Student feedback and department responses

You said and we listened

Statistics takes the numbers that you have and summarises them into fewer numbers which are easily digestible by the human brain

You said: (MSc Statistics student)

“Courses should be taught in detail. I find the professors are not teaching particular course in detail. Firstly professors should clear the basics that students find it difficult.

eg: Time series course (ST422) is tough since I don't have any knowledge of time series at all. I think the professor should teach the course in detail, so that all the concepts will be cleared and the professor should also give different examples for better understanding.

The seminars which are conducted for each courses should undergo each and every sum in detail for better understanding of the concepts.”

Our response: (from the ST422 lecturer, Dr Yining Chen)

“Thanks a lot for your feedback. I agree that ST422 might be a tough course for those who are from non-statistics/maths background, or for those who haven’t done time series before. Since a lot of materials (many of which of practical use) need to be covered in this half-unit course, and as a slightly more mathematically orientated course (in contrast to ST418), I have chosen to skip some examples in the lectures. Nevertheless, weekly exercise questions (typically 5-6 per week) are provided, marked and discussed in the seminars, which should be viewed as concrete examples in complement to the theory.

In the end, courses at the postgraduate level should be about conveying ideas, instead of going into every detail. For those who wish to learn more about this subject (or simply want to figure out every detail), a number of references are provided on the course website (and we made them freely available in our library), and students are welcome to my or the GTA’s office hours if they have any questions regarding the course materials.

I will make students more aware of the help available to them and simplify the course materials a bit more.”

You said: (MSc Risk and Stochastics student)

“Our department is less organised than finance department. During their pre sessional they had many talks from companies, cv workshops, career advising while we had nothing. As a result we are less informed about companies and jobs. Moreover their notes are printed and handed to them in the 1st lecture whilst we have to print ours. Our lecture rooms are small and all desks are on same level and so not all of us can always see, eg for the ST409 module.”

Our response:

“Thank you for your feedback. The Statistics Department, in common with most departments in the School, unfortunately does not have an in-house careers service. We are working with LSE Careers as much as possible, and careers events are communicated via the MSc fortnightly email update, as well as on Facebook. We have also introduced several new initiatives this year, including the Week 6 student alumni event, the industry challenges competition and a communications workshop planned for Lent Term. However, the Department will explore more effective ways to work in collaboration with LSE Careers.

Following student feedback at an SSLC meeting last year, the Department now provides a printing credit of £40 a year in lieu of course packs. Different students have different preferences regarding printing; and there are other Departments in the School who also pay students print credits rather than provide a printed course pack.

Following feedback from students at the Risk and Stochastics SSLC about the ST409 lecture room, we investigated the possibility of moving the teaching to an alternative room but unfortunately were told that there were no suitable rooms available at this time. I understand that this was communicated to students by Kostas Kardaras in the ST409 lecture. We appreciate student’s frustration but space at LSE is more limited due to ongoing building works on campus.”

You said: (3rd-year Actuarial Science student)

I understand that often teaching assistants and professors are very busy, but I feel that the quality of individual feedback given on homework assignments is a bit poor. This term I have handed in at most 2 assignments per module. This is not much, so I would expect to get really useful feedback from the markers. However, for some of these, my work was simply given ticks in some places, and in other places there was nothing at all! I of course understand that individual feedback won't be detailed because the solutions are discussed in class, but I would hope that the feedback is at least complete, i.e. no parts or questions are omitted. For example, I received some homework where I answered an entire question correctly, with working shown, but I received no marks for it because the teacher didn't seem to have read it at all! I am quite disappointed in this and hope that this will improve. For  example I would rather the teacher hand it back to us later so that I get complete feedback, or perhaps have more than one teacher marking to quicken the process.

Our response:

We are currently reviewing the feedback provision for various courses and have already strengthened this provision for ST202 after earlier feedback. It will also be addressed at the Teaching Committee meeting later this month (Jan 25th 2017) and I expect 3rd year BSc. Act. students to notice a difference this term.

You said: (MSc Risk and Stochastics student)

There could be 1 or 2 tests for the modules during the MT and the LT so that the exams will not count 100% but most importantly it is a way to make students cover everything up to that point that the test will take place. For example, there can be 1 test in the middle of the MT and then one test a few days before the end of the term.

Our response:

The current exam system at LSE, which originated from the British system,  does not allow ‘informal’ tests to be counted toward the final mark. Outside exam periods (in week 0 LT and ST), only formal course work (such as projects) can be counted. Therefore unfortunately it is not possible to use these informal tests to reduce weight of final exams. Within the programme, we are aiming to diversify assessment format. There are project and presentation components in several newly introduced courses.

You said:

We want more careers events and student social occasions.

Our response:

We are now routinely organising the careers panel event, the Alumni mixer event, the communications workshop, the UG student pub lunches, a trip to Lloyds of London and the student Christmas party. 

You said:

We would like to receive more feedback.

Our response:

We are running the Stats Support Centre and running some ST102 class teacher office hours from the LSE LIFE centre which provides individual and group feedback in a convenient location. 

You said:

We want more interactive teaching.

Our response:

We are now providing unseen questions to be discussed in class in the ST102 course.