The University Timetabling Protocol states it aims is to prioritise the student learning experience, ensuring it is the best possible and that students needs are met. With this in mind, the Vice President of Education (Millie Green) aimed to position the idea that lectures that last two or more hours should incorporate a break at a predetermined time based on the individual lecture. The aim was to put in place a simple agreement in the timetabling policy stating that staff and students can agree on a time for a break at the beginning of the session, and this would be easy to implement across the university.
We are pleased to announce that Millie has achieved her manifesto point, and got a massive win for students and now all lectures when teaching activities e.g. lectures and seminars are scheduled to run for 2 hours or more, staff will typically identify an appropriate time for a break in discussion with students at the start of a teaching block or session. Activities where having a formal break is not necessary or not appropriate, such as practical sessions and field trips, are typically excluded from this requirement.
This info can be found in section 3.9 of the University of Plymouth Timetabling protocol.
Vice President Education, Millie Green said:
Whilst writing my manifesto I spoke to a number of students to understand what challenges they face at university related to their study. My inspiration for creating the point about getting mandatory breaks in lectures came from a student who, for personal reasons, would struggle when they didn’t know if or when there would be a break.
When I started my role as VP Education I began my research. I looked into what the university timetable protocol says, what guidelines the uni have in place to ensure lectures are inclusive of all students, what other universities do and how breaks can benefit students. When researching into the benefits of breaks I found that they not only benefit those who experience fatigue or other medical conditions but also allow all students a chance to process information and re-engage before the next session.
Many students also stated that they would miss lectures for low levels of motivation, attention or comprehension. Even in the most interesting lectures, attention levels would inevitably drop after the first 20 minutes.
I am so excited to say that the new version of the Timetable Protocol has officially been published in the timetable policy and to know that it was my work as Vice President of Education that has allowed this to happen is incredible.