projects. A committee could be formed to oversee internship opportunities and act as a conduit between students and department councils.
ACCESS TO COURSE MATERIALS MUST BE ENSURED
Röskva believes it’s unacceptable that textbooks and other course materials have repeatedly been sold out at bookstores or other distributors. This limits access to education, and Röskva will fight to ensure that efforts are made to assist students who find themselves in this position. For example, students can be given more access to electronic course materials and electronic databases.