This is the 3rd part of my series about what some of the current GSD students think about their course one term in. The question asked was:
“If you could change something about the GSD course, what would you change about it?”.
I was really intrigued by how students would answer that question, and with 7 out of 9 people having something to say, it seems like the SSLC (Student Staff Liaison Committee) could potentially have a lot of work on their hands! Have a look at the answers and my comments below.
> There were some satisfied students:
GSD & Business: “Nothing, It’s pretty good up until now”
GSD & Philosophy: “Nothing, I really like how it is running so far.”
These answers actually surprised me in a good way: that there could be students who wouldn’t change anything about their course. I would be interested to speak to the same students again to see whether their answers changed after another term.
> Some students had some suggestions in terms of academic improvement:
GSD & History: “Maybe less reading, but I understand that the readings are essential for our understanding of the course.”
GSD & Life Sciences: “I would love a few more contact hours in the seminar groups.”
GSD & PAIS: “What I would like is for them to give us printed notes (as in a syllabus) so it’d be more clear and we’d be sure to have all we need – although I know that’s not the way universities work.”
These are all ideas that could be raised at a SSLC meeting, which is where course reps from each joint-degree meet with the Director of Student Experience, David Beck. You can find who your course rep is via this link: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/schoolforcross-facultystudies/gsd/currentstudents/sslc/
> Other students’ critiques were very specific to the nature of a joint degree:
GSD & Economics: “I think there’s a lot of overlapping material with the economics course and the economic principles of GSD module, so for me I find the GSD side of things less challenging. Although, GSD does apply the theory much more, with a huge focus on problem solving, so I suppose this allows for some interesting differentiation between the two courses.”
GSD & Psychology: “Personally, right now I am a little bit worried about my essay deadlines and that I will have to write three essays over the break. It would be nice if they were able to cooperate better with our partner departments so we don’t have to write two essays in GSD and another one in our partner department.”
GSD & Theatre Studies: “I hate the fact that we have a lecture clash every week that prevents us from making the social principles lecture, which I personally find to be the hardest module.”
Course overlap, similar deadlines and lecture clashes between GSD and partner departments are all unfortunate by-products of the nature of the course. We are however the very first GSD cohort, the guinea pigs for this new course at Warwick, and I would hope that the more solvable issues raised here, like the lecture clashes or better co-ordination between departments, would be smoothened out with time.
> One student focused on fostering a community:
GSD & Sociology: “Probably being able to be with your course mates of both courses (so the whole joint degree) all together, since I don’t think I’ve had an opportunity yet to do that and it would be nice to encourage us all to get together more!”
This is a more tricky issue to address: we have a common room, GSD society has just started running events, we have mixed seminars… but it might be that it’s often “the usual people” in the common room, or who are coming to GSDsoc events or speaking in seminars. Then again, we are 93 students at University and with less contact hours than at school, it will take us longer to get to know each other.
What do you think? Do you have suggestions on how we could get the whole cohort together or things that you would change about your GSD course? Comment below or email me at email@example.com with “GSD course: changing it” as the subject.