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Help! My MA course is new and, quite frankly, awful. What can we do?

(6 Posts)
PhoenixMama Thu 09-May-19 12:36:27

Hi all - really need some advice. I'm doing an MA course and this is it's first year, and it's really obvious that it's a new course and they rushed to put it together.

For example:
- there is no consistency with - prof never follows up on weekly 'assignments' and often mentions exercises we should do but never does them
- Any instruction we've had has been basic and at undergrad level
- the 'visiting professors' we were promised as a major part of the course aren't available to us outside of their (short) lectures. To which, without fail, every single one has turned up on the day and asked our Prof 'What do you want me to talk about?' None of them have even looked at our work - despite the course being marketed as 'look at the people you'll have access to and who will help you hone your skills'
- our schedule for the sessions are often not posted until a day or so before so we have no idea what we should be focusing on
- We still haven't been connected to our portfolio advisors and when I asked about them yesterday was told that we get 18 hours with our advisors, but that 9 of those hours are with our regular prof (who definitely is not an expert in what I'm working on, or what others are working on)

About half of the cohort sent our prof (also head of course) a complaint earlier in the year and some of the issues have been addressed but others haven't and now there are new ones.

I'm a single mum, who's taken out student loans to pay £12k for this awful course where I'm not really learning anything. I will say that some of my classmates have been incredibly helpful (and hopefully I have been to them) but that doesn't seem like enough.

Is there anything we can actually DO about this? Or do we basically have to just suffer through it? How do you complain about a course as a whole?

OP’s posts: |
TalbotAMan Thu 09-May-19 12:48:19

Your University should have a complaints procedure.

Remember though that your professsor has a boss, who may be the Head of Department, Dean of the Faculty or Pro-Vice Chancellor, depending on what his/her role in the Department is and the way the University is organised. While it's always better to work things through informally with the person concerned, if that fails then you need to go over their head.

There's strength in numbers, so if most or all of the cohort complain, that will help. Also, as far as possible get a documentary trail - emails, handouts, lecture recordings and the like -- that will demonstrate that the course is substandard.

Becca19962014 Thu 09-May-19 13:13:12

In the course handbook they'll be details of who to complain to and others will need to complain as well.

BUT

Degrees aren't really overseen by anyone and you can find yourself studying a crap one. My MSc was crap but I needed the qualification in order to be recognised professionally and go into the work I wanted to do - everyone complained. I was really lucky I'd done a traineeship which taught me all I needed and when doing the course I sort of reverse engineered it into theory (if that makes sense) and helped others. There were three of us that graduated with the MSc. Out of twenty. My dissertation was overseen by someone who had less knowledge about the subject than I did and refused to even read it as it was over his head. I got the qualification and passed my dissertation (would have been better had I had the help!!) but others didn't pass and only got a diploma not the MSc and failed at the professional recognition too so money down the drain.

Everyone complained and two years later the course was pulled - that meant for two years others went through the same. It was one which was externally verified (due to professional recognition) but it made very little difference to those of us studying and was pulled eventually by the professional body. I had a career development loan to do it of around £8000 and honestly if I didn't need the piece of paper I'd have been even more livid.

Since giving up work (yep only used it a few years so it wasn't worth it at all and the CDL rules meant you repaid immediately regardless of employment status!) I've done some courses which have been crap online as well. It can be really hard to work out what's genuine and what isn't.

PhoenixMama Sat 11-May-19 18:04:30

Thanks! I think we may need to go down the formal complaint route...

OP’s posts: |
Becca19962014 Sat 11-May-19 18:18:39

Good luck!

MariaNovella Sun 12-May-19 16:26:34

It can be really hard to work out what's genuine and what isn’t.

Unfortunately there are an awful lot of low quality courses out there.

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