Study Quality Workgroup

Student representatives’ usual activities are enriched by the opportunity to be part of different workgroups, which focus on specific topics in more depth. For example, in the 2020/2021 academic year, there are five of them: a working group on study quality, development, doctoral students, international students and communication. We will introduce them all in turn.

The focus of the study quality workgroup probably needs no explanation. Everything that is related to studying at the University of Tartu, finds its way to the workgroup. It is led by Helo Liis, Vice-Chair of Education Policy at UTSU, who is responsible for representing students’ opinions on issues of study organization and study quality, and who participates in the relevant university committees.

The workgroup often discusses the university’s proposals and changes, which the Student Union keeps a close eye on. Thoughts and suggestions are also brought to the table by student representatives from different faculties and institutes, which they hear from other students or the council of their institute or faculty. For example, they discussed for how long should feedback be displayed in the SIS.

So far, the qualitative part of the feedback to a subject or lecturer has been visible for one year. However, the workgroup found that showing it for a longer period of time is important, because in this case it also shows a trend in the lecturer’s behavior. The proposal was taken into account and now the SIS shows the qualitative part of the feedback of the last two years. Students’ opinions were also heard about asking for feedback on e-learning – the question was made better and unambiguous and applicable.

So who is the study quality workgroup for?

One would think that the study quality workgroup is for students who study in some educational curriculum. This is not the case. If you are interested in how the university and its study organization work and you feel that you would like to contribute to it, then you are definitely welcome. For example, one member of the workgroup, Andrea Jõesaar, is a student of molecular biosciences.

This here is Andrea, a student of molecular biosciences

But this here is Andrea Jõesaar, student representative of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology and a member of the study quality workgroup

Andrea is very interested in what is going on “higher” at the university. It’s her second year to represent students, but when she had to lead the study quality workgroup of the Biosciences Students’ Association (BÜS) this academic year, it was clear that she also had to join the Student Union’s study quality workgroup. That, of course, to better fulfill her role in BÜS.

As the leader of the BÜS’ workgroup, the first question Andrea asked its members was “what is the quality of learning for you”. We asked her the same question.

“For me, the quality of learning or high-quality learning is a kind of learning that is constantly evolving and enables students to acquire knowledge effectively. Lecturers who deserve a good teaching environment and recognition for good work are also an important part of the quality of learning,” she describes her vision.

But how do you know what to bring to the table in UTSU’s workgroup?

“All students of our institute know who their representatives are. We introduce ourselves to first-year students at the very beginning of their studies, and when we could still organize events, we actively did it. In addition, we reach almost all students through BÜS. If you make yourself visible, the students will find their way to you with their concerns,” Andrea explains.

She talks about UTSU’s study quality workgroup as gatherings with a really good atmosphere. As the quality of education concerns absolutely all students, according to her, everyone can always have a say, regardless of their field of study. “It is reassuring that nothing remains only a discussion, but thanks to Helo, it also finds its way there, “higher” in the university,” she adds.

However, “expectations are realistic,” she says, and acknowledges that not all proposals are approved. “But it is just good to be in the workgroup, and it gives me the motivation to move forward,” she concludes.

By the way…

In the autumn semester, UTSU recognized the study quality workgroup with the title of the most hardworking team!

Read more about UTSU

Workgroups: communication

Workgroups: International Students’ Workgroup

Workgroups: development group

What do the representatives do – how to be visible?

UTSU’s structure

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