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HSE Students Assess Project Activity for the First Time

HSE University students appreciate the relevance of projects for their careers and for broadening their horizons in general

In the last academic year, the fourth module of the Teaching Quality Assessment (TQA) survey included a series of questions dedicated to the student experience of participating in projects during their studies. The students assessed all projects included in the individual student curricula for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The students’ assessment was based on five criteria: usefulness for a future career, usefulness for broadening their horizons and versatile development, the novelty of the acquired knowledge and skills, the complexity for successful completion and the quality management conducted by the project supervisor. The students evaluated 1,878 projects that involved group participation.

The analysis showed that the students’ assessment of projects differs significantly from the TQA of academic disciplines in two criteria: usefulness for career and usefulness for broadening horizons and versatile development. In general, for these indicators, 5-7% more students assess projects positively than academic disciplines (82% and 88% vs. 75% and 83%, respectively). The average score on the criterion of usefulness for career for projects is 4.33, while for academic disciplines it is 4.11. While the criterion of usefulness for career in academic disciplines traditionally declines on average in comparison with the other criteria (except for complexity), the assessment of projects is more stable.

Read more

Results of the Student Life Survey: involvement in research

In terms of usefulness for broadening horizons and versatile development, the effect is slightly less pronounced, but also significant — 4.53 versus 4.35. To a lesser extent, a similar effect can be seen in the novelty of the acquired knowledge (4.34 vs. 4.27). At the same time, under the criteria of complexity and quality management, academic disciplines are given higher assessments than projects.

It is worth noting that the assessment of each project type (research, applied, service) also has its own distinguishing features based on different criteria. Accordingly, service projects are the best organized, applied projects are the most useful for career, and research projects are the most useful for general broadening of horizons, provide new knowledge and are the most complex.

In addition to the assessments, the students also left about 1,500 text comments about various projects, which will allow the university to have a precise understanding of the strong and weak parts of project management in different departments.

ДData provided by the HSE Centre for Institutional Research

Ivan Gruzdev
Director for Internal Monitoring and Student Academic Development

In my opinion, the results are very good news for all HSE community. The introduction of project activity into the educational process is a serious challenge. This process is still ongoing, but we can already see some positive effects: students find projects useful, and their student experience becomes more diverse and better prepares them for competition on the labour market. At the same time, there is also cause for concern — the quality of project management is considered lower than the quality of academic discipline management (the differences are small, but they still exist). These data once again indicate that among other concerns, teachers must now pay attention to the development of project management practices.

September 13, 2021