SJM Foundations Students Give Valuable Feedback on Teaching & Learning

10 months

Cycle 3 Foundations students at the HCT-Sharjah Men’s campus (SJM) were given the opportunity to express their thoughts about the quality of their course, when they participated in a Student Focus Group Meeting.

This is a yearly event which takes place during the month of February as part of the Foundation department’s quality assurance initiatives. The participants were chosen by the section leaders, with one student representing each section.

Participating student representatives were: Mohammed Suleiman (level 1), Mohamed Ali (level 2), Rashed Mohamed and Abdulla Abdulwahed (level 3), Ahmed Alyassi, Hasan Ibrahim, Abdelrahman Mohamed and Rashid Ahmed (level 4). The moderator of the meeting was Mr Mokhtar Bourchak, and the facilitator was Ms Manal Mohamad.

The following seven questions formed the agenda for the meeting and the basis of the discussion:

  1. Tell us a little bit about why you want to study here at HCT.
    1. Why did you decide to come to HCT?
    2. What do you hope to do in the future?
  2. How is HCT different from secondary school for you?
    1. What is harder about HCT, compared to secondary school?
    2. What is easier?
  3. Tell us about your experience in your first week at HCT (in August).
    1. Did you have any problems during the first week?
    2. How can HCT make your experience in the first week better?
  4. Tell us about your English courses in the first cycle and now.
    1. Are they easy or hard?
    2. What do you like best about them?
    3. What do you wish were different?
  5. Tell us about your NCHR courses (Learning Center), in the first cycle and now.
    1. Are they easy or hard?
    2. What do you like best about them?
    3. What do you wish were different?
  6. How have you changed since you came to HCT in August?
    1. Are you studying differently?
    2. What advice have your teachers given you?
    3. What advice would you give new students coming to HCT Foundations?
  7. Is there anything else you would like us to know about your experience so far at HCT?

The focus group meeting was lively, with all participants responding to the points on the agenda, and contributing their points of view. A detailed report of the discussion, along with the points raised by the students, has been forwarded to both Academic Services and Student Services.

Specific areas in the report will highlight points which students felt there was room for improvement. In terms of facilities, students suggested there should be a smoking area designated outside H block, and a coffee shop on the ground floor of the library.

Additionally, the SJM Foundations team will go through the report in depth during the coming PD week, and based on that will make recommendations to be forwarded to the FFAC (Foundations Faculty Academic Committee), or were applicable apply the necessary changes at the college level.

Overall, it was encouraging to have the focus group discussion, and the resulting constructive suggestions from the students to improve the comprehensive experience of the student body while they are enrolled with Foundations.

Such experiences help students to become aware that their focus group suggestions will have a positive impact on the direction of competitive learning at HCT. It also helps students understand that social responsibility and engagement is central to discussion groups; such experiences will enable students to adapt to employment and internship experiences when they join their intended workplaces.