Semester Management

Semester Management

Semester management is divided into the following:

  • Semester planning before the semester starts
  • Semester execution
  • Semester evaluation after the semester ends

Besides the department and study board, some of the key roles in the semester managment processes are the semester coordinator, the project supervisors and the course lecturers. The semester secretary also conducts essential tasks in regard to planning, scheduling, etc.

On this page you will find information on how we plan, execute and evauate semesters at the Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology.

You will also find templates for the semester management documents, which are to be used in the different phases of the semester planning, semester execution and semester evaluation.

 

For an overview of the yearly cycle of semester management,
visit this page

Semester Management Process

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    Semester Planning

    The semester planning is initiated with the release of teaching requisitions. These are released in April for the fall semester and in October for the spring semester. The department is now responsible for appointing the following roles, who will be responsible for main tasks during the semester:

    • Semester coordinators
    • Project supervisors
    • Course lecturers

    The responbilities of these roles are descripted in the list below. Besides the three abovementioned appointed roles, the semester secretary is also responsible for main tasks in the semester planning. 

    The following task are essential in the semester planning:

    • Semester description. 
    • Semester planning meetings
    • Semester scheduling
    • Project proposals

    semester description

    After the abovementioned roles have been appointed, the semester coordinator will prepare a semester description in agreement with teachers and in accordance with the study board's conclusions on last year's evaluation.

    The semester description must be approved by the study board in June for the fall semester and in December for the spring semester. The semester description is announced to the students in the beginning og the semester at the semester intro meeting. ​

    Semester Planning meetings

    The semester coordinator is responsible for the planning process and for involving other teachers in the process e.g. by calling for meeting regarding the following:

    • Semester schedule
    • Main points of last year's evaluation report
    • Semester description
    • Project proposals
    • Relations between courses and projects
    • Fair distribution of workload for students
    • etc...

    SEMESTER SCHEDULING

    The semester secretary is responsible for making a draft schedule which must be approved by the semester coordinator. The semester secretary will then update and prepare moodle rooms, book rooms and make teaching schedules.

    Project Proposals

    In collaboration witht the project supervisors, the semester coordinator must describe project proposals that fulfills the following criteria:

    • Open-ended and problem-oriented
    • In accordance with the semeser theme
    • Support the students' acquisition of the project module's learning goals
    • Preferably involves external collaboration with a company or organisation
    • Support cross-disciplinary perspectives; e.g. part of a megaproject
    • Adress one of mroe of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

    The project poposals are presented to the students at the semester intro meeting in the begining of the semester.

     

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    Semester Execution

    Besides teaching itself, the main tasks for the semester coordinator, projects supervisors, course lecturers during the semester are as follows:

    • Semester introduction meeting
    • Semester group meetings
    • Meetings between the semester coordinator and projects supervisors
    • Conflict handling
    • Guide and provide feedback for students
    • Status seminar
    • Exams and assesment notes

    Semester introdcution meeting

    On the first day of the semester, the semester coordinator conducts a semester introduction meeting for the students.

    At the meeting the following is presented by the semester coordinator:

    • The semester description, which includes the objective of the semester and describes the activities planned for the semester
    • If 1st semester (BSc or MSc): the Study Activity Model
    • Project proposals (possibly presented by project supervisors)
    • Schedule and expected study load during the semester (presenting the output of the Excel-tool of the Study Activity Model)
    • Formation of project groups
    • Steering group meetings – students appoint a member from each group
    • Submission of project reports
    • Exams

    The project supervisors participate in the semester introduction meeting and present their project proposals.

    Semester group meetings

    The semester group consists of the semester coordinator, teachers and student representatives (one per project group) of the semester. Normally, the semester secretary also participates in the meetings and takes minutes. Course lecturers and project supervisors only attend if so requested by the semester coordinator. The semester coordinator calls the semester group for a meeting 2-3 times during the semester.

    The pupose of the meetings is:

    • To discuss teaching (form, content, etc.), workload, progress in projects, etc. 
    • The students should be encouraged to solve minor issues themselves (e.g., discuss course issues with lecturer, report physical study environment issues via app (iPhone and Android) or via a web-form)

    The minutes of the meeting must be approved by the semester coordinator and published in the Moodle semester room and sent to the Study Board no later than a week  after the meeting. Potentially sensitive information is communicated in other means by the coordinator.

    Meetings between the semester coordinator and projects supervisors

    On the fist and second semesters of bachelor's programmes, it is mandatory that the semester coordinator meet with the project supervisors. On the remaining semesters, the semester coordinator is encourage to arrange these meetings especially with unexperienced supervisors. The semester coordinator has a responsibility to make sure that new project supervisors and supervisors unfamiliar with the theme of the semester receive appropriate guidance to handle the role as project supervisor at the semester. In any case, semester coordinator and project supervisors must keep each other informed about challenges, dropout, etc. in the project groups.

