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Craghyrax
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#1
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Educational Debate is for debate and discussion about the UK education system (NOT for application queries OR for advice on practical issues to do with student life).

If you are an applicant, please select an appropriate forum for your thread from the list of University forums here and here.
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F1 fanatic
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#2
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On the 21st and 22nd of February 2013, we will be carrying out the final phase of a significant revamp of the Universities forum structure. In this final phase, General University Discussion will cease to exist and from this point forwards will be replaced by:




Why are we making these changes?

The over-arching structure of the University section has remained unchanged for many years and dates from a time when the site was much smaller and had far fewer forums. Following a thorough review of the existing structure, the moderation and administration teams have developed a revised forum structure which we believe is more fit for purpose for the current and future needs of TSR and its users.

A 'general' forum is no longer appropriate or applicable when there are specific forums that are better suited to discussion and advice on virtually every topic. The majority of the threads posted in General University Discussion would achieve a better, more informed response from the communities in the more specialised forums. We want to make it easier for users to gain direct access to the advice and information that they need without having to wait for the moderation team to move their threads to the correct forum.


Where will topics in General University Discussion belong after the changes?

We have reviewed the existing topics in General University Discussion to ensure that everything still has a home after making these changes. We identified three main types of thread:

A significant component of General University Discussion content is discussion and debate on education policy, tuition fees, league tables and university prestige. This discussion based content will be housed in the existing UK Education forum as part of the 'Debate and Current Affairs' section. This is a much more natural home for debate and discussion than the advice focused University section and will be managed under the existing D&CA Guidelines.

A lot of topics cover life at university, which will belong in the Student Life forum, to be renamed 'University Life' and replacing General University Discussion as a top level forum. This will cover all general aspects of life at university, from university resits, dissertations and lecturers to night-life and what to pack for university.

The third and final common topic in General University Discussion is university applications and questions about specific courses or institutions. Guidance on the application process itself and UCAS policies belongs in the Applications and UCAS forum, while specific course and institution questions are best placed in the appropriate course or university institutions forum.

If you're still not sure where a thread topic belongs, you can ask in this thread or in the Ask a Moderator forum.


What will happen to all of the posts in General University Discussion?

There are over 650,000 posts in General University Discussion and we would like these to remain accessible to members after the forum has been removed. Recent posts will be moved to the most appropriate forum, but historic posts will be archived in the UK Education forum. The website url for General University Discussion will redirect to the UK Education forum and we will have a forum redirect in the university section to direct users wishing to discuss education policy and university current affairs to the UK Education forum.


What other changes are we making?

In addition to the removal of General University Discussion, we are also making significant changes elsewhere to the University section forum structure to make it easier to find the appropriate forum for your thread and to reflect the current needs of the community.

Major changes are as follows:

  • Student Life will be renamed 'University Life' and will becomes a top level forum in the 'University and University Courses' section.
  • Mature Students and Disabled Students will also becomes top level forums to promote these communities.
  • Student Financial Support will be expanded to cover Student Finance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will be moved from its current home in the 'Life Advice' section to a top level forum in 'University and University Courses'.
  • Accommodation Classifieds will be renamed 'Find a Flatmate' and will make use of a form for students to more easily connect with potential flatmates. This forum will be more widely promoted in each of the university institution forums.
  • Volunteering will move to the 'Hobbies and Interests' section.
  • We have significantly expanded the number of institution forums to cover all institutions in the university league tables and grouped these forums by region, including promoting London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to top level forums in the 'Universities and HE Colleges' section.
  • We have created a new Distance Learning forum which will go in the 'Universities and HE Colleges' section to cover Open University and other distance learning providers.
  • International Study will be moved to the 'Universities and HE Colleges' section to cover institutions outside of the UK and put these on a par with UK institutions.


A summary of the revised forum structure is provided below:

New University Section Structure

University and University Courses
UK Education Debate and Current Affairs (Redirect)
Applications and UCAS
Personal Statement Help
The Parent Room
Student Financial Support
Student Finance Scotland
Student Finance Wales
Student Finance Northern Ireland
University Life
Student Accommodation
Find a flatmate
Gap Years
TSR Freshers Blogs 2012
Disabled Students
Mature Students
Postgraduate Study
Finance, Economics, Business and Management Postgraduate Study
Education and Teaching (Redirect)
International Postgraduate Study
Arts and Humanities University Courses
Maths, Science and Technology University Courses
Medical, Health and Life Sciences University Courses
Social Science University Courses

Universities and HE Colleges
North of England
Midlands
South of England
London
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
Distance Learning
Open University
International Study
TSR International Freshers blogs 2012
Studying in North America
Studying in Australia
Studying in the Netherlands

If you have any remaining questions, please post here and we will try to answer them
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Meat is Murder
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#3
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So before we could have a quick look to see if a thread was interesting and if not do something else but now one has to visit specific sections?!!

