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Developing Understanding

Handbook Contents

1 General Information
2 Course Regulations and Progression
3 Module Selection and Course Transfers
4 Teaching, Learning and Study
5 Examinations and Assessment
6 Pastoral Care and Support
7 Student Voice
8 Careers and Personal Development
9 University Information

4.2 Developing Understanding: Engagement and Feedback

You will need to take responsibility for being an independent learner and take advantage of all of the available opportunities. If you do not engage fully and take an active role in developing your understanding you will not reach your potential.

Feedback is an essential part of learning as it identifies gaps in your knowledge and understanding and also provides guidance on how to improve. Feedback comes in many forms including;

  • Discussion with other students, for examples in tutorials or seminars
  • Conversations with teaching staff, for example asking questions during / after a lecture
  • Written feedback on submitted coursework
  • Comparing your answers to model solutions
  • Using model solutions or mark schemes to mark other students’ work and identify key features of good work
  • Using cohort level examination feedback to identify common mistakes
  • Using textbooks to attempt problems with a different style

It is important that you attempt all coursework questions. This will give you immediate feedback on whether you have assimilated the material in the lectures and can apply it to example problems.

Keep in mind that mathematics takes time, so if you cannot solve a problem straight away read the lecture notes or a textbook and then try again. If you are still stuck, talk to some of your fellow students. They might be able to explain material that you have not understood and pick up on misconceptions.

All modules have online forums where you can post questions that will be read by your fellow students (and the module leader).

Don’t be shy to ask questions. The fact that you have questions shows that you are engaging with the material!

Contribute to the process by posting answers on the forum or explaining material to your fellow students. Explaining mathematics will help you develop your communication skills and deepen your understanding!

Make sure to hand in all coursework in a timely fashion. Even if the coursework is not for credit it is an important tool to obtain feedback and you limit your own learning if you do not submit your work. If you have managed to produce only partial solutions to the problems it is important that you submit these as this will influence how and what material the tutor is going to cover in the tutorial. Once coursework has been returned make sure to read carefully through the comments.

If you are in doubt as to what the comments mean please ask the marker who will be happy to explain. If solutions are provided please compare these carefully to your own work. But keep in mind that attempting your own solutions engages you in much deeper learning than simply noting a provided solution.

Participate actively in lectures and support classes like tutorials by providing answers to questions but also by asking questions. This will give the lecturer or tutor a very immediate way to provide feedback to you. To do this effectively it is important that you prepare by revising your lecture notes and attempting the problem sheets.

Textbooks often have additional problems and solutions for you to attempt. A text book may explain the concepts in a different style, or use different notation. Whilst this may seem daunting, using a different source is one of the best ways of developing your understanding of the topics.

All lecturers in Statistics have twice weekly office hours and they are happy to see students during these times. Module leaders will be happy to answer questions regarding their modules, although you should make sure you have spent some time on revision so that this can happen effectively. Please make sure to take note of the office hours. They are usually advertised next to the lecturer’s office door. Some staff also advertise these on their web pages or state them at the start of the module.

Cohort level feedback for examinations is available on the grade distribution page of the Statistics Module webpages.

Finally, the personal tutor is available to provide general academic advice. As above, personal tutors offer twice weekly office hours in which they are happy to receive students and provide feedback on their overall academic performance.

However personal tutors cannot usually provide assistance on the academic content of individual modules, for this you should consult with the relevant module leader as detailed above.

Covid-19 Advice

Personal tutors and module lecturers will maintain online office hours and will be available for online support, via Microsoft Teams. These office hours will be online interactive sessions, where students with any kind of question about the subject can drop in, which we hope will increase their accessibility to all students. Please see the module resources pages for information about how to access an individual academic’s office hours.