    At the official meetings between the two, the following is discussed:

    • Semester planning: Expectations, roles, etc. for project supervisors
    • Midway status: Status for projects, collaboration, etc.
    • Before exam: Quality of reports, exam form, learning goals and evaluation criteria, roles, etc.

    Conflict handling

    The semester coordinator takes care of issues and conflicts raised by students and teachers (course lecturers and project supervisors). In case of conflict, the following applies:

    • Conflicts in a project group is first sought to be solved by the students themselves, possibly involving the project supervisor
    • The semester coordinator gets involved only if the students are unable to solve the conflict
    • The semester coordinator and the semester group are only supposed to involve the chairman and/or the head of studies if needed

    Guide and provide feedback to students

    The task for a project supervisor is to guide the students in two ways:

    Subject matter:

    • Provide feedback on the students’ ideas, suggestions, drafts, prototypes, etc. and guide them in correcting (if necessary) and continuing their work
    • Suggest literature, theories, methods, etc. that can be used in their project
    • Don’t tell the students what they should do, but what they can do

    Project management:

    • Guide the students in running their project in an appropriate manner in terms of good teamwork and project management

    If relevant, the supervisors can arrange joint supervision in clusters of groups, as this can be beneficial for both students and supervisors.

    Status seminar

    The project modules described in the study curricula all include specific learning objectives that are applicable for all students attending a given semester. These general learning objectives are met through different reseach based projects.

    Purpose of the status seminar:

    • To increase the individual student's academic competences and personal network by giving the student groups the oppurtunity to discuss the module's learning objevtives with other groups and supervisors based on the specific projects the groups are working on.
    • To facilitate collaboration between the student groups. 
    • To give the students a chance to practise reflecting and critically assessing the work of others in order to strenghten the overall compentence profil of the study programme. 

    the objective of the status seminar

    The status seminar ensures that the students practise the written and oral presentation of their projects in regard to the course module's learning objectives. It also ensures that the students have the oppurtunity to discuss and reflect on the course module's objective across the projects.  

    The objective of the status seminar for the individual is to

    • Futher develop presentation skills both in writing and orally. The presentations of the project status should be concise and to the point, and the written and oral presentations should supplement each other. 
    • Be able to describe in detail how the specific project mets the course module's learning objectives.
    • Reflect on the learning objectives by being given critical questions and discussing them.
    • Use the course module's learning objective to formulate questions for other student groups' projects.

    Academic content of the status seminar

    The semester coordinator draws up a short, written guide for the student groups including specific requirements regarding content and extent of both the written and oral status reports. The guide should be drawn up considering the above mentioned prupose and objectives of the status seminar as well as the coordinator's insight into the project module. The status report for the project can be based on the following (examples):

    • The project's initial problem or the problem statment.
    • The project's method including the methods that have already been or that are intended to be applied.
    • The bibliography.
    • Time- and activity plans with reference to the learning objectives.
    • Current or upcoming challenges.

    Organising the status seminar

    The status seminar is part of the guide and feedback students receive during the project work and can be organised in different ways. The semester coordinator initiates the planning of the status seminar. When planning the status seminar, the semester coordinator must consider meeting the objectives of the status seminar, the number of student groups on the semester, project supervisors and students' academic level (e.g. BSc or MSc).

    The semester coordinator plans dates for the status seminar during semester planning. Typically each student group will have 30-45 minutes including 5-15 minutes of oral presentaiton and 25-30 minutes of discussion afterwards. The plan for the status seminar is presented to the students and project supervisors in the beginning of the semester. If a student group is working wih confidential information, the semester coordinator, the project supervisor and the students plan how the students can participate in order to achieve the highest learning outcome. 

    The project supervisors can participate with their groups and/or act as opponents for other student groups. 

    The students will make their written report available for other students and supervisors before the status seminar e.g. in a Moodle room. 

    evaluation of the status seminar

    The status seminar is evaluated on the following semester group meeting.

    Exams and assessment notes

    During an exam at Aalborg University - either oral or written - the examiner is required by the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science to take notes regarding the individual student's performance as well as the grading of the student's performance. It is up to the examiner whether he or she wishes to have the notes electronically or written in hand. In cases of written exams where the students hand in papers instaed of electronically, however, the examiner is not allowed to write on the exam papers handed in.

    The asssessment notes can be required in case of a formal complaint, and therefore the examiner must keep the papers for one year. The examiner is required to hand ind the assessment notes in the case of a complaint given by a student. 

    Read more about exam policies and procedures here.

