The Exchange Blog

News and updates from the Teaching, Learning and Employability Exchange at University of the Arts London

Academic Enhancement Model (AEM)

By students for students – the Learning at UAL zine project

How can we improve the student experience?
The Academic Enhancement Model has been supporting staff to engage intensively with this key question. Whilst collaboration with staff on this issue is vital, we also cannot underestimate the importance of the student voice when co-creating meaningful solutions.

To capture the student perspective, the Learning at UAL zine project set out to do something never done at UAL before: to create visually engaging learning resources developed and designed by students, for students. Over 120 students applied to take part, with 31 eventually working on the project in four college teams.

Students worked to develop zines based on the four key areas of priority identified by the AEM project, which were:

  • CSM – assessment
  • CCW – well-being
  • LCC – community
  • LCF – tutorials

Students had access to the support of staff mentors, as well as development opportunities such as workshops, however the project was essentially self-directed. Students were encouraged to use their own creativity and autonomy, both when researching their themes and coming up with their final designs. They had the opportunity to work on a collaborative, solutions-focused project, where they reflected on how to make the most out of their learning experience, and how to help other students do the same.

Two male and one female student in front of projector screen

Students presented their zines to each other and to staff at a celebration event for the project on 13 March, as well as at the UAL-wide Teaching and Learning Conference on 21 March.

The students who took part have fed-back that they appreciated the opportunity to collaborate and learn new skills, and the materials created will allow the benefits of the project to extend much beyond the original participants.  The 4 student-led physical and digital zines will be shared with the entirety of the student body at UAL and become an ongoing learning resource for students and staff.


Zine in concertina design with text and images Zine pages with multicoloured abstract wheel design

The final form of the zines is currently in development, but if you would be interested in being sent a copy when complete, please contact Anna Attallah


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *