As much as we like to challenge the idea of students as consumers, arguing that they are “learners” and that universities are not just “service providers”, education is progressively becoming a commodity that we are buying into. As a result, today’s fee-paying students are beginning to demand more than ever before, forcing universities to deliver a better “service” and value for money. One element of this is: are students’ chosen courses allowing them to study what they want to study?Your course is one of the most important parts of your university experience; arguably it should be one of your main motivations for applying to, and accepting the offer of, that university.
As the content is what you will study for at least three years, it should be interesting to you. It should challenge your existing knowledge and advance your potential understanding. It should teach you new skills and hone those you already have.
It should teach you to think, whether that’s about a practical skill or a philosophical concept. It should motivate you and inspire you – to work and want to work.But does this mean that students should have a say in their course content? I don’t think so. All students apply for a course: one that may not remain entirely consistent throughout the duration of the degree, but one that follows the same basic ideas and strands of teaching. That particular course may have particularly appealed to the interests of some students, or be especially focused on a career path desired by others, so should it be able to be altered once students have embarked on it just because it doesn’t fit some students’ preferences?