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    Semester Evaluation

    The semester evaluation is managed by the semester coordinator, and the process is conducted as follows:

    • The department initiates the semester evaluation process by informing the semester coordinator about the process and his/her role in the process
    • Each student fills out the questionnaire
    • Each project group fills out the questionnaire
    • The semester coordinator facilitates an evaluation meeting with the students based on their questionnaires to make a joint evaluation
    • The semester coordinator drafts a semester evaluation report based on 1) the results of the individual and group questionnairs, 2) the joint evaluation meeting and 3) minutes from the steering group meetings
    • The draft report must be sent to students and teachers for comments
    • The draft report is sent to the study board before the next interation of the semester. The report must include 1) the comments recieved from teachers and students, 2) minority statements (if any), 3) recommendations on changes (if any). The report must not include sensitive personal information

     

Roles and Responsibilities

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    Semester Coordinator

    The semester coordinator plays a key role in coordinating and in the ongoing quality assurance of the education. The coordinator refers to the study board, and facilitates the hands-on planning, steering, monitoring and evaluation the semester activities. This includes ensuring that the activites are coherent and coordinated with the secretary, lecturers and project supervisors. The coordinator's main tasks during semester planning, semester execution and semester evaluation are decribed below.

    Semester Planning

    During the semester planning, the semester coordinator is responsible for the following:

    • Notifying the study board of proposals for changes to the semester description
    • Approving the semester schedule worked out by the semester secretary
    • Meeting with the secretary, the lecturers and project supervisors to plan activiteis of the semester
    • Calling for project proposals from the project supervisors
    • Considering the use of the study activity tool for the semester study load - to be presented at the semester intro meeting

    Semester execution

    During the semester, the semester coordinator is responsible for the following:

    • Hosting a semester introduction meeting for the students on the first day of the semester
    • Running the formation of project groups process
    • Allocating supervisors to the project groups based on the students' project choices
    • Arranging and facilitating 2-3 semester group meetings with representatives fro project grops, ensuring minute are uploaded to Moodle and sent to study board
    • Arranging semester seminars for students and project supervisors
    • Handling conflicts. If necessary involve the chariman of the study board or the head of studies
    • Reporting serious issues, dropout, etc. to the study board.

    Semester evaluation

    During the semester evaluation, the semester coordinator is responsible for the following:

    • Running the semester evaluation process in cooperation with the department and study board
    • Making a draft of the evaluation report including calling for comments from teachers and students
    • Sending the final evaluation report to the study board
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    Project Supervisor

    The project supervisor's main tasks are to  guide the students in a direction that ensure that they achieve the learning goals set out for the proejct module, guide the students in exploiting material from the courses of the semester, guide the students in achiving a fruitful collaboration in the group and examine the students in the project exam. The project supervisor's main tasks during semester planning, semester execution and semester evaluation are decribed below. 

    Semester planning

    During the semester planning, the project supervisor is responsible for the following:

    • Participating in the semester planning meeting called by the semester coordinator
    • Get acquainted with the semester description, the courses and the learning goals of the project module
    • Proposing one og more semester projects

    Semester execution

    During the semester, the project supervisor is responsible for the following:

    • Participarting in the semester introduction meeting and present prosed project(s)
    • Meeting with student about once a week to discuss status, progress, plans, etc. for the students' project
    • Guiding the student in 1) ensuring their project evolves in a way that meet the learning goals of the project module, 2) exploting the material from the semester courses, 3) achiving a fruitful collaboratoin in the group, 4) wokring with their project in structured manner
    • Participating in status seminars as a part of guiding the students during their project work
    • Participating in midway and before-exam meetings if these are arranged by the semester coordinator
    • Act as the examiner in the project exm, being the primary conductor of the exam and asking the students questions to assess the degree to wich the learning goals have been achieved

    SEMESTER EVALUATION

    • Provide feedback for the draft evaluation report
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    Course Lecturer

    The course lecturer is free to plan the course module as he/she find optimal for the student's to achieve the learning goals set out for the course, guide students during exercise or lab session and examine them in the course exam. The course lecturer's main tasks during semester planning, semester execution and semester evaluation are decribed below. 

    SEMESTER PLANNING

    During the semester planning, the project supervisor is responsible for the following:

    • Participating in the semester planning meeting called by the semester coordinator
    • Update course description in Moodle
    • Get acquainted with the semester description, the courses and the learning goals of the project module

    SEMESTER EXECUTION

    During the semester, the project supervisor is responsible for the following:

    • May participate in the semester introduction meeting and present the course
    • Taking an active part in assisting the students in exercises and lab sessions
    • May participate in the steering group meetings arranged by the semester coordinator
    • Informing the students on how the course exam will be conducted. Deadline for this is 1st og 2nd lecture
    • Acting as the examiner at the course exam and in case of an oral exam, asking students questions to assess the degree to which the learning goals have been achieved

    SEMESTER EVALUATION

    • Provide feedback for the draft evaluation report

Templates

Information about a course
(Danish version)(English version)

Agenda for semester group meetings
(Danish version)(English version)

Minutes for semester group meetings
(Danish version)(English version)

Semester and teaching evaluation report 
(Danish version)(English version)

Conclusions to the semester and teaching evaluation
(Danish version)(English version)

Conlusions to the study programme evaluations
(Danish version)(English version)