Student Experience 2.0

Understanding the student experience in UK HE; what has changed since we were students?


I was a student once, I ‘know’ what the student experience is (I even have pictures of me being a student to prove it)! This was my thinking for much of my time as a junior faculty member. But then something happened to change my thinking. I saw a poster, a poster for a 90’s themed party. The era I attended university (the 90’s) is now only fit for nostalgia by this new generation of students. This got me thinking what else has changed? What is the ‘new’ student experience and can we measure it?

me 70s

‘Students’ (me) enjoying a 70s themed party in the late 1990s. Scanned photograph (not digital, an era before universal usage of mobile phones and digital cameras).

The term ‘student experience’ inhabits conferences and management meetings but its meaning is constantly changed and corrupted. As an educator I don’t want to see the ‘student experience’ reduced to another buzzword. As an educator I see the importance of ‘the experience’ for my students every day and as a scientist I ask questions; I ask can it be objectively observed; can it be measured?

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Head torch running at night on the trails; fun or just wrong!?

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Lighter and brighter head torches allow us to run trails at night but is it socially acceptable to do so, or is there just something plain ‘wrong’ about it?

Prone to heavy breathing, lurking in dark places and have a fetish for Lycra?

Do you long for those long summer evenings running through beautiful countryside drenched in late golden sun? Can’t wait until the clocks change and the evenings draw out again? Well with the recent advances in LED and battery technology head torches have improved significantly (and gotten a lot cheaper). This now means you don’t have to wait for the summer to run those trails you love in the evenings after work. Head torches then seem like a logical solution to the problem, especially if you are prone to heavy breathing, lurking in dark places and have a fetish for Lycra?

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Running porn reviewed: 3 ingredients for a good running book.

Running porn reviewed: 3 ingredients for a good running book.

love of books

Nothing is better than getting your running shoes on and getting out for a run. But even with the increasing trend towards ultra-distance running and the mantra that we are ‘Born to Run’ not even top ultra-athletes run 24 hours a day (not every day anyway). So what are we mere mortals (and ultra-athletes on non-race-days) to do in those quieter moments in our lives when we are not working, caring for family, sleeping or running? Read about running of course!

Following the success of Christopher McDougall’s fantastically entertaining book ‘Born to Run’ there has been an explosion of running books. The shift to self-publishing and e-books has further fuelled this explosion in the last few years. Now anyone who has put on a pair of running shoes can write a book about their experience. A search for ‘running books’ on Amazon will give you over 4000 hits and even something more niche like the ‘Marathon des Sables’ has been the subject of at least 6 books recently. Continue reading

Could ice cream be your go to running nutrition this summer?

With the proliferation of running gels, energy drinks and isotonic performance enhancing super foods available to the modern runner you could be forgiven for thinking that you would be foolhardy to even attempt to run without one of these performance enhancing products in your hand. A cursory glance at any running magazine will confirm your fears, your current nutritional regime is inadequate. But could the answer be staring you in the face this summer? Not in specialist running shops, or even your local health food store, but in another less obvious locale? I am referring (of course?) to those majestic music playing purveyors of summer nutrition and national institution; the ice cream van. These overlooked sports nutrition stations can be found in many of your favourite running spots. Often conveniently located near car parks, amenities and some of the most picturesque running trails you will run this summer.

So what can these unconventional sports nutrition stations offer the modern runner and how do they measure up to their more conventional sports nutrition competitors with their shiny wrappers and seductive performance enhancing claims? Continue reading