Can there not also be a forum with all university related threads? This will be convenient and would also attract more viewers, a greater number of replies, and thus happier forum users? Sub sections see a lower volume of replies/viewers for a reason!
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F1 fanatic
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#4
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(Original post by Meat is Murder)
So before we could have a quick look to see if a thread was interesting and if not do something else but now one has to visit specific sections?!!

Can there not also be a forum with all university related threads? This will be convenient and would also attract more viewers, a greater number of replies, and thus happier forum users? Sub sections see a lower volume of replies/viewers for a reason!
What threads are 'interesting' is going to be person specific of course, but I think it is probably fair to say that the threads which are collectively seen as interesting by a large proportion of users are those relating to broader discussion of university topics such as fee rises, education policy and league tables etc, in which everyone has an interest and an opinion to share. These 'true' discussion topics will all move to one place, the UK Education forum, where currently they may be found in both UK Education and General University Discussion.

The other threads are primarily those seeking advice on specific issues relevant only to a small sub-set of the community. If there are questions on studying physics at St Andrews they are unlikely to be of interest to you and will receive a better response in the physics or St Andrews forum, where there is the highest concentration of users who are interested and knowledgeable about that topic.

On your last point about a forum displaying all university threads, are you thinking about something similar to the recent/popular discussions widget but specific to the university section, rather than showing the whole site? I think it is an interesting idea but would go a stage further and suggest if such a thing were to exist then a customisable discussions widget showing content only from the forums you are interested in would be even better.
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Meat is Murder
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(Original post by F1 fanatic)

On your last point about a forum displaying all university threads, are you thinking about something similar to the recent/popular discussions widget but specific to the university section, rather than showing the whole site? I think it is an interesting idea but would go a stage further and suggest if such a thing were to exist then a customisable discussions widget showing content only from the forums you are interested in would be even better.
The recent/popular discussion widgets contain threads from sections such as Chat and Relationships which attractive numerous posts which means university threads get lost. A section/widget that amalgamates more general university discussion (UK education, uni life and institute info etc) would certainly be beneficial for a visitor wanting a casual browse. It would also give thread starters a larger audience for possible feedback; UK Education section is very slow and thus visited less than other sections that continually turn over threads.
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F1 fanatic
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#6
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(Original post by Meat is Murder)
The recent/popular discussion widgets contain threads from sections such as Chat and Relationships which attractive numerous posts which means university threads get lost. A section/widget that amalgamates more general university discussion (UK education, uni life and institute info etc) would certainly be beneficial for a visitor wanting a casual browse. It would also give thread starters a larger audience for possible feedback; UK Education section is very slow and thus visited less than other sections that continually turn over threads.
I think this is a good idea, at least in terms of being able to customise it to show forums of interest to a particular user. The site has grown a lot with hundreds of different forums and I think site navigation and highlighting forums of interest to users is something that could definitely be improved. I can't promise when time will be spent on this as it's not up to me, but it's certainly something that I would like to see a focus on in the coming months.

Specific to UK Education, it may be relatively quiet at the moment but of course it will be taking a lot of content from General University Discussion and will be heavily promoted from universities, so I would expect that activity in this forum will pick up considerably. This is one of the intended positive outcomes of making this change.
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Origami Bullets
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Is it possible to stop people posting new threads in the regional forums e.g. North of England? They seem to be a graveyard for threads started by people new to TSR, but the forum gets very little traffic from regular contributers (hence few get many / any replies) and they can almost always be put in a forum that is more appropriate.
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Potally_Tissed
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#8
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(Original post by Origami Bullets)
Is it possible to stop people posting new threads in the regional forums e.g. North of England? They seem to be a graveyard for threads started by people new to TSR, but the forum gets very little traffic from regular contributers (hence few get many / any replies) and they can almost always be put in a forum that is more appropriate.
It's possible but not necessarily desirable. We've got pretty much every uni on the league tables covered with its own forum now (from memory I think there's 117), but there's still plenty more unis and HE colleges that don't have their own subforums, so closing those parent forums leaves nowhere for posts about them.
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F1 fanatic
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#9
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Just an update. We are still working through the changes but it's taken a bit longer than expected as there's a lot to do/move. It should now be completed by the end of next week.
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PQ
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#10
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Just to say this looks great.

