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Study Environment Survey 2014: Increased level of well-being among students at Health

No less than 92 per cent of the students at Health feel comfortable with their degree programme. That is the highest share since the introduction of the study environment survey at AU. However, there are also areas where there is still room for improvement.

The recently published survey of the study environment at Aarhus University shows that the students at Health are happy students. They are satisfied with their degree programme, they feel they are part of an academic community and they would happily recommend their degree programme to others. Compared to previous study environment surveys, things are better. In 2007 and 2011, 90 per cent of the students at Health felt comfortable with the degree programme. In 2014 this figure has increased to 92 per cent. Similarly, Health gets high scores when it comes to participation in social events and the of use study groups. The academic community and social cohesion could be one of the explanations of why the majority of students at Health are happy.

Stressed students

However, there are also areas where there is room for improvement. An increasing number of students at the university feel stressed on a daily basis. At Health 16 per cent of students experience severe stress-related symptoms on a daily basis. Here they are almost on a par with the rest of the students at AU.

"One possible explanation may be the amount of debate about the study progress reform and the Ministry of Education’s increased focus on the students having to complete their education quickly. At the same time, we have also have some very ambitious students. They experience stress in trying to live up to both their own and other’s high expectations. We continue to focus on the problem and have established a mentor/mentee scheme for the medical students with the aim of increasing student well-being," says Allan Flyvbjerg, dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Odontology students are particularly stressed. Here, 4 out of 10 experience severe stress symptoms in their daily life, while 6 out of 10 feel affected by stress up to the exams. This may be due to the framework conditions which mean that as a dentist in Denmark, you must both learn theory and practice during the degree programme and are expected to be able to function as a dentist from the first day at work, in contrast to e.g. the medical students, who have a longer period as junior hospital doctors before they are expected to stand on their own two feet.

"Dentists thus face a special challenge which we are constantly aware of and we do what we can to support them, for instance by getting them to work together and support each other," says Allan Flyvbjerg.

As a result of the survey, the dean has just given the green light to create more spaces for group work at Health, which is something the students generally request in the survey.

Wish for more feedback from the lecturers

Around 3 out of 4 students call for more feedback on their assignments during the course of study and after the exam. At the same time, almost half of them think that the learning objectives for their courses are not clearly communicated.

"The result will be taken into consideration and we will discuss how we can organise things better so that both the learning objectives and feedback are communicated on an ongoing basis. Of course it is a challenge to provide individual feedback to each and every student in a packed auditorium, so we will have to look at what other options we have. The board of studies and department heads are already looking into this and we have also run a digital pilot project for anatomy at medicine," says Allan Flyvbjerg.

The new LMS system Blackboard, which is currently being rolled out for the entire University, also opens up for new feedback opportunities. The system can also be used as an electronic learning platform to activate the students in new ways – something that the survey also shows the lecturers can certainly be better to do.

New academic regulations must rectify problems at molecular medicine

The most dissatisfied students can be found on the Master's degree programme in molecular medicine. They do not feel that the learning objectives for the teaching are clearly formulated and they call for coherence between what they are being taught and what they are expected to learn.

"The survey reflects the fact that the Master's degree programme in molecular medicine is still relatively new and that time and experience are required to find the best way to organise things. Especially when it is divided between two faculties. We are therefore listening closely to the input we receive from this survey, among other things. The students have also been involved in the new academic regulations that are in the pipeline and which will hopefully help to solve these problems," says Allan Flyvbjerg.

Facts about the study environment survey 2014

Just under half of the students at Health participated in the study which was carried out throughout AU in spring 2014.

  • 65 per cent of the students at Health prioritise participation in academic and social events.
  • 8 per cent of the students at Health often feel lonely during their studies.
  • 14 per cent of the students at Health think that the lecturers are good at using the electronic learning platforms for activating the students.
  • 16 per cent of the students at Health feel stressed on a daily basis, while the figure increases to 36 per cent during the exam periods.
  • 18 per cent of the students at Health think that there are good possibilities for feedback regarding their academic performance at exams. The figure is 25 per cent when it comes to feedback during the course of the semester.

You can see the complete survey at study environment survey2014

Further information

Dean Allan Flyvbjerg, Aarhus University, Health
Mobile: +45 5177 9548