Students knock boring tutors

December 20, 2002

Tutors with poor command of English and lecturers who are boring came in for criticism from economics undergraduates, according to a survey.

One student said: "Nothing against foreign lecturers, but when the topic is complicated already, it seems silly to make it harder to understand due to language difficulties."

Another said: "I often feel that if lecturers were marked on their lectures the same way we are on coursework presentations, they would fail (on presentation skills)."

Students are also unhappy about lack of access to staff to discuss work or personal problems, and inadequate feedback. Maths is proving a problem for those without an A level in the subject.

Despite these gripes, an overwhelming 76 per cent of the 1,700 undergraduates who completed the online survey for the Economics Learning and Teaching Support Network were satisfied with their courses.

The 58 out of 94 UK economics departments that agreed to their students taking part will receive a confidential report.

John Sloman, director of Economics LTSN, said: "We want to give departments and schools the chance to look at the national view and see how their students view courses and pastoral care."

The last survey of UK economics students was in the early 1980s and much has changed. "The number of students has grown, but funding per student has more than halved and staff-to-student ratios have fallen from 1:8 to 1:18. Teaching practices have changed, as has the theoretical understanding of teaching and learning processes."

A handbook to help economics lecturers in their teaching, assessment, course design and evaluation was launched by Economics LTSN last week and is available online.

Details: www.itl.usyd.edu.au/sceq2002/ " target=_blank sceq2002 www.itl.usyd.edu.au and> www.economics.ltsn/handbook and www.itl.usyd.edu.au/sceq2002/

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