My only concern is that the UK Education forum doesn't seem to be moderated as closely as GUD/UCAS forums tended to be - all these forums attract a lot of misplaced threads that are seeking advice and the UK Education forum seems to be attracting the same sorts of threads as well as some really great discussion threads. However atm there doesn't seem to be any proactive moderation to sweep through the threads and move threads seeking advice to areas where they're likely to get quick and accurate answers.

Eg on a quick scan down the forum http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2257723 has been hanging around for a week and attracted 3 sarcastic answers which isn't really ideal.
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Zoedotdot
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(Original post by PQ)
Just to say this looks great.

My only concern is that the UK Education forum doesn't seem to be moderated as closely as GUD/UCAS forums tended to be - all these forums attract a lot of misplaced threads that are seeking advice and the UK Education forum seems to be attracting the same sorts of threads as well as some really great discussion threads. However atm there doesn't seem to be any proactive moderation to sweep through the threads and move threads seeking advice to areas where they're likely to get quick and accurate answers.

Eg on a quick scan down the forum http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2257723 has been hanging around for a week and attracted 3 sarcastic answers which isn't really ideal.
Don't worry, we're going to have a couple of dedicated mods in there very soon
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PQ
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So I see GUD is gone and everything has been moved into Education - about half or more of these threads now need moving back to Uni Life I think?

In fact apart from the league table, arts v science and mickey mouse threads most threads don't belong in debate.
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Zoedotdot
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#13
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(Original post by PQ)
So I see GUD is gone and everything has been moved into Education - about half or more of these threads now need moving back to Uni Life I think?

In fact apart from the league table, arts v science and mickey mouse threads most threads don't belong in debate.
We're just going through a process and this isn't the endpoint yet. Obviously GUD housed a lot of threads so there's a lot of sorting out to do. The change has literally just been made so the mods will now be working on getting things straightened out as far as we can
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PQ
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(Original post by Zoedotdot)
We're just going through a process and this isn't the endpoint yet. Obviously GUD housed a lot of threads so there's a lot of sorting out to do. The change has literally just been made so the mods will now be working on getting things straightened out as far as we can
OK - I wont report any more threads to be moved :ninjagirl:
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oxymoronic
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(Original post by PQ)
So I see GUD is gone and everything has been moved into Education - about half or more of these threads now need moving back to Uni Life I think?

In fact apart from the league table, arts v science and mickey mouse threads most threads don't belong in debate.
I literally did this about 30 mins ago, you're a keen bean PQ.... trying to get all of the modding up etc done because otherwise people can't help to move threads if they have no powers in the forum.

Need the ability to be able to multi task without killing TSR
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Craghyrax
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#16
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(Original post by PQ)
OK - I wont report any more threads to be moved :ninjagirl:
Me and River85 are the new Educational Debate mods
We have lives, so you're not going to see all the threads in their correct homes overnight, but I have started to work through it systematically.

I will be sweeping the forum most days, probably once a day. So if you notice a thread in here that needs moving, filing a report will just mean an extra thing to do on my next round. Reporting for other types of moderation would be greatly appreciated though. Also, I'm moving a huge bunch of threads to new places leaving redirects. Some members might still struggle to see where their threads have gone. So if you spot a redirect for a thread you want to answer, clicking on it and quoting these OPs in their threads with the answer you wanted to give might also be a great help in getting the userbase accustomed to the new layout.

So far most thread redirects go to University Life or Applications and UCAS.
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PQ
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(Original post by Craghyrax)
So if you notice a thread in here that needs moving, filing a report will just mean an extra thing to do on my next round.
no prob - I've been reporting so far because I'm aware that some of the debate mods might not know the intricacies of the uni forums (ie where to move various threads to). If you'd rather I don't report for thread moves then I'll stop
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Craghyrax
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(Original post by PQ)
no prob - I've been reporting so far because I'm aware that some of the debate mods might not know the intricacies of the uni forums (ie where to move various threads to). If you'd rather I don't report for thread moves then I'll stop
Thanks, that's thoughtful. River85 and I now have powers in D&CA (and will be learning the section conventions for modding the proper Educational Debate threads) so that won't be an issue :cool:
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anniemagnificent
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#19
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Not a big fan of this replacement for GUD, to be honest. There are as many threads about schools as anything else; the interest (for me!) in the old thread was that it was restricted to university discussion.

*sigh*
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Potally_Tissed
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#20
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(Original post by anniemagnificent)
Not a big fan of this replacement for GUD, to be honest. There are as many threads about schools as anything else; the interest (for me!) in the old thread was that it was restricted to university discussion.

*sigh*
University Life is the natural successor to GUD, this forum (Educational Debate) is really a new forum rather than a replacement for GUD :yes:
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