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Excellent education and experience the Bath way

How we've offered our students the best possible experience and education in a very different world. Part of the Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21.

Students chat and laugh in front of a Ferris wheel on a summer's day
Students at the Summer at Bath event.

Over the course of the year, staff at the University worked incredibly hard to offer our students the best possible experience and education in a very different world.

Delivering education

Our approach to delivering education and enhancing our students’ experiences had to be more flexible than ever before this year, seeking every opportunity to create connections in spite of the pandemic.

To enable flexible learning in a changing environment, we created the ‘Bath Blend’ - a combination of in-person and online learning. This enabled us to prioritise the health and safety of our community while ensuring that physical distance was not a barrier to social connection.

The new way of working was a cultural shift for everyone but staff and students rose to the challenge to create engaging and collaborative learning and teaching.

The Bath Blend included in-person interaction on campus between staff and students, online learning and crucial peer-to-peer learning opportunities and group activities. We also opened many bookable, socially-distanced study spaces for students on campus.

For students who were unable to join us on campus, we delivered education through remote learning, providing them with a structured set of interactive course material, including online presentations and seminars, recorded lectures, course documentation and videos. For programmes on which practical lab-based work is required for students to gain professional skills and competencies, we ensured they had the opportunity to complete these during term time, or if necessary, at a later date.

The student experience

Two students on the carousel at Summer at Bath
Two students on the carousel at Summer at Bath.

The wider student experience also had to be reimagined as we operated in line with prevailing Government guidance.

At the start of the term, organised by the Students’ Union (SU) with local Bath venues, we created the impressive ‘East Village’– an outside area with marquees enabling students to socialise in their households in a COVID-secure way. This was complemented with numerous online events and activities. In Bath, we opened new venues to increase capacity for activities, at Lewis House in the city centre and Dartmouth Avenue in Oldfield Park. The Dartmouth Avenue base became a hub for the Student Community Partnership, working on initiatives to welcome students to Bath and to support them and the local community.

In the summer of 2021, to mark the end of exam season and to help our University community safely reconnect with one another, the University worked with the SU and Team Bath to organise a campus-wide ‘Summer at Bath’ programme. Over 10,000 students and staff enjoyed a programme of over 100 social, fitness and wellbeing activities, including BBQs, workshops, sports tournaments, craft sessions and more. Students enjoyed a funfair on campus and many student groups were in action through music and theatre performances on our lake-side stage.

Student satisfaction

A group of students in a drumming workshop.
A group of students in a drumming workshop.

In the summer, we were delighted to receive news that we had ranked first in England in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2021 when comparing institutions listed in the Guardian University Guide. Bath students recorded overall satisfaction of 86.06%, well above the UK average, with six courses receiving hugely impressive 100% satisfaction rates.

We also received impressive results from this year’s Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2021. These results highlighted an increase in students’ satisfaction with their courses to 80.2% (an increase of 9.2% from the previous year), with notable performances in particular for the Department of Mechanical Engineering (92.3%, an increase of 8.3%) and Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies (90.6%, an increase of 11